No More Nightmares: Revealing the Truth about Pool Construction Costs
June 14, 2023
Have you ever dreamt of diving into your own backyard pool on a hot summer day? The cool water, the laughter of friends and family, the comfort of home – it’s an enticing vision. But, when it comes to transforming this dream into reality, the process is more complex than a click and collect order.
You see, constructing a swimming pool isn’t a simple off-the-shelf purchase, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal or a ‘Drive Away No More to Pay’ Mazda deal.
A SWIMMING POOL IS A CONSTRUCTION.
Yes, that’s right – constructing a swimming pool is, in essence, a construction project. It involves careful planning, coordination, skilled labour, and dealing with unforeseen challenges that might, and often do, arise.
Now, you might be asking yourself: “Does that mean I’ll encounter hidden costs that will blow my budget out of the water?” Here’s the catch – these costs aren’t truly ‘hidden.’ They’re inherent parts of the pool-building journey, just waiting to be understood and anticipated.
So, instead of fearing these costs, what if we told you that you could navigate them with ease and confidence?
In this guide, we’ll unravel the truth about these so-called ‘hidden costs’ of pool construction. By the end, you’ll see that these costs, once demystified, are merely steps towards your dream pool. Ready to dive in? Let’s get started.
· Disentangling the Red Tape: Dealing with Council Reports
Building a pool is more than just digging a hole and filling it with water; it’s a well-orchestrated dance with local government regulations and standards. The first step on your pool construction journey is often the most bureaucratic: council approvals and reports. These might seem intimidating, but remember, they’re essential for ensuring your dream pool is safe and compliant.
You’ll need to prepare for potential reports such as geotechnical, acid sulphate, arborist reports, and surveyor plans. Yes, the process can be frustrating, and yes, it can feel like you’re drowning in paperwork, but keep your eyes on the prize – these steps are essential to creating your dream oasis.
Unfortunately, the costs associated with these reports are often seen as ‘hidden costs.’ But they’re not really hidden; they’re just part of the process. Consider this: would you want to dive into a pool that hasn’t been built to safety standards? Likely not. So, view these approvals as your safety net, the peace of mind that your pool is built to last and provide years of joy.
· Plumbing the Depths: Understanding Sewer Lines and Underground Challenges
If your dream pool is set to be within 600mm of a sewer line, Sydney Water requires a sewer peg-out and construction inspection, which costs over $1000. Before getting a pool quote, take time to get a sewer diagram to help anticipate these costs.
Underneath your backyard, other unseen elements could impact costs too. Rock excavation, domestic sewer lines, and other hidden underground features could bring unexpected expenses. For instance, unregistered domestic sewer lines encountered during excavation need immediate action, or you may find yourself without functioning plumbing for the day.
· Beneath the Surface: Contaminated Soil Disposal
When you start digging, you never know what you might find. Imagine unearthing an old asbestos cubby house hidden under where your pool will be. Or perhaps you’ll discover concrete waste, bricks, metals, and garden waste. These are not your everyday soil, and disposing of them isn’t as simple as carting away regular dirt.
Soil disposal is typically quoted at $1,100 to $1,400 per 30-ton load for standard soil. But if you hit upon a pocket of contaminated soil, the costs can escalate quickly. This isn’t just because of the added labour. Specialised procedures are required to safely dispose of contaminated soil to prevent harm to the environment and comply with government regulations.
Once again, this isn’t a ‘hidden cost.’ It’s an unseen eventuality that can be part of any construction project. It’s not something that your pool builder can predict or control, but they should be able to provide an upfront contract rate so you can budget for these contingencies.
Keep in mind that these are not costs thrown at you to increase the project’s price. They are safety measures designed to protect you, your family, and your community. After all, would you want to swim in a pool built on a patch of asbestos-laden soil? Most likely, no.
This added cost stands for a safer, healthier pool environment for you and your loved ones. And that’s priceless.
· On the Fence: Raising Boundary Fences
In the world of pool construction, the concept of ‘boundaries’ takes on a very tangible, physical form – your boundary fences. Now, you might be wondering what fences have to do with your beautiful new pool. Well, as it turns out, quite a bit!
If you plan to use your boundary fence as a safety barrier around your pool, the rules change. No longer can it just be a demarcation of your property; it now has a life-saving role to play. According to the Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012, a boundary barrier needs to be at least 1.8m high, not the standard 1.2m high for pool fences. This increased height helps prevent unsupervised access, especially by children, to the pool area.
But it’s not just about raising the height. You also need to eliminate any potential footholds or handholds that a child could use to climb over the fence. This could mean having to make modifications to your existing fence.
Modifying or raising your boundary fence is more than just an additional cost; it’s an investment in safety, peace of mind, and compliance with safety regulations. And in a world where we’re continually looking for ways to keep our loved ones safe, isn’t that investment worthwhile?
