Installing a Pool or Spa

Residential project information

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Before Getting Started What You'll Need Inspection Information Additional Information Expected Processing Time Fees

Important Notice:

The processes below may have changed due to COVID-19. Please visit our Planning and Development information page for the most up to date processes and procedures.

Residential swimming pools are regulated by the state, county, and City of Raleigh. These regulations are meant to make sure pools are safe for everyone to enjoy.

Permits and inspections are required for in-ground pools, above-ground pools, on-ground pools, spas, or hot tubs that can hold more than 24 inches of water.

Swimming pools require building and electrical Permits. If a connection is made to a water supply in the home, a plumbing permit for the water service extension and a backflow device will also be required.

All pools must also be enclosed by a four-foot-high barrier with openings no wider than four inches and self-closing, self-latching gates.

Before Getting Started

  • Pools, decks, permanent impoundments (pool equipment), and fences may not be installed over or in a public sewer easement. You must receive approval from the City of Raleigh Water for the location of a pool if a public sewer easement exists on your property. Call Raleigh Water Code Enforcement at 919-996-3710 for more information.
  • A recorded map of your parcel is required to verify the location of any public easement at the time of permitting.
  • Pools and decks may not be constructed over septic or wastewater systems or their repair area. If a septic tank exists on your lot, contact Wake County Environmental Services at 919-856-7400 to determine the allowed location before applying for a City of Raleigh permit.
  • Certificate of Appropriateness if the structure is in a historic district or designated as a Raleigh Historic Landmark.

What You'll Need

This project type falls under the Minor Permitting process. Please visit the How to Get a Residential Permit page for submittal requirements and more information. Pools and hot tub paperwork cannot be submitted via email. 

Inspection Information

  • Residential pools require electrical, building, and plumbing inspections
  • A groundwork electrical inspection is required to approve metal reinforcing bonding, lights, pumps, and controls
  • A final electrical inspection is required after completion of the project
  • Plumbing work that connects to the home plumbing system is required to be inspected

How to Schedule an Inspection:

Inspections should be scheduled via the Permit and Development Portal. You must have a registered account in order to manage your project in the portal and to schedule inspections. 

Additional Information


City of Raleigh Water Requirements

  • Swimming Pools or ornamental pools must discharge to the stormwater sewer system under the general permit issued by the NC Division of Water Quality.
  • All water used from the Raleigh Water system must be metered except in the case of fire emergencies. Water used from the City’s tap system without metering is a violation of the City Code and can result in a maximum fine of $500 per day plus water usage charges.


Outdoor swimming pools including in-ground, above-ground or on-ground pools, hot tubs, and spas, must have a barrier that complies with the following:

  • The top of the barrier must be at least 48 inches (1219 mm) above grade, measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier must be two inches (51 mm), measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. Where the top of the pool structure is above grade, such as an above-ground pool, the barrier may be at ground level, such as the pool structure, or mounted on top of the pool structure. Where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the maximum vertical clearance between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier must be four inches (102 mm).
  • Openings in the barrier must not allow passage of a four-inch diameter (102 mm) sphere.
  • Solid barriers that do not have openings, such as a masonry or stone walls, must not contain indentations or protrusions except for normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints.
  • Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches (1143 mm), the horizontal members must be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members must not exceed 1.75 inches (44 mm) in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts must not exceed 1.75 inches (44 mm) in width.
  • Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more, the spacing between vertical members must not exceed 4 inches (102 mm). Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts must not exceed 1.75 inches (44 mm) in width.
  • Maximum mesh size for chain link fences must be a 2.25-inch (57 mm) square unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or the bottom that reduce the openings to not more than 1.75 inches (44 mm).
  • Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, such as a lattice fence, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members must not be more than 1.75 inches (44 mm).
  • Access gates must be equipped to accommodate a locking device. Pedestrian access gates must open outward away from the pool and be self-closing and have a self-latching device.
  • Gates other than pedestrian access gates must have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the bottom of the gate, the release mechanism and openings must comply with the following:
  1. The release mechanism must be located on the poolside of the gate at least three inches (76 mm) below the top of the gate, and;
  2. The gate and barrier must have no opening greater than 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) within 18 inches (457 mm) of the release mechanism.
  • Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following conditions shall be met:
  1. The pool must be equipped with a powered safety cover in compliance with ASTM F1346; or
  2. All doors with direct access to the pool through that wall must be equipped with an alarm that produces an audible warning when the door or its screen is opened. The alarm must be listed in accordance with UL 2017. The audible alarm must activate within 7 seconds and sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds after the door or its screen is opened and be capable of being heard throughout the house during normal household activities. The alarm must automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system must be equipped with a manual means, such as touchpad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Such deactivation must last for not more than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch must be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the door; or
  3. Other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, approved by the City of Raleigh are acceptable; providing the above conditions are met.
  • Where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then:
  1. The ladder or steps must be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of NCRC Appendix G, Section AG105.2, items 1 through 9. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall not allow the passage of a four-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.
  2. Barriers must be located so as to prohibit permanent structures, equipment, or similar objects from being used to climb the barriers.

Barrier exception: Spas or hot tubs with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F 1346 are exempt from barriers.

