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Swimming Pools & Spas

All public swimming pools and spas in Iowa must be designed by licensed engineers and architects to comply with Iowa Administrative Code 641 Chapter 15, Swimming Pools and Spas.

Before construction begins on a project that includes a new public pool or spa or reconstruction of an existing public pool or spa, the owner or their designated representative must submit an application to the Iowa Department of Public Health at least 15 days prior to the start of construction.

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Reconstruction includes the replacement or modification of a swimming pool or:

  • spa shell or deck
  • a swimming pool or spa recirculation system
  • fence replacement
  • chemical feed system changes
  • slide installation
  • removal of spas
  • filter changes (size/type)
  • a perimeter overflow gutter or skimmer
  • a bathhouse associated with a public swimming pool or spa.

Reconstruction does not include the replacement of equipment or piping of the original type and size that returns the swimming pool or spa to the specifications of its design, nor does it include normal maintenance or repair.

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How to Apply for Construction or Reconstruction

  • Plan Certification: Plans and specifications must be sealed and certified in accordance with the rules of the engineering and land surveying examining board or the architectural examining board by an engineer or architect licensed to practice in Iowa.
  • Plan Submission: Complete plans and specifications (site, architectural, mechanical, electric, and pool plans) may be submitted electronically. If paper copies are submitted, three sets of plans and specifications need to be submitted with the application.
  • Plan Review Fees: A plan review fee for each pool, spa, or water slide must be submitted with the construction permit application.

Please allow a minimum of 4 weeks (and up to 8 weeks during our peak season from April to August) for plan review once all required documents and payment have been received.

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After You Apply

The Swimming Pool and Spa Program will not begin the plan review if the application is incomplete, plans are not received, or if the applicable fees are not submitted. Facilities are responsible for submitting the required documentation or contacting the Swimming Pool and Spa Program to determine if they have submitted all of the requirements. Once a properly completed application has been submitted it will be placed in queue for plan review.

After the construction plan review has been completed, a copy of the construction plan review will be forwarded to the owner with the construction permit number noted. Any deficiencies from the rules identified through the plan review or any subsequent inspection will be required to be corrected to comply with the rules.

The owner or their designated representative shall complete the Request for Inspection Form and the Registration Form and submit to the Swimming Pool and Spa Program no later than 15 days prior to the scheduled opening date. The department will reply to the owner with a date and time for the pre-opening inspection. The registration card will be provided at the completion of the inspection provided that no serious deficiencies have been identified.

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Iowa's Contractor Law- Registration and Bonding

The State of Iowa requires that “construction contractors” register with the Iowa Division of Labor, and renew that registration annually. The law is found in Chapter 91C of the Iowa Code. 

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Request to Waive the Requirements for Certified Plans and Specifications

If the reconstruction project is the addition or replacement of a chemical feed system, including a disinfection system, or a simple replacement of a filter or pump or both the requirement of engineered plans may be waived by the Swimming Pool and Spa Program if the owner of the facility assumes full responsibility for ensuring that the reconstruction complies with 641 IAC Chapter 15 and with any other applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and ordinances. This requirement may only be waived if:

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