JHB – Swimming Pools, Boundary Lines and Plans

City of Johannesburg Relaxes Swimming Pool Plan Submissions

A Stunning Swimming Pool Would you need to submit plans for a pool like this? See the post below. Pool by Prime Pools
A stunning swimming pool
Would you need to submit plans for a pool like this? See the post below.
Pool by Prime Pools

The City of Johannesburg’s Planning Department has confirmed that they have relaxed the by-laws relating to swimming pools and plan submissions. These regulations concern the submission of plans – namely when plans are required and when are they not required.

Following up on a query from a reader, Jadie Naicker, we contacted the national office of the NSPI (National Swimming Pool Institute) to find out what they know about the situation. The local Johannesburg manager, Myrtle, said that there were rumours of a relaxation, but that they had put a request to the council in writing for confirmation. By last week they had not had a reply, so she was unable to comment on whether these rumours were true or not.

We contacted the City of Johannesburg Town Planning Department and spoke to one of the building inspectors who confirmed that the swimming pool building by-laws were amended at the end of 2013.

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Putting in a New Pool If your zoning area allows you to build up to three meters from the boundary, then no plans are required, any closer than three meters then you must submit plans.
Putting in a new swimming pool
If your zoning area allows you to build up to three meters from the boundary, then no plans are required, any closer than three meters then you must submit plans.

The regulations vary depending on zoning; the zone that the property is situated in. If the property is in a zone that has a building line restriction of three meters then any pool that is built within this three-meter line will need plans submitted. If the pool does not cross any of these boundary lines then plans will not be required.

A Pool Closer Than 2 Meters If you want to build a pool closer than 2 meters from your boundary, then you will need plans.
A pool closer than two meters
Depending on your zone, if you want to build a pool closer than two meters from your boundary, then you will need plans. Pool constructed  by Prime Pools, Cape Town

In areas that do not have building lines set, the by-law requires that any pool built closer than two meters to the boundary must submit plans.

One of the main reasons for this is that the Town Planning Department must scrutinize the site plans and confirm to the building inspectors that there are not any services such as water supply, sewage or electricity supply amongst others that could be affected.

 Pool Safety

A Hard-wearing Safety Pool Cover
A hard-wearing safety pool cover manufactured by Power Plastics

Public safety and swimming pools is a National Building Regulation and is applicable whether plans had to be submitted or not. Read more on our page SANS 10400 Part D – Public safety.

The City of Johannesburg put forward planned by-law amendments in 2009 to regulate safety around swimming pools in the Johannesburg area. In addition to the National Building Regulations Part-D, extra safety measures were mooted. These include issue of a permit by the Council and the fact that every outdoor swimming pool must be secured with a pool cover or fitted with a floating pool alarm device at all times when the pool is not use. The Council may exempt an owner from compliance with this section if it is satisfied with the efficiency of any other means of protection used.

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About Janek

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47 comments

  1. Subject:
    Inlaws not wanting to put a pool fence up

    Message:
    Hi, My wife has left me & gone back to SA, I live in NZ. My worry is my inlaws have a pool, my 20month daughter loves water & my inlaws have told me they dont need to get a pool fence and they have raised 2 kids there before, how do i get hold of council or is this something you could do to get them flagged?
    My biggest fear is my daughter drowns

  2. Hi Mark, Have a look at the page on Public Safety and have a look at the various acceptable ways the swimming pool can be fenced. You do not say which municipality your in-laws live, but some by-laws in some areas do require additional safety measures to be taken. There is a list of municipalities and contact numbers here: municipality-contact

  3. Subject:
    Pool company

    Message:
    Hi there,
    I have got a pool fitted by Natal pools.
    The ower Chris has not handed over the eng. certificate and geo certificate.
    He has also not shown me on what do do or not to do.
    His contact doesnt clearly said he doesnt connect up the eletricity.
    He is now avoiding us.
    Please can you advise me on what to do.

  4. Subject:
    Spa facilities

    Message:
    Good morning ,
    I am trying to find the rules that regulate spa facilities inclusive of signage.Can you please direct me.

  5. Rudi, If you have a problem, why not phone the NSPI – they are members. They should be able to help.

  6. This is not contained in the building regulations Justin. Try contacting the NSPI, they might be able to advise.

  7. Good morning,
    Where will I find the specs on road,driveways dimensions of vehicle entrance ways?

  8. In your local bylaws Justin. You will get these from your local authority.

  9. Dear Sir / Madam
    I live in Kommetjie in Cape Town and at the rear of my property is defence property, which is open space. I have an open space of 5m to the boundary of my property and would like to install a swimming pool 3m wide by 4m in length. Will I be able to install a pool or will there be implications of having to leave 3m to the boundary lines of the property.
    Thanking You

  10. Mike I suggest you contact the City of Cape Town’s planning department. However, I doubt that it would be a problem to build closer to the wall. It may depend on the zoning for your area. The zoning scheme docs for the City are downloadable here – but I don’t think they talk about swimming pools. The other thing to do is get a couple of quotations from NSPI pool builders and ask them for advice in terms of what is and is not allowed.

