Do You Need A Permit For A Swing Set?

  • By: Kevin
  • Date: April 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Are you considering installing play structures that ensure joy and fun for your kids at home? One of such play spaces is the installation of classic and popular backyard swing sets.

However, these play structures have rapidly changed over time. This begs the question: Do you need a permit for a swing set?

You do not need any permit for the basic swing set. However, various factors might make it necessary, but the main ones are the size of the structure and where you live. Hence, you should consult your local authorities or homeowners association to clear the doubt.

What’s A Permit For Installing A Swing Set?

This is an official document stating you are allowed or authorized to erect a swing set at your home or on your property and the underlying conditions, including maintenance. There’s usually an application process that you must go through to get the permit.

You must state the material, size, type, and location where you plan on installing the swing set at your home or property. The issuer of the permit authority might levy some application fees.

Having a permit is essential because if it’s required and you don’t have one, you might be in for some consequences.

Consequences Of Not Having A Permit

There could be consequences if a permit is necessary and you’re in violation, meaning you have a sing set at your home that needs to be licensed but aren’t. It could vary from a notice requiring you to take a permit or even a legal demand that you immediately take down the swing. Some local authorities might even charge some fines.

The consequence squarely depends on the permitting authority. You might also find that you do not require a permit to install a swing set in your backyard.

So, whether or not a permit is required depends on a single key factor, where you live.

You Do Not Need A Permit For A Basic Swing Set

Are you getting a simple swing set? Then you will not need a permit in most cases.

Basic residential swing sets feature a typically metallic or wooden A-frame and 2-3 swings. Some styles might feature a bench swing or a see-saw-style, with some including a small slide.

The swings sets are typically about 6-7ft. tall to the main beam holding the swings. Short swings are usually for pre-school kids, while the taller ones are for the older ones.

Slides are usually short if included. Based on the height of the swing set, it usually is about 3-4ft off the ground.

The basic swing sets do not feature roofs, walls, or climbing apparatus. Does this look like what you’re looking at? Then you most likely won’t require a permit.

However, check with a local permit office if you need to play it safer. Generally, you do not require a permit for a swing set at the state level.

But as you narrow down towards city and county building codes, that could change.

When Could You Need A Permit For The Swing Set?

Nowadays, it appears like swing sets have changed a great deal. The children have the final pick of their preferred play structures that feature tunnel slides, bridges, 2-3 clubhouses, and rock walls.

The playsets entirely change the outlook of the swing set, meaning that you require a permit if you plan to get such a structure. The swing sets having these extras typically are more risk-prone, meaning they must be properly installed.

It isn’t just regarding getting a license for your swing set. It is everything that goes along with its installation.

Extra Considerations

You also need to keep several things in mind as a part of the entire permitting process. Due to the swing set’s height, there arises a potential risk of falls.

You must ensure that your property is adequately fenced and that nobody can come, start to climb the swings, and be hurt. Fencing your yard is a part of the permitting process requirements.

You could also have to place some ground covering below the swing set structure to ensure protection.

There also may be a certain minimum distance that you must maintain between the sides of each structure and other close items. For instance, it is generally recommended you leave about 6ft around your swing set structure.

The areas behind and in front of the swings should have double the bar’s height. Hence, if you have a 7ft. tall frame, you ideally should have a 14ft. behind and in front of the swings.

Remember, these clearance recommendations must be heeded, whether you require a permit/license or not.

Obtaining a Permit for a Swing Set

Fortunately, getting a permit for your swing set isn’t too difficult or expensive. Charges, if any, vary based on where you live.

Hence, you should first speak with your county’s zoning authority and clear any doubts you might be having. As discussed above, you might or might not need a permit based on the structure’s size and where you live.

However, the permitting authority can take you through the entire licensing process to steer you in the right direction. If you have a homeowner’s association, ensure you check with them.

You might be required to offer information on the type and size of the proposed swing set. Additionally, you may be needed to show the plans for the swing set structure.

Once you have the permit in hand, you can focus on the installation process. Bear in mind that the licensing authority will likely have a few requirements for the installation too.

There might be some minimum height clearance that you must maintain from your property line. Similarly, there could be a maximum height for your swing set structure.

The setback distances and other such factors will be mentioned on your permit.

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t begin the installation process without a permit in hand. If something goes wrong and you get caught, you could face fines or might have to restart the entire permitting process from scratch.

Take Away

Swing sets are a great addition to any backyard. They provide hours of fun for kids of all ages, and the whole family can enjoy them.

But before you go out and buy one, you need to make sure you understand the permit requirements. Depending on its size and features, you might need a permit for your swing set.

Hence, check with the local authorities before installation to avoid penalties or hassles later.

Remember that safety should be your top priority when children are involved. Thus, getting the proper permits and following building code regulations is critical.


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