Buying a property with a swimming pool – everything you need to know

If you are buying a new home, you may be considering buying a property with a swimming pool. Or perhaps you are buying a new home, and you are considering whether to install one once you own it. Either way, we have all the information you need to consider the pros and cons and make your decision. 

Do I need planning permission?

Generally speaking, outdoor swimming pools do not need planning permission as it’s considered a garden project. If you are going to install one, check with your Local Authority if your property is in a conservation area, or Green belt, or other designation which may mean you need planning permission. 

If you are thinking of an indoor pool within a pool hall, the planning permission rules which apply are those in relation to outbuildings. Therefore if the installation is within certain limits, it is considered permitted development and planning permission is not required. Currently these are:

  • No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
  • Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.
  • Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms (a platform must not exceed 0.3 metres in height)
  • No more than half the area of land around the “original house” would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from the house to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
  • Within the curtilage of listed buildings, any outbuilding will require planning permission.

* Information taken from

A surveyor will be able to confirm the size requirements and your solicitor will be able to confirm by the searches if the land is in a designated land, and therefore if the swimming pool comes within permitted development, or would have required planning permission

For an outdoor swimming pool, these normally do not need building regulations as long as it is unenclosed, and the pool is unheated. Any outdoor pool with a permanent structure will become an indoor pool, however if it is unheated and unventilated, it will not need building regulations. 

For an indoor pool, compliance with Part L of building regulations is required which relates to the insulation. This states that “The U-value of a swimming pool basin (walls and floor) calculated according to BS EN ISO 13370” which the maximum value should be 0.25W/m2/K. Therefore building regulations do apply, and you will need to seek building regulations approval, and once completed, building regulations consent. If you are building your swimming pool, your builder will be able to help with insulating products as needed to have the required U-Value. 

What information should I know before committing to the purchase?

You’ll need to know information on when and how it was constructed, how it is heated, and generally maintained. If the owner has had any parts replaced, you’ll want to know what these are. You’ll also want to know the general costs of running the pool, and how expensive parts are to replace. You’ll also want to check the condition of the pool, and we’d recommend you get a surveyor or specialist to check the condition of the pool to give you the further information you need. You should also obtain quotes for insurance, in order to establish the costs involved in insuring the whole property, including the pool. 

Do swimming pools add value to a property?

If you’re considering adding a pool to your property, or you’re considering buying a property with a pool, you’ll undoubtably be wondering whether it adds value to a property, particularly when you come to sell later down the line.

We asked Chris Dean, one of the directors of Chantries and Pewleys who works in the Guildford Branch, for his expert opinion:

“Broadly speaking, whilst exceptional examples of outdoor/indoor pools can boost the property price, it is safer to assume that you won’t get your money back. A decent pool will be expensive to install and a well-designed, high-end outdoor pool will easily set you back a minimum of £100,000 depending on the size and finish. An indoor pool can often cost even more, and although will often be used all year round, it still remains more of a niche demand from potential buyers.

Running costs can vary anywhere from £1000 to £4,000 per season. If you invest in good quality equipment and properly maintain your swimming pool, your repair and maintenance costs should stay low. Pools need daily care and attention during the months of most use but even when they’re not being used, they still need professional cleaning and maintaining all year round. Swimming pools that are not consistently maintained will become unbalanced, which can result in excessive use of chemicals and potentially costly repairs.

One of the biggest concerns from potential buyers is safety. If a potential buyer has young children then a pool can often be off putting, and we have seen plenty of examples of pool’s being ‘filled in’ which can result in the buyers offering lower to take this into account. 

Whilst there can be some disadvantages with having a pool at your property it can be a wonderful way to enjoy your home even more than you already do, and it’s a truly luxurious addition that offers years of fun for the family. Our advice is do your research and choose wisely when it comes to designing your pool and the surrounding area to make the best use of the space you have available, and to ensure your investment has the best chance of a positive return in the future.”

How Moore Barlow can help you

Whether you’re buying or selling, Moore Barlow has experience in all aspects of conveyancing. We have offices stretching from the bright lights of the City, down the Surrey Hills to the tranquillity of Lymington, our lawyers have local knowledge. Explore how we can help you with buying or selling your home.