09 November 2015
Planning for your pool: what to consider before you buy a pool
Installing a luxury pool is one of the biggest and most exciting investments you will make in your home – choosing the right pool needs careful thinking and planning to ensure it meets all your needs and you are delighted with the end result. From selecting the pool shell to finding industry accredited pool designers, many factors must be given adequate consideration before any building work starts.
First and foremost, find out if planning permission is needed for the pool you’re thinking of installing. Whether you opt for an indoor or outdoor pool, there may be issues that make planning approval necessary, for example, structural or conservations issues. It’s best to consult your local authority planning department as the rules can differ for each authority. If you’re working with architects, they may be able to advise you on planning requirements.
Choosing a Pool Contractor
The next step is to hire a reputable pool contactor, preferably one that provides a comprehensive service, from design through to final hand over of the pool to the client.
The secret to getting your dream pool built is thorough research – that’s the way to find the best pool company for your needs. There are many pool contractors from which to choose and some specialise in certain types of pool so select a company that has the expertise to create the type of pool you want.
Make enquiries into these areas:
- How long has the company been trading? Does it have a proven track record of creating the kind of swimming pool that you want? Be sure to check the portfolio of pools built to date. It may even be possible to obtain a reference or testimonial from an existing client.
- Is the company a member of SPATA which represents the swimming pool and allied trades in this country?
- Ask about the professional qualifications of the team.
- Does the company have permanent, experienced staff? The use of sub-contractors is not uncommon and is not a problem, but it’s important that your pool contractor has control over the pool project. This will ensure that everything goes to plan and you have one senior contact who is in charge of all aspects of the work.
- Is the company properly certified, for example, insurances.
- If the pool is part of a bigger architectural project, you can ask your architect for advice and recommendations on pool contractors.
- When comparing potential contractors, cover all bases: reputation, range of services, creative flair (industry awards are a good way to judge this), price and their willingness to work with you as part of a team. Avoid making decisions purely on price because cheap does not equal the best - you could end up paying more to put mistakes right. Make ‘quality’ your watch word!
What Type of Pool Shell do you Want?
Assuming you’re interested in an inground, rather than an above ground swimming pool, there are three main types of pool shell from which to choose: fibreglass, vinyl and concrete.
Fibreglass pools are generally lower cost over their lifetime, quick to install and easy to maintain, however, they are limited in terms of their size and design. Vinyl liner pools are highly customisable with a lower initial cost compared to a concrete pool and will provide a resilient product that will last many years.
The advantage of the third option, concrete pools - the most popular type of inground pool shell - is choice and flexibility. You can have a pool as large as your property/garden will allow and have the pool designed with an infinite range of features. A concrete pool generally takes longer to build, but it is possible to build a straightforward concrete pool in just 12 weeks – more complex designs and specifications will take more time to complete.
Discuss the best pool shell with the pool contractor. At the same time it is important to take into account the plantroom requirements – location, available space and the equipment required, including heating methods (water and air); dehumidification; ventilation; plantroom noise suppression; recovery of waste heat and cooling in summer.
Select Pool Features Early
As part of the planning process, think about the type of features you want on the pool so they can be included from scratch. Establish how you and your family will use your pool. Is it for serious swimming, for children to learn, for water sports, relaxation, entertainment or an added value feature in an investment property?
Depending on the usage, you may choose a range of different features to complete the pool. For instance, if you’re planning to use your pool primarily for exercise you might incorporate a counter current unit which creates water resistance in the pool, which you swim against. Fitting such a feature while the pool is being built is straightforward; whilst retrofitting it will disrupt use of the pool for a short while and incur additional cost.
So whether it’s a waterslide, diving board or another feature, make these decisions when planning your pool and discussing your preferences with your pool contractor.
Once you have confirmed the core concept for the pool installation, the pool contractor should take responsibility for the project, from initial design through to construction and landscaping where relevant.
Finally, it’s important to remember that all pools require regular servicing and, maintenance. Regardless of the pool type chosen, the larger its size, the more chemicals will be required for proper water treatment and regular servicing. Do you have the time to do this yourself or would it be more convenient to have a trained pool engineer to handle this? Whatever the decision, the important thing to bear in mind is that ‘little and often’ care of the pool will ensure that the water remains in peak condition all year round.
Contact us for advice and guidance on pool design and installation.