Getting Started with your Pool Project
So you have decided you would like a Pool, however where & how to start on your Project, can be a confusing and frustrating time. Cold calling Pool Builders, setting up site meetings (hoping that the appointments are kept), absorbing the myriad of information, options & ideas from the various Builders, and then trying to make sense of the Quotes with their different Allowances and Inclusions. Not to mention the vast array and options with Pool Equipment!!
However, the process of obtaining an accurate Quote does not have to be difficult and can be achieved with a few simple steps. You will notice that most of these steps involve some time and thought from yourself, who better to make sure you get what you want!
Having some Plans of the House & Site are extremely helpful to ascertain where a Pool may or may not be built. These can be obtained by contacting your Local Council and “Dial before you Dig”.
While “Dial before you Dig” will mainly show where Council Infrastructure is entering your property, it is a free service and can be extremely helpful.
Your Local Council will charge for any Plans, but at some point, those Plans will be needed to be purchased, so you may as well begin your Project with the right information.
Below are some of the Plans that will be needed –
- Site Plan – Shows House situated on the Site, with Boundary Lines marked.
- Sewer Plan – Shows position of Council Sewer on Site.
- Storm Water Plan – Shows position of Council Storm Water on Site.
- As Constructed Drainage Plan – This will show where you Sewer & Storm Water run.
Another vital piece of information is a Geotechnical Report (Soils Test). You may have them from any prior Renovations/Building Works undertaken, if you don’t, then it is well worth while to contact a Contractor (Google Soils Test) to have one completed. Understanding the Reactivity and Bearing properties of the Soil where the Pool will be built will have an influence on your build costs.
Before getting any Pool Builder to Quote, give some time and thought into the “Key Points” below. A great idea is to go to your local Hardware and buy a tape measure & some line marking paint, then start marking out the areas in your yard where you would ideally like to place your Pool.
If you have absolutely no idea of what you want to achieve (and cannot produce a basic Plan), at Eco Pools we offer a “Basic Design Package” for the Pool & immediate Surrounds. If you are redesigning your yard beyond the Pool Area, then maybe contacting a Landscape Designer or Architect would be a better place to start.
The idea of a “Free Site Consultation” is great, but you should really have a basic design to achieve this. Designing takes time, and if someone is not getting paid for their time, then maybe the best design and result is not achieved.
Key Points –
- Start with the general area where you would like the Pool, thinking about how it might tie in with existing Entertainment areas, or if you are going to create a whole new Entertainment area within the Pool. Most Pools are simple structures and what creates the “WOW” is how it fits into its environment.
- Give some thought as to where you would run your Pool Fencing, as this is the “Frame” around your picture, it will dictate things like size of Pool, amount of Paving around the Pool, and how well the area integrates into your yard.
- Consider any Garden areas near Boundary Fences (these can really help soften and screen Fences).
- Start to mark out the general length & width of your Pool, look at how much Paving you think you would like between the Pool Fence and the Water Line of the Pool, and what sort of access you would like to have around the Pool. Most Pools today use a 400x400mm Paver or Tile, so it can be beneficial to work in increments of 400mm when measuring from Water Line to Fence Lines & gardens.
- Think about where you would like your Shallow and Deep ends (most Pools work on between 1m to 1.8m, but this can be tailored to meet your requirements), Position and Shape of Benches & Steps, and any Water Features or Spas that might be in your design.
- Lastly is the “Datum” of the Pool, this is the height that the finished Pool will sit at. Some sites are flat, and this is easy to decide on, however many are sloped and the height the Pool is placed at, may impact on costs and overall aesthetics.
- Once you have given these areas some time and thought, transfer it onto a basic Mud Map, which can then be given to the Pool Builders you have quoting.
This is always a hard subject to broach between Owners and Builders, however it is one of the most vital. From a Consumers point of view we are wanting to get as much as possible for as little as possible (human nature??), from the Builders side, his company flourishes on providing you with value for money and meeting your expectations.
No matter what your Scope of Work is for the Builder, whether it is only the Pool itself, or includes additional Paving, Pool Fencing, Boundary Fencing etc, it is important for the Pool Builder to know the financial boundaries he is to work within.
Now it is time to arrange your Site Meetings with Builders. Allow up to an hour for each meeting, as there will be plenty of questions (from both parties) to be answered.
Within the Quote itself, look carefully at any “Allowances” that are included, as these can & will influence not only the overall costs, but also the finished quality of your Pool.
Example of Allowances –
- Provisional Sums
This is mainly associated with the Excavation of the Pool. With all Earthmoving Contractors charging similar hourly rates, beware of the lowest Allowance, as sometimes it will not be realistic.Some Companies include a lower “Allowance” as it makes their Quote look very competitive, but any Excavation costs over this amount will then be charged onto you with a “Builders Margin” added on.
- Prime Cost Items
These are items like Coping, Pavers & Tiles. There is a huge difference in quality of materials when you compare a Coping P.C of $35 to one of $55 per Lineal Meter. On an average Pool you might save $500, but is the trade-off for what may be an inferior finish worth it??
Lastly, once you have received your Quotes and compared them, it is always good to have a second Site Meeting with at least two of the Builders you would prefer to work with. At this meeting any “grey areas” or alterations can be discussed further, with all parties going in the same direction with the same expectations.
I hope the above information has been helpful, feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have prior to our Site Meeting.