Planning, permitting and preparing…oh my!

If I could wave a magic wand and put a hot tub in everyone’s backyard, trust me, I would do it. But the reality is that planning for a thoughtful hot tub installation takes a little time and a lot of back and forth. I absolutely love the planning stage and think it’s a great time to get creative and design a beautiful backyard retreat. But it can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re getting into. Here are a few things to think about and questions to answer BEFORE you buy your next hot tub.

-Phoebe

What kind of surface can I put my hot tub on?

A flat one. That’s the best advice I can give you. You don’t want your beautiful new hot tub sitting caddywhompus on an old concrete slab. Finding or creating a flat, well-drained surface is key to make sure your hot tub performs the way it was designed. A simple deck, concrete patio, paver patio, crushed gravel pad, or synthetic poly base are all good surfaces as long as they are flat. If your existing patio or deck has more than a 1″ pitch over 8-10 feet, we’d suggest re-evaluating the hot tub’s location or modifying the structure to make it flat. Not sure about your location? Send us some pics or take a quick video and include a level in the image so we can make some recommendations.

What kind of power supply do hot tubs need?

Most Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs require a dedicated 60 amp/ 240v. power connection. Some smaller models may be able to run on 15 amp/120v. connections. If you are buying a new spa and unsure of what kind of power you can accommodate, we suggest calling a licensed electrician. They can tell you what it will cost to bring a 60 amp connection to your hot tub.

Do I need a permit for my hot tub?

Maybe. Likely.  Well, yes, probably. I know that’s not the straight answer you were looking for but without knowing a lot of details, it’s hard to say. So the long and short of it is that the nice folks down at the county/city offices are not trying to make your life more frustrating…it may seem this way, but they just want to be sure that you are buying a safe, quality product that meets all of the national safety guidelines. And they want to be sure you are not placing that 4,000+ pound hot tub on a deck that is old and falling apart. You don’t want to be sitting in your hot tub when it falls thru a poorly engineered deck!

Rest assured, all Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs meet and exceed all national safety codes and guidelines. We’re happy to provide you with all the documentation that you might need to take with you if you need to get a permit on file for your new hot tub. As the homeowner you can pull any and all permits yourself or you can have a licensed contractor do that for you, although you may pay a little more to have them make sure the permits are correctly pulled and the site inspected. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs of the Triangle can help prepare you with all the correct documents that pertain to your new Jacuzzi® Hot Tub but we cannot pull a permit on your behalf.

Every city/county has different requirements for permitting. In most cases, with a hot tub that has a water table of 24” or more, a permit is required for the hot tub. Also, if you have a deck or “adjacent” structure within 30” of the hot tub, plan to pull a permit. If you enjoy reading legal jargon, check out Appendix G of the North Carolina Residential Building Code. Here’s an important tip: when applying for your hot tub permit, be sure you mention that this is a “portable, freestanding hot tub” so there’s no confusion with in-ground hot tubs…there’s a difference in the requirements and exceptions so be clear on any application. There are certainly exceptions but, in most cases, we advise you to be prepared to pull permits for the following:

  1. STRUCTURAL: The surface that the hot tub will be placed on (deck/patio)
  2. HOT TUB: The hot tub itself
  3. ELECTRICAL: The electrical going to the hot tub and any connection to your main breaker box

There could certainly be other things going on in your backyard that could require additional permits and inspections. Be sure to check with any HOA regulations your community may have. We suggest that you take the time to meet with all the appropriate contractors for your project and be sure that they communicate with each other. This is to say, make sure your deck/concrete contractor talks to your electrician, so everyone is on the same page about the timeline and who is doing what. You can also look for a general contractor to oversee all the details of the project for you, coordinating all the elements of the job and handling the permits for you. You might pay a little more to work with someone that will manage all of that for you…but it could absolutely be worth it. Your time and frustration does have a price.

For help finding the right contractor, ask us for our Recommended Sub-Contractor List. You don’t want ME to build your deck or hook up your electrical, but chances are good, I know a contractor or two to help you get the job done right.

For more information on applying for permits, check out your local permitting office or website. Here’s a few quick links to get you started:

City of Raleigh Planning & Development

Town of Holly Springs Development Department

City of Durham Planning & Development

Town of Apex Building Inspections & Permitting

Town of Chapel Hill Residential Permits

Town of Garner Building Inspections & Permitting

Town of Cary Inspections & Permitting

Here’s how Jacuzzi Hot Tubs of the Triangle can help you plan for your new spa:

  • Offer virtual and on-site planning and design assistance
  • Assist your builder/contractor with specifications and review proposed plans
  • Provide you with detailed specifications of the hot tub(s) you are considering
  • Provide you with safety and compliance documentation required for permitting
  • Provide you with electrical specifications and requirements for your hot tub

Here’s what you and your contractor/builder will need to accomplish:

  • Review your city/county permitting requirements and if needed, pull required permits*
  • Read and review the Pre-Delivery Guide provided by Jacuzzi ® and be sure that you understand the manufacturers recommendations for installation and delivery, including but not limited to:
  • Creating a solid, flat foundation with adequate drainage for your new hot tub to be placed
  • Providing an unobstructed path for the delivery crew. (Please be aware that if a crane or other equipment beyond basic delivery is needed, the homeowner or contractor will need to provide at your expense)
  • Hiring an electrician to provide and connect your new Jacuzzi® Hot Tub to power
  • Locate your hot tub near a water source and fill your new hot tub with water

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