Finding a builder
You need to make sure you pick the right builder for your specific requirements.
Like most people, you probably want to wait until spring to install your backyard pool. In theory, it should be finished by early summer, right? But what you don’t know is that planning and building a pool takes time – longer than you realise. In fact, demand for swimming pools is higher than ever, which means it can take months to design, build and finish a backyard swimming pool.
That’s why you should start shopping around for your pool in autumn or early winter. An early start gives you plenty of time to finalise the design and permissions (yes, you need permissions!) before excavation and installation can begin. What’s more, it can make the building process faster and easier – and save you money in the process.
Want to know how? Read on to discover eight reasons why it’s smart to plan and build a pool in winter.
A swimming pool is a big investment, which is why you should shop around to find the best pool builder for your needs. According to Canstar Blue, it can cost between $25,000 and $75,000 to buy and install a pool, with custom and premium installations costing as much as $100,000. To make sure you’re spending your money wisely, check out pool websites, visit showrooms and ask other pool owners for recommendations. But more importantly, choose a builder who has a demonstrated history of successful and ethical trading, such as a member of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA). When you start researching early, you have time to check references, weigh up different quotes and make the best decision for your family’s needs.
Everyone’s pool needs are different. In-ground or above-ground? Fibreglass or vinyl liner? With a spa or without? Starting early means that you can weigh up the pros and cons of different pool sizes, features and types, and make decisions based on your needs and budget – not a deadline.
Your pool builder will also inspect your property, identify challenges and propose solutions. This will give you a chance to ask questions and discuss options. For instance, you may discover that there are sewerage pipes or cables under your property, which could make installation difficult, or that a pool will significantly reduce garden space. They will also advise on how big your pump or heater needs to be based on the size of your pool, and how much clearance you’ll need for the fence. Taking time with the plans will help you make the right choice and avoid unnecessary costs or surprises down the track.
Once your pool design is finalised, your builder will send it to your council to get a Development Application (DA) approval and construction certificate. This can take up to eight weeks. In spring or summer, councils are inundated with requests, which means it could take even longer. If you get in early, though, there’s a good chance your application will be processed quickly. But even if there are delays, you’ll still have plenty of time to build the pool and have it ready to go in summer.
Winter is a quiet period for pool builders, which isn’t surprising. A swimming pool is the last thing on our minds when temperatures drop. But it’s actually the best time to start planning your pool. Builders will be available to give you fast quotes and advice, and you won’t have to wait weeks or months to get started. Plus, the pool will be completed sooner because contractors won’t be juggling multiple projects at the same time.
If you wait until November, contractors like plumbers and electricians will be in high demand for other jobs that need to be completed before Christmas, so it could delay your pool. Make sure you ask your builder for a timeline for completion. With recent COVID and supply issues, there may be unexpected delays on materials, even in winter.
Pool companies aren’t as busy during the cooler months, which is why they offer discounts and run sales to rustle up business. This means it’s a great time to save hundreds or even thousands on pool building costs. At the same time, check out pool supply shops or websites. They may have end-of-season or EOFY deals on pool pumps, filters and heaters.
Most of us spend more time indoors in the cooler months – including our furry friends. This means that excavation and construction can take place without children, pets or soccer balls getting in the way. Outdoor activity can be disruptive and dangerous during the construction phase, particularly if the fencing hasn’t been installed yet. As a result, getting a pool built in the cooler months is safer for both contractors and your family.
Not only does a new pool require landscaping to set it off, but you probably need to replace landscaping that was lost during the build. This means planting new shrubs, grass or evergreen trees around your pool. But these can take time to grow and won’t look attractive straight away. If you plant them at the height of summer, they could wilt and die in the heat. However, if you tackle this landscaping in winter, your trees, plants and lawn will have time to establish and look stunning by the time summer arrives.
If you start building a pool in spring or early summer, there’s no guarantee it’ll be finished before February. That means you’ll miss out on using your pool when your family’ needs it most (unless you live in a warm climate or use a heating system). There’s nothing worse than suffering through a long, scorching summer and staring into the pit of an unfinished pool. By starting early, your pool will be swim-ready as soon as it’s warm enough to swim.
There’s no reason why you can’t plan and build a pool in the warmer months – if that’s what works for your budget and schedule. Just be prepared for it to take longer. It could be autumn or winter by the time it’s finished. But this isn’t a problem if you get a pool heater or you live in a warmer climate.
However, you won’t be able to enjoy those winter discounts that could save you thousands in installation costs or equipment, or the prompt attention you get from pool builders during the off-season. On the plus side, building in the warmer months means that the ground is dry, making earth moving lighter and quicker. Plus, if you’re getting a concrete pool, waterproofing, painting or tiling will dry faster in the heat.
The only problem with installing a pool in winter is the weather. Some regions can be battered by rain, wind and storms, delaying construction and turning your yard into a mud pit – or a pond for aquatic birds! Plus, removing water from a hole in the ground is challenging and time-consuming, particularly if the shell hasn’t been installed yet.
If you live in a region where temperatures dip below zero, there may be delays in pouring concrete and waiting for it to cure (5–35 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature range) or even filling the pool with water (there’s a risk it could freeze in your pipes). In that case, your builder will keep an eye on the weather and tell you when it’s best to proceed.
Once your plans have been approved, installation can begin. Most builders will give you a timeline for each step, but if you want to know what to expect, here’s a quick rundown:
While most people scramble to plan and build their pools in spring, it’s not always the best time if you want a fast, affordable and trouble-free pool installation. By starting the process in autumn or winter, you’ll ensure that you have plenty of time to find a builder, plan your pool, get permissions, find off-season sales and – most importantly – start swimming in summer. Keep in mind that many issues can delay construction, like a sloping site, material shortage, COVID and the increasing popularity of backyard pools, so you can never start too soon! For more information about looking after your new pool, check out our Pool & Spa Guides.