Building regulations and planning permission will not normally apply to an outdoor swimming pool. All swimming pools, either indoor or outdoor, not attached to a house are considered to be outbuildings, and as long as they fit within certain criteria are exempt from needing planning permission. Building regulations do apply to indoor pools, however.
This is great news for you if you’re planning an outdoor pool for your property, but before you get going on your project, take a moment to make sure your outdoor swimming pool really is an outdoor swimming pool! This may sound strange, but planning authorities issue strict guidelines on what defines an outdoor pool, and if your pool can be classified as indoor, even if you think it’s outside, you’ll find you need to comply with building regulations for indoor pools.
An outdoor swimming pool must be unenclosed, and the air around the pool must be unheated. Any outdoor pool that has a permanent structure over it will become an indoor pool, but as long as the structure is unheated and unventilated it will not have to comply with building regulations.
The regulations which apply to indoor pools are regarding the insulation of the floor and walls of the swimming pool, and are in part concerned with energy conservation and reducing or slowing the loss of heat from the pool into the ground. Even though building regulations don’t apply to outdoor uncovered pools, you can still do your bit for the environment by insuring the pool is properly insulated and by installing a good quality cover to preserve the heat of the water. You’ll save money on your pool running costs by doing this too, as your pool water will stay warmer for longer.
There are still a number of factors you’ll need to take into account when planning your outdoor swimming pool, despite the fact that it’s not being regulated by the planning authority. Ensure that you have appropriate space around the pool to house the pump, heater and associated plumbing, and that you are a suitable distance from the boundary of your property. If you’re based in a National Park or area of conservation, you may have different rules which apply to your property about the type of development that can take place, with or without consent. If you’re unsure whether you need approval or if you’re required to comply with any regulations, speak with your local planning office, or a local pool building company who will be able to advise you.