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Hot Tubs, Ponds, Swimming Pools, and Water Features

Apply for a permit online to install jacuzzis, ponds, swimming pools and other water features in the City of Portland. Get applications for hot tub permits, inground pool permits, pond permits, spa permits and other permits for water features. Learn what's needed for a complete application.
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Application forms for swimming pool permits, jacuzzi permits and permits for water features

Things you need to apply for this permit may include some or all of the following. If you aren't sure what you need, contact Permitting Services. Read more about swimming pool application requirements, hot tub and spa permit applications and applications for water features

Pool, hot tub and water feature permit application forms include: 

Apply for permits online

You can submit your permit application request online using Development Hub PDX. 

What to include in a swimming pool permit application

A swimming pool is any structure used for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 24 inches deep. This includes in-ground, aboveground and on-ground swimming pools, hot tubs and spas. If the pool is prefabricated and the walls are entirely above adjacent grade, you do not need a permit. Requirements include:

  • You need a building permit before you install a swimming pool.
  • Electrical Permit. You must have an electrical permit for the installation of in-ground swimming pools. You may also need an electrical permit for an aboveground swimming pool.
  • You must have either a sand filtration system or cartridge filter system for the pool. The backwash from a sand filtration system will need to discharge to the public sewer.
  • All installations must restrict access to protect against drownings and near-drownings. Installations of swimming pools and hot tubs must meet the following code requirements:
    • Fence or substantial barrier. Any swimming pool not totally enclosed by a structure must be enclosed by a barrier or fence at least four (4) feet in height. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier is 2 inches. Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.
    • Self-closing and latching gate. The fence or barrier must have a self-closing and latching gate (except where bordered by a wall of an adjacent structure at least 4 feet in height). Gates must open outward away from the pool.
    • Location:
      • Swimming pool must be at least 3 feet from any lot line.
      • Enclosing fence or wall will be at least 3 feet to the outer walls of the swimming pool.
      • Swimming pools must be set back from adjacent slopes.
      • In-ground pools in an overlay zone or plan district may have zoning restrictions.
      • Above ground pools must follow setback and building coverage standards.

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What you need for hot tub permits, jacuzzi permits and spa permits  

You don't need a building permit for a hot tub or spa. Requirements include:

If you are installing the hot tub on a deck more than 30 inches above grade, there may be requirements related to the structural design of the deck. You will need to show that the deck can support the weight of the hot tub.

Any hot tub must have either a sand filtration system or cartridge filter system. The backwash from a sand filtration system will need to discharge to the public sewer. 

What you need for pond permits and permits for water features

Most self-contained residential ponds, water features and fountains do not need a building permit or plumbing permit. You need a permit for the following:

  • Plumbing permit: required if water is connected to the plumbing system. Also required if there is a design requiring drainage connection.
  • Electrical permit: required if a pump is connected directly to the electrical system.

More information about permits for inground pools, spas, ponds and water features

Multnomah County has more information on Health Department requirements. We recommend that you check with your homeowner's insurance company before installing a swimming pool, hot tub, or water feature. As a homeowner, you may be liable for accidents or injuries occurring on your property as a result of the installation.

For more information about getting permits, check out the Permit Review Process page. You might also like reading more about outdoor projects:

Fences, Decks and Outdoor Residential Projects (Brochure 3)

Need help? Schedule a 15-minute appointment 

If you have questions after reviewing the information on this page, we recommend you book a free 15-minute appointment with us. 

This is an optional step. We're here for you if you have questions about the information and materials you need to apply. 

If you need help, here are some experts we recommend you meet with for this project*: 

Meet with a Permit Technician 

  • Schedule this appointment if you have questions about the permit process. Permit technicians will provide you with the information found on this page. 
  • Get help with permit application requirements. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Meet with a Permit Technician

Meet with a City Planner 

  • We recommend you meet with city planner about planning and zoning or tree code requirements before submitting building permits.  
  • Get information on rules that apply to your property. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions.

Meet with a City Planner

Meet with a Building Code and Engineering Reviewer

Get help with building code and engineering requirements. 

These are optional meetings. Only book if you have questions. 

Meet with a Building Code and Engineering Reviewer

*Not all review groups may be listed. The groups listed above will help get you started.