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    How to choose a pool builder and compare pools?

    Want to know how to choose a pool builder?

    Do you have three swimming pool quotes but have no idea what to base your final decision on? A swimming pool is one of the smartest investments you can make; yet it is also one of the most difficult products to understand and compare.

    How to choose a pool builder?

    It is not uncommon for potential pool owners to become overwhelmed with information as they try to understand their options and pricing when researching pools. Unfortunately, some even choose not to get a pool as the decision becomes just too hard.

    Whether your reasons for wanting a pool are driven by property investment, health benefits or enhancing your family’s lifestyle, I have found emotion often plays a large part in the decision making process. Similar to a house extension, you cannot return a swimming pool nor can you take it back for a refund. For this reason, it is important the final decision be made largely based on facts more so than emotion.

    So you now have three pool quotes, what next? Apart from the pool price (which is important), how do you compare each pool quote? My advice, investigate each pool type quoted (is it a pre-engineered, concrete or fibreglass pool) and also look into the corresponding pool builder’s reputation.

    How to compare swimming pool types?

    You may choose to base your comparison on the overall aesthetics of a pool and although the look of the pool is definitely important, there is other key criterion worth consideration. The pool warranty, maintenance and after sales support offered once the swimming pool is complete should also be high on your list. The Pool Comparison Table below touches on a number of points worth consideration when comparing pool types and pool quotes.

    Pool Comparison Criteria Pre-engineered Swimming Pools Concrete Swimming Pools Fibreglass Swimming Pools
    Design
    Design Flexibility
    - Any Pool Shape
    - Any Pool Size
    Yes Yes No – must choose from predefined shapes and sizes
    Choice of Depths
    - Diving Floor Profile
    Yes Yes No – depths are fixed in a fibreglass pool and the depths quoted are usually shell depth not water depth
    Choice of Colours Yes Yes Yes
    Custom Bench & Step Design Yes – pre-engineered pools feature a unique gently padded underlay creating a cushioned effect Yes No
    Pool Structure
    Self Supporting
    Yes
    *The pool can be emptied without voiding the structural warranty.
    No No
    Ideally suited to volatile soil types
    - pool structure won’t crack, warp or lift
    Yes No No
    Can be built on a slope Yes Yes No
    Transport Costs and Crane Required (can add between $1,500-$3,000 to the pool price) No No Yes
    Ideal for Poor Access Yes Yes No
    Pool Interior
    Non-Slip Pool Interior Yes
    Yes
    *Pool Tiles are the exception
    Depends on the brand of the fibreglass pool
    Smooth to Touch/Non-Abrasive Pool Interior Yes Depends on pool interior chosen Yes
    Resistant to Algae
    Yes
    *Inbuilt fungicide
    No
    *All pool interior options for a concrete pool are porous and are prone to algae and bacteria growth
    Yes
    *Can get ‘black-spot’ or Osmosis under the Gel Coat
    Low Maintenance Pool Interior Yes – in fact Aqualux requires no cleaning at all
    No
    *All pool interior options on a concrete pool are porous and therefore require more maintenance
    Yes
    Pool Installation
    Who Installs the Pool – Manufacturer or Franchisee Manufacturer Not Applicable Franchisee
    Construction Time Frame 5-10 days
    6 week minimum
    (average 3-4 months)
    2-3 days
    Quality Controlled Yes No Yes
    After Sales Support
    Pool Shops/Bricks and Mortar Locations
    Yes – Open seven days a week year round Depends on pool builder Depends on franchisee
    Pool Warranty
    Pool Structural Warranty 10 years 6 years and 9 months
    Depends on the brand of fibreglass pool
    *Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty – what a lifetime warranty actually means is worth investigating as well as what voids such a warranty i.e. the water level drops by 30%.
    Pool Warranty Entity
    - Name of entity which provides pool warranty
    Pool Manufacturer Pool Builder Split Responsibility – Pool Installer and Pool Manufacturer
    Split Responsibility Warranty on Pool Structure No No
    Yes
    Pool Interior Warranty 10 years
    Depends on the pool interior chosen
    For Example:
    Pool Tiles – 2 years Render 2-8 years depending on the brand
    Depends on the brand of the fibreglass pool

    How to choose a pool builder?

    Now that you know how to compare swimming pool types, the next and final step when comparing quotes is to examine each pool builder’s reputation and history.

    There are some pool builders not prepared to make the long-term investment in the industry and to their clients and choose to operate from home. Contactable on mobile only and with no office or display centre, it is very easy for these types of pool builders to vanish in difficult economic times leaving their clients with no support and more importantly, no warranty.

