Outdoor pool

Installing a Pool or Spa

How to get a permit to build a residential pool in Raleigh

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Before Submitting an Application Prepare Applications Materials Submittal Instructions Project Review and Permitting Paying Fees

Residential swimming pools are regulated by the state, county, and the City of Raleigh. These regulations are meant to make sure pools are safe for everyone to enjoy. Permits and inspections are required for projects that can hold more than 24 inches of water. That includes:

  • in-ground pools
  • above-ground pools
  • on-ground pools
  • spas
  • hot tubs

Please read the ABCs of Installing a Pool or Spa for more detailed information. 

Before Submitting an Application

Detailed code review will not begin until application submittals have been deemed complete by customer service staff. It is important that all required information is submitted for a project, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to be informed on the prerequisites below:

  1. Pools, decks, pool equipment, and fences (sometimes referred to as “permanent impoundments”) may not be installed over or in a public sewer easement or a public or private drainage easement. You must receive approval from Raleigh Water for the location of a pool if a public sewer or public or private drainage easement exists on your property. Call Raleigh Water Code Enforcement at 919-996-3710  or visit Development Review for more information.
  2. 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.
  3. A legally recorded map of your property at the Durham or Wake County Register of Deeds is required to verify the location of any public easement
  4. Contact zoning staff at 919-996-2492 or currentplanning@raleighnc.gov to discuss the specifics of your in-ground pool project and general zoning standards relating to walls and/or fences before you begin.
  5. 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.
  6. If you are a homeowner acting as the contractor for your project, the Homeowners Exemption Affidavit is required.
  7. If your home is in a Historic District or designated as a Raleigh Historic Landmark you are required to submit a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC). Approval from the RHDC may be required prior to submitting your permit application.
  8. If your property contains a private well or septic services, you may need approval from Wake County prior to applying with the City of Raleigh.
  9. If you have requested a variance, it needs to be approved by Board of Adjustment.
  10. Your property may be subject to Residential Infill Compatibility standards. Learn more about residential infill development and verification.

Prepare Applications Materials

The below application forms and supporting documents are required for new pools and spas:

  1. Residential Permit Application.
  2. Residential Tier One Checklist.
  3. Elevation (height) of the fence (barrier) installed around your pool.
  4. Survey showing existing conditions of the property and proposed work. A supplemental survey may also be submitted to show the proposed work.

Submittal Instructions

At this step, your application materials should be ready to assemble. Please take note of the instructions below, applications that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted:

  1. Only PDF file types will be accepted unless other file types (such as image, Excel, or CAD) are specifically called for as part of the application submittal process.
  2. .ZIP files are not allowed.
  3. Only one file should be associated with each individual document included with the application package. For example, if an application requires 1) an application form, 2) a set of plans, 3) a calculation report, the applicant should transmit these as three separate files.
  4. City of Raleigh limits email attachments to 30 MB. To send larger files, you may send a file-sharing link (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) to a folder with all required documents. Staff must be given direct access to your files and cannot accept links that require access codes, passwords, or logins.
  5. Submit all files (or file-sharing link) via email to downtownDS@raleighnc.gov 

Tips for Submitting Pool/Spa PDF Files:

  1. Submit one PDF file containing the residential permit application.
  2. Submit one PDF file for the residential tier one checklist.
  3. Submit one PDF file for all other supporting documents. 

Project Review and Permitting

Applicants will be notified by email when a project is processed. Standard review times are available to view online. Plan review comments can be viewed any time via a registered account in the Permit and Development Portal.   

Plans that are ready for permit issuance but have incomplete contractor information will be kept at the Planning and Development Customer Service Center for up to six months. After six months, the plans will be considered invalid, and the application will be voided. An administrative fee may be incurred when projects are voided. 

Paying Fees

A Plan Review Fee is due prior to project review. All other permit fees are due when permits are ready for issuance. The Development Fee Guide provides a detailed list of specific development fees.

  • The Customer Service Center processes payments or you may pay via the Permit Portal
  • Payment types include: Cash, MasterCard, Visa, or check made payable to the City of Raleigh  

A  fee calculator  may be used to obtain an estimate of some building and trade permit fees.



Planning and Development
Customer Service Center


Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Permits - Residential