Swimming Pool Installation & Inspection Guidelines

The following document includes excerpts and examples are from the 2018 North Carolina Residential Building Code (Appendix V) and the 2017 National Electric Code. To view the full code go to APPENDIX V SWIMMING POOLS, SPAS AND HOT TUBS, 2018 North Carolina State Building Code: Residential Code | ICC Digital Codes (iccsafe.org)


Pool types: Above ground / In-ground pool


AV 105 Pool Enclosure/Barrier Requirements


AV105.1 Application

  • Enclosures/Barriers must be designed and installed to reasonably deter young children from gaining access to the pool area without supervision.

AV105.2 Outdoor Swimming Pool 

  • An outdoor swimming pool, including an in-ground, above-ground or on-ground pool, hot tub or spa shall be surrounded by a barrier which shall comply with the following:
  1. Must be a minimum of 48” tall measured from finished grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.
  2. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2” or 4” where concrete or fixed solid material is used measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. Openings in barrier shall not allow passage of 4” sphere.
  3. Solid barriers, such as a masonry or stone wall, shall not have protrusions or indentions except for normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints.
  4. Where barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members, the top horizontal pickets or members must be located on pool side of barrier. If distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45”, spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 1 ¾” in width. Where decorative cutouts are located in vertical members, the cutouts shall not exceed 1 ¾” in width.
  5. Where barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and distance between the tops of the horizontal members is 45” or more, spacing between vertical members cannot exceed 4”. Where decorative cutouts are located in vertical members, the cutouts shall not exceed 1 ¾” in width.
  6. Maximum mesh size for chain link fences shall be a 21/4-inch (57 mm) square unless the fence has slats fastened at the top or the bottom that reduce the openings to not more than 13/4 inches (44 mm).
  7. Openings in barriers composed of diagonal members such as lattice fences cannot exceed 1 ¾”.

AV105.2 (8) Gate Requirements:


  • Gates shall be self-closing, self-latching, and open away from pool.
  • Release mechanism height required to be a minimum of 54” without special requirements.
  • Release mechanism heights less than 54” require gate and barrier to have openings no greater than ½” within 18” on each side of the mechanism. The mechanism shall be located 3” below the top of the gate on the pool side of the gate. 

AV105.2 (9) Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following conditions shall be met:

  • 9.1: The pool shall be equipped with a power safety cover in compliance with ATSM F1346.
  • 9.2:Doors with direct pool access through that wall shall be equipped with an alarm that activates within 7 seconds, is audible for 30 seconds, and can be heard throughout the entire dwelling when the door and/or its screen, if present, are opened.
    1. Alarm shall be listed in accordance with UL 2017.
    2. Deactivation switch is allowed to be 54” above door threshold and lasts no more than 15 seconds.
  • 9.3: Self-latching, self-closing doors, which are approved by the governing body, shall be acceptable as long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection afforded by items 9.1 or 9.2 described above.

AV105.2 (10) Above-ground pool:

  • Where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps:
  1. 10.1: The ladder or steps shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access; or
  2. 10.2: The ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of Section AV105.2, Items 1 through 9. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.

AV105.4 Prohibited Locations

  • Barriers shall be located to prohibit permanent structures, equipment or similar objects from being used to climb them.


See the source image


Grounding and Bonding:

  • All metal and mechanical equipment must be bonded together and connected to the dwelling’s existing grounding electrode system and or separate grounding electrode. This is to prevent any unwanted electric discharge into the pool as well as to prevent electro -shock drowning.

Article 680 Swimming Pools, Fountains, and Similar Installations (2017 North Carolina Electrical Code)


680.6 Grounding

  1. Through-wall lighting assemblies and underwater luminaires, other than those low-voltage lighting products listed for the application without a grounding conductor
  2. All electrical equipment located within 1.5 m (5 ft) of the inside wall of the specified body of water
  3. All electrical equipment associated with the recirculating system of the specified body of water
  4. Junction boxes
  5. Transformer and power supply enclosures
  6. Ground-fault circuit interrupters
  7. Panelboards that are not part of the service equipment and that supply any electrical equipment associated with the specified body of water