Electrical Code Requirement

The following is a quick reference guide for electrical work and does not constitute an all-inclusive list of requirements for swimming pools, spas and hot tubs. An electrical permit is issued to ensure that all metal parts within five feet of the pool are properly grounded and safe.

Bond the following metal parts together [NFPA 680.26]:

  • Ladders
  • Handrails
  • Forming shells of wet-niche or dry-niche fixtures
  • Brackets of no-niche fixtures
  • Metal parts within or attached to a pool structure
  • Conductor grid and perimeter surfaces
  • Metal parts of electrical equipment associated with the pool water circulating system:
  1. Pump motors
  2. Metal parts of equipment associated with pool covers
  3. Electric motors
  4. Pool heaters
  • All fixed metal parts that are within five feet horizontally of the inside walls of the pool, and within 12 feet above the maximum water level of the pool, including posts and fences.

Bonding grid used to bond metal parts together [NFPA 680.26]:

  • No. 8 or larger solid copper conductor, insulated, covered or bare.
  • Structural reinforcing steel of a concrete pool where the reinforcing rods are bonded together by the usual steel tie wires.
  • The wall of a bolted or welded metal pool.
  • Rigid metal conduit or intermediate metal conduit metal sheath cables, metal piping and all fixed metal parts.

Underground wiring burial depth [NFPA 680.10]:

  • Rigid metal conduit, 6 inches.
  • Intermediate metal conduit, 6 inches.
  • Nonmetallic raceways listed for direct burial without concrete encasement, 18 inches.
  • U. F. cable protected by 15 or 20-ampere GFCI 12 inches, but not allowed within five feet of the pool.

Electrical Final Inspection:

  • Switching devices must be located at least 5 feet from the inside walls of the pool unless separated by a barrier [NFPA 680.22(D)].
  • A disconnect means shall be provided within the site of the pump motor and controller [NFPA 430.102(A)(B)]
  • Motors, panel boards, and disconnecting means, must have an equipment-grounding conductor installed to the service equipment. [NFPA 680.25(B)]. Conductor must be insulated and sized in accordance with Table 250-122 but not smaller than No. 12. It must be installed with the feeder conductors in [NFPA 680.25(B):
  1. Rigid metal conduit.
  2. Intermediate metal conduit.
  3. Liquid-tight flexible nonmetallic conduit.
  4. Rigid polyvinyl chloride conduit, or reinforced thermosetting resin conduit [NFPA 680.25(A)].
  • Any wiring method in Chapter 3 can be used for:
  1. Motors in the interior of a one-family dwelling.
  2. Motors in a separate building associated with a one-family dwelling.
  3. Service equipment and existing remote panel boards.
  4. Panelboards in a separate building or structure.
  • However, wiring methods in Chapter 3 are not allowed within five feet of the pool.

Wet-niche, no-niche, and dry-niche fixtures [NFPA 680.23(A)]:

  • GFCI protected.
  • Installed so the top of the fixture is at least 18 inches below normal water level.
  • Connected to an insulated copper equipment-grounding conductor not smaller than No. 12.
  • Installed in:
  1. Rigid metal conduit (Metal conduit shall be of brass or other approved non-corrosive metal from deck box to the fixtures.) or
  2. Intermediate metal conduit or
  3. Liquid-tight flexible nonmetallic conduit or
  4. Rigid nonmetallic conduit
  • Where a nonmetallic conduit is used, a No. 8 insulated copper conductor shall be installed.
  • Termination shall be covered with, or encapsulated in, a listed potting compound.

Dry-Niche Fixtures [NFPA 680.23(C)]:

  • Provided with a provision for drainage
  • Means for accommodating one equipment grounding conductor for each conduit entry
  • Wiring methods:
  1. Rigid metal conduit
  2. Intermediate metal conduit
  3. Liquid-tight flexible nonmetallic conduit
  4. Rigid polyvinyl chloride conduit
  5. Reinforced thermosetting resin conduit

A junction box (deck box) where the luminaire operates over 15 volts shall be installed as follows [NFPA 680.24(A)]:

  • Listed and labeled for the purpose.
  • Equipped with threaded entries or hubs.
  • Of copper, brass, suitable plastic, or other approved corrosion-resistant material.
  • Provided with electrical continuity between the connected metal conduit and the grounding terminals.
  • Located not less than 4 inches above the ground level or pool deck or not less than 8 inches above the maximum pool water level.
  • Located not less than 4 feet from the inside wall of the pool, unless separated from the pool by a permanent barrier.
  • Provided with at least one more grounding terminal than the number of conduit entries.

Lighting fixtures must be [NFPA 680.22(C)]:

  • At least 5 feet horizontally and 12 feet vertically from the maximum water level of the pool.
  • Must be GFCI protected if located in an area between 5 feet and 10 feet horizontally and located not less than 5 feet above water level.
  • Have switching devices located 5 feet horizontally.

One 125-volt 15 or 20-ampere receptacle must be:

  • Located 6 feet minimum and 20 feet maximum from the inside wall of the pool.
  • GFCI protected [NFPA 680.(22)(A)].

Expected Processing Time

Please see our development review turnaround times.




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