  11. Hi

    I bought a house in Pretoria in 2001 with a splash pool, now I unfortunately have awfully annoying neighbors, which have been a constant problem for eg… he closes the wall at the bottom when it rains too much cause our water runs into his property (yes I know odd things).

    However, I have not been living in the house for the last 6 months, got a another house but renting out this house to one of our staff members and now I get a summons I believe from the city council that I do not have plans for the pool, which by the way has been standing empty for the 6 years as it leaks.

    I have not seen the summons yet, will get it this weekend, but what the hell, who do I contact, actually I have no idea what to do. Tried googling for something even not sure what I’m doing 🙂

    and secondly, since we are being small minded and annoying now can I report him about his ‘afdakke’ being on my wall and the fact that he runs a garden service from the house and has all his staff members there early in the morning making a noise

    I know this is being small minded but I have had enough with the neighbors, I don’t even live there anymore

    Any advice would be appreciated
    Tx

  12. Sharon there are several issues here. The first is that you have no right to allow your stormwater to drain onto your neighbour’s property. As far as the pool is concerned, you should have had approved plans prior to having the pool built (or whoever had the pool built should have had plans). The fact that it has been standing empty is irrelevant. You need to contact the Tshwane Municipality and find out what they want you to do. You should be able to submit “as built” plans for the pool. You can report your neighbour at the same time! The noise issue is outlined in Part F of SANS 10400, Site Operations. You will see the allowable times if you click the link and scroll down.

  13. Tyrone Phillips

    Boundary lines

    The building lines for my Zone are 2 meters from boundary walls but I have already obtained relaxation on my western boundary for my house to 935mm. This is also the best boundary for my pool as I have extensive rock on my stand, so does this mean that if I keep the pool at the same distance from the boundary with approved relaxation of 935mm then I don’t need to submit plans or not?

  14. Hi Tyrone, You do not say where you live. The only municipality that we are aware of that does not require plans for pools is Johannesburg, but they do need to be informed, in writing of the pool being installed. Any other municipality will need plans.

  15. Tyrone Phillips

    Thanks Janek,

    Apologies, I am building in the Joburg area under Joburg Council

    This article refers to the City Of Joburg so I was assuming all queries were based on this council. What I need to know is if my relaxation line has been approved and I build my pool within this new boundary line does that apply as the article states above that no plans are required if the pool is within the boundary lines?

  16. Hi Tyrone, If that is the new approved building line then you should be good to go. What I have found with the planning departments around the country when I call them is that they are very helpful so go ahead and call them to double check.

  17. Hi, please advise – I’m draining my pool and want to convert it into a sunken garden. No structural changes, just cementing and paving over the shell and adding containers/benches/etc. Just checking that I don’t need to notify the municipality or submit plans (not sure what that would like) please?

    Thanks and regards

  18. You should be fine with converting your pool to become a sunken garden as part of your landscaped garden. When it is done could you please send in a picture so that we can feature it in a story.

  19. Hi, I live in Cape Town (Hout Bay) and my neighbour is busy building a swimming pool. It seems quite close to our dividing boundary wall (1m or less away) and I just want to confirm regulations around this?

    My concern stems from the fact that his ground level is aprox. 1.5m higher than ours and I worry that having a pool so close to the retainer dividing wall between our two properties will place extra pressure on the wall.

  20. Alexander Lombard

    Good day

    What is the difference in above ground and below ground pools. I want to build a pool/rainwater collector above ground level far away from any parimiter fence but only 1.5 meters from my home. This will place the pools highest point level with the floor level of the front of my house built on a slope. I can connect an now large window later deck entrance with the pool using a deck. I have a rustic design for the pool and I do not mind farm style swimming experience plus there are basic things to do to improve hi-gene.

    I would then extend the deck to cover the pool completely in the winter and use it to water the garden. My question is do I need plans for such a project, deck or pool?

    I stay in Pretoria.

  21. Hi there

    I am having a pool installed in my house in Cape Town. Are there any regulations which indicate that my pool backwash cannot go onto the street and must go via my sewerage?

    It will be much easier to route my backwash along with my gutter downpipe that goes into the road than it will be to route it into my drain.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Kind regards,
    Warren

  22. I contacted the building plans department today and was told that I do need to submit plans for a swimming pool. And before I fill an inspector needs to come and check it.

  23. Hi Craig, It all depends on the area your house is in and what zoning bye-laws are applicable to your specific zone. As we report in our article
    JHB – Swimming Pools, Boundary Lines and Plans : “The regulations vary depending on zoning; the zone that the property is situated in.”

  24. erm Alexander – an above ground pool is built above the ground and one that is below the ground is sunk into the ground. Our sister website will give you additional information. As far as plans are concerned, only the City of Jhb allows pools to be built without plans.

  25. Warren you cannot route it into the sewerage system without permission from the council. It must discharge into a stormwater drain.

  26. If you are concerned contact the municipality and ask them to check the plans. The distance from the boundary may not in itself be an issue. However, retaining walls must be built according to approved plans, and adding water pressure will not be factor on the initial plans, unless the pool was included on the plans.

