Choosing a pool builder for a difficult or challenging concrete swimming pool design in Melbourne

freeform pool with 4meter high wet feature wall during construction

Last time we looked there were in excess of 150 companies in Melbourne building concrete pools.

The Swimming pool and spa Association (SPASA)  has 70 listed in Victoria.

So that’s 70 Companies who all are run by licensed pool builders who know how to build pools.

So the question is;

How do you choose a pool builder for a difficult or challenging concrete pool design in Melbourne?

Some builders will look confused or disinterested from the get go and never get back to you. Some will say they “can do it” but will severely under or over quote cost of the project and some will start the job and pull out half way through.

It is important you choose a builder who is experienced in complicated and challenging pool design and construction- so you get a great result, delivered on budget and a structurally sound investment.

In this post, we will look at what constitutes a difficult or challenging pool build, and what experience is required to ensure a build is successfully designed and executed taking into account environmental and construction variables to minimise client risk and ensure a process, and the result focused outcome.

DESIGN:  “If you can dream it, It can be done.”

The design of a pool these days is limited only by one’s imagination. With current construction materials and technologies there is very little which can not be done and if you need proof of this, you only need to look to Dubai.

*It may be a pool built very close to an existing structure.

*It may be a pool built into the side of a cliff or partially suspended.

*It could be a rooftop pool or a pool built significantly out of the ground.

*the pool may be canter-levered over another structure.

The options are endless.

The critical point comes when selecting a builder. It is important  that they understand the associated construction challenges presented by these specific design constraints,  and that they are experienced in the implementation of  the complex construction techniques and technologies required to achieve the result.

This will ensure the client is provided with realistic costing on the build so as to firstly understand the feasibility of the project and secondly to minimise the risk of potential variations during the build.

Infinity edge pool
Infinity edge pool design on the sloping site and out of the ground on sub floor footings.

ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES:   I would like the pool here…but??

Specific site variables can throw up a number of challenges which may need to be overcome to allow for a pool design to come to life. A pool is generally a large-scale construction requiring earth moving machinery and soil removal, heavy raw materials and large amounts of labour.

-Limited access

A Pool location with tight or limited access presents some real challenges… It may be that an excavator will need to be craned into a back yard, the soil may need to be moved by hand out of the site, or sent out on a conveyor belt system through a house.. There is a number of challenges but in general if we have a doorway to the back yard.. we can built a pool.

-Sloping sites

Sloping sites are a common occurrence with the increased popularity of infinity edge pools. A pool needs to be founded deep into natural ground to prevent it slipping down a hill. There is also the challenges assocaited to access and OH&S concerns when working on a steep environment.

-Challenging ground conditions

A soil report is always a good place to start but whats underground is never fully understood until ground is actually broken.

Melbourne has it all. Sandy unstable wet areas, hard shale rock moving through to solid basalt rock veins  and there is even areas with a significant amount of buried rubbish. We have dug up car bodies,  and  old septic tanks are a common discovery.

Experienced pool builders will have a general understanding of the typical soil conditions around melbourne and as such expected challenges can be understood and managed prior to construction begining. Hitting rock on excavation can easily add 10k to a built and if a client has not been informed of this,  there additional costs may blow out budgets to a level where the pool may have never began if the client had fully understood the risks associated to the build.

9 ton jack hammer breaking up bluestone in northcote
9 ton jack hammer breaking up bluestone in Northcote.

EXECUTION:  So thats how you do it!!

A Shotcreted pool structural shell  may need to work in conjunction with a number of other construction technologies, such as bored or solider piers, screw piles, strip footings , bond beams and underpinning to allow for a construction in a complicated environment.

Excavations may required, numatic rock splitting or blasting, sandbagging or backforming and shoreing up of wet and unstable soils.

A roof top pool may require subfloor structural  strengtheneing as well as commecricial quality waterproofing techniques.

An understanding of which combination of the above listed construction techniques is required to completed the project, always considering the project budget , only comes with experience.

A  project costing  needs to be understood by the client prior to the builder receiving complete structural engineered drawings and for this reason realistic assumptions need to be made regarding the structural build. These assumptions can only be made by people experience in building pools of a similar standard.

25m lap pool built above ground on strip footings
25m lap pool built above ground on strip footings.

At Minke Pools we are highly experience at building pools of a complex nature.

We believe it is important that a client fully understands the costs associated to their dream pool before breaking ground.

And the crazy part is …. We actually love the challenge presented by a project where we get to build a structure in an environment where many others may have said it cant be done or its simply too hard.

If you’ve got a challenge for us.. We would be excited to look at it..

freeform pool with 4meter high wet feature wall during construction
freeform pool with 4meter high wet feature wall during construction