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Swimming pool advice from Brisbane’s experts

What does a pool cost?

A swimming pool is a significant investment and can add a lot of value to your property when built with quality materials and equipment. Choosing a reputable builder will give you a pool that is built to last and is a much better investment than one that might require rectifications within a few years. A good builder will also communicate with you any risks or challenges you might face with your construction.

There are a lot of factors that influence the price of a pool. Typically most pools are quoted by the lineal metre. This is the internal waterline dimensions of the pool. As most pools are fairly geometric these days, this is a measurement that is not considered as often, but if you have a pool with many steps outs, it can make the pool perimeter bigger while the average length and width do not change. With a freeform pool, the perimeter should be your first point of call when comparing quotes. A 7m x 3m freeform pool could be as big as 20lm or as small as 15lm and there is a significant price difference between these sizes.

A standard pool of 20 lineal metres (7 x3m rectangle) on a flat site will start at approximately $28,000, but generally due to excavation, access issues and site conditions a minimum price of $30,000-$35,000 would be considered normal for a very basic pool. Allowing for some additional paving, pool fencing, and electrician to provide power to the filtration, a pool light and a pool cleaner, a $50,000 budget would be considered average.

What does a basic pool include?

Each pool builder will have slightly different inclusions due to their own preferences and experiences and the quality of product they wish to deliver. Make sure your pool quote is as detailed as possible so you can compare quotes. What seems like apples for apples is most often not the case. Don’t be afraid to ask for more details.

Every pool will need Council approval, generally approved and certified through a private party on behalf of your local council. Every pool must also be engineered specifically for your property.

Our standard inclusions:

  • Standard Council certification – some pools may require relaxations due to the pool location
    from boundaries and council sewer & storm water drains
  • Engineering
  • Top quality materials – high-grade concrete and steelAstral Saltwater filtration equipment –
    Australian owned and made; one of the best in the industry.
  • A multi-speed energy efficient pump in lieu of a standard pump
  • Glass media in your sand filter for improved clarity and hygiene
  • Mineral salt in lieu of standard salt, for improved skin health
  • Quality plumbing and fixtures
  • Natural Stone copings – superior finishes with a generous allowance
  • 1mm white pebble interior
  • Benches and steps to your design
  • Excavation allowance to suit the site
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Detailed handover and start-up of your pool
  • Working with a builder who has 45 years hands-on experience in every facet of the industry
Norfolk Pools with water feature
Resort Pools
Norfolk Pools Morningside Project 02

What influences the price?

Excavation, land levels and site conditions are the biggest cause of price influxes.

Excavation:
In general, standard equipment for a pool dig is a 5-6 ton excavator and 10m3 trucks, requiring 4.0m of straight easy access for the trucks and 2.4m width for an excavator, plus a minimum height of 3.5m. Our standard dig allowance is $3000 for this equipment, which allows 5-6 hours of dig time. Most inner city properties do not have this much space available and can be quite challenging. Most require a Bobcat, and as the block sizes get smaller, the access gets narrower and smaller machines are needed. The minimum width required for the smallest excavator is 1.0m. Smaller machines take more time and therefore cost more money, and we factor this into our provisional dig allowances.

Our excavation is always a provisional sum. Our years of experience allow us to make educated decisions on what we feel is an appropriate amount depending on your access and site conditions. We offer you an open book on excavation, with all dockets available for your viewing. If the cost of the dig is under the allowance, then you will receive a credit towards your contract. Likewise, if the cost is over the provisional allowance, then you will receive a bill for the additional cost.

Site conditions:
Level properties make easy conditions for digging a pool. There are exceptions, depending on the amount of room to manoeuvre the digger if there are structures close by, and whether the level site is on natural ground or if it’s been levelled and is actually on fill. Filled sites may require additional engineering such as extra steel or piers to support the pool into natural ground.

Sloping blocks are very common and there are two ways to deal with this scenario. Cut into the block and build retaining walls, or construct the pool out of ground. There are costs for both and the best way depends on the relationship between the pool and the house. The amount of slope to the block has a huge influence on the cost. The more work that needs to be done, the greater the price. Sloping blocks shouldn’t be considered a negative though. With the right landscaping, they are often the pools and properties that have the wow factor.

The soil conditions can also affect the price as mentioned earlier. Filled sites might require more engineering. Reactive soils may need additional steel. Rocky sites might need extra equipment such as rock breakers or just need more time. Some of these factors can be assessed with soil tests but cannot always be accurately determined until the excavation is under way. We assess each job individually to make sure that the best and most cost effective outcome is reached in consultation with you.

What to consider when building?

What is the purpose of your pool? Is it for the kids to splash around in? Add value and a beautiful aspect to your home by making an outdoor living room? Exercise? To cool off and relax after a long day at work? There are many reasons for having a pool and all of these can be incorporated into a design to fit your lifestyle and your house. The more information you can provide us, the more helpful we can be helping you design and build not only your pool, but an area that you can enjoy for many years to come.

Consider the proximity of the pool to the house - If it’s too far away will you use the pool less? Can you watch the kids? Are you taking advantage of looking over a calming waterscape?

Restrictions within your property – do you have council sewer or stormwater pipes running through your yard? There is a minimum distance that we must be from these pipes, and “lines of influence” that must be adhered to, so that no pressure from the pool is put on this infrastructure. There may be gas or electrical lines that have to be avoided or diverted. These council services can be located by using the website “Dial Before You Dig” 1100.com.au

How do I look after my pool?

