Avoiding the hidden costs of building a pool.

Avoiding the hidden costs of building a pool.

by Chris Gill, October 15, 2017

Avoiding the hidden costs of building a pool.

When building a pool there are a few places that costs can grow. Costs come in two forms, they can be hidden or they could be areas where potentially costs can grow.   There are some ways you can reduce the risk of escalating costs and keep the project in check.  Let us explain a few.

Hidden vs Potential cost escalation.

Hidden costs are those items that a pool builder may allow for but the allowances may not cover your expectations.  Often a builder will allow an amount for your coping, waterline tiles or even the interior finish that is much less than what you would choose for your pool, the item you have your heart set on costs more.  For example, the Coping (tile band around the top of your pool), waterline tiles, and interior finishes can all vary widely in cost.  Potential cost escalations are those items where provisional sums have been allowed in the contract and should only relate to excavation costs.  The last area where costs can escalate are things not allowed for in the contract or exclusions which could be things like pool fencing, certification, electrical works, etc.

  1. Allowances for finishes.

The first area to consider in hidden costs is the finishes allowed for in the quote. When considering if a pool is for you, can I suggest you look at the finishes you like (Pinterest and Instagram can be great research tools), and once you have determined what you like, do some research into the quality and cost of the individual items.  For example, waterline tiles may vary by $50m2 or more, so for an average pool the variance between a builder’s allowance and what you want could be at least $500 or more. Doing your research first will help you define to the builder what you want and then the costs can be allowed for in the quote.

  1. Excavation costs.

However, the second major cause for cost escalation is excavation.  All pool builders will allow for a cost for excavation of your pool, and it will always be a provisional sum.  What’s a provisional sum you may ask?  A provisional sum is a cost associated with the contract that cannot be accurately measured.  The reason for this is we don’t know what’s under the ground.  It could be rock, rubbish, soft sand, etc and as a result until we start digging we won’t know easily what we are up against.  Whilst it doesn’t happen often, we have recently had 2 pool digs where we struck a rubbish tip.

Sometimes the unexpected may lay beneath the ground that no one can see.   Generally it is only when we start digging that we can find issues that can lead to more costs.  A solution for this may be to organise a soil test, if access can be achieved, for a vehicle auger that can drill down and see what type of soil and whether there are any unforeseeable obstructions.

Another area associated with excavation is when a pool builder reduces his overall price by cutting excavation costs, allowances for finishes etc., so that they come in as one of the cheaper quotes and hopefully wins your work.  Don’t be fooled into thinking cheaper is better, as no one ever complained about buying good quality.  Average excavation costs including removal and disposal of clean fill should be around $4,000-$6,000 depending on access.

  1. Exclusions-items not part of the contract.

, you need to consider the parts of your project you need but may not be included.  An example would be any paving/landscaping, pool fencing, or electrical works.  A plumber may also be required if there is nowhere to run your backwash to.  In some cases, you may need to earth your fence if it is within 1200-1300mm of the pool water.  These additional costs can add up.

The best way to resolve these issues is to have a company that will manage all steps of the project. From the initial design to quoting for your pool and surrounds.  Also don’t forget to ask for a fixed price.  If all decisions are made during the design process then your quote should not vary.  The only area for potential cost creep is in excavation.

Have a look at the rubbish we removed from these two projects below. https://www.facebook.com/lifestylelandscapedesign/?hc_ref=ARQfaGuvtnwT5FIMGLhFLr1sOCboGD3K-_Hh8krR2AJ0SfxTZrUQuU9cftyWUOEMrd4

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