Building & Renovating

Swimming Pools

COVID-19: FAQ for Development Approvals

As the COVID-19 situation in Hamilton continues to evolve, these Frequently Asked Questions for Development Approvals will be regularly updated as circumstances change to provide residents and developers with current information.

Do I need a permit for a swimming pool?

You do not need a Building Permit to install a swimming pool, however you do need a Building Permit to construct the pool enclosure (fence). Pool enclosures are required for all swimming pools.The pool enclosure must be in accordance with Hamilton's Swimming Pool Enclosure By-law No. 16-184 (PDF, 65 KB).

You must not excavate or build a pool enclosure until you get a Building Permit. Do not put water in the pool until you have the swimming pool enclosure in place and you receive final approval from the City.

How do I apply for a permit?

Permit Applications are accepted by mail/courier/email for Pool Enclosures temporarily until the counter on the 3rd floor of City
Hall is open to the Public.

Step 1: Submit an application

  • Download a building permit application form (PDF, 72 KB).
  • You will need to ensure these sections of the form are completed:
    • Section A - Project information
    • Section B - Purpose of application (ensure to indicate by circling the type ie. alteration/repair)
    • Section C - Applicant - this is the persons we will contact while reviewing the application
    • Section D - If the applicant is the ower, please write 'SAME' in this section. If not, please complete fully.
    • Section E - Provide the name of hte contractor installing the pool and enclosure. If unknown, write 'TBD'
    • Section F - Both i and ii should be 'NO' as this is not a new dwelling
    • Section G - You must include drawings with your application
    • Section H - Read carefully and answer accordingly
    • Section I - This name must match Section C, date and sign.
  • Schedule 1 and 2 are not required for the Pool Enclosure Permit Application Process

Step 2: Create your drawing

  • You must include a survey, site or plot plan of the poperty. View a sample drawing (PDF, 240 KB)
  • A survey, site or plot plan of the property must show the location of:
    • proposed pool and distance from the pool to all property lines
    • pool equipment (pump, etc.) and distance from equipment to all property lines
    • all existing or proposed structures on the property (i.e. detached garage, decks, sheds etc.)
    • all easements on the property and their location and width
    • fence and gates on the property; clearly indicate the height and construction material (wood, chain-link, wrought iron etc.) for all existing and proposed fences
    • private sewage disposal (Septic) system, the location of the system components (tank, bed etc.) and their setbacks to the pool must be shown on the plot plan (if applicable to your property)

Step 3: Submit your application

  • You can submit one of 3 ways:​
    • By email: Send to [email protected]. Ensure to include both the application and drawing into 1 email with a subject line that includes your address and permit type ie. Subject: 123 Anywhere Street, HAM - Pool Enclosure Permit
    • By mail/courier: Staple all documents together and place in one envelope and clearly indicate this address and mail to: 
      Hamilton City Hall
      71 Main St West
      ATTN: Building Division 3rd Floor
      Building Permit Application
      Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5
    • By dropping off at City Hall (via Drop Box): Staple all documents together and place in one envelope, and clearly indicate on the envelope:
      ATTN: Building Division 3rd Floor
      Building Permit Application

Step 4: After your submission

  • Once the application is received, you will be contacted by phone to collect the fees for the application. This phone call will be followed up by an email letting you know the next steps and who will be looking after your application.
  • Included in that email will be a Site Alteration Permit Acknowledgement form (PDF, 107 KB) that must be sent to the Growth Management Division along with a copy of your site plan. They will also be contacting you directly to process this application. As part of the review they look at the site plan and existing grading plans to ensure no proposed structures or landscaping interfere with grading and water flow from your property.
  • It is very important that you complete that application and send to Growth as the completion of this process must be done prior to issuance of the building permit for the enclosure.

Submit an application

Follow the instructions in the Application User Guide for ePLANs (PDF, 3 MB) and use the swimming pool enclosure choices to apply for your application.

  • You will need to sure these options are used when applying for a permit:
    • What type of permit are you applying for? CONSTRUCTION
    • What is the primary proposed use of building or tenant space? RESIDENTIAL
    • How many stories does the building have? Enter the NUMBER OF STORIES OF THE SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING
    • What is the building area? Enter the APPROXIMATE FOOT PRINT AREA OF THE SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING IN METRES SQUARED
    • What is the proposed use of the building? SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING
    • What type of work are you doing? SWIMMING POOL ENCLOSURE
  • ​Address - type your address in the 'Search for a Property' field and you will be see options autogenerate as you type. Choose the correct open and then select 'Next'.
  • Description - Describe the purpose of the permit, the type and size of the pool installed ie. Enclosure for a 16ft x 24 ft inground swimming pool.

Submit drawings

  • All drawings must be neat, clear and legible. Drawings may be drawn by hand but must be scanned and saved as one of the acceptable file types (PDF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP). Photographs taken of drawings are not permitted to be submitted. View a sample drawing (PDF, 240 KB)
  • The upper right corner of the drawing must have a 2-inch by 3-inch space that is empty and absent of any writing, logos etc. The City of Hamilton approval stamp will be placed in this location.
  • A survey, site or plot plan of the property must show the location of:
    • proposed pool and distance from the pool to all property lines
    • pool equipment (pump, etc.) and distance from equipment to all property lines
    • all existing or proposed structures on the property (i.e. detached garage, decks, sheds etc.)
    • all easements on the property and their location and width
    • fence and gates on the property; clearly indicate the height and construction material (wood, chain-link, wrought iron etc.) for all existing and proposed fences
    • private sewage disposal (Septic) system, the location of the system components (tank, bed etc.) and their setbacks to the pool must be shown on the plot plan (if applicable to your property)

Upon acceptance of the pool enclosure application, a completed Site Alteration Permit Acknowledgement form will need to be submitted.

