Do You Need Plans to Build a Pool?

The answer is yes, you do need pool plans in order to build a pool. One key thing to consider in planning out a pool is making sure that each of the below-mentioned necessary experts are hired. Pool design has a need for the designer (i.e., engineer or architect), pool contractor, and landscape architect. Many jurisdictions also have a permit process for putting in pools, so structural plans for the pool design and energy-use calculations may be requested. These documents are prepared by licensed engineers. This article will focus on swimming pool plans and design.

Pool Design

An architect will be important to hire for pool design based on material selection and the pool’s aesthetics. A pool has specific features like surrounding pool pavement, interior tiles, fencing, and wall cladding, and these are considered surface features. Listed below are some tips regarding the pool design:

  • Mix soft and hard finishes. This means adding decking and wood finishes to soften masonry surfaces. Also, consider textured materials for the wall cladding. Wall cladding is the process of layering one material on top of another material, so textured features will add versatility.
  • Review the current trends for pools and homes when designing with your architect. The current trends include minimalist touches with large formatted pools and clean lines for the surrounding landscape.
  • Lighter materials can stain. One thing to remember is the pool is outside and subjected to outdoor elements like weather. Darker materials will not show aging and discoloration as quickly as light colors may.
    • If light colors are an absolute desire for the pool’s design, consider the interior tiling to be light and the surrounding pool pavement to have a darker color. The interior tiles will illuminate and transfer light really well when the pool lights are not on.
  • Adding pool coping is a great feature to direct any splash-out away from the pool and into the deck drains. Additionally, pool coping blocks water from penetrating areas behind the pool shell that could potentially cause water damage.

Pool Plans and Structural Plans

A structural engineer is required for developing the standard pool structural plans. These plans are the primary blueprint for the construction of a pool. Structural pool plans will include the wall details and the type of soil the walls are designed for. These include non-expansive, moderately expansive, and highly expansive soils. This is critical information because if expansive soils absorb moisture then they will expand or swell. Also, when they lose moisture, they will begin to shrink. Foundational walls are designed to support loads, including the pool walls, so expansive soils can cause foundation issues. This is why it is important to have well-developed structural calculations and plans for a pool. To learn about foundations and the importance of a sound design, check out the article Types of Foundation Cracks and Their Causes. The pool plans include a surcharge detail for pools that might be located adjacent to a residential structure, consisting of a single-family home, pool house, or a garage. Surcharge refers to the addition of a load to an existing ground surface or building envelope.

Pool plans need to be certified and stamped by a licensed engineer to receive the permit to begin construction. The pool should be considered a structure on the property since they change the landform of the site. Both the California Building Code and the California Residential Code contain residential pool regulations that are required to be adhered to. One of the regulations is the Swimming Pool Safety Act, which local governments adopted and interpreted based on their codes and standards. Listed below are some design elements that are to be considered for this regulation:

  • Any enclosure must isolate the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.
  • Removable mesh fencing that meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications F2286 standards in concurrence with a gate that can be self-closing is allowable.
  • Safety pool covers
  • Doors that lead to direct access to a pool from a single-family home will need an exit alarm.
  • Self-closing or self-latching devices that include a release mechanism cannot be placed more than fifty-four inches (54”) above the floor elevation on a private single-family home’s doors that have direct access to a pool or spa.
  • Swimming protection alarms that sound when someone has entered a pool unauthorized such as a surface motion sensor, pressure, sonar, laser, or infrared type alarms, will be allowed.
  • Other protections are allowed if approved by the established ASTM of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

This regulation is specifically for new swimming pools and spas or remodeled pools and spas located at single-family homes. At least two design elements are to be considered for a pool. The requirements are typically added in the mechanical notes, which will need to be added to the swimming pool construction plans. Homeowners should discuss the listed features with their design team to determine which options are most appropriate for their project.

Hiring the Right Consultant to Build Your Dream Pool

Design Everest provides swimming pool design and engineering services. The engineering team has expertise in residential pool design that includes up-slope pools, down-slope pools, use of artificial and natural rock features, grottos, caves, splash pads, lazy rivers, the structural shell design, the mechanical system design, and other customized pool features. The services include swimming pool plans, swimming pool renovations, pool retaining walls, and on-site engineer construction observation. To learn more about Design Everest’s Residential Pool Engineering Services, visit the website. Contact us to get a free quote and consultation today.

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