The great news is that technology is so far advanced that a pool can basically look after itself with the right equipment, and for very little additional expense.
Chlorination systems can now have in-built pH testing systems or other devices that can be added on to ensure the chemical balance stays correct and without you, the pool owner, having to be out testing it all the time and trying to get the right amount of chemicals in.

A good automatic cleaner will complete the pool maintenance process. You have a range of cleaners from your old suction cleaners to the latest in robots and suction cleaners, plus fully automated, cordless in-floor cleaning systems. Depending on your budget you can spend between $600 and $12,000 on a cleaner. In-floor cleaning systems are becoming more and more popular and a good, well-designed system like the Paramount PCC2000 will keep your pool spotless, even if your pool was in a high leaf-litter area.

Do I need a pool cover?

Pool covers are not mandatory. Pool covers can be heavy and cumbersome and not at all attractive, but again with the aid of technology, this has improved greatly. You have fantastic thermal covers or the upmarket slat covers which can be used as safety covers as well. The roller technology has improved dramatically and now can be hidden in or under decks, paving or as part of the pool itself. Costs vary vastly depending on the style chosen. Under deck or inbuilt rollers are expensive but look fantastic and save a huge amount of space. Sunbather are the pioneers in solar heating and covers and we cannot recommend them enough.

Heating and our climate

Solar heating or any heating; has become a big consideration in increasing the duration of your swimming season. Some may consider heating as unnecessary in our sub-tropical climate but it can be used to advantage in those warm days where the water is still slightly cool at the start of spring, or can help utilise the pool through winter. A heating system can also be helpful in the middle of those summer heatwaves, running at night to try and cool the water a few degrees.

Summer versus winter construction

Are there advantages to one over the other? Many people are under the assumption that winter is a cheaper time to build. In all honesty, a good builder doesn’t change his prices and winter does not tend to be a quiet time. Material and labour costs do not change and therefore there is no seasonal fluctuation.

The cooler months are however a good time to build, as there is time to make clearly thought out decisions rather than trying to beat the Christmas rush that hits that first warm day in September. There is no wrong time to build, but allow yourself enough time to plan not only the pool, but also the landscaping. Weather will affect the length of the construction process as well as the amount of landscaping to be done. We would suggest allowing 3 months for a basic pool project with minimal landscaping. More complex projects involving decking, roofed structures, retaining walls and so on will require more time.

Pool options and finishes

There are thousands of products on the market now from simple lighting to remote controls for all of your equipment. You can let your imagination run wild and we offer design and material selection assistance with every pool.

Lighting
is important if you want your pool to be part of your house and be a feature; again we offer assistance in these areas.

Water features are a matter of personal taste and property aesthetics. Water features can add value and interest, but likewise be a sore eye if not incorporated well.

Heating a pool
can be achieved by installing a solar system or heat pump and would be assessed by your expectations and pool use. Whether you want to extend the swimming season or ensure it for use year round will determine which is the most suitable option.  Gas heating is generally used to heat a spa pool.

Cleaners – traditional suction cleaners like Barracuda and Kreepy Crawley and many others, operate by connecting the cleaner via a suction hose to the skimmer box in the pool. Pressure cleaners like Polaris generally operate via a separate pump and robot cleaners are mostly electric models. In floor cleaning systems like Paramount PCC 2000 are an integrated system of cleaning jets designed specifically to suit your pool shape and design. There are pros and cons for each cleaner and numerous brands and options available and we are happy to discuss the best option for your pool.  

Remote controls are becoming more popular so that you can control your pool, spa, heating, lighting, water features and filtration from anywhere outside or within the house. The technology will now allow you to sync with a smart device so that you can even turn it on from work on the way home.

Interiors are also able to be upgraded and changed. The standard finish is a pebble, but you have smoother options like Aristone, glass bead interiors that will give you incredible colours or fully tiled options as well. Each varies in cost depending on the size of the pool and product chosen. Waterline tiles are very popular and have several uses. They give a stylish finish to the pool and help with cleaning.

Paving and decking
We can assist you with finishing off your pool and make suggestions on the best ways to utilise your pool space. You will need to consider how much space you would like around the pool and within the pool fence to move comfortably around your new pool. The areas behind the pool on boundary lines are considered dead space and not worth spending money on. A few plants may be all you need to create an enticing spot.

Concrete versus fibreglass

There are pros and cons to both. Fibreglass is usually a quicker process but is limiting in terms of shape and size. Concrete is designed to last, as we say, you build high-rises and bridges out of steel and concrete so it must have something going for it. Concrete may take a bit longer to build, but you can be assured you are getting exactly what you want. Any size or shape is possible and all custom designed to your property and needs.

I want a pool but how will it look?

Quite often we have customers come to us and say, “We want a pool but we have no idea what we want!” At Norfolk, we can design your pool to suit your needs and lifestyle. Through discussions with you and looking at your property, we can come up with a concept that will create a beautiful new outdoor area for you to enjoy. Both Jim and Danica have extensive design backgrounds with an eye for detail that will give you the best outcome possible. We can recreate your property in 3D imagery to help you visualise how your new pool will look. From this, we can make adjustments with your feedback to come up with the perfect pool design for your situation whether it’s a fun family pool or somewhere for you to escape from reality in your own private resort.

Are you looking for knowledgeable swimming pool advice in Brisbane?
Call 1300 655 036 to find out more.

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