If you want to dive deeper into pool fencing, we recommend reading these important pool fence compliance facts.
· Leaving a Mark: Possible Damage to Driveways
Yes, the faithful driveway, the unsung hero of your daily comings and goings, can become a battleground during a pool build. The continuous movement of heavy machinery, materials, and soil can leave scars that are not only unsightly but could be costly to repair.
You see, construction machinery isn’t designed for delicacy. These are beasts of burden, intended to haul, dig, and move without minding the terrain. And as they cross your driveway countless times to shift soil, your hard surfaces might bear the brunt.
Furthermore, there’s also the soil stockpiling. In most cases, the soil dug out from your pool will be temporarily stored on your front lawn or driveway until it’s hauled away. This process can be quite messy and potentially damaging to the existing surfaces.
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent or at least minimise this damage.
One option is to use rubber matting to protect your driveway. Many companies provide protective surfaces that can shield your driveway from the harsh impact of construction activities. Another option is to discuss with your pool builder about using smaller, lighter machinery that causes less damage, though it might affect the speed of construction and potentially increase costs.
Remember, though, in most cases, the cost of using smaller machines can be far more than the restoration costs for any damaged areas. So, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons before making a decision.
· Powering Up: Electrical and Gas Lines
The pool lights, the heating system, the filtration – they all need the power to operate! That’s right; we’re talking about the lifelines of your pool: electrical and gas lines.
A pool is not just a big hole filled with water. It’s a carefully engineered system that needs electricity for lighting, filtration, and water features, and gas for heating. And these aren’t costs you can simply brush aside. They’re essential aspects of the construction process, making your pool functional and enjoyable.
Typically, pool builders will provide electrical conduits just to pierce the concrete shell. After that, it’s over to you. It’s your responsibility to extend the light conduit to wherever you want to switch the lights. A draw wire must be installed by a licensed electrician. The same goes for connections for the filtration equipment – they’re usually not included in the contract.
And let’s not forget gas lines. If you’re planning on a gas heater for your pool, you’ll need to arrange for a licensed gas fitter to run the line from the street to your heater. It’s essential to factor these costs into your overall budget right from the start. That way, you won’t find yourself in a situation where your beautiful new pool is ready to go, but you can’t use it because you haven’t taken care of the electrical and gas connections.
· Keeping Control: Control Panels and Soundproof Enclosures
Control panels: the command centre of your pool. They’re like the remote control for your TV – except, instead of changing channels, you’re managing water features, pool lighting, filtration, and heating systems. In essence, a control panel puts the power of your pool in your hands, giving you full control over its functions.
But bear in mind, the standard setup for your pool’s lights and equipment is manual, including your spa blower. If you want to elevate your pool experience, consider investing in a control touchpad. This advanced piece of tech can automate up to 10 devices and be controlled via Wi-Fi and your mobile phone. While this might not be included in your initial quote, the added convenience and high-tech appeal make it a worthy consideration for your pool construction project.
Now, let’s touch on soundproof enclosures. As technology advances, so does the need for sound control around your pool equipment. More and more certifiers and councils are making it a condition of approval to provide a soundproof enclosure around your equipment. These can be purchased prefabricated, or you can incorporate them into a larger shed style and house all your pool accessories, salts, and toys. Investing in these might seem like an extra expense, but they’re vital in maintaining a peaceful poolside environment. Plus, they help to keep your equipment safe from the elements.
· Stay Clean: Pool Cleaners
Did you know that an automatic pool cleaner isn’t usually a standard inclusion in your pool construction package?
Keeping your pool sparkling clean manually can be a chore. An automatic pool cleaner can be your underwater ally, tirelessly working to keep your pool pristine while you sit back and relax. It’s a helping hand to ensure your pool remains inviting and ready for a dip at any time.
However, this is an extra cost you may need to account for. If you want to make pool maintenance a breeze, it’s worth considering this addition to your project. The right pool cleaner might be seen as a luxury addition, but the time and effort it saves can be a priceless addition to your pool ownership experience.
· Covering All Bases: Other Considerations
From waste bins for site waste management to coping supply and feature wall finishes, the list of considerations is long. Very rarely, you may also encounter additional costs related to property boundaries, site stabilisation, or traffic control if you live on a main road with no parking. But remember, these are not hidden costs. They’re part of the pool construction journey, and the more prepared you are, the smoother your voyage will be.
Horror stories… no more.
Understanding the ‘hidden’ costs of pool construction isn’t about exposing secret charges. It’s about acknowledging that pool construction is a complex process with many factors influencing the final cost.
The more you know, the more empowered you are to dive into your dream pool project, without fear of hidden depths. The team at Blue Haven Pools and Spas are here to guide you through these potential challenges and ensure your journey to a dream pool is as smooth and rewarding as possible.
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