Building a swimming pool : what are the regulations obligations and formalities ?

Do you dream of relaxing in the water of your own swimming pool? Before embarking on the installation of a private swimming pool, do you know the regulations, administrative formalities and legal obligations on this subject? Location, construction, safety, taxation… Installing a swimming pool at home involves you on several levels. We take stock.

1 – Installation of a swimming pool: legal distances

Before starting the construction site, make sure that the location planned for your swimming pool respects the distances imposed by law. And this regardless of the type of swimming pool, buried, semi-buried or above ground.

Relative to neighbours: a minimum of 3 m

The Town Planning Code (article R. 111-19) imposes a minimum distance of three meters between the edge of your pool and the neighbour’s fence. If your pool has raised copings or terraces, calculate the distance to the neighborhood from these. In addition, find out about local planning rules; they sometimes impose their own distance rules.

From the public road: at least 25 m

If you live outside the urban area, the Town Planning Code is precise.

  • Your swimming pool must be located at a minimum distance of 40 meters from the nearest road axis.
  • This distance is 25 meters between the basin and the nearest main road axis.

These mandatory distances may be different if you live in an urban area. To find out, contact your town hall.

2 – Administrative formalities: it all depends on the pool…

The administrative procedures vary according to your choice of swimming pool. Its size, the type of pool and its duration of use must be taken into account. In some cases, it is a simple prior declaration of work; in other cases, a building permit will be required. Or sometimes nothing at all.

I have no statement to make:

  • If you are installing a small pool, i.e. one whose surface is less than 10 m2. Whatever the type of pool, masonry or above ground, buried or semi-buried, with or without shelter, a small pool does not require any declaration.
  • If your swimming pool hour-sunthe surface of which is between 10 and 100 m2, is installed less than 3 months per year, no authorization required. Except on a protected site or according to any local regulations (to be consulted at the town hall).
  • If you are building a swimming pool inside of your home. No declaration to be made as long as the construction does not impact the exterior appearance of the house.

Attention : if your small swimming pool, buried or not, is located in a saved sector or in a classified site, a request for authorization is essential. If in doubt, contact your town hall’s planning department.

I have to make a Preliminary Declaration of Works

The TPD is mandatory in certain cases. This depends above all on the size of the swimming pool and the possible cover that completes it, but also on other criteria. The Cerfa form must be submitted to the town hall (in two copies) or sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. Cerfa form no. 13703-07 applies. Once the decision of the town hall is known, you have three years to build your swimming pool. Remember to display the prior declaration on your land for the duration of the work, it is mandatory.

Here are the cases where you must make a Prior Declaration of Works:

  • Swimming pool buried without shelter : if the surface of the pool is between 10 m2 and 100 m2.
  • Inground swimming pool with shelter : if the surface of the pool is greater than 10 m2 and the shelter is not more than 1.80 m high.
  • Semi-buried swimming pool : if the visible walls protrude from the ground by more than 60 cm.
  • Above ground pool (inflatable, tubular, kit, etc.): if its surface area is greater than 10 m2 and it is installed for more than three months a year (Cerfa n° 13703-06). Attention : in a protected sector, the prior declaration of work is required from 15 days of installation per year (historical monument, site, nature reserve, national park).

I apply for a building permit

When you apply for a building permit, according to the procedure provided, the town hall has two months to respond to you. After this period, “the silence of the administration is worth agreement”. The Cerfa form n° 13406-06 must be sent in four copies, supplemented by the necessary supporting documents (which can be provided by the pool specialist).

When do I need to apply for a building permit?

  • Swimming pool buried without shelter : if the surface of the pool is greater than 100 m2.
  • Inground swimming pool with shelter : if the surface of the pool is between 10 and 100 m2 and the shelter is over 1.80 m high.
  • Above ground pool : if its surface is greater than 100 m2

To build a large swimming pool, you do not have to go through a licensed architect. However, when applying for your permit, you must present a complete file. It includes the construction plans, the description of the land and the project, a three-dimensional composition plan… The answer is given to you within two months. Your building permit will be valid for three years, with a possible two-year extension. It must be displayed for the duration of the works.

I submit a Statement of Completion

When the construction of your swimming pool is finished, you must make a declaration of the end of construction. This is mandatory for all construction sites requiring a prior declaration of work or a building permit. This process must be done within 90 days of the end of the work, with the town hall’s planning department. Use the Cerfa form n° 13408-04 to certify the completion and conformity of the work.

Building a swimming pool without authorization: what is the risk?

