A typical residential swimming pool and/or spa requires a minimum of three permits:
- Building (BLD)
- Electrical (ELE)
- Engineering (ENG). The customer does not apply for this permit. It is generated by city staff as part of the building permit review. It also has a fee.
- Plumbing/Gas (PLM) if applicable, for gas-fueled pool water heater and/or automatic pool fill system using potable water.
Make sure you work with a licensed contractor to create a site plan based on the city's development standards, plus any special requirements in your zoning district and, if applicable, your HOA.
This document is intended to be a guide and may not contain all requirements needed to obtain permits and approval from the City of Orlando.
- Describe work proposed, existing site conditions, and any hardships in meeting city requirements. If there is a reason that a submittal requirement is not met, please address why in this section.
City's Land Development Code: Ch. 58, Part 5B(11) - Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs, Spas and Screen Enclosures
Building Code – Florida Building Code Residential: Chapter 45
Electrical Code – NFPA 70 National Electric Code 2017 Edition, Article 680
Swimming pools and spas are allowed in all zoning districts. However, some neighborhoods are zoned PD (Planned Development) and might have unique standards. Other neighborhoods may have a Historic Preservation (/HP) zoning overlay, which requires a separate review.
You can check your zoning district at orlando.gov/zoning.
For additional zoning questions, contact the Planner on Call at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407.246.2269.
There are certain rules that you must follow regarding setbacks from the property line, impervious surface ratios, decking, fencing, lighting and the placement of mechanical equipment.
(Measured from property line, unless otherwise noted)
(Measured from normal high water line)
Contributes to Impervious Surface Ratio (ISR)?
(Measured to water's edge or any above-ground wall, fountain, etc.)
Side & Rear (incl. alley): 5 ft.
Street Side of corner lots: 15 ft.
Front: 10 ft. behind front facade of principal structure
10 ft. (horizontal) from overhead utilities
If elevated 3 ft. or more, follow accessory structure setbacks (Sec. 58.901).
| No — pervious
Deck or patio
Side & Rear (at grade): 2 ft.
Street Side: 10 ft.
Side & Rear (wood deck, elevated): 5 ft. Street side of corner lots: By zoning district. If elevated 3 ft. or more, follow accessory structure setbacks (Sec. 58.901).
Wood deck: Max 50% coverage of backyard
Not OK within a utility or drainage easement
No — pervious: Wooden with separation between planks, uncovered, and elevated 6 in.
Yes — impervious: All others
Screen enclosure with “soft top”
Same as "Pool Only" row above. These setbacks apply to all screen enclosures, even without a pool/spa.
Not OK within any easement
If enclosure height is 12 ft. or less: 15 ft.
If enclosure height is greater than 12 ft: 50 ft.
No — pervious: Enclosure itself
Yes — impervious: Pavement within enclosure
Screen enclosure with solid roof
Setbacks are the same as for a principal structure. See Zoning Tables (Ch. 58 Part 1B) for your specific zoning district.
Can request Modification to have accessory structure setbacks (Sec. 58.901)
|Yes — impervious. Maximum 35% coverage of backyard
| These standards are current as of the 2022 code update (Ord. No. 2022-55, 9-12-2022).
- The City of Orlando sets limits on impervious surfaces — manmade areas that repel rainwater. Includes roofs, driveways, decks, artificial turf.
- ISR for each zoning district is listed in Ch. 58 Part 1B - Zoning Tables (orlando.gov/zoning). 55% in all R-1 districts.
- Impervious, unless wooden and elevated at least 6” from bare ground [58.970]
- 50% max of backyard area [58.970]
- A properly permitted fence is required if pool is 2+ ft. deep and 36+ sq. ft. area. Includes inflatable pools. Go to orlando.gov/fence for more information. [58.959]
- Min. 4 ft., max 6 ft. tall for most residences; may be taller if adjacent to commercial or industrial uses. [Sec. 58.929(d)]
- Max 4 ft. on street side of reverse corner lots. [Sec. 58.929]
- Lakefront can serve as a pool barrier: A see-through style, vinyl-coated chain link fence no taller than 48 inches may extend into a lake up to 2 ft. beyond the low water mark [LDC2015-00183]
- Southeast Orlando Sector (including Lake Nona) has additional standards. See Sec. 68.503 and your PD zoning document.
