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Tips for Building a DIY Pool in Australia

By Colm, August 14th, 2023
Tips for building a DIY pool in Australia

A question we get asked a lot is - what exactly is a DIY pool? 

The words DIY and pool together can sound pretty daunting and although we call it a DIY pool, it's not like building a flat-pack wardrobe. In fact, DIY essentially refers to project managing the pool build yourself or, if you have trade experience, taking on some of the work.

Traditionally, a pool building company will apply for council approvals, buy a fibreglass pool from a manufacturer and then excavate the area, install the pool, install the fencing and complete the landscaping. However, with a DIY pool kit you buy the fibreglass pool shell and filtration equipment and then coordinate the other parts of the pool build. 

By contracting an excavation company, a local crane company, pool installer, fence company and landscaper, you can save thousands of dollars on the final cost of the pool build. 

DIY or Fully Installed?

There are various phases to a pool installation and they require a degree of knowledge and experience. There are two main methods of installing a DIY pool:

  1.  Project manage the entire process yourself 
  2. Have a licensed installer complete the installation from permits right through to the fencing. 

     

Which method you choose depends on your experience, skill level and budget. The more parts of the installation you take on yourself will lead to the greatest cost savings, however if time constraints are an issue, engaging a licensed installer may be the best option.

Some installers will arrange the Council permits, crane, excavation, pool installation, pool fencing and landscaping, this all in one service is still more cost effective than a traditional pool company and you have limited involvement, so it’s a great option. 

Points to consider:

• How much of the project do you feel comfortable coordinating?

• How much time do you have to project manage the installation?

• Are there parts of the pool build that you want to take on e.g Council approvals?

• Is there a local licensed installer you can engage?

State and Council Regulations

The first step in any pool build not just a DIY pool is obtaining the relevant approvals. Each council has different requirements and it's crucial that you obtain the approvals before the installation commences. Timelines for approval vary widely between Councils with some taking 4 weeks and others up to 6 months! 

Timing

With a DIY pool build it's crucial to get the timing right so you can organise the correct trades at the right time. As with any DIY project, timing is everything and you want to line everything up to keep the costs down. 

NSW

In NSW there are two ways to get your pool approved, CDC (Complying Development Order) or a DA (Development Application). A CDC is normally the preferred route as its quicker and cheaper, however there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to pursue this path. In some instances due to soil types or the home being a new build, a full DA will be required. Whilst this is a more expensive option, if it is required then it's a must and you need to adjust the timelines to accommodate approval times which can be a minimum of 8 weeks.

QLD, ACT and SA

Each State and some councils have different requirements so make sure you talk to your local council to ensure you have the correct approvals in place. 

Waiting for approvals

This is the first hurdle to get through and whilst it can be frustrating having to wait for the approvals to come through, you can be productive during this time. Use this waiting period to plan the landscaping, choose which plants will work well around the pool and even buy a few plants to test whether they survive in that location. A test run with plants is always a good idea as they are expensive to buy so you don’t want to buy multiple plants only for them to not survive due to the light conditions around your pool. You can also use this time to look for outdoor furniture. The space around the pool can really set the scene for that backyard oasis so plan ahead and purchase the sun lounges and chairs so you’ll be all set when the pool is complete!

It can be daunting getting the approvals which is why Swimming Pool Kits Direct can help take care of this for you, get in touch and we can talk you through the process. 

Top Tips

 • Start planning early, Council approvals can take months so submit the paperwork as soon as possible to avoid delays

• Use the wait time for approvals to plan the pool build 

• Research the plants you will use for landscaping

• Get multiple quotes for each part of the pool project

• Obtain references for the trades you plan to use

Prepare a Budget

During the planning stage, it’s important to set a budget for each element of the pool installation. Include a contingency plan in this so you will have a buffer in case of any unexpected costs. It’s a good idea to consult with the trades you will be using and ask if there are any costs you’ve not taken into consideration.

What size pool is best? 

This is one of the biggest initial decisions in the DIY pool journey and you need to take various factors into consideration. Remember that the pool's size and shape should complement the overall aesthetics of your outdoor space. When it comes to the size of your pool, think about how you want to use it. A lap pool is a great option if it's mainly for exercise and you want to have a pool that's long enough to swim laps. However, if you have a young family, a rectangular pool with a deep and shallow end may be more suitable. It’s also important to think about scale, a large pool can dominate the backyard and take away the space for a lawn and limit the landscaping opportunities. It's crucial to maintain a harmonious balance between the pool and the rest of your outdoor living area. 

What shape pool should I buy?

When it comes to the shape of the pool, again it's important to think about how it will be used. A rectangular pool is timeless and more versatile as you can have a shallow and deep end and it's also suitable for games such as volleyball. A rectangular pool is also easier to fit a pool cover and works well with a roller. 

Freeform pools are trending in 2023 due to their natural and organic look which with the right landscaping can blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. However a challenging factor with these curved pools is the pool cover which can be tricky to toll out from a roller.

Top Tips:

• Choose a pool size that sits well in the space, avoid a pool that dominates the backyard

• Allow room for outdoor furniture like sun lounges

• Think about how you want to use the pool - is it for swimming laps or relaxing?

• Do you need a shallow and deep end?

• Plan the landscaping to complement the shape of the pool

Conclusion

Building a DIY pool in Australia offers a savvy, cost-effective alternative, allowing you to achieve the same quality of a fibreglass swimming pool that traditional companies provide, but at a fraction of the cost. Navigating the DIY route requires meticulous planning, adherence to regulations, and dedication to overseeing each project phase. But, with the right guidance, you'll soon be basking in your personal backyard oasis, creating cherished memories for years. Looking for a step-by-step roadmap? Dive into our comprehensive guide on "Fibreglass Pools: DIY vs. Fully Installed" and ensure your pool project sails smoothly.

Need help planning your DIY swimming pool in Australia? We love nothing more than to talk all things pools so give us a call to talk through your plans.

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