    There will always be plenty of bargain-basement operators, there will be pool builders laying claim to being the biggest and the best, and there will be those who use gimmicks or 24-hour super specials to make the sale.

    The real test lies in how long the pool builder has been in business and what their clients have to say about them and their product. When deciding on a pool builder, be sure to do your homework and look into:

    1. The Pool Builder’s Reputation – talk to family, friends and colleagues who have a pool, seek out referrals, testimonials and recommendations. Review websites and forums are also another platform to gain insight into a pool builder’s reputation.

    2. The Pool Builder’s Creditability

    - Are they a member of SPASA and the Building Commission of Victoria

    - Do they have a physical work address, website and landline or do they work from home

    - Are they a registered licensed builder

    - Do they have the appropriate insurance and liability cover

    - What experience do they have, how many years have they been in business and how many pools have they built (both in total and annually)

    - Can you see samples of their work i.e. display centres

    3. The Pool Builder’s Custom Ability

    Can the pool builder custom design and tailor your swimming pool to achieve what you want instead of what they want to sell you?

    4. The Pool Builder’s Pricing

    As with most things, quality comes with creditability and price. If the pricing quoted is too good to be true, then it probably is. If you are comparing two or three quotes, be sure to compare like-for-like (the same size, shape, optional items etc) – there will certainly be large differences in price if each quote is for a different pool size.

    Armed with an understanding of different types of pools available and each pool builder’s reputation, you can now make an informed and final decision. Be comfortable with this decision and enjoy the exciting times ahead relaxing by your soon-to-be-built swimming pool.

    If you haven’t received an obligation free swimming pool quote from Albatross Pools, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you before you make a final decision.

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    Pool or Extra Bedroom?

    Most families have a limited budget to work with when it comes to home improvement. Sometimes, you can’t afford to do it all at once and you need to decide between two different projects. If you have children, then maybe two of them are sharing a room and maybe they’d each like to have their own space. But, you might be thinking about getting a swimming pool for the whole family to use, too. Judging from a recent post on realestate.com.au, a lot of Aussies are probably facing this choice. Which project gets the higher priority?

    An Extra Bedroom?

    Without a swimming pool in which to relax and enjoy life, children can be argumentative and territorial. If your house simply doesn’t have enough individual bedrooms for all your children, then sharing a room can bring this kind of dissatisfaction to the surface. Perhaps they’ve used tape to mark a line through the centre of the room. Maybe one child is neat and the other is messy, and they’re doing everything they can to annoy each other. Maybe one of them likes to keep a light on to read and the other one can only fall asleep in total darkness. You’re wondering “Should we buy a new house? Should we build an addition? Should we keep one of them in a cupboard in the garage? (just kidding)

    The fact is, sharing a room builds character. It teaches children to compromise and to consider each other’s needs and each other’s feelings. It can also provide valuable lessons in tolerance and peacekeeping. Do they really need separate rooms? Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be at the very top of your priority list, for now.

    AP--10-pool-or-extra-bedroom
    Who needs your own bedroom, when a Pool party is just a phone call away?

    A Pool?

    A pool provides fun and relaxation to the whole family. It’s great for cooling off, blowing off steam and getting some exercise. Why waste time arguing about whose turn it is to choose the TV channel or use the video game console when the sun’s out and there’s sparkling blue water to jump into right there in the back garden? With a pool, togetherness is a virtue. You’ll have kids galore and parents, too. If you’re social and you love to be in the centre of the action, then a backyard pool is a must-have. If you think bedrooms are for sleeping and you’d like to see your kids outside, active and happy, then it’s a great investment.

    The fact is, a pool promotes health and sociability. It’s a fun way to cool off, and it makes the outdoors a lot more appealing on hot days. Kids these days spend so much time staring at screens and trying to work their way out from under piles of homework. A pool is something that can make them – and you – feel good. With a new pool, you’ll let go of stress and negative feelings and create happy family memories.

    There’s Nothing Like Asking

    Of course, Albatross Pools thinks that buying a pool should be your next major home improvement project. That’s because we sell high quality, affordable in-ground pools with durable steel structures and Aqualux membranes. We’d love to sell one to you, because that’s what we’re in business to do. We think that if you buy one, you’ll love having it.

    But, you don’t have to take our advice. Talk to your family and find out what they think the priorities should be. Pool or extra bedroom? Pool or new kitchen? Pool or home theatre? What’s going to add the most joy, fitness and friendship to your lives? Take a look at our Pool Buyer’s Guide and then give us a call. We’d be happy to provide you with an estimate so that you can set your budget and organise your priorities.