- Set up and shade appropriately to point away from neighbors [58.957]
- Examples of exterior mechanical equipment: Air Conditioning System, Pool Pump, Generator, Water Conditioning System, etc.
- Must be screened from view from street, common areas, lakes, and abutting property [58.982]
- Proper screening: Opaque fencing, screenwall, shrubs/vegetation, or building < 1 ft. away [58.982]
- At least 1 ft. away from screening [Sec. 58.982]
- Co-location with similar mechanical equipment is encouraged [Sec. 58.986]
- Cannot be located between a building façade and a street [Sec. 58.986]
- Cannot be located in a drainage swale or any similar easement [Sec. 58.986]
- Front setback: At least 10 ft. behind house’s front façade [58.984]
- Side and rear setbacks: At least 2 ft. from property line [Sec. 58.986]
- At least 10 ft. (horizontal) from overhead utilities and transmission tower anchors [Sec. 58.986]
- At least 20 ft. from lake or wetland [Sec. 58.984]
- If pool or deck is located within a 100-year floodplain, all mechanical and electrical equipment must be elevated no lower than one foot above the established base flood elevation.
Any conflict in this guide with city code is unintentional and code prevails in all instances.
You can read it at Ch. 58, Part 5B(11) - Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs and Hydrospas.
Please review the City’s Engineering Standards Manual – Chapters 5, 6 and 7
The following items must be included as part of your permit submittal package.
- Erosion & Sedimentation Control for Construction Sites Guide. Please review, submit and comply with the City’s Erosion & Sedimentation Control for Construction Sites Guide
- Topographic Survey.
- Must be signed and sealed by a Professional Surveyor, licensed in the state of Florida.
- Survey must use Florida State Plane Coordinates, Zone Florida East, North American Datum of 1983 for the horizontal datum and the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 for the vertical datum, with a reference to the horizontal control points and vertical benchmarks. The elevations must refer to a published vertical point benchmark.
- Existing topography of the site at a minimum of one (1) foot contour intervals and sufficient additional spot elevation points so that the existing drainage patterns can be clearly established. Contours must extend at least twenty-five (25) feet beyond all property lines, or to roadway centerlines, whichever is greater. Note, there may be situations where additional topography beyond the minimum requirement must be necessary to discern the existing drainage pattern.
- Areas within the 1% chance annual flood, as depicted on FEMA FIRMs, must show the existing floodplain boundary on the survey.
- Please refer to Chapter 5 of the Engineering Standards Manual for Plat requirements and additional details regarding survey submittal requirements.
- Where not feasible, the City may allow temporary benchmark or Assumed / Permanent Reference Network elevations. This will be evaluated on a case by case scenario and approved by the City Engineer.
- Site Plan. Reference Chapter 6 of the City of Orlando's Engineering Standards Manual (latest edition).
- Plans must be scalable and fully dimensioned.
- Show the layout and location of the proposed pool/deck. (Note: Pool/deck delineation must be included even if the deck is going to be constructed by others. If landscape is proposed in lieu of a pool deck, a note stating that there will be no deck construction must be included)
- Pool setback must be at a minimum 5 FT between pool/deck to property line(s) (Per Section 58.958 of the City of Orlando Code of Ordinances)
- A depiction of existing site features to remain (to be indicated in gray) and proposed improvements with clear distinction between what is existing and what is proposed.
- Show the location of the equipment servicing the pool.
- Show measurements between equipment to property line(s) and structure(s).
- Equipment should not be placed in areas specified by the drainage/utility easements.
- Labeling of all relevant dimensions regarding the property such as (but not limited to):
- Limits and dimension of the property boundary line.
- The dimension from the edge of pool and/or deck to the property line.
- If applicable, the dimension of the site features (such as swales, LID retention areas, etc).
- If applicable, show trench drain or bubble up location(s) on the plans.
- Insert the following notes on the plans:
- The City of Orlando's Guidelines for Erosion Sediment Control (commonly known as The Blue Sheet) will serve as a guide for the implementation of erosion sediment control measures.
- All excess fill material / excavated dirt will be hauled offsite and not be redistributed within the site.
- Grading/Drainage Plan. Reference Chapter 7 of the City of Orlando's Engineering Standards Manual (latest edition).
- Design Professional endorsement (signed and sealed). If any re-grading is to be completed on site, the plans must be signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer or Architect, registered in the state of Florida.
- Show proposed elevations at the edge of pool/deck. Draw flow arrow representing direction of stormwater runoff.
