If you decided to have a swimming pool in your backyard, well, congratulations are in order. When you add an oasis to your home, not only you will add to the value of your property but will be creating memories for years to come. One thing to remember before building anything at your home is that building a residential pool in Harris County requires a building permit.
Harris County requires that a swimming pool structure does not block or interfere with any utility easements. The swimming pool keeps a mandatory minimum space needed from any on-site septic system.
What Kind of Permits Do You Need?
When it comes to residential permits, the needed permits will depend on a variety of different things including which floodplain the location of the property is in. In most cases, property owners do an online search by typing the address. However, that is not necessarily an accurate determination.
If your property is in a flood zone area, then it requires documents such as:
- Elevation Certificate
- Topographical Survey
These documents provide information regarding the elevation of the Highest Adjacent Ground (HAG) and the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for the property. If the HAG is below the BFE, then it is permitted within the Special Flood Hazard Area.
On the other hand, if the HAG is equal or higher to the BFE, then it is outside the Special Flood Hazard Area.
If the construction takes place in a hazardous flooding area, then it is vital to submit to the County the following:
- County’s residential application
- Site Blueprint
- Pool plan detail that includes the BFE and elevation
All swimming pools located within an SFHA area requires inspection. Also, any excavated fill material must be removed from the site or allowed in compliance with the Harris County Floodplain Regulations.
But There’s More!
Your swimming pool construction company also plays an essential role in requesting the building permit. They must follow a checklist to ensure that all certificates and documentation is complete before awarding authorization. Remember, blueprints will provide the information that the County is looking for:
1. Drainage and Details of Curb Connection
The County has a copy of the plan of your home, including a drainage layout. Depending on how old or new is the house, your pool contracting company must submit a blueprint of the drainage system of the swimming pool or backyard.
2. Engineered Proximity Letter
If construction is less than five feet away from the foundation of a building or structure, then an EPL is required to determine whether it is in good standing to proceed with the construction.
3. Overhead Electric Line
There are many posts with power lines in Harris county. So, it must stay over 22.5 ft from water’s edge as recommended by the National Electrical Code (NEC).
4. Electric and Gas Blueprint
A layout of all wiring and gas connections, as well as other essential elements, is required for approval.
It is the device that helps to maintain the water level in your swimming pool. Therefore, the County requires for swimming pool builders to indicate which backflow device and line size will be in use.
5. Utility Variance and Utility Easement
A utility easement is a section of the backyard reserved for underground cables, positioned along the fence line. However, a variance is difficult to get approved, therefore, it’s not permitted to have plumbing, gas, drains, electrical, or hardscapes in the easement.
6. Topographical Survey & Drainage Plan
If your home is in a 100-year Flood Plain area, then a topographical survey and drainage plan is required. The process can take up to two weeks for the engineer to prepare and two weeks for the city to review. Once approved, the engineer will suggest swaling and inlets on a property, which will require an additional charge. Also, keep in mind that the equipment must be raised above the based floor elevation by 18 inches. It includes the electric breaker box, and all dirt must be hauled off.
7. Hose Bib with Anti-Siphon
This helps to prevent water from siphoning through an outside faucet, helping to avoid contamination of drinking water used in your home. Therefore, the County requires for swimming pool builders to indicate which device will be in use.
8. VGB Compliant Drains
The first step is to confirm the drain is compliant with VGB requirements. Check for certification markings on the cover or check with the drain manufacturer. If you are not sure or cannot confirm, the best solution is to replace the drain cover.
9. Overflow & Backwash Run to Storm Sewer
The storm drain system or storm sewer prevent flooding of streets and highways by transferring water into bayous, creeks, rivers and Galveston Bay. It is different from a regular conduit.
10. Steel Schedule on Plan
Refers to the number of steel bars used to bend, shape, and reinforce before placing the concrete. Also, it must have the length, width, and thickness based on the square footage of the swimming pool.
11. Self-Closing/Latching Gate
In some cities and counties, the gates must be, at least, 48″ tall, self-closing and self-latching. It means that it must fully close and latch without any human intervention.
12. Notate Deck Square Footage on Plan
Harris County explains that all development requires a permit to build legally. You will need it to make sure you notate deck square footage in Harris County if your deck will be covering a space larger than 30 inches.
13. Swimming pools cannot encroach Storm Sewage Easements
A topography report is essential to determine that the swimming pool is far from any on-site septic system.
14. Aerobic Septic Systems
The grey water, after treatment in the septic tank, is pumped to specially placed sprinkler heads in the yard. The construction company must make sure when designing the pool that the water’s edge must be a minimum twenty-five feet from the end of the sprinkler head spray radius.
If you live in Houston, then don’t miss our blog next week. We will keep you up to date with the requirements needed to have the pool of your dreams. Don’t forget that Platinum Pools has a team of experts ready to assist you to build your staycation. Call us at 281.870.1600 or visit our website for a free quote.