If you’re looking to add a pool to a property, follow these steps and you’ll make a splash with your investment in no time
If you want to add a pool to a property in your portfolio, according to Matt Leacy, director and principal designer at Landart Landscapes, the whole process can take six months, so now is the best time to get started if you want it completed by December.
“There are exceptions to every rule, but you’re generally looking at an approximate six-month process when it comes to installing a pool, backed by proper consideration and planning,” Mr Leacy said.
“This includes concept development with a professional pool designer, as well as the approval and build phases.
“You may be able to fast-track the process a little by cutting some corners and with good luck, but I’d never suggest taking this approach if you have a choice.”
After setting aside enough time, Mr Leacy said the next step was to consult with experts.
“I always recommend conducting an on-site consultation with a professional pool designer and or/landscape designer before rushing out and making a pool purchase,” he said.
“All properties and outdoor spaces are different, requiring a customised approach to pool design and installation for best results.
“In most circumstances, a pool will be retrofitted into an outdoor space with existing designs, infrastructure, garden beds and features – so it’s often a complex process that requires professional planning and execution.”
When looking for a pool contractor, Mr Leacy recommended one that offers both pool installation and landscape design services, as he believes the whole installation should be viewed holistically rather than in isolation.
“A pool may look and function great on its own, but it may not work in the context of an overall outdoor space… And If you don’t properly integrate the pool into the space, you can totally mess up the scale, look, feel and value of the property,” he said.
“Ideally, all your outdoor features should complement each other and work together as a whole, both from a functionality and design perspective.
“If you go with a company that offers both landscape design and pool installation, you’ll have a better chance of achieving this.”
Further, any contractors should also be covered for risk with the right licenses and insurance for the specific build type.
“There is a distinction between a pool builder’s licence and a structural landscaper’s licence, so be sure to verify the company has the right type for the job,” Mr Leacy added.
“For any project worth more than $20,000, the company will need to be qualified for the ‘HBCF - Home Building Compensation Fund’, formerly known as Home Owners Warranty.
“As an added check and balance, I recommend also looking into whether the company is a member of any relevant industry associations. In Australia, most reputed pool builders are registered with the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia.”
When it comes to the budget, Mr Leacy said it was important that decisions are made based not just on the price.
“If a quote comes in far below all the others in the market, there’s a high risk that the quality of materials and expertise you’ll receive will end up being below industry-standard,” he said.
“You might save a few bucks upfront, but there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be disappointed with the final product.”
“If things do end up going wrong, you may need to spend extra cash rectifying defects or bad design – and in worst cases, you can actually lose property market value if the pool looks shoddy and degrades the overall aesthetic of your home.”
The type of pool to be installed in the property should also be carefully thought about, as pools are no longer “simply… a rectangular shape, with four sides and some water”.
“There is a huge range of pool options nowadays, including above-ground, in-ground and plunge-pools. And they come in loads of different shapes, colours and materials, which can be customised to suit nearly every home and space,” Mr Leacy said.
“There are even different types of pool filtration systems beyond the traditional norm – for example, mineral pools, which can be great for chemical-conscious families and people with skin sensitivities.”
“Do your research, have open conversations with your pool designer, and work creatively together to see if you can come up with a pool that ticks your individual boxes, while remaining within budget as well.”
The installation of a pool needs to be registered with the area’s local council and needs to be fenced in to the standard of the state or territory’s laws.
“The rules vary across Australia, so if you’re unsure of what rules apply to you, get in touch with your local building authority and they will be able to clarify. If you’re at the commissioning stage of a pool project, your pool design or installation company should also be able to let you know,” Mr Leacy said.
“Your specific state or territory law will stipulate minimum standards in relation to the height of your fence, as well as the size and height of gaps, the position of the fence, and its overall condition.
“For example, in New South Wales, some of the rules include that the fence must be at least 1.2 metres high (as measured from the finished ground level), and the gap at the bottom of the fence must not be bigger than 100mm (10 centimetres) from the finished ground level.”
Because fences are mandatory, their aesthetics must be also taken into consideration, as they are part of the complete package.
Refusing to do so, according to Mr Leacy, can actually be a detriment to the value of the property.
“There are plenty of pool-fence solutions that can meet compliance requirements while at the same time enhancing the overall aesthetic and appeal of your outdoor space,” he said.
“In most instances, the goal will be to blend the fence into the space as much as possible, so glass is often a good fence-material option, black steel poles or rods. Black-top aluminum also often works well, as it can be easily hidden in gardens, hedges and the like.
“Ideally, you should work collaboratively with your pool and landscape designer when planning the fence to ensure the final product not only meets compliance requirements, but also integrates seamlessly into your existing landscape.”