Above Ground Hot Tub

Do You Need a Building Permit for a Hot Tub?

In Technical Details by Giovanni ValleLeave a Comment

Who likes to end the day by relaxing in a warm, soothing hot tub? Maybe you want to take it a step further and build your own hot tub. You need to be mindful of building permits.

You do need a building permit for a hot tub if it’s built underneath the ground and contains a certain amount of water. If the hot tub is in a commercial area and built above-ground, a building permit isn’t required. Still, other permits related to electricity and plumbing may be needed.

If you’re ready to build your own hot tub, whether it’s on a residential or commercial property, then please do continue reading. This article will provide you with valuable information about when you need a building permit for a hot tub so you can ensure the construction follows all safety rules and regulations.

When Building a Hot Tub Requires a Permit

If you own a house and you want to install a hot tub for you and your family to enjoy, then it’s imperative you’re aware of a few fundamental guidelines.

The main thing to be aware of is that building a hot tub and following the accompanying rules and regulations can be different depending on which state you live in or plan to do the construction.

As a general rule of thumb, if the hot tub has more than 5,000 gallons (22,730.45 liters) of water, you definitely need a permit.

If you choose to build your very own hot tub from the ground up, meaning that you’ll ultimately build a brand new hot tub from scratch, then you need to make sure to have “electricity, plumbing, and/or mechanical permits.”

Along with those permits, you also do need a building permit for the ground-up hot tub.

However, what if you are building above-ground and not completely from scratch?

In that situation, a building permit is not required. This usually happens in commercial properties, as opposed to residential properties.

Additional Permits Required

As with many installations, creating and constructing a hot tub can be very complex. It may seem simple, but it actually takes a lot of time and commitment. 

In order to do the job efficiently and adequately, certain aspects of the installation need to be appropriately monitored. There are many violations because people do not factor in things like proper plumbing and electricity permits.

Be sure to have the entire hot tub, including the installation and the wiring, looked over by professionals to be very safe.

Electricity Permits – In regards to electricity, be sure to have all electrical components installed and inspected by an electrician.

Keep in mind that you may need electricity permits as well, so be sure to look into this.

Plumbing Permits – Plumbing concerns and matters also relate to building permits, even if in a slightly indirect way.

The intricate water lines of the hot tub need to be in line with the city’s regulations. 

So never forget to hire a plumber to take on the job of ensuring your water lines and installation is in accordance with all required permits.

Hot Tub Building Permits & State Regulations 

Getting a building permit also requires following specific rules. If you heed these regulations, then you’ll have a hot tub in no time at all!

Where you decide to build your hot tub will dictate a lot of procedures you must follow.

For example, many people love to relax in a hot tub that is located on their deck outside.

If you choose to build on a deck, or something similar to a patio or gazebo, you must have a permit. 

Due to the fact that hot tub regulations vary from state to state, I’ll provide a couple of examples of what permits are needed and which rules need to be followed in two different states as a frame of reference for you.

North Carolina

In Wake County in North Carolina, a few rules need to be followed according to their handbook.

If a hot tub holds more than twenty-four inches of water, then the builder needs both a building and an electrical permit. 

It would help if you also had a site plan of the hot tub and the area around its perimeter. This requires detailed planning. 

According to the North Carolina Residential Code law, the hot tub also needs to be enclosed by a barrier.

There’s a process that you need to follow if you are going to build in North Carolina, or another state with similar rules:

  • Fill out the application.
  • Create a site plan abiding by all of the requirements.
  • Set up workers’ compensation to protect the workers who will build the hot tub.

Over on the West Coast, in California, a hot tub needs to be five feet away from the perimeter of your property line.

Once you map out the perimeter, you’ll know where to place your hot tub. 

You’re also prohibited from filling and draining your hot tub as much as you want. According to the regulations, it needs to stay as-is unless there’s a hazardous accident or unfortunate leaks. 

There are many other states with guidelines that are very similar to those of California, so just be sure to read up on everything so you know exactly what permits to acquire and what rules to follow.


Overall, it’s important to differentiate between building a hot tub from below the ground or building it above the ground on a surface that’s already set.

If your hot tub falls into the former, you must get a building permit; If your hot tub falls into the latter category, a building permit is usually not needed. To be sure, look up the local regulations and guidelines in whichever state you live before you begin construction.

But wherever you decide to build, I hope you get through the job and get to enjoy the hot tub after a long hard day of work!


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