This question does not have an easy yes-or-no-answer. In principle, you need an urban development permit to build paved structures in your garden. However, there are exemptions that allow you to go a long way without a building permit. We have listed the rules in this blog..
Do you need a building permit for your swimming pool in Flanders?
In Flanders, you do not always need a permit to build an outdoor swimming pool. The general rule states that you may not erect, place, demolish, (re)build or extend a structure, which means that you would have to apply for a building permit to build a swimming pool. However, since 2010 there has been an exemption that says you do not need a building permit if the pool meets all these conditions:
- The swimming pool is not covered.
- The pool is in your side garden or backyard.
- The surface of the swimming pool is no more than 80m2. This surface area includes the pool itself, the terrace, ponds, etc. Existing non-covered structures must also be included in the calculation of the maximum surface area. Only the strictly necessary entrances and ramps to the house are exempt from a building permit in this case.
- The swimming pool is more than one metre from the plot boundary.
- The swimming pool is less than 30 m from the house.
- The swimming pool will not be built in a sensitive area.
An example: The De Ridder family has been dreaming of a swimming pool in the garden for years. Currently, they have an ornamental pond of 10m2 and a terrace of 15m2. So they can perfectly have an 8 x 3 metre pool without having to apply for a building permit, because 10 + 15 + 24 = 49m2, and this is less than 80m2. If they want a 60m2pool, they will need an architect and must apply for a building permit.
Conclusion: In Flanders, you do not usually need a building permit to build a swimming pool in your garden. However, it is always a good idea to check with the municipal planning department. The construction of the swimming pool must not conflict with local plans or regulations regarding land parcelling permits. Your swimming pool builder can also give you the necessary information and possibly help you with the application.
Need a building permit in the Brussels-Capital Region?
The rules concerning the application for a pool building permit are somewhat stricter in the Brussels-Capital Region than in Flanders. You do not need a building permit if the pool meets these three conditions:
- The surface area of the pool is maximum 20m2.
- The swimming pool is not covered.
- The pool is at least 2 metres from adjacent properties.
However, the procedure for a building permit is fast, because it goes through the municipality and therefore does not need to be authorized by a competent official.
Conclusion: In the Brussels-Capital Region, you will most likely need a building permit to build your swimming pool. Always ask for more information from the municipal planning department.
The rules regarding building permits in Wallonia
In Wallonia the rules regarding pool building permits also differ. You do not need to apply for a building permit if the pool meets these conditions:
- It is the only pool on your property.
- The swimming pool is for private use only.
- The swimming pool is not visible from the street.
- The surface area of the pool is maximum 75m2.
- The swimming pool is at least 3 metres from the plot boundary.
- The construction of the swimming pool does not require any significant changes to the property.
- The pool is not covered or is covered with a sliding or folding structure made of light plastic with a maximum height of 3.5 metres.
Conclusion: If the pool does not meet one of these conditions, you must apply for a permit. You can get this permit relatively quickly and you do not need an architect for it. To be on the safe side, it is best to also seek advice from the municipal planning department in Wallonia.
Need a permit for your swimming pool in the Netherlands?
Before 2010, you even needed several permits to build a swimming pool in the Netherlands. This concerned a building permit, a demolition permit and an environmental permit. Since 2010, however, this has been bundled into the environmental permit.
The environmental permit is only necessary if your garden/house falls under one of the following situations:
- You live in a monumental building.
- You want to build a swimming pool with a roof.
- You live in an area where building a swimming pool is not allowed without a permit.
- The wish to build a swimming pool in your garden conflicts with the zoning plan of the surrounding area.
- You live near water.
- Demolition work will precede the construction of the swimming pool.
Conclusion: In most cases, you can easily check whether you need a permit for the construction of a swimming pool in your garden at www.omgevingsloket.nl. Always check with the municipality as some situations cannot be assessed online.