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The 101 guide to swimming pool building permits

By April 8,2020 January 10th, 2023 No Comments

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This post is for English speakers who wish to build a swimming pool in France. However, we have found that our plans meet the requirements of most countries.

Prior to the start of work, a pool building permit is compulsory.  Depending on the size of the pool and the construction area, the planning rules and régulations could be different.

Understand the process

When you have a pool project, you can’t wait for the first dig. However, as swimming pool professionals, we advise you not to rush and to follow the following two pieces of advice.

Study the feasibility of your project

You can do this by visiting the planning department of the town hall of the construction area; the officers are there to share the local specific development rights, such as:

  • your project is located in a protected area, a safeguarded area or a classified site,
  • the commune you depend on has specific town planning rules: local town planning or municipal map,
  • the plot is located in a condominium

In all these situations, specific rules apply.

Knowing the criteria taken into account

A few square meters more or less you can go from little or no formalities to endless paperwork. Do you know that you can keep the control of your building site but assigning the design of the project to a pool professional.

The main criteria that determine the formalities are:

  • The area of the pool
  • the presence or not of a pool enclosure
  • whether or not the installation is permanent , for above ground pools,
  • whether or not the pool is completely into the ground.

We detail below the different cases.

Explanations on various building permit

Subject to specific restrictions to be taken into account, your project will necessarily fit into one of the 3 following configurations:

  1. No formality
  2. A “Déclaration préalable” form is required
  3. A “Permis de construire”- building permit is mandatory

No  formality if :

  • An above ground swimming pool (inflated or kit) is installed less than 3 months per year (or less than 15 days per year in certain protected areas).
  • Or your swimming pool has a water surface area of less than 10m2 and 1 m. high.
  • Or an indoor swimming pool is built in an existing building or house and  the facades and the roof are not modified.

A “Déclaration préalable” is necessary for :

  • An above-ground swimming pool (inflated or kit), from 10m2 to 100m2, installed more than 3 months per year (or more than 15 days per year in certain protected areas).
  • An inground or semi-buried swimming pool between 10m2 and 100m2 of water, with or without enclosure.
  • A swimming pool of less than 20m2 whatever the height of the enclosure  if the plot is already built on.

Please note that, depending on the building department, various documents may be requested. Beyond the usual DP1 (site plan), DP2 (swimming pool ground plan) and DP3 (swimming pool section plan), some towns will ask for a DP5, DP6, DP7 or DP8, or even other information, allowing them to visualise the project precisely from a photo montage.

A “Permis de construire” – Building Permit

It concerns:

  • Above ground pools (inflated or kit), of more than 100m2, installed more than 3 months per year (or more than 15 days per year in some protected areas).
  • Inground or semi-underground swimming pools (less than 60cm above ground) with more than 100m2 of water area, with or without enclosure.
  • The construction of a pool enclosure more than 1.80m high
  • The construction of a pump room of more than 20m2

Please note that, the Pool Building Permit must sometimes be submitted by an Architect.

NOTE: Failure to declare the work done on a swimming pool can lead to its demolition, heavy fines, and even a 6 month prison sentence, if a repeat offence is committed. Don’t forget that the tax authorities receive valuable help from Google maps to find out about new constructions.

Be careful: Some municipalities prohibit certain colours and types of lining. We detail here the different swimming pool linings.

The swimming pool extensions

Pool enclosures

They are more and more installed but it is not always clear which form must be submitted.
  • The installation of a pool enclosure less than 1.80 m high on an existing pool does not require any formalities. On the other hand, if one wishes to build a swimming pool and its cover at the same time, the application of a “Déclaration préalable” for minor works is compulsory.
  • The construction of a pool enclosure higher than 1.80 m requires a building permit unless the swimming pool is less than 20 m2 and is located on a plot of land already built.

The pump room

It too is subject to regulation.
  • Its area is less than 2 m2 and its  height less than 1.50 m, no authorisation is required.
  • The construction of a pump room from 2 to 20 m2 requires a “Déclaration préalable” for minor works.
  • For a pump room of more than 20 m2, a “Permis de construire’ – Building permit must be applied for.

How to proceed

Now that you know which category your project falls into, we will tell you how to fill the declaration of pool work.
The “Déclaration préalable” must be submitted to the town planning department and the file must include a CERFA form no. 13703*06 which can be downloaded free of charge here.
As a general rule, the following are required: DP1 (site plan), DP2 (pool ground plan) and DP3 (pool section plan). Some town halls will ask for a DP5, DP6, DP7 or DP8, or even other information, allowing the project to be visualised precisely from a photo montage.
The response  time is 1 month; a lack of response from the planning services within this time limit means that there is no opposition to the project. The construction must start within 3 years with the possibility of extension for two one-year periods.
The pool building permit file must be submitted to the town hall of the construction area; if the total built surface (house + swimming pool project) exceeds 175 m2, an architect is imperative.
The time of instruction is 2 months; it can be extended to 6 months in protected sector. The decision is transmitted by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt and the work must start within 3 years.

Obligations after the works

Just as you have filled a declaration of work on your swimming pool, a declaration to the tax authorities is compulsory within 3 months. It gives the tax authorities the opportunity to check the conformity of the project and the installation of the obligatory safety equipment: protective barrier, perimeter or immersion alarm system, security cover or enclosure.
We remind you that failure to install the safety equipment also exposes you to a fine of 45,000 €.

Our advice for the declaration of work on a swimming pool

The heavy formalities of a building permit should encourage future owners of private swimming pools to always stay within the limits imposed by the “Déclaration préalable”.
In the same way, we have notice that the manufacturers of swimming pool enclosure have voluntarily limited the height to 1.79m!
Of course, we provide our customers with the requested elements for their “Déclaration préalable”; if a pool building permit is necessary, our plans help the Architect in his mission.
You have a swimming pool project, do not hesitate