- Pool/deck install cannot increase or concentrate the flow of water onto the downstream neighbor, nor impound water on the upstream neighbor. Any diversion of drainage patterns to effect the proposed development must remain on the subject property and cannot be diverted onto neighboring properties.
- Sufficient information to demonstrate any site re-grading. No fill may be brought on-site without an approved grading plan. If fill and re-grading is not proposed, please note on the Grading/Drainage Plan.
- If applicable, label the top and bottom elevations of proposed swale/pond.
- Provide cross-sectional details between the pool and property line.
- Cross-sections must include, at a minimum, existing grade, proposed grade, elevation at property line, property lines, edge of pool/deck limits, trench/French drain, etc.
- If applicable, show invert elevation of at the begin and end of trench/French drain.
- If the property is within the 1% annual chance flood, as depicted on FEMA FIRMs, proposed grading plan must s how the floodplain boundary.
- Floodplain Submittal Requirements
- If the subject property is within the 1% annual flood as depicted on FEMA FIRMs, there are additional submittal requirements that include (but are not limited to):
- FEMA Flood Map by address
- The proposed FFE of the structure must be at least 1’ above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) depicted on the FIRM.
- Any fill brought into a floodplain must provide an area to compensate for the area that is no longer open to flood waters due to the fill on a cup by cup basis.
- Compensating storage must be open to the atmosphere. Compensating storage via underground vault must not be permitted.
- Please see Section 7.04.02 of the Engineering Standards Manual for additional details on floodplain submittal requirements or contact our Site Engineering Group.
- Plans Revision (if applicable)
- Revision request form
- Describe what changes were made from the original document(s).
- Provide the file name or sheet number impacted by the change(s).
- Comment and Response Sheet
- Revision(s) clouded in Plans/Docs
The following is the recommended inspection sequence of the required inspections for a typical residential pool.
#435 Engineering Erosion Control/Silt Fence Inspection (if applicable) – Ensure silt fence is installed.
#112 Electrical Pool Steel Grounding – Bonding of pool lights and pool steel. Minimum (4) "tails" uniformly spaced around the perimeter of the pool, min #8 bare copper wire.
#340 Building Pool Steel & Ground – Location of pool shell.
- Verify reinforcement bar size, lap and spacing per construction plans.
- Clearance from soil. Soil is clean of debris and roots.
- Main drains are installed.
- Angle of repose from structure trees and property line.
#355 Electrical Underground – Verify burial depths, # of bends, conduit.
#341 Electrical Pool Deck/Bonding - Bonding of the pool steel.
- Verify equipotential bonding is installed, within three feet of the pool wall Min # 8 bare copper wire for pool deck.
#342 Building Pool Deck/Piping Pressure
- That the termite treatment has been installed within one foot of the existing building where the pool deck will be installed.
- Any expansion joints.
- Pipe pressure gauge is at 35 psi on pool piping.
#100 Building Footer (if needed)
- Footers for retaining walls, screen rooms or additions shown on the construction plans that are ready to be poured.
#343 Electrical Pool Safety Inspection – prior to filling with water.
#343 Building Pool Safety Inspection – prior to filling with water.
#600 Electrical Final Inspection
#435 Engineering Erosion Control/Silt Fence Inspection – Prior to sod and landscaping installation to ensure the post construction elevations are per the approved plans. The contractor must provide elevation survey stakes in all drainage swales and on-site retention areas to ensure swale and retention area depths are constructed per the approved plans. Survey stakes must be placed before sod installation, and after final site grading. The location of the stakes must be placed in the bottom of each area, at each end, and at the top of each area, at each end.
#600 Engineering Final Inspection – ground restoration and landscaping.
#170 Building Zoning Final (to be scheduled at the same time as ENG Final).
#600 Building Final Inspection
- Exterior access to any swimming pool must be through a self-closing and self-latching gate with latches placed at least four feet above the underlying ground and operable from the interior of the swimming pool area only.
- All gates opening through such enclosure must be kept securely closed and latched at all times.
- Pool deck installed.
- Pool pump installed.
- Child barrier installed.
- Accessories permits required such as fences, screen enclosures, gas piping and solar would be separate permits as noted in Orlando City codes 5B (11) Pools, spas & fence requirements Sec. 58.959 & 58.963.
- A separate permit for pool screen enclosures with an attached electrical permit for bonding will be required the same as pool permits.