Swimming Pools

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). The pool enclosure must be in accordance with Hamilton's current Swimming Pool Enclosure By-law No. 03-125.

Starting January 1, 2017, the pool enclosure will need to be in accordance with Hamilton’s New 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.

Do I need a fence around my pool?

Hamilton’s Swimming Pool Enclosure By-law No. 03-125 defines a swimming pool as any privately owned body of water located outdoors, which is used or capable of being used for swimming and which is contained wholly or partly by artificial means (including inflatable sides).

Pools not included in this by-law include those:

  • Incapable of holding water beyond a maximum depth of 300 mm (11¾ inches) and beyond the volume of 4,550 L (1000 gallons)
  • Owned by a public or government body, agency or authority
  • Designed and used solely for ornamental purposes
  • A farm pond, which for the purplose of they by-law shall mean a pond which is maintained for agricultural or horticultural uses only
  • Naturally occurring streams, lakes, swamps or other natural bodies of water

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

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

**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

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

**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

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 materials permitted for swimming pool enclosures, including chain link, wood and wrought iron. All of these materials are subject to the conditions outlined in the by-law. Read it carefully to ensure that your fence and gates meet the by-law requirements.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The fence must have a minimum vertical height of 1.5 m (4 feet 11 inches), measured from the effective ground level on the outside of the enclosure.
  • The fence must be located at least 1 m (3 feet 3 inches) from any other fence or structure which would facilitate climbing over the fence, unless the height of the enclosure is increased to a height of at least 1.8 m (5 feet 11 inches) for a distance of at least 1.0 m (3 feet 3 inches) beyond such non-conforming fence or structure.
  • 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.
  • The gate must also be constructed to comply with the minimum height requirement.

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.