Qualifications, approvals, and insurances
Details on the pool builder
In addition to any information included in the quote about the builder’s experience and qualifications, the quote should clearly state their Business Name, ABN/ACN, and their Builders Licence Number.
Pool design and dimensions
The design and dimensions of your pool will have a direct impact on the cost of construction, so check the quote to ensure the design includes all the features you have requested, and the pool appears in the correct location and orientation on the site plan, and that all dimensions have been measured from the waterline and include the depths of all steps, benches, and pool floor, and the heights of any out-of-ground elements.
Engineering and Approvals
Every new pool requires engineering and regulatory approvals, so check all standard approvals have been included in the quote and ask your builder if there are any other approvals or relaxations that have not been included (ie: ‘build over sewer’ relaxation).
Final engineering can affect the structural and foundation requirements of the pool shell, so check for foundation and structural allowances in the quote and discuss any anticipated changes with the builder.
Building insurance requirements differ by state so if the cost of building insurance has not been included in the quote, check with the builder how much it is likely to cost and make an allowance for it in your budget. (enter table of insurances here)
Excavation and installation
Excavation and soil removal
From digging the hole for an in-ground pool, excavating foundations for an out-of-ground pool, to site preparation for a precast pool, almost every new pool requires a degree of soil excavation and removal. Check the quote for what has been specified as some builders include a fixed price for the total excavation, some charge extra for unforeseen events such as hitting rock, and others simply include a provisional allowance which means if the excavation costs more than the allowance, you will be charged more and if it costs less, you will be charged less.
It also important to check if tip fees have been included in the quote for soil removal. If tip fees have not been included, you will need to determine what the fee is likely to be and/or if a free local tip site is available and whose responsibility it will be to source it if required. Alternatively, if the soil is to remain onsite, check the quote to ensure it includes an allowance for machinery to relocate the soil if necessary.
Foundations such bored piers, screw piers, and footings are what hold the pool shell in place, so check the quote for what allowances have been made for foundations and ask the builder to clarify what potential issues could impact the cost of your pool foundations.
It is important to note that for most pools, the engineering and certification starts after you have accepted the quote, signed the contract and paid a deposit. Furthermore, the actual engineering requirements can vary significantly from what was initially quoted, so you can choose to have your plans engineered before signing a contract to gain a better understanding of what is required and so each builder can revise their quotes to ensure they are all based on the same engineering specifications.
For pools constructed out-of-ground, the pool and/or surrounds may require formwork to provide a backing for the concrete. The finish can be left as raw concrete, painted and rendered, or finished in a feature tile or stone so check the quote for what allowances have been made for formwork.
Pool shell installation
Fibreglass and precast pools require craning into place so check the quote for what crane allowance has been made and ask the builder what potential issues could impact the cost. If you are building a concrete pool, check the quote for what allowances have been for steel type, concrete mpa, and shell thickness so you can accurately compare these elements across different quotes, and ask the builder what potential issues could impact the cost.
Electrical Works & Plumbing
Check the quote for what allowances have been for electrical works and plumbing. Electrical works include power points at the filtration as well as earthing of the pool shell and metal objects within the pool zone. If you plan on heating your pool in the future, it will need to be hardwired so check if there is also a provision for this in the quote. When looking at plumbing, check if the quote covers the cost of connecting the pool overflow (if applicable for your pool), and a discharge point for backwash.
If the quote does not specify that the builder will dig necessary trenches for the electrician and/or plumber, ask them what is required so you can obtain a separate quote for those works before signing a contract.
Cleaning and filtration
Check the quote includes specific details about the filtration and cleaning system to ensure you know exactly what is included in the price and so you do not incur any unexpected costs in the future. Every filtration system should consist of a pump (moves the water), a filter (cleans the water) and a sanitiser (treats the water based on the type of water such as salt, mineral, fresh etc).
There are different filter types available such as cartridge or sand/glass media filters as well as several pump options including single-speed and variable-speed which offer different levels of efficiency and performance. Check the quote for what has been specified regarding the filter as well as the brand, size, and horsepower of pump to ensure they are from reputable manufacturers with a good warranty as this will ensure your filtration and cleaning systems are not only reliable but will also last for many years.
Lastly, make sure the location of your filtration station is shown on the plan, and there is no additional charge for running pipes to that location.
There are a wide number of convenient ways to remotely control different elements of your pool such as filtration, lighting, heating, spa, water feature, ph balancer, water level and more. If you have discussed a method of automation that will be most effective for you considering time, effort, and budget, check that it has been included in the quote.
There are 4 main ways to clean your pool - manual vacuum, suction cleaner, robotic pool cleaner, and in-floor cleaning system. Once you have spoken with the builder and determined which option is best for you considering your pool size, location, and budget, check it has been included in the quote and what brand has been specified.
Finishes and fittings
Finishes are what gives your pool its unique look and feel, and include elements such as pool coping, skimmer lids, additional tiling, pool fencing, and waterline tiles. The quote should include a detailed breakdown of all finishes including material type and colour, and any costs related to labour and installation, or additional features such as lighting for steps or benches.
Interior fittings are the various components installed inside the pool that play an essential role in ensuring the pool is both safe and functional. The quote should include fittings such as safety suction covers, adjustable eyeball covers on the water inlets, and a cover for the main drain cover as well as an adjustable skim plate for suction pool cleaners and manual vacuuming.
A variety of material and colour options are available for the interior of concrete and precast pools such as pebble, pebble and glass mix, 100% glass mix, and fully tiled, so we recommend selecting your interior materials and colours (including ceramic or glass waterline tiles, step highlights, and fully tiled steps and benches) as early as possible to ensure each pool quote you receive includes the same finishes. Fibreglass pools are also available in a variety of interior and colour options based on quality and price.
The size and style of coping (first row of paving around the pool) as well its profile (the vertical edge on the water side) will impact the price so check the quote for what coping allowance has been included. If you have discussed installing a tiled skimmer lid, check the quote to ensure an allowance for this has also been included.
Pool accessories enhance the functionality and enjoyment of your pool and include lighting, water features, slides and heating. Check the quote for detailed specifications on all the accessories including the type and brand of each item and any additional costs for materials or installation.
Commissioning occurs after the pool has been constructed and involves testing and calibrating the various systems and components of the pool to ensure they are all functioning correctly and safely. Check the quote for specific tasks and activities that will be performed by the builder such as testing the electrical and hydraulic systems, filling and balancing the water, and verifying the operation of the filtration and cleaning systems.
Handing over the pool
This is an essential step in the construction process, as it ensures that you are comfortable and familiar with your pool's various functions and components. Check the quote for detailed instructions on how to operate the pool safely and efficiently and maintain it on an ongoing basis.
In addition to the quote for building your pool, you may also want to consider utilising a professional pool maintenance and repair service. These services can help keep your pool in top condition for years to come and the quote should include information on any pool service contracts that may be available, including the type of services provided, the cost of the services, and any additional costs for chemicals or labour.
Beyond the pool
If you ask your pool builder to complete additional works around your new pool such as paving or decking, pool fencing, landscaping, and so forth, check the quote clearly itemises the type, quantity (in square metres or lineal metres), and price of materials which will be used. Also check the quote for any material (tiling, decking etc) allowances to make sure they reflect the size, style, colour etc you have requested.