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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 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
    *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
    *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
    *Inbuilt fungicide
    *All pool interior options for a concrete pool are porous and are prone to algae and bacteria growth
    *Can get ‘black-spot’ or Osmosis under the Gel Coat
    Low Maintenance Pool Interior Yes – in fact Aqualux requires no cleaning at all
    *All pool interior options on a concrete pool are porous and therefore require more maintenance
    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
    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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