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    Chile’s Crystal Lagoon: the Biggest Pool in the World

    Chile’s gigantic Crystal Lagoon at San Alfonso del Mar is a modern wonder. There’s a lot of information on its filtration and cleaning systems on the web. What’s not mentioned in most articles is that physically, the Crystal Lagoon is fundamentally the same type of pool that we sell here at Albatross.

    The Crystal Lagoon’s amazing filtration system was designed by Fernando Fischmann, a Chilean biochemist. His company, Crystal Lagoons Corporation, is now selling pools to real estate developers around the world and the technology also has industrial applications. The giant pool at San Alfonso del Mar and the other large pools designed by Crystal Lagoon use a variety of wall support methods, including steel structures similar to the ones we use to support our pools. The pool interior is a PVC product that’s much like our own Aqualux Pool Interior.

    A Truly Enormous Pool

    The Crystal Lagoon at San Alfonso del Mar has awe inspiring statistics, and that’s not an exaggeration. It is more than a kilometre long and eight hectares in area, and it contains 250 million litres of filtered seawater. That’s 6,000 times the size of a standard eight metre long pool. It is 35 metres (115 feet) deep in the middle. It can be used for swimming for much of the year, because unlike the ocean coast 100 metres to the west, it doesn’t have huge waves or dangerous currents. It’s also naturally warmer than the adjacent ocean by approximately nine degrees celsius.

    Crystal Lagoon at San Alfonso del Mar
    Crystal Lagoon at San Alfonso del Mar

    The pool is surrounded by a huge resort development, and it’s used for all kinds of sports and activities. As you can imagine, a pool the size of a small lake isn’t just for swimming. There’s sailing, boating, rafting and scuba diving lessons. It is safer than any natural body of water and it’s much safer than the adjacent, rough ocean shore.

    A Groundbreaking Filtration System

    In articles about the San Alfonso del Mar, the pool’s structure and interior are taken for granted. They’re simply durable, functional and enormous in scale. What’s really got people’s attention is the filtration system. It keeps the pool clean with only one-hundredth the volume of chemicals that would be needed if the pool had a standard water treatment system. The pool is constantly pulling water out of the ocean at one end, treating it and adding it to the pool. At the other end, the water is returned to the ocean. There are also water filters that help to keep the pool clean.

    Proyecto San Alfonso Del Mar
    Proyecto San Alfonso Del Mar

    The chemical treatment is dependant on sensors that detect when bacteria and algae levels become too high and respond with the right type and amount of chemical treatment to bring it back to an acceptable level of cleanliness. It also uses ultrasonic pulses to make algae cluster so that it will be easier to remove when it reaches the filters. The system took Fernando Fischmann six years to develop, and he’s now applying it to everything from power plant cooling systems to fresh water production. There’s a great article on it in Popular Mechanics and more information on the Crystal Lagoons webpage.

    If you look at Crystal Lagoon pools, you can see that they’re really just oversized, highly engineered versions of our own smaller Albatross pools. The construction concept is the same, and if it works for some of the biggest pools in the world, it will work in your backyard. The best news? While the Crystal Lagoon took five years to build and cost $1.96 billion, our pools can be installed in 5-10 days and are much, much more affordable.

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    A Solar Pool Heater, Gas Heater or Heat Pump: Which is Right For You?

    If you’re buying a new pool, especially in Victoria, then you are probably going to want to add on a heating system so that your pool will be usable for more of the year. After all, even a pool that’s good value is a major investment. If you’re using it for a few extra months, that really adds to the benefits. Suddenly, you and your family can use your pool for socialising, relaxation and exercise in the spring and autumn as well as in the warmer months. You’ll get more for your money and you’ll get more out of your pool.

    Here’s a quick run-down of the options for pool heating. Every type of modern pool heater will be available with a controller that can be set up by time and temperature; they’ll monitor the temperature in and out of the pool.

    Solar Heaters

    If a solar pool heating system can work on your property, then there’s a good chance that it will be your first choice. It lets you use free energy from the sun to heat your pool, requiring only a little bit of electricity to run a high efficiency pump and power the controller. A solar pool heating system will be less expensive to operate than either of the alternatives, and you can feel good about using renewable energy to heat your pool.

    If you have a roof that’s north-facing and that has at least as much area as the pool surface area, then it’s almost certain that you can use a solar pool heating system. Usually, an east or west-facing roof will work, too. Your pool heating contractor will install a network of metal or rubber pipes on your roof. When the pool is cold and the roof is hot, the pump will switch on and circulate pool water onto the roof until the pool heats up to the temperature you’ve selected.

