Building a home swimming pool is a significant undertaking and needs careful planning if you are to reap the rewards of your investment. The size and specification of your dream pool will ultimately (and undeniably) affect the cost.
Before you start trawling through the internet and your diary is full of pool contractor appointments to come and quote for the work, it’s advisable to read the following tips to avoid the pitfalls by getting the right contractor for your particular project in place from the outset. Taking note of this simple advice could save you from some difficulties and future problems (and may also save you time and money).
There is help at hand from the wet leisure trade association – SPATA (the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association). SPATA provides a range of resources for the swimming pool buyer.
SPATA’s ten considerations to ensure that you get the right pool (indoor or outdoor) and the right contractor for your needs, are as follows:
- It’s a whole lot more than a hole in the ground
You are buying into a lifestyle, and you will have definite ideas about how your new swimming pool will look, the features it will include and how it will improve your life. Swimming pools are custom construction/installation projects so you will want to ensure the pool contractor you use has high standards and is a member of SPATA. All pools are different, so being clear on your requirements and customisation is vital in the pool design. There will be features of the environment, landscape, setting and usage to take into consideration and with a swimming pool, it’s the elements that you don’t see which will have a significant impact on your budget.
- Don’t over analyse or you’ll end up more confused
You are going to want to find the right people for the job, but if you hear too many opinions, you’ll end up losing track of your dream. If you invite too many contractors to quote for your pool project, you’ll get bogged down with the estimates, and there’s a fine line between making an educated decision and being overwhelmed by too many opinions. Practice due diligence and ask three or four reputable swimming pool companies to provide detailed quotes, then you will be better placed to make a confident decision.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You are bound to have done your homework, and this won’t have been a hasty decision. Whether you are installing a pool for the first time or renovating an existing pool, detailed research will give you more of an understanding about swimming pool construction so that you can make a more informed decision and be better placed to choose the right pool contractor. SPATA provides a range of free factsheets on their website to help point swimming pool buyers in the right direction.
- Finding a reputable company
SPATA set the Standards within the wet leisure industry. Therefore all SPATA members must work to SPATA Standards and adhere to the SPATA Code or Ethics. You can find SPATA members in your local area through the easy member’s search tool on the SPATA website, using the postcode search.
- Meet the contractor in person
It is imperative that the proposed swimming pool contractors visit the site of the proposed pool so that you can meet them, ask them questions about their work, and they can see the proposed site for themselves. This visit should take place before the contractor submits a quote for the works. By doing this, the contractor can gain an understanding of your detailed requirements, and you can gain confidence in their abilities to undertake the work that you require. It will definitely be worth seeing some of the work that the company has undertaken, and you are sure that they have actually carried out the work they show you.
- Getting the best deal
If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is! Choosing a job by price alone won’t bring you the best results. Careful planning and getting the right company for the job is time well spent. A detailed quote will provide you with confidence that they have understood your requirements accurately, and therefore prevent any nasty surprises at a later stage of the works. A reputable company will reassure you that the quality of the job is up to the standard you require, by demonstrating their work on other projects and achieving the same results on your own project.
- When is the best time to build a pool?
Most people want to maximise the use of their pool during the summer months so you will want to ensure that your pool is under construction out of season. Please take into account that everyone else will also so have this idea, so planning well in advance will help you to get the pool when you want it. A reputable swimming pool company will be able to provide you with a timeline of work and give you an idea of when your pool will be finished. Please be aware that there are likely to be various reinstatement works in the garden once a project is finished.
- What’s in a design?
It is imperative, that before any work takes place, detailed drawings are provided by the pool contractor, so that you can see what the final pool will look like, and that nothing has been missed from your requirements. This will ensure that the finished pool is aesthetically pleasing, and fits in with your home. It would help if you also considered some practicalities such as location, heating, pool cover or enclosure, cleaning, chemical dosing and what the ongoing running costs will be of the swimming pool. Additional money spent on the design and construction at the start may well save you money over the lifetime of the pool.
- Playing it safe
Swimming pools are great for exercising, training, relaxing and socialising but they can also present a risk if the right precautions are not put in place, at the design stage. By taking safety into account from the offset, you will be able to enjoy your pool knowing that the risks, of using the pool have been reduced. At the design stage, your chosen pool company will be able to advise you on the safety protection devices available to safeguard your pool, such as a pool cover, enclosure or fencing, to name but a few products.
- Sealing the deal
Make sure that everything is in writing, by you and the pool contractor, covering all of the requirements you have specified. There will usually be an obligatory cancellation period, and this is your opportunity to check through the contract, making sure everything is included, as agreed. Remember the contract is put in place to protect you and the contractor.
To find your nearest SPATA members, use the free SPATA consumer factsheets, download the free Swimming Pool Owners Handbook and to start the first steps to developing your dream swimming pool; visit www.spata.co.uk