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Permits for Spas and Hot Tubs

May 5, 2016 | Building or Buying a Hot Tub

Do you need Permits for a spas and hot tubs?
I get asked this question frequently, so here’s the best information I can give you on this. I can tell you though that permits for spas and hot tubs are generally required in most areas of the US.

According to the building code, (does not apply to all areas), a prefabricated swimming pool (and that would include hot tubs) installed above ground at a single-family residence does not require a building permit, unless the water capacity exceeds 5000 gallons. Therefore, most hot tubs and spas are exempt from building permit requirements. Note: the reference is made to “prefabricated”, meaning made by others. If you are using my hot tub building plans and starting a build from scratch, you would be well advised to get a permit. Permits for spas and hot tubs are generally easy to get. Just go to your local building department and ask for the proper forms you will need.

However, in order to install a pool, spa or hot tub, it is usually necessary to add some type of plumbing and/or electrical connection. These hook-ups, for safety reasons, are subject to building permit and building code requirements. Remember, electricity and water just don’t mix and even though you may be perfectly capable of making these connections, (more so any electrical connections vs any water connection), you should have your local code official sign off on all of your connections when the project is completed.

In many instances, permits for spas and hot tubs connections are over looked

As a result, at least half of all systems installed in the US have one form of code violation or another, even when professionally installed. These discrepancies occur because even though spa technicians are experts in the field of spa hardware and equipment, usually, they are not plumbers or electricians and consequently lack the license credentials common to those trades.

Typical safety violations often include buried gas piping without a rust-preventive coating; over-fused and double-tapped electric circuits; substandard electrical grounding; exposed and unprotected romex wires; and worst of all, lack of ground fault protection, a condition which can expose hot tub or spa users to fatal electric shock.

Plumbing for spas, hot tubs and pools is typically straight forward and most likely plumbing lines will be completely self-contained within the hot tub or pool itself. The results of any type of leak here will simply deplete the water volume in the unit. Some units may have a supply line connected to the homes water supply to accommodate maybe an auto-fill unit. This is something you’re more likely to find on an in-ground pool rather than a spa or above ground pool. The likely concern for this supply line is for those of you in cold climate areas, the chance of a water line freeze needs to be addressed.

Portable spas, hot tubs and pools should always have the plumbing lines pressure tested before being put into use. A leak near anything electrical will likely cause the GFI protection system to trip out power, thus protecting the bathers. More on this can be found in my hot tub building books available at

If your hot tub was installed without professional attention to plumbing and electrical safety requirements, I’d strongly recommend having the connections evaluated. This could protect users of the hot tub or pool while reducing your exposure to financial liability should someone be injured.

Gene Trumbull
Custom Built Spas

Call With Questions (860) 571-8440



Remember, my Mission is to help you, as my customer, build a beautiful hot tub of your own! I can show you how to build Spas, Hot Tubs, Swim Spas, Plunge Pools, Cocktail Pools or Exercise Pools at incredibly affordable prices! Everything you need to know is outlined in my series of easy-to-follow books and videos that cover a simple, step-by-step process that I’ve developed and refined over the years.

I will teach and help you with everything you need to know about building your own spa, hot tub, or swim spa yourself, regardless of what your DIY skill levels are and at a cost, YOU determine YOU can afford. As my customer, I’ll work with you at your own pace until your project is done and comes to life! For over 25 years now I’ve been helping people just like you, build their own hot tubs, spas, and swim spa projects. So, are you’re ready to let me help you build your project? Then what are you waiting for, let’s do this!

Custom Built Spas