Choosing the Best Swimming Pool for You
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Published by TOP4 Team
Swimming pools are part of the Australian lifestyle. It adds significant value to your home and enhances the look of your outdoor area. It also brings endless enjoyments to your family. It is a serious investment that must be well-thought to suit to your needs. The following guideline will help you to formulate your wish list and comparing it to your budget.
- Is the garden large enough and suitable for a pool?
- How stable is the foundation soil? Are there rocks or other material as drainage systems or utility pipes to be removed? This can be very expensive, so consider getting a geotechnical survey before starting the project.
- How will you use this pool? Is it mostly for entertaining, fitness, rehabilitation, family fun, relaxation?
- Which size and shape do you require? This will depend on the size of your backyard, the slope and council regulations.
- When will the pool be used primarily? In summer or all year round?
- Do you want a prefabricated pool or a custom-made pool?
- Do you want an aboveground or in ground pool? Aboveground pools are quick to install (a couple of days) and considerably cheaper, but the look is often less appealing than in ground pools. These one require excavation and construction permits and take between 8 to 12 weeks to install, but they increase the resale price of your home.
Extra features considerations
- Do you want to add lighting features?
- Do you want to add heating features? To heat the pool, you can choose between solar, electric or gas heating.
- Do you want to add cleaning features? It will make you considerably reduce the time spent for maintenance. These days we can build pools that clean themselves, test themselves and add chemicals, fill themselves up and empty water when they are about to overflow. Also think also about the cover to reduce the amount of leaf litter and debris that falls into the pool. Pool maintenance companies can also be in charge of the cleaning of your pool.
- What kind of landscaping do you want around the pool? Do you want a patio, a deck, paving, seating areas?
- What kind of a pool fence do you want? In which material? Fences are mandatory in Australia and must respect some requirements about latches, gates or height of the fence. You may engage the services of a qualified fencer for this job.
Local regulations considerations
- What are the local council requirements?
- Are there any underground cables on your pool site?
- Have your plans been approved by your local council or private accredited certifier?
Choosing the pool company
Hundreds of companies throughout Australia are specialized in swimming pool construction. Building your own swimming pool is a big move, so you should take your time to compare the services and prices of several companies before deciding which one to use. Here is some advice to help you search for the best company.
1. Find some pool builders in our directory and review their websites. First of all, if you like the designs displayed on their website, check the following details:
- Does the company has a current valid licence? It will give you extra protection, as you can contact the licensing authority in the case of legal disputes. Here is a list of the licensing authority in each state:
Australian Capital Territory
|ACT Planning and Land Authority|
|New South Wales||The Office of Fair Trading|
|Northern Territory||NT Building Practitioners Board|
|Queensland||Building Services Authority or BSA.|
|South Australia||Office of Consumer and Business Affairs|
|Tasmania||Workplace Standards Tasmania|
|Victoria|| Victoria Building Commission|
|Western Australia|| Builders Registration Board|
- Is the company established in your local community? A local contractor will be more committed to building and maintaining a positive reputation, will be more familiar with the specific regulations and soil concerns of your area and have a better control on the quality.
- Is he member of a trade association? It is also a sign of the quality of their work and gives you help in case of disputes. SPASA (www.spasa.com.au) is one of these associations.
2. Arrange a meeting and make sure that:
- You feel comfortable with the company. Do the employees seem professional? Are they listening to your needs? Are they responsive to your inquiries? Are they easy to contact? Do they take time to educate you on pool building and ownership?
- The company has enough experience in the pool building. A poorly constructed pool can lead to additional costs and delays.
- You like their work. Ask to see their portfolio to inspect jobs currently in the process or already built.
- You have good references from happy customers. Contact previous customers and ask them how they felt about the entire pool building process, which issues they faced, how the problems were resolved, etc.
- The company has all proper insurances. He should have a home warranty insurance, which will cover you for defective or incomplete work if your builder die, become insolvent or disappear. He should also have liability insurance to save you in case of an accident.
- You know what is included in the service they offer. Most swimming pool companies don’t only provide design and construction of the pool, but sometimes also design and landscaping advice, Council Permit submission, excavation, repairs, cleanup and removal of debris and materials or even financial services.
3. Get quotes from at least 3 builders and compare them. You need consistency in the quotes so make sure that they include the same trade of materials, constructional equipment and services. But don’t automatically go with the lowest price, especially if the estimate is significantly lower than the others because it could mean that the builder will use poor quality material or inadequate construction techniques.
4. Get a written detailed contract to eliminate misunderstandings between you and the company. This contract should include the following information:
- Start and completion date for the project
- Cost estimate and payment schedule
- Description of the work, including any plans and specifications
- Agreement that the contractor will acquire the required permits
- Warranties and guarantees.
- A clause which requires that any variations must be done in writing.
- A list of all materials to be used, including the brand, quantity, weight, color and size.
- Every instructions you feel is important, as regarding pets, children or areas where materials may not be stored.
- Read the contract carefully. It is subject to a cooling-off period of 5 clear business days within which you may cancel the contract. Don’t sign a certificate of completion before the end of the work.
Pricing and How to Cut Costs
Pool builders charge between $35 and $88 per hour with an average of around $51 per hour. The pool’s surroundings such as landscaping, decking and fencing are not included in these costs.
Some contractors ask substantial down payments, but the maximal deposit that you can be asked to pay us regulated by your state. Furthermore, it can be a sign that the contractor doesn’t have enough cash flow.
They may ask for progress payments at specific stages of the project. These should equate to the value of work down. Never agree to pay for work that has not been performed. Make sure that you get receipts for any amount paid with the list of workloads and equipment covered by this payment.
How to Cut Costs
You can cut energy costs by using solar powered heating system and lights. Also use a cover on your pool and create wind-breakers around your pool with trees, bushes and fencing to minimize evaporation and reduce heating costs.
You can also cut construction costs by hire and supervise sub-contractors yourself. But this solution is very time-consuming because you will have to supervise the team. Indeed, if they are given too much freedom, they will slack off and cut corners. Be aware that subcontractors will always work with the general contractor first and will try to get a higher price that they would normally get from a general contractor.