Better to declare in the rules the construction of a swimming pool. Indeed, if the town hall discovers the construction site in progress, it can order the interruption of the work and the seizure of the construction equipment. If the swimming pool is uncovered only after its completion, its owner is not immune from penalties. The town hall can then seize the court, which will order the demolition of the structure, subject to a daily fine of 75 euros per day (maximum) until the execution of the decision. In addition, the fine is steep: from 1,200 to 300,000 euros! In the event of a repeat offence, the pool owner can even be sentenced to a prison term (six months maximum).

3 – Safety: strict regulations

Whatever its size, any buried or semi-buried swimming pool must be equipped with mandatory protection against the risk of drowning. Only above-ground pools are exempt from this regulation. But nothing prevents them from being equipped too, quite the contrary!

You must install one of these four standardized safety devices : a protective barrier, an audible alarm system (submerged or perimeter), a cover or shelter covering the entire pool.

The swimming pool enclosure

The objective of the NF P90-309 standard, which governs the safety of swimming pool enclosures, is to secure access to the pool. The shelter must be airtight enough so that a child cannot access it. In addition, it must be able to withstand bad weather and protect the pool and its bathers, whatever the weather conditions.

The cover

The pool cover is regulated by standard NR P90-308. It requires that the cover of a swimming pool must guarantee the protection of young children against any risk of accidental drowning. Children under five, even unsupervised, must be prevented from falling into the water. This hard cover must be able to withstand a weight of 100 kilos. A simple tarpaulin, intended to protect the water from dead leaves, is not considered as a regulatory protection cover.

The pool barrier

The regulatory quality of a swimming pool barrier is governed by standard NF P 90-306. The barrier is intended to prevent access to the basin. For this, it must be at least 1.10 m high. Its mandatory locking must be effective, so that a child cannot open it alone. Installed all around the pool, the barrier blocks outside access while allowing bathers to circulate freely during swimming.

The sound alarm

Swimming pool alarms are regulated by standard NF P90-307. There are two types: perimeter infrared alarms and underwater alarms.

  • infrared alarm is located outside the pool, around which it traces a security perimeter with an infrared line. It triggers when this limit is crossed.
  • The submerged alarm sounds when a fall is detected in the pool. It must be able to detect the fall of a child under six and reactivate automatically.

NB : In the event of non-compliance with these regulations, the owner of the swimming pool incurs a fine which may amount to 45,000 euros. A pool vendor who fails to provide information on safety equipment risks the same fine. In addition, if you wish to take out a swimming pool option with your insurer, he will also require compliance with these safety regulations.

4 – Obligations fiscales

The construction of a swimming pool is not exempt from certain obligations vis-à-vis the tax authorities. A fixed swimming pool, buried or semi-buried, is considered as an outbuilding. Its presence increases the rental value of the house. And this is not without consequence on certain taxes, in particular the property tax and the housing tax.

  • The housing tax increases, unless it is already capped at 50% of your income.
  • Property tax also increases, apart from an exemption granted during the first two years after construction. Provided that you have declared the end of the work, within 90 days of its completion, to the Land Tax Service. Otherwise, you will not benefit from this tax exemption.
  • other taxes are to be expected: a development tax, a sanitation tax, as well as an increase in local taxes.

NB : Do not forget to declare your swimming pool to the tax services. They can indeed detect its presence through the use of Google Maps. And beware of catching up!

5 – AFNOR standards related to construction

The quality of the construction of a private swimming pool is regulated by a series of standards.

  • The earthwork of the swimming pool depends on the AC P90-322 standard. It requires carrying out the preliminary earthworks in compliance with the regulations in force.
  • Equipment swimming pools are governed by several standards. The AC P90-325 standard for the hydraulic network, the AC P90-326 standard for the parts to be sealed, the NF EN 16713-1 and 2 standards for the water filtration and distribution systems.
  • Finishes are also regulated. The AC P90-323 standard standardizes swimming pool copings and decks, ensuring the safety of swimmers in their circulation around the pool.

6 – Exceptional obligation in case of drought

In the event of severe drought, the prefecture can take measures aimed at restricting the use of water. These measures may include a ban on the filling of swimming pools.

  • Level 1 Drought Alert : only the filling of small above-ground swimming pools is authorized, within the limit of one to three cubic meters, depending on the departments.
  • Drought alert levels 2 and 3 : filling is strictly prohibited, whatever the size of the pool.
  • Exceptionally, the filling of a swimming pool can be authorized if it is about its first impoundment. Check with the town hall.

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