Is your pool running swimmingly?


Is your pool running swimmingly?

For many people, a backyard swimming pool is part of the great Australian dream. However, installing one can be a source of major headaches for home-owners.

The common issues

Defects or unsatisfactory workmanship. Supply issues, including incomplete supply and delays. Domestic building charges, relating to variations, provisional sums, compensation and excessive stage payments and deposits. Damage caused to the owner’s property during construction.

Tips to help you avoid these pitfalls and make your project run swimmingly.

Check permit requirements

You must have a building permit for:

A swimming pool or spa deeper than 30cm (300mm), including above-ground pools and spas. Temporary inflatable pools and portable spas shallower than this do not require a building permit Pool and spa safety barriers, including windows, doors and gates that open into a pool or spa area.

Shop around

Choose your builder carefully. Show your selected builder examples of pools, and have detailed plans and specifications that suit your budget, your land and the regulations.

Have a written contract

We recommend that you have a written contract with your builder, regardless of the size of the project. The same laws that cover home renovation and building projects cover your swimming pool or spa construction.

For work costing more than $5000

The builder must use a written major domestic building contract. The builder must be registered with the Building Practitioners Board – ask for their registration details. Seek advice from your own experts to check your project – for example, a building lawyer and building consultant.Pay the amount set by law for deposit and stage payments.

Foundation report

Your pool contractor should get a foundation report to give you an accurate estimate of costs. We recommend that you discuss getting foundation data before signing the contract.

Exclusion clause

Some pool and spa contracts have exclusion clauses that can add substantial costs to the contract if additional work or material is required for specific reasons.

If the contract excludes things you want the contractor to do, ask them to provide costs for these and include them in the total price.

Costs sometimes excluded in contracts

Shoring up unstable soil around a pool excavation. Excavating rock from the pool site. Getting a comprehensive foundation report.


Before work starts, check with your home and contents policy insurer that you are covered for the work – you may need extra cover.