680.22(A) Lighting, Receptacles, and Equipment

  • (1) Required Receptacle, Location
    1. Where a permanently installed pool is installed, no fewer than one 125-volt, 15- or 20-ampere receptacle on a general-purpose branch circuit shall be located not less than 1.83 m (6 ft) from, and not more than 6.0 m (20 ft) from, the inside wall of the pool. This receptacle shall be located not more than 2.0 m (6 ft 6 in.) above the floor, platform, or grade level serving the pool.
  • (2) Circulation and Sanitation System, Location
    1. Receptacles that provide power for water-pump motors or for other loads directly related to the circulation and sanitation system shall be located at least 1.83 m (6 ft) from the inside walls of the pool. These receptacles shall have GFCI protection and be of the grounding type.
  • (3) Other Receptacles, Location
    1. Other receptacles shall be not less than 1.83 m (6 ft) from the inside walls of a pool.
  • (4) GFCI Protection
    1. All 15- and 20-ampere, single-phase, 125-volt receptacles located within 6.0 m (20 ft) of the inside walls of a pool shall be protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter.
  • (5) Measurements
    1. In determining the dimensions in this section addressing receptacle spacings, the distance to be measured shall be the shortest path the supply cord of an appliance connected to the receptacle would follow without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling, doorway with hinged or sliding door, window opening, or other effective permanent barrier. 

680.26 Equipotential Bonding

  • Equipotential bonding (EPB) is the process of electrically connecting metalwork and conductive parts, both exposed and extraneous, such that the voltage is the same throughout these various parts. EPB is used to reduce the risk of equipment damage and personal injury. Equipotential bonding is sometimes simply referred to as bonding.

680.26A Performance

  • The equipotential bonding required by this section shall be installed to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area.

