10 December 2015
Briefing your architect and pool designer
Often a private pool installation is part of a major refurbishment project which involves the time and expertise of a number of professionals including architects, interior designers, a pool design and build team and, if it’s an outdoor pool, a landscape gardener. Clear and specific communication with these experts is essential to ensure they understand your vision and the pool meets your aspirations.
In this blog we focus on the briefing for a pool. Once you have agreed plans and a contract with your architects, they will bring in a pool company as part of their team to create the pool design according to your brief. The architects will either have existing relationships with pool companies, or they will invite new pool companies to tender for the design and build and select the tender that best fits your needs and budget.
The pool company will have detailed discussions with the architect and often the client directly. They will produce initial concepts to take forward to a design principal; then produce a flow of workable ideas; a preliminary performance specification and once that’s all accepted, they produce the detailed drawings for the construction phase.
To help you get your dream pool, here is a list of things to consider when briefing your architect/pool designer:
Why do you want a pool?
There are two key things to consider here; the pool will change the look, feel and practical use of your home. Think not just about the pool area, but how the installation of a pool (especially an indoor one) will impact on the access to and use of the surrounding areas.
The other important question is how the pool will be used? Who will use the pool, how many people will use it at the same time (just the family or pool parties?); is it for serious swimming? exercising (eg water aerobics)? Pool games (eg water polo)? Hydrotherap /massage etc? Discuss all the possible uses with your architect/pool designer to ensure the size, style and features live up to your expectations.
What style, shape and size?
One of the most important aspects of the pool is its physical design, look and feel - you can really make a statement!
Consider factors that might not immediately spring to mind, such as the colour of the water, what do you want to see below you as you swim? Gold tiles might seem like a novel idea, but it will give the water an unappealing yellow hue! Do you and other swimmers want to be visible to other people as you swim underwater? Windows can be incorporated into the pool design! What about the pool room lighting and the lighting in the pool itself - calm and tranquil or disco atmosphere?
It’s particularly important to think about the following:
- Size and shape of the pool in relation to the room or space surrounding it
- The style of the pool in relation to the rest of the home - will it be an opportunity to create a new aesthetic, or do you want the pool area to be reflective of the existing interior/exterior design?
- The location of the plantroom - this is a very important consideration as it will be directly impacted by the size of your pool and sufficient space will be needed. It’s important to identify the right spot as it can be difficult and costly to change to another location later on
- The number of people who will use the pool regularly
- What you want to use the pool area for apart from swimming, for example, a lounge area? Would a Hydrofloors moving floor pool be beneficial so you can cover the pool and use the solid floor in the normal way for socialising?
- Any additional features you wish to have, such as water features, a sauna, plunge pool or ice room?
You may already have identified the space for the pool, but it’s worth discussing it with the architect before making a final decision. Is it going to be indoors or outdoors? Is the location somewhere with enough space for a relaxing pool area? Is it going to be on the ground floor, or in your basement? Finally, how will its location work with the rest of the house?
Now that you have a basis from which to think about the design of the pool, it’s important to consider technical details. For example, you may be passionate about the environment, and having a highly energy efficient pool may be important to you. If so, this must be top of your agenda in the briefing so that eco-friendliness can be taken into account in all areas of the design specification, rather than being an afterthought.
Timing and budget
Once you have a clear idea of all of the aspects of your pool, it’s time to get down to business. Have clear budget parameters - will it work well with your ideas? Assuming that a thorough brief is given, a good pool company will be able to provide detailed design proposals with all equipment and construction materials costed individually.
Secondly, be clear about your timescale. When does the pool need to be commissioned? A standard pool can be built in 14 weeks, but more expansive and complex briefs will take longer, especially if the pool is part of a major home refurbishment, where various elements of the refurbishment must be undertaken before the pool itself can be completed. Plan well and your project should be completed to your specification, on time and on budget.
At London Swimming Pool Company we specialise in swimming pool design, construction and refurbishment, so if you need advice on a brand new pool, contact us for an initial discussion – there’s no substitute for expert advice.