Image : G Donaldson Builders

As the weather warms up and we look forward to summer holidays, you may be looking around your property and wondering whether a pool would be a good addition.

Putting in a pool is an expensive option, so Richard Poff, of RTP Builders in Christchurch, recommends choosing your site carefully to ensure you’re going to make the most of it.

“To get best value, a pool needs to be used as much as possible. If the pool is ‘down the garden’, will it get used in the less favourable seasons?”

He also recommends you consider the proximity of your pool to your neighbours. “Will your neighbours be able to overlook the pool area? This may affect how much use/enjoyment you will get. Also consider if there are trees which may cause issues, especially with extra maintenance.”

Phil Claffey, of Character Building in Gisborne, recently put in a pool and has a number of recommendations, such as including heating to allow year-round use, “if budget allows”.

Richard agrees and has a number of suggestions as to how you can efficiently heat your future pool. “Solar, electric, or gas? One of my neighbours has an ‘endless flow lap pool’, which is suited for basically lane-swimming.  It is 5m long and about 2m wide, fully enclosed and electrically heated, so it used all year round. They also have a large array of solar electric panels on their house roof to provide some relief to the power cost,” he says.

“Another neighbour has an outdoor pool that they heat using a heat pump, supplemented with passive solar water heating (black polythene pipe draped along the fence).  This works really well, and is pretty cost effective.”

Phil recommends going direct to a pool specialist to help with your planning, right from the start. “Plan for install in summer and check your water table, or your pool specialists can do this for you. They can also guide you on pool cleaner and the best pool cover for your situation.”

Richard highlights the possible need for consent, too. “Be aware of any planning or regional authority issues.  Will any required earthworks cause issues?  It is likely the pool will trigger a building consent.”

Phil recommends you also budget for landscaping – “Allow for coping stones around pool, fences and concrete or deck around the pool.  My pool company just does basic install and walks away.”

Richard agrees. “Gazebo or roofing over top, fencing and security around it, decks for lying about and enjoying the environment. If funds allow, an outdoor pool should be part of an entertainment area – decking, lounging/sitting area, barbecue space, etc.”

All these elements will help ensure your pool is an intrinsic part of your outdoor entertainment and used as often as possible.

Lastly, do not forget fencing. It is a legal requirement and vitally important. Your local NZCB builder can help with this one, building something custom to your needs. If you do decide to buy fencing, Phil has a word of warning.

“When buying fences from Bunnings or Mitre 10, make sure they are up to New Zealand standards for pool fencing, thickness on aluminium, distance between bars and overall height of fence.”

To find a nearby NZCB builder to help you with your pool plans, use the Find A Builder search function on www.nzcb.nz