680.26B Bonded Parts

  • The parts specified in 680.26(B)(1) through (B)(7) Conductive Pool Shells, Perimeter Surfaces, Metallic Components, Underwater Lighting, Metal Fittings, Electrical Equipment and Fixed Metal Parts shall be bonded together using solid copper conductors, insulated covered, or bare, not smaller than 8 AWG or with rigid metal conduit of brass or other identified corrosion-resistant metal. Connections to bonded parts shall be made in accordance with 250.8. An 8 AWG or larger solid copper bonding conductor provided to reduce voltage gradients in the pool area shall not be required to be extended or attached to remote panelboardsservice equipment, or electrodes.
  • 680.26(B)(1) Conductive Pool Shells
  • Bonding to conductive pool shells shall be provided as specified in 680.26(B)(1)(a) or (B)(1)(b). Poured concrete, pneumatically applied or sprayed concrete, and concrete block with painted or plastered coatings shall all be considered conductive materials due to water permeability and porosity. Vinyl liners and fiberglass composite shells shall be considered to be nonconductive materials.
  1. (a) Structural Reinforcing Steel. Unencapsulated structural reinforcing steel shall be bonded together by steel tie wires or the equivalent. Where structural reinforcing steel is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound, a copper conductor grid shall be installed in accordance with 680.26(B)(1)(b).
  2. (b) Copper Conductor Grid. A copper conductor grid shall be provided and shall comply with (b)(1) through (b)(4).
  1. Be constructed of minimum 8 AWG bare solid copper conductors bonded to each other at all points of crossing. The bonding shall be in accordance with 250.8 or other approved means.
  2. Conform to the contour of the pool.
  3. Be arranged in a 300-mm (12-in.) by 300-mm (12-in.) network of conductors in a uniformly spaced perpendicular grid pattern with a tolerance of 100 mm (4 in.).
  4. Be secured within or under the pool no more than 150 mm (6 in.) from the outer contour of the pool shell. 
  • 680.26(B)(2) Perimeter Surfaces
  • The perimeter surface to be bonded shall be considered to extend for 1 m (3 ft) horizontally beyond the inside walls of the pool and shall include unpaved surfaces and other types of paving. Perimeter surfaces separated from the pool by a permanent wall or building 1.5 m (5 ft) in height or more shall require equipotential bonding only on the pool side of the permanent wall or building. Bonding to perimeter surfaces shall be provided as specified in 680.26(B)(2)(a) or (2)(b) and shall be attached to the pool reinforcing steel or copper conductor grid at a minimum of four (4) points uniformly spaced around the perimeter of the pool. For nonconductive pool shells, bonding at four points shall not be required.
  1. (a) Structural Reinforcing Steel. Structural reinforcing steel shall be bonded in accordance with 680.26(B)(1)(a).
  2. (b) Alternate Means. Where structural reinforcing steel is not available or is encapsulated in a nonconductive compound, a copper conductor(s) shall be utilized where the following requirements are met:
  1. At least one minimum 8 AWG bare solid copper conductor shall be provided.
  2. The conductors shall follow the contour of the perimeter surface.
  3. Only listed splices shall be permitted.
  4. The required conductor shall be 450 mm to 600 mm (18 in. to 24 in.) from the inside walls of the pool.
  5. The required conductor shall be secured within or under the perimeter surface 100 mm to 150 mm (4 in. to 6 in.) below the subgrade.
  • 680.26(B)(3) Metallic Components
  • All metallic parts of the pool structure, including reinforcing metal not addressed in 680.26(B)(1)(a), shall be bonded. Where reinforcing steel is encapsulated with a nonconductive compound, the reinforcing steel shall not be required to be bonded.
  • 680.26(B)(4) Underwater Lighting
  • 680.26(B)(5) Metal Fittings
  • All metal fittings within or attached to the pool structure shall be bondedIsolated parts that are not over 100 mm (4 in.) in any dimension and do not penetrate into the pool structure more than 25 mm (1 in.) shall not require bonding.
  • 680.26(B)(6) Electrical Equipment
  • Metal parts of electrical equipment associated with the pool water circulating system, including pump motors and metal parts of equipment associated with pool covers, including electric motors, shall be bonded.
  1. Exception: Metal parts of listed equipment incorporating an approved system of double insulation shall not be bonded.
  2. (a) Double-Insulated Water Pump Motors. Where a double-insulated water pump motor is installed under the provisions of this rule, a solid 8 AWG copper conductor of sufficient length to make a bonding connection to a replacement motor shall be extended from the bonding grid to an accessible point in the vicinity of the pool pump motor. Where there is no connection between the swimming pool bonding grid and the equipment grounding system for the premises, this bonding conductor shall be connected to the equipment grounding conductor of the motor circuit.
  3. (b) Pool Water Heaters. For pool water heaters rated at more than 50 amperes and having specific instructions regarding bonding and grounding, only those parts designated to be bonded shall be bonded and only those parts designated to be grounded shall be grounded.
  • 680.26(B)(7) Fixed Metal Parts
  • All fixed metal parts shall be bonded including, but not limited to, metal-sheathed cables and raceways, metal piping, metal awnings, metal fences, and metal door and window frames.
  1. Exception No. 1: Those separated from the pool by a permanent barrier that prevents contact by a person shall not be required to be bonded.
  2. Exception No. 2: Those greater than 1.5 m (5 ft) horizontally from the inside walls of the pool shall not be required to be bonded.
  3. Exception No. 3: Those greater than 3.7 m (12 ft) measured vertically above the maximum water level of the pool, or as measured vertically above any observation stands, towers, or platforms, or any diving structures, shall not be required to be bonded.

250.8 Connection of Grounding and Bonding Equipment


(A) Permitted Methods

  1. Equipment grounding conductorsgrounding electrode conductors, and bonding jumpers shall be connected by one or more of the following means:


  • (B) Methods Not Permitted
    • Connection devices or fittings that depend solely on solder shall not be used.


Reference Diagram:


Diagram, schematic

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  • Bonding:
    1. Check to make sure any receptacles installed are in correct location and GFCI protected.
    2. Check grounding ring installation specifications (8 AWG solid copper, 4”-6” below grade, 18”-24” around perimeter of pool).
    3. Check to make sure all pool equipment and metal components are bonded correctly to the grounding ring and connected to the dwelling’s grounding electrode system or separate grounding electrode.
  • Final Inspection:
    1. Check to make sure barrier, gate, and alarm requirements have been met.
    2. Check to make sure any receptacles installed are GFCI protected.

This document has been provided to give you guidance with your swimming pool installation. All information has been obtained from: 2018 North Carolina Residential Building Code (Appendix V) and 2017 National Electrical Code. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Morehead City Planning & Inspections Department (252)-726-6848 ext. 125 or email MHCPI@moreheadcitync.org.