    Solar Pump Supreme Heating
    Solar Pump Supreme Heating

    Solar pool heaters aren’t a new technology. Some of our Australian solar heating companies have been perfecting them since the 1970s, so they work remarkably well. They’re a popular choice, and for good reason.

    Gas Heaters

    If you have a natural gas service in your area (most people do) then a gas pool heater is an option. You might opt for gas if you can’t go solar or if you prefer a 100% quick and dependable pool heating system. These systems have been around for many decades and are more efficient than ever. They’re easy to install, they can usually heat your pool more quickly than a solar system can, and they can make your pool usable all year. Some of our clients opt for a solar system with a gas heater as a backup for cloudy days and for the winter months.

    Heat Pumps

    Heat pumps are powered by electricity rather than gas. Similar to gas heaters, they can provide heat to your pool any time, year around (depending on the brand of heat pump, it is difficult to heat the pool water with a heat pump in the midst of winter). They work like backwards air conditioners, pulling latent heat from the air and transferring this heat to heat your pool water. Like gas heaters, they’re easy to install. If you’re trying to decide between a heat pump and a gas heater, then the best choice in terms of running costs depends on the gas and electricity rates in your area.

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    A Small Pool For Your Garden Paradise

    Not everyone dreams of filling their entire back yard with a large swimming pool. In fact, not everyone has a big enough yard for a huge pool. If you dream of lush vegetation and bricked pathways rather than a large expanse of water, you can still have a steel pool. Because they can be built in any size and shape and because they’re durable, beautiful and a good value, they make a fantastic addition to landscape plans that aren’t sprawling or that aren’t pool-focused. Here are a few design options for small steel pools.

    A Plunge Pool

    A plunge pool is a relatively deep pool with a relatively small surface area. They’re usually only a few metres long, and they can be used for cooling off and water exercise, including swimming against an artificial current or swimming with a swim harness. Because of their small surface area, they hold heat better than larger pools. They can be a practical addition to a small yard or a beautiful part of a varied landscape plan on a larger property.

    A Wading Pool

    Wading pools are large in area relative to their depth. They’re great for small children, but they’re also fantastic for providing cooling. Because a wading pool has a large surface area, a lot of water will be evaporating from its surface, cooling its surroundings. A wading pool can be designed for kids, but it can also be integrated into a landscape plan. When the children get older, you could even add a water feature or some fish and turn it into a landscape feature.

    A Small Pool as a Landscape Feature

    Your steel pool doesn’t have to be all about swimming. It could be at the bottom of a decorative waterfall, or it could be a carp pool in a Japanese-style garden. We can build you a reflecting pool or even a pool with a fountain that will cool the surrounding air while looking absolutely lovely. A small steel pool can support a water garden, too. There’s nothing stopping you from combining features like water jets, water spouts, and natural looking or stylised waterfalls with an area for swimming, bathing or wading. Take the space you’ve decided to use for the pool and make the most of it.

    A Creative Small Pool
    A Creative Small Pool

    A Spa

    You can turn one of our small Courtyard Series Pools into a dual purpose spa by incorporating a turbo power jet system and either a gas heater or heat pump. The turbo jet system consists of spa jets and a blower; the spa jets create the massaging streams of water and the blower is what makes the big bubbles. The comfort seat that features in our Courtyard Series incorporates a unique, gently padded underlining that’s exclusive to Albatross Pools, providing a cushioned effect. Most spas feature hard moulded seats whereas our Courtyard Series features soft, comfortable seats.

    Although steel construction is an economical choice for very large pools, don’t forget that it’s also a great option for small pools. In fact, sometimes the small projects are the most interesting. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and tell us about what you have in mind. We’d be happy to answer all your questions, and we’re also happy to work with your landscape designer.

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    The Marina Bay Sands Pool: Cool!

    How would you like to own a pool that’s constructed from virtually the same materials as the “boat” pool atop the Marina Bay Sands, described by McLeans, a popular Canadian magazine, as The World's Most Incredible Hotel Pool? Work with Albatross, and you can.

    The Marina Bay Sands and the “Boat” Infinity Pool

    The Marina Bay Sands is a massive new luxury Hotel in Singapore, located on the waterfront. It features three split towers and a boat-shaped roof that spans between them, 55 stories up. The boat-roof contains a park, and the park contains an infinity pool that appears to merge with the city’s skyline at the edges. It is three times the length of an Olympic-sized pool and it’s the largest rooftop pool of its type in existence. It’s a truly stunning achievement, at the cutting edge of design and technology.