Restrictions on swimming pools and equipment

There are different restrictions on where you can install a swimming pool and the swimming pool pump and filter depending on which former municipality you live in. These restrictions are outlined below. There are different setbacks for above ground versus in ground pools.

Setback requirements and allowable lot coverage (amount of space the pool can use)of pool by municipality

This information is for single family dwellings only in residential zones. For all other pool enclosures call Building at 905-546-2720.

Hamilton (installed in rear of yard)

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.2 m (3' 11") 1.2 m (3' 11") as per zone 50%**
In-ground 1.0 m (3' 4") 1.0 m (3' 4") as per zone n/a
Pool equipment 0.6 m
(2' 0")
0.6 m
(2' 0")
5.0 m
(16' 5")
n/a

**Not more than 50% of the area of the rear yard can be used for an above ground pool or combined accessory building coverage.

Dundas (installed in rear of yard)

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.2 m (3' 11") 1.2 m (3' 11") as per zone 50%**
In-ground 1.0 m (3' 4") 1.0 m (3' 4") as per zone n/a
Pool equipment 0.6 m
(2' 0")
0.6 m
(2' 0")
5.0 m
(16' 5")
n/a

**Not more than 50% of the area of the rear yard can be used for an above ground pool or combined accessory building coverage.

Flamborough (installed in a typical Residential, R1 to R6)

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.2 m (3' 11")* 1.8 m (5' 11")* as per zone as per zone
In-ground 1.2 m (3' 11")* 1.8 m (5' 11")* as per zone as per zone
Pool equipment
(Installed in rear or non-required side yard)
0.6 m
(2' 0")
0.6 m
(2' 0")
as per zone as per zone

*A pool installed in a front or side yard must follow the same setbacks as required for the dwelling.

Ancaster

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.5 m (4' 11")*** 1.5 m (4' 11") as per zone as per zone
In-ground 1.5 m (4' 11") 1.5 m (4' 11") not permitted n/a
Pool equipment
(Installed in rear or non-required side yard)
0.6 m
(2' 0")
0.6 m
(2' 0")
not permitted n/a

***Must add the height of the pool's supporting structure (measured from grade) to the above-mentioned distances to lot lines in order to get the total setback required.

Stoney Creek

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.25 m (4' 2") 1.25 m (4' 2") not permitted n/a
In-ground 1.25 m (4' 2") 1.25 m (4' 2") not permitted n/a
Pool equipment
 
0.6 m
(2' 0")
0.6 m
(2' 0")
5.0 m
12' 5")
n/a

Except 1 m where the side yard along its entire length ajoins the rear lot line of an abutting property.

Glanbrook

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.5 m (4' 11") 1.5 m (4' 11") not permitted n/a
In-ground 1.5 m (4' 11") 1.5 m (4' 11") not permitted n/a
Pool equipment
 
0.6 m (2' 0") 0.6 m (2' 0") not permitted n/a

By-law 05-200

Item Rear Yard Side Yard Front Yard Coverage
Above ground 1.25 m (4' 2") 1.25 m (4' 2") As per By-law n/a
In-ground 1.25 m (4' 2") 1.25 m (4' 2") As per By-law n/a
Pool equipment 0.6 m (2' 0") 0.6 m (2' 0") As per By-law n/a

1. If a deck is attached or is part of an above ground pool then the above noted setbacks are to be taken to the outer edge of the deck.

2. If your property is a corner lot, contact Building at 905-546-2720 for clarification of any special setback requirements. The information provided above is for a typical interior lot where side lot lines of adjacent properties abut each other.

3. On-ground pools may be classified as above ground or in-ground depending on the height above grade and the municipality's zoning by-law.

There are a variety of fencing materials permitted, including chain link, vinyl, aluminum, wood and wrought iron. All of these materials are subject to the conditions outlined in the Pool Enclosure By-law 16-184 (PDF, 65 KB) - Read it carefully to ensure that your fence and gates comply with the By-law requirements.

Here are a few important points:

  • The fence must have a minimum vertical height of 1.5 metres (4’-11”), measured from the effective ground level on the outside of the enclosure,
  • It must also be located at least 1.0 metre (3’-3”) from nearest inside pool wall,
  • Has no opening when all gates are closed allowing the passage of a spherical object larger than 100mm in diameter,
  • Has nothing against or near the enclosure that facilitates climbing the enclosure or diminishes the structural integrity of the enclosure,
  • Every fence and gate used as part of an enclosure which forms the part of the enclosure that separates the pool from any dwelling on the same property shall be constructed of open mesh chain link fence or equivalent open face construction that does not restrict visibility of the pool from any door or window that is located on the access level of the dwelling, and which has a line of sight to the pool, and the materials used shall comply with the provisions of By-law 16-184.
  • Any gate that forms part of the enclosure must be equipped with a self-closing and self latching device at the top of the gate on the inside of the enclosure.

A swimming pool enclosure cannot enclose a utility reading device that requires periodic inspection or attendance by utility or service personnel, such as:

  • utility meters
  • hydro meters
  • furnace oil filler pipes

If your pool is near hydro lines, contact your service provider to ensure that the pool will conform to the required setbacks.