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Approvals and Permits

An approval must be obtained from the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) Swimming Pool Program for a public and semi-public pool, wading pool or special use pool, spa or artificial bathing lake when:

  • A new pool, spa or bathing lake is to be constructed.
  • An existing pool, spa or bathing lake is to be modified and the modification affects the shape, depth, water circulation system or enclosure; resurfacing of the pool interior or deck; addition of a water feature or planter; modification of a disinfection system; or installation of diving equipment.
  • A change in use of an existing semi-public swimming pool, spa or bathing lake to a public swimming pool, spa or bathing lake.
  • A change in use of an existing private residential swimming pool, spa or bathing lake to a public or semi-public swimming pool, spa or bathing lake.

The Swimming Pool Program does not approve plans for the construction of new or modification of existing private residential pools, spas and bathing lakes. Private residential pools, spas and bathing lakes located in incorporated areas of Maricopa County are reviewed and approved by the Planning and Zoning Department of the governing local municipality. Private residential pools, spas and bathing lakes located in unincorporated areas of Maricopa County are reviewed and approved by the Maricopa County Department of Planning and Development. Please contact the local municipality or the Maricopa County Planning and Development Department for their applications and requirements.

All plans and specifications submitted to the Department for approval must have been prepared by, or under the supervision of, a currently registered Arizona Professional Engineer or Architect, or a swimming pool contractor with an Arizona Registrar of Contractor’s A-9, A-19, KA-5 or KA-6 license who is licensed to practice in the state of Arizona. The licensed preparer shall certify that the plans comply with these regulations and criteria contained in the swimming pool design policies.

A variance approval or waiver must be obtained if a deviation from one or more requirements of the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) for the construction of a pool, spa or bathing lake is required. Additional information concerning variances can be found on the Variance Information page.

The fee amount charged for the review and approval of a pool, spa or bathing lake project depends on the characteristics of a particular project. The fees are itemized in the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC), Chapter 1, Regulation 5. A fee schedule listing the review fees for all project types may be found on the Forms/Applications page.

Answers to common questions about the review and approval process may be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

Types of Approvals

Four types of approvals are issued for a public and semi-public pool, wading pool or special use pool, spa or artificial bathing lake as follows:

Additional information about the review and approval process for each type of approval is presented in the sections below. Answers to common questions about the review and approval process, including design requirements and construction inspections, may be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

Approval To Construct/Approval Of Construction

Approval To Construct/Approval Of Construction approvals must be obtained for a project that involves the construction of a new public or semi-public pool, wading pool or special use pool, spa or artificial bathing lake.

The review and approval of a typical project of this type usually occurs in four distinct phases:

  1. An application form, engineering calculations and design data, design drawings, technical specifications, reports and other documentation are submitted for review and approval. When the review is complete an Approval To Construct is issued to allow construction of the pool, spa or bathing lake to commence.
  2. Construction of the pool, spa or bathing lake proceeds. A number of construction inspections are conducted in the field as different phases of the construction work is completed.
  3. When construction of the pool, spa or bathing lake is complete and all field construction inspections have been successfully passed, the contractor submits a Construction Certification Letter. A final construction inspection is then performed. When the final construction inspection has been successfully passed, an operating permit is issued.

The pool, spa or bathing lake may be used immediately once the final construction is approved.

The Approval To Construct application and instruction form packet, including the Construction Certification Letter, can be found on the Forms/Applications page.

Approval To Remodel/Approval Of Remodel

Approval To Remodel/Approval Of Remodel approvals must be obtained for a project that:

  • Modifies an existing public or semi-public pool, wading pool or special use pool, spa or artificial bathing lake.
  • Changes the use of an existing semi-public swimming pool, spa or bathing lake to a public swimming pool, spa or bathing lake.

Note: Changing the use of an existing private residential swimming pool, spa or bathing lake to public or semi-public use requires approval of plans and new Approval of Construction.

The review and approval of a typical project of this type usually occurs in four distinct phases:

  1. An application form and design drawings identifying the remodeling work are submitted for review and approval. If the remodeling is extensive or complex then engineering calculations and design data, technical specifications, reports and other documentation may be required to be submitted for review. When the review is complete an Approval To Remodel is issued to allow remodeling of the pool, spa or bathing lake to commence.
  2. Remodeling of the pool, spa or bathing lake proceeds. A number of construction inspections are conducted in the field as different phases of the construction work is completed.
  3. When remodeling of the pool, spa or bathing lake is complete and all field construction inspections have been successfully passed, the contractor submits a Construction Certification Letter. A final construction inspection is then performed. When the final construction inspection has been successfully passed an Approval Of Remodel is issued.
  4. After an Approval Of Remodel is issued an operation and maintenance compliance inspection is scheduled. When the compliance inspection is successfully passed the existing operating permit is amended to include the remodel information and is reissued.

The pool, spa or bathing lake may be used immediately once the Approval Of Remodel has been issued. The remodel approval will serve as a temporary operating permit until the compliance inspection has been completed and the existing operating permit has been amended and reissued.

If an existing pool, spa or bathing lake is submitted for a change of use and the change of use requires new construction then the Swimming Pools Program may require, at its discretion, that the project be submitted for an Approval To Construct rather and an Approval To Remodel approval.

The Approval To Remodel application and instruction form packet, including the Construction Certification Letter, can be found on the Forms/Applications page.

Operating Permit

Operating permits are required for public and semi-public pools, wading pools or special use pools, spas and artificial bathing lakes. Operating permits are not required for private residential pools and spas.

The fees for operating permits are listed in the fee schedule in Chapter I of the County Environmental Health Code. Operating permits for pools, spas and bathing lakes are renewed annually. A renewal notice is mailed by the Department’s Administrative Services Division to the owner of the pool, spa or bathing lake prior to the expiration of the permit. Renewal eligibility is contingent on compliance with the rules and regulations.

Additional information and answers to common questions about operating permits and operations and maintenance requirements may be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. Please contact the Swimming Pool Program if you have additional questions related to an operating permit.