Depending on which part of New Zealand you are located, summer may already be on you, or about to make its entrance. And with the heat of summer comes record-breaking temperatures and heatwaves. So, if you are still daydreaming about building your own pool, it may be high time for making your fantasy a reality. After all, having a pool means lots of water fun, cooling off, and opportunities to have pool entertainment with friends and family.
However, building a pool requires substantial investments in terms of money, time and energy. So what’s the best way to start this project? How will you find the best pool builder for your swimming pool project?
First things first, though. Before setting out to find a pool building contractor, you need to consider a lot of things before you can embark on your pool building project in earnest.
Determine the type of pool you want
Everything starts with a plan, and the only way you can start planning is by identifying the kind of pool you want. Take a look at your backyard or the area you have allocated for your pool project. Will the kind of pool you want fit seamlessly into it? Will it complement the design or look of the rest of your property, such as the landscape?
Moreover, the kind of pool you choose will require specific materials – a major factor that will impact the total cost of your swimming pool project. Also, obviously, you will be able to choose from a pool company that installs the selected types of pools. You will have a chance to talk to them to select the best pool builder for your pool.
Select from the following pool types:
One major advantage above-ground pools have over other pool types are their relatively lower price tags. In fact, adding a deck to an above-ground pool will still cost less than building an in-ground type. And since they are not sunk into the ground, above-ground pools are unbeatable in terms of portability. So, anytime you move, you can take your pool with you. They are also versatile as they are easy to set up with specific types of land or surface, including rocky areas.
These types of pools would certainly fit the term ‘fancy,’ not because they look ornate or elaborate. The reason is that they are intricately designed in a way that they echo the form and structure of the house. For a cohesive look, the same materials are used for both. Custom-built houses with pools usually have the building of both structures done simultaneously. The design of the pool is also usually done by the architect responsible for the house design. They also tend to cost a lot.
Family or recreational pool
From the look of family or recreational pools, you can easily see that they are designed for fun. They sometimes resemble water parks on a smaller scale. They can have water features or pool waterfalls, elaborate slides, fake boulders, and other accessories, as well as a wholesome appeal that attracts people of all ages. So if you have a lot of kids or do a lot of entertaining, family or recreational pools may work best for you.
Infinity edge pool
Also simply known as infinity pools, infinity edge pools or vanishing edge pools are always customised. They are usually designed to highlight a beautiful or unusual view. They are designed to give the illusion that the water is dropping off along the edge of the property, just like a waterfall. In terms of cost, they are definitely on the pricier end of the spectrum.
If your focus is on health and fitness, then a lap pool will be the better choice. Since they are usually long (more than 50 feet in length) and narrow, they are rectangular in shape and better suited for long, narrow properties.
As the only type of pool housed under a roof and insulated by a minimum of three walls, indoor swimming pools are pretty easy to spot. You can use them for all sorts of water activities or for training throughout the year. They are relatively simple, usually geometrical in shape, and ideal for places with a cooler climate. The cost of running them is generally cheaper than outdoor types because they are insulated and less likely to be affected by heat loss.
Although they look like larger versions of spas, plunge pools are the complete opposite. They are actually small, cold-water pools built for their supposedly therapeutic properties. Ancient Chinese and Romans were known to have used cold-water pools. Some of the benefits attributed to these include improving circulation, boosting the immune system, and reducing stress.
Otherwise known as swimming ponds, natural swimming pools combine water gardens with a swimming area. They are usually lined with reinforced polyethylene or rubber and have a separate ‘regeneration’ zone (actually a discrete pool) nearby for filtration, so they are also self-cleaning.
They can be rustic, done in free form, or architectural. They are also sustainable and eco-friendly and require minimal maintenance. The initial outlay is comparable to the cost of a regular pool; however, depending on the design, size, and pool elements, the costs can quickly add up.
There are other types of pools that are not listed here. If you require something different, you can always discuss your requirements with your pool builder. Once you’re done deciding on the type of pool you want, you can finally come up with a reasonable budget.
Now, on to the next step.