  27. Hi, I live in the JHB area. I live in a complex, full title. I would like to build an above ground fiberglass shelled jacuzzi/ spa pool 2mx2m. I have permission from the body corporate. But would I need to submit plans seeing as this is above ground jacuzzi/ spa and will not exceed a meter above the ground.

  28. Good Day

    I Live in Alberton ( South of Johannesburg ) I know that I have to have its approval by my Body Corp , but do I need to get someone to draw it on my building plans, also do I require the local council to approve it .

    Thank you

  29. Byron as far as I know the City of Jhb no longer requires plans for swimming pools. However you do need to let them know that you are planning to build a pool. If, for any reason, they do want plans, they will no doubt tell you.

  30. The City of Jhb doesn’t usually require plans for swimming pools any more – I’m not sure about Alberton. Phone them and ask the question.

  31. Hi there,

    My wife and I are looking at getting a splash pool installed, 3m x 2m.

    We live in a full title unit within a complex in Honeydew Manor in JHB.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Do I need to have plans drawn up and submit to council?

    2. If yes for above which department do I contact regarding this?

    3. We have a very small area we would like to have the pool installed and the pool would be approximately 450 mm from the boundary wall on the one side and 700 mm from our house on the other side. Would I need special permission ie. relaxation permission?

    Thanks for the assistance.

  32. Hi Darrell, You can read the full story here: jhb-swimming-pools-boundary-lines-plans Just be aware as a owner in a complex there might be rules that you need to adhere to that are unique to your situation, check this first.

  33. Thank you for the response.

    So am I correct in saying I would need plans drawn up due to the fact that the pool will be closer to the wall then 2m?

    It seems from the article this is due to the location of services? We bought our unit off plan, and one of the reasons we chose this location is due to the fact that we know there are no services in this area.

    Anyhow, submitting plans it is.

    Do you think I could go ahead with construction and submit plans at a later stage?

  34. We live on a plot, sharing the land with the in laws. My son is 5 now, and has had numerous operations on his ears and has never learnt to swim. He is also on the spectrum and has high functioning autism. My father in law has built a pool himself and flatly REFUSES to put any kind of fencing or netting on the pool. I am frantically trying to find out if this is legal and what I can do. Children, like my boy are drawn to water, have no fear and do not un the consequences ?? is there anyone I can contact directly to force them to make the area safe. I AM DESPERATE, please advise

  35. Is there a law regulating how close a neighbours swimming pool can be to the boundary wall? I have a tree on my side of the wall. They have a swimming pool about 1.5m away from the wall on their side. They want me to take my tree down saying the roots are cracking the pool wall. Is there something that says they shouldn’t have a pool so close to the wall? I’m sure the pool was there when they bought the house.

  36. Hi

    I just want to find out about the safety measures that needs to comply to regarding water features.
    We are putting a shallow “pond/water feature ” next to the house front door.What is the safety rules regarding a pond like this in size and depth that we can do with out having to close it up with netting or fences.
    This area we are in are Hurlingham, Sandton

  37. There are no specific rules for water features. Only swimming pools require fences, unless there is something in the local bylaws. But I’m not aware of anything. You can find out from the local authority.

  38. Check with the council. I know that the swimming pool regs in Johannesburg changed. I don’t think they can force you to cut down the tree!

  39. Some municipalities insist on fencing – so check with the City to see what they say. I know that they did change the swimming pool regs a few years ago.

  40. Hi,

    Do I need to submit plans to build a koi pond, 1,8×2,8m?

  41. Swing pool to close to the boundary wall – Pretoria
    From my estimation the swimming pool is less than 1.5 m from the boundary wall.
    My concern is the fact that the boundary wall is leaning towards my side and thus creating a risk. I also had to extend the wall just for some privacy in my own back yard due to the swimming pool so close to the boundary wall and the increase in the ground level on his side. But the wall leaning to my side started long before the extension of the wall.
    The wall was build years before the swimming pool was installed, but started leaning after the pool was build. The occupant of the property told me that I have to fix “my” wall.
    Is it acceptable building regulation to have a swimming pool close to the boundary wall?

  42. This issue is not governed by the building regulations. You need to check what the City of Johannesburg’s bylaws state. If the pool has caused the wall to shift, then you have a claim against your neighbour, but you’ll have to take legal steps.

  43. Hi
    I want to extend my house, however by doing so, the foundation would be close to the pool by about 1.5m.
    What is the safety regulation that I may dig my foundation, in terms of the angle of influence between the wall footings and the depth of the pool?
    Its is a 2.4m x 2.4m fibreglass splash pool.

    I would like to know if it is viable before even submitting a plan for this type of extension. If the wall footing is too close to the pool, then I may need to consider other options

  44. Hi Grant, This is a difficult one to answer without seeing the site. The best would be to ask whoever you will get to do your plans to do a 1/2 hr prelim site inspection and then advise you. This way you avoid any complications later on that could be costly.

  45. Good day what is the current legislation on build wing swimming pool close to a power line what are the rules

  46. This is not covered by the NBR or SANS

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