A swimming pool in your back garden may sound like the ultimate luxury but before you make the decision to splash out, there are some important questions to be asked and numbers to be crunched.
How about an indoor pool?
Basic decisions to be made include whether you are set on an outdoor pool or whether you’ve considered having an indoor pool built. The latter involves a more complex range of factors affecting the cost, such as building extensions or alterations to site the pool in addition to the cost of the pool build itself. You should reasonably allow for pool construction costs of £1,500 – £3,000 per square metre, plus building and alteration costs of around £800 – £2,000 per square metre. Add to that an air handling unit or environmental control system and the pool cover, and you could be looking at a £150,000 home investment for a mid-range spec.
Which outdoor pool?
Outdoor pools can be considerably cheaper by comparison. If you would love the facility to go swimming on demand and in the privacy of your own home, but you’re a budget conscious home owner, there’s a wide choice of outdoor pool types at different price points for you to consider.
- By far the cheapest way to put a pool into your garden is to go for an inflatable or PVC swimming pool. Typically installed with a steel frame, they can cost up to £1,000 and are relatively quick to install, perfect for upcoming heatwaves. On the downside, these pools are not designed to be permanent fixtures – they’re not sturdy enough to withstand the winter.
- Solid above ground outdoor pools are your next best option. Constructed from wood or steel panels with a circular frame, they can be installed by a competent DIYer and have a lifespan of around 5 years. Depending on size and quality, this type of pool will set you back between £2,000 and £10,000.
- For a proper in-ground outdoor pool, designs using concrete blocks and a PVC liner can be professionally installed from around £25K, while a mosaic tiled concrete pool will set you back from £45K. Beware that if there is ground movement, the concrete base can crack, while the liner is prone to damage and will need replacing after about 5 years.
- One-piece fibreglass and polyester pools can overcome many of the above problems. Costing in the region of £20-65K, the shell is quick to position into place and requires little maintenance. However, over time the material has been known to stain and ultimately fail as a result of water ingress.
- At the top end of the outdoor pools market, carbon ceramic one-piece solutions with antibacterial protection can be lifted straight into the pre-excavated hole, offering all the benefits of one-piece fibreglass and polyester pools but without the drawbacks. With a project cost ranging from £50-£150K, this is the gold standard of outdoor pools.
Building and installation
Whichever way you look at it, having a swimming pool installed is a big investment into your home. Don’t be tempted to cut corners by trying to do the job yourself unless you really know your stuff. Pool installations are a specialist skill, so make sure you choose a reputable pool installer to carry out the works.
For your ultimate peace of mind, you should also check that your contractor is a member of SPATA, the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association, so that you are protected against poor performance and covered by a warranty insurance.
And speaking of safety, do make sure that your pool installation includes an automatic safety cover. This may add upwards of £10K to your investment but may well save a life, especially if you have young children or pets. Touch button operation, alarmed fencing or infrared perimeter protection are all available to make your home swimming pool the safest it can be.
Before any building works can begin, do check with your local planning authority whether planning permission is required. Outdoor pools shouldn’t need permission unless your property is a listed building or in a designated area. Indoor pools are likely to need planning permission unless the build falls under Permitted Development.
Does a swimming pool add value to your home?
Adding a pool facility to your home should be a considered decision and it should be taken for all the right reasons. If you’re having a pool built in order to add value to your property, there are easier ways to accomplish this.
Homebuyers can be ambivalent about swimming pools, particularly if they see a pool that hasn’t been meticulously maintained. There can be worries about running costs and maintenance too. Outdoor pools are not as fashionable as they perhaps were some years ago, while the general perception is that the British summer is neither long nor hot enough to make the most of the facility.
Then there’s the issue of sacrificing valuable garden space. With buyers potentially considering removing the pool altogether, this may actually have a detrimental effect on the sale value of your property.
That said, if your property value falls into the bracket of £3 million and beyond, buyers’ expectations change. At this level, and particularly for country estates, an indoor or outdoor pool may be seen as a standard feature and will be high on the list of criteria buyers look for. If there is no pool, the maximum price may simply not be achievable.