Find prospective pool companies
After going over your options and setting a budget, you can now start looking for a reputable pool contractor. What you need to do is to come up with a list of potential contractors. But how do you find them? And how to choose the best pool builder?
- Get referrals or recommendations
- Check each company’s website for testimonials as well as their project gallery
- Check for online reviews on each one of your prospective contractors
Choosing the best pool company usually means asking the right questions. So once you have narrowed down your search for potential contractors, you can start screening them the way an employer would a job applicant. Be sure to ask the following questions:
Do you handle pool projects of this scale?
Some contractors take on projects within a specific budget range or specialise in certain types of pool projects. If they can’t take your project, they might be able to refer you to other contractors who can.
How many projects do you usually oversee at any given time?
It would be good to know that if they are handling a number of projects, they can actually manage their workload, so project delays are rare or unheard of.
How long have you been in business?
This will add a layer of security and trust in your relationship. You want to be assured of the extent of their experience as well as have a clear idea of their track record. E.g. Central Pools, the experienced pool builder from Tauranga, have been in the pool business for more than 10 years.
How long have you worked with the subcontractors you’re using?
Of course, it would add to your peace of mind if the subcontracted team has been vetted and also has a good track record.
Are you certified to build swimming pools?
Check if they are properly licenced or certified, especially in the locale where you are located. Be sure to get proof or documentation of this if you sign them on.
Do you have insurance?
It may never happen, but you want to be protected in case something goes wrong, an accident occurs, or a worker is hurt on-site.
Do you have workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
This relates to the previous point. To avoid legal battles in case something goes wrong, make sure they are covered from the outset.
Can you obtain the necessary permits?
Certain areas observe specific building codes and regulations. Find out early on if they can secure the necessary permits to avoid penalties and fines down the line.
Do you offer a warranty for the work you do?
Aside from pool-related warranties, you also want to know if the contractor you will choose offers a workmanship warranty. An honest, professional contractor shouldn’t have any problems offering this. Moreover, the warranty should ideally exceed one year.
To avoid skipping over your essential questions, make a list so you can cover everything during the interview or initial meeting. Here are more questions you may want to ask:
- Can you give customer references?
- Do you have a portfolio or online gallery of pools that you have built?
- Will all building specs be included in the contract – including the payment schedule?
- Who will be my point of contact while pool construction is ongoing?
- How long will the pool I want take to finish?
- What is the typical pool schedule or duration from excavation to completion?
- Why are you a better choice over other pool contractors?
If you have the time and get the opportunity to meet their references or old clients, make sure you ask the following questions:
- When did you hire the contractor for your pool project?
- What type of pool did they work on for you?
- Did the pool builder finish the work on time?
- Did you encounter any problems with payment and or project delivery?
- Were you happy with their work?
- Did any accidents happen during the pool project?
- Was the contractor and site-in-charge proactive while work was ongoing?
- Did the pool builder finish the project within budget?
- Would you hire them again?
Since it is assumed that you have shared information on the kind of pool you want, you should start soliciting pool bids at this stage. By this time, you probably have your prospective contractor list down to the top two or three. Ask these companies for their best accurate quotes for your project.
Ask for detailed bids, including material specifications, quantities, days of work for each stage of completion, timelines, etc. The more detailed the quote, the better.
Select the best pool company and finalise the deal
Once you have identified the best pool builder for the job, make sure everything is clear and straightforward. Keep communication lines open. Be sure to review the fine print. Discuss all aspects of the contract, and ensure you are both on the same page before finalising the details and signing the agreement.
This is also the time to set a reasonable payment schedule clearly stating what project milestones go with what construction instalments. Be clear that you will not make the final payment until project delivery is done.
Now, you can finally get your pool built
Getting the pool of your dreams certainly will take work, time, and money. However, by considering the advice shared here on how to pick a builder, pretty soon, you’ll finally be embarking on your pool building project.
If you want something simple and you have limited space, you may want to check out our Little Pool products. They are versatile, cost-effective, transportable, and easy to install.
With The Little Pool Co. pool products, you can instantly get a new pool that will keep you cool for many summers. Contact us for a quote today.