    Marina Bay Sands
    Marina Bay Sands

    When it opened in 2010, the Marina Bay Sands was the most expensive hotel in the world. In addition to its rooftop infinity pool, it has a lotus-shaped museum, one of the best malls in Asia, an indoor canal, a casino, a theatre and a crystal pavilion. It’s got more than 2,500 rooms, and it will cost you $500 to stay there for a single night. Only hotel guests get to use the rooftop infinity pool.

    Rooftop Infinity Pool
    Rooftop Infinity Pool

    Your house probably has between two and four bedrooms and you don’t pay any extra money at all to sleep there every night, yet you could have a steel-framed pool similar to the one on The Boat atop the Marina Bay Sands in your very own backyard.

    Why Steel Framing?

    The Marina Bay Sands is one of the best funded, best designed new buildings in the world today. Why did the design team choose a steel pool? The advantages a steel-framed pool are the same for the Marina Bay Sands as they are for our customers.

    Stainless Steel Framed Pool
    Steel Framed Pool

    A steel pool fits into any landscape or architectural plan; it can be virtually any shape or size. A steel-framed pool has lasting structural integrity. You’re probably thinking that an outdoor, rooftop pool on one of the world’s most expensive buildings has got to be top-of-the-line, and you’re right. It has the strength and flexibility needed to last for decades perched on top three swaying skyscrapers and exposed to the elements. A steel pool is quick to build and will fit into any construction schedule, even one that’s simply “ASAP.” Finally, a steel pool is environmentally friendly. It uses fewer materials than other types of pools and it lasts longer.

    Why an Aqualux Membrane?

    While the Marina Bay Sands uses a steel frame similar to ours, it uses a pool interior membrane that’s specially designed to suit its unique location and construction. However, the largest pool in the world was built with a pool material that’s very similar to our Aqualux PVC membrane. Yes, the Chile Crystal Lagoon at the San Alfonso del Mar resort features a type PVC membrane, just like our pools. The pool at the Crystal Lagoon is a kilometre long and covers 20 acres. It opened in 1987 and still looks almost new. Aqualux is a material that’s beautiful, practical and durable.

    Crystal Lagoon
    Crystal Lagoon

    Isn’t it great that you can buy the same type of pool that’s found on a much larger scale in the world’s most luxurious resorts? The quality of our steel-framed, Aqualux-lined pools is second to none.

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    Does a pool add value to a house?

    It comes as no surprise that ‘pool’ is the number one search term being used by buyers on realestate.com.au when refining their search criteria (Herald Sun, August 17 2013).  Gone is the day of the humble backyard, many now consider this space as an outdoor room complete with kitchen and swimming pool.  The luxuries of gas pool heating and pool covers, delivers year round entertainment – a much desired lifestyle by many buyers in the market today.

    A swimming pool integrated in with an outdoor entertaining area is without a doubt one of the main selling features of newly built and newly renovated homes being advertised in property magazines and online today.  According to Andrew Keheler, Jellis Craig Doncaster Director, Generation X buyers typically seek out properties with a pool as they have young children and regard a pool as a source of enjoyment for many years to come (Herald Sun, August 15 2013).

    People in the world of Real Estate and Property Development suggest a pool can add anywhere from 6% to 35% come auction (Herald Sun, March 3, 2014). An amazing swimming pool can be a “carrot” to a buyer in the market according to Paul Osborne, Secret Agent, especially those in the marketplace with children aged between five to fifteen years of age (The Age, March 9 2014).

    At the end of the day, it comes down to the buyers present on auction day and how much they are willing to spend to achieve their desired lifestyle both indoors and outdoors for their family.

    To view recent pool projects and gather ideas on how you can incorporate an Albatross pool into your outdoor area, view the pool gallery. Or visit our fully landscaped swimming pool display centres open 7 days a week.

    Source:
    1. Herald Sun 2013, Can I have a pool with that? Available from: http://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/can-i-have-a-pool-with-that/story-fncq3gat-1226698453057. [15 August 2013].
    2. The Age 2014, In the swim - the pull of a pool Available from: http://www.domain.com.au/news/in-the-swim--the-pull-of-a-pool-20140308-34ean/ [9 March 2014].
    3. The Herald Sun, A house you can swim in Available from: Herald Sun - A HOUSE YOU CAN SWIM IN - PressDisplay.com [3 March 2014].

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