5 things to plan before building a pool

March 11, 2022

Permits, compliance, site costs, concrete vs fibreglass, biased opinions … There are things some builders won’t tell you, but not us. Get the lowdown so you’re not stuck with any nasty surprises.

Permits, compliance, hidden added costs and biased opinions. There’s more to building a pool than meets the eye.

Here are five things most people fail to plan for (and some builders will never tell you).


1. A clever design starts with integration

A good pool builder will design your pool to suit site conditions – which are always unique! Type of soil, underground services, proximity to structures, site elevations, trees, and of course surrounding integration and landscaping vision all, need to be taken into account.

Then there’s pool shape and depth, size, ledges, retaining walls, feature walls, spas, glass window panels, pavilion slabs, and fencing configurations – all key factors that will determine how you use the space.

Imagine having the right builder by your side from day one. One with the experience and ability to see things you can’t. Need a retaining wall? How about a raised pool wall that doubles as your retaining wall, planter box and cascading water feature? Adding a pavilion? The pool boys can lay your slab.

A clever design will reduce costs, and what’s more, performing construction in the right order will save you thousands. You should also know that concrete pools offer exceptional integration opportunities.


2. Pool builders often specialise in one type of pool

There are two main pool typesconcrete and fibreglass – and it’s common for builders to specialise in one or the other. Imagine a pool builder only offering you their pool type, not the pool that best suits your conditions.

For example: if a pool company only builds fibreglass pools, then when they inspect your site, they’ll tailor their opinion/quote to a fibreglass pool, rather than the best and most cost-effective solution for your home. *Eye roll* Hidden bias is the worst.

Seek another opinion or look for a pool builder who builds both fibreglass and concrete pools (hint, hint: Blue Haven does both!). That way you can be certain you’re getting the best pool for your space, rather than what’s best for their commission.


3. Permits, planning and council permits – ensure your pool complies with regulations

Every pool, and all proposed hard surface areas, such as extended concrete surrounds and slabs, will require permit approval from the local government or a private certifier, and of course, your state water board.

Designing a pool to comply with regulations is a huge responsibility, and in most cases, you’ll want to design the whole backyard together, so that all the hard surfaces are plotted and approved without having to stop work and re-apply.

Pool construction can only start once all approvals are in place, so buying a pool and expecting everything to start straight away is not going to happen. The approval process can vary tremendously, with some local councils taking several months. Depending on where you live and the type of pool, you may be eligible to use a private certifier, which is much quicker.

Be sure to check out the NSW Planning Portal to learn more about your zone or jump on a call to council to confirm the timeframe for permit approval.


4. Filtration, heating, cleaning, automation: What’s the fuss?

Pools are really simple. Just like owning a car, you have to have to add the right fuel, schedule regular tune-ups and do the little things that will increase the pool’s lifespan.

A pool quite simply needs a leaf-free skimmer box basket, a clean filter element and chemically treated/balanced water. The right drainage and surrounding elevations will prevent a lot of debris from entering the pool area and help minimise maintenance.

Big or messy trees can be a pest, so investing in the right type of cleaner will help. Pool covers are also a great investment – they’ll help keep the leaves out until you’re ready to jump in.

When choosing accessories, consider the distance between the filtration set-up and the pool, and ensure accessories are appropriately sized for the body of water you have.

There are pros and cons with all equipment so get to know your options. At Blue Haven, we’ve published a bunch of useful fact sheets to make your research easy.


5. Your budget must include pool build and landscaping

Did you know you’ll actually spend about 20% of your time in the pool, and the other 80% by the pool? Think about it.

Whether you’re sunbaking, reading a book, listening to music, chatting with family and friends, or having a BBQ, the fact is we spend heaps of time hanging by the pool. That’s why it has become so easy to splurge on things like landscaping, plants and furniture. They are what give your pool the WOW factor!

They also create the vibe in a space that will quickly become your home haven. Lighting, furniture, fire torches, umbrellas, greenery, poolside pavilion, deck chairs … there’s a lot to think about. Wood-fired pizza oven anyone?

An easy way to budget for the finishing touches is to set aside the same amount of money to landscape and furnish as you do for the pool itself. Good to know, right? You can thank us later 🙂

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