- Around 11% of the Australian population has a pool at their home
- Fiberglass pools are typically cheaper than concrete pools, but aren’t as customizable
- Fencing and ongoing maintenance costs need to be taken into consideration
Australians love their pools.
In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of pools per capita in the world. Around 2.7 million Australians have a pool in their backyard, close to 11% of the population.
In places such as Perth, this is closer to 20%.
However, pools are costly.
Thanks to significant excavation costs, inground swimming pools are expensive to install. Pools are expensive to maintain, and understandably, regulations around pool fencing are tight.
Heavy fines can be handed if pool fences don’t meet local regulations, such as not having a gate that only opens outwards. So, there are many factors to take into account.
How much does it cost to build a pool?
It can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000 to install a concrete pool, and $31,500 to $100,000 to install a fiberglass pool.
Each year, around 25,000 new inground pools are installed. Between 65% to 70% of these are made from fibreglass, a significant increase from just 5% in the 1980s when vinyl liner and/or concrete were the main materials used.
Pool builders are hesitant to provide a pool installation quote until they have inspected the site. This is due to a range of factors such as access to your property, soil type and general difficulty of the excavation. If you live on a busy road, you may need traffic control, for example, when the pool is being transported.
Should I install a concrete or fiberglass pool?
In WA, fiberglass makes up around 80% of the pools installed, annually. This is generally due to the fact they are cheaper and can be installed with more ease.
However, there is a downside to fibreglass. Your options will be limited to the manufacturer’s sizes and shapes. That isn’t too restrictive though, with dozens of styles and colors still on offer. Concrete pools can be completely bespoke.
On the other hand, less maintenance is required for fiberglass pools.
The shell of a fiberglass pool can range from $6,500 to $25,000. The installation itself can vary considerably from $25,000 to $75,000.
How much does it cost to build an above-ground pool?
An alternative to inground pools are above-ground pools.
These types of pools work out significantly cheaper, due to lower installation costs.
Above-ground pools can cost between $2,000 to $7,000. Usually, a large and flat space is required in your backyard. You can add some paving, landscaping and decking costs if need be.
Of course, the same fencing rules apply, so the cost of these need to be taken into account too.
How much does it cost to maintain a pool?
As mentioned before, pools are expensive to maintain and have long-term costs.
Pools need to be kept in a good condition for functioning and cleanliness, even if you don’t use the pool often or when the pool is traditionally not used as much, such as during winter.
On average, pool maintenance costs range from $600 to $1,500 per year.
This can be broken down into about $80 to $110 per month to run a pool pump, $100 to $1,500 per year for heating a pool, and $50 to $1,000 to clean a pool.
Other additional costs need to be taken into consideration, such as pool covers, cleaning products, lights, filters and pool cleaners – Kreepy Krauly’s are the best-known brand.
How much does pool fencing cost?
Fencing around pools is required by law. Fencing costs can range from $200 to $600 per linear meter, depending on the type of fence.
Semi-frameless glass fences cost from $200 to $275 per linear meter.
Frameless glass fence costs from $275 to $600 per linear meter.
Treated pine timber slat fence costs from $200 to $350 per linear meter.
A wrought iron fence can cost from $450 to $600 per linear meter
The specifications for pool fencing and gates are detailed under Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012.
This is applicable to all pools deeper than 300 millimetres, including portable and inflatable pools.
The main regulations note that fences and gates must be taller than 1.2 metres, the gap at the bottom cannot be greater than 100mm, and the spaces between vertical elements of the fence must not be greater than 100mm.
How to hire a pool builder
Given the complexities of building a pool, it is vital to choose the right person with the right licenses, qualifications and experience.
You should ask for written quotes, discuss insurance, ask for what licenses they hold and can ask for examples of their work or/and references. Given the prevalence of social media, many swimming pool builders would have online content too, featuring their previous projects.
Some Australian jurisdictions have a dedicated swimming pool building license that is required, while others fall under a general building license.
Upon receiving a quote, it is important to check it carefully. Make sure everything is included in the price, such as installation, excavation, paving, pumps, landscaping and any other necessary items. You should have a relatively itemized quote.
Ben Hunt, the owner of Concept Pools and Spa, Darwin, told The Property Tribune his top five factors that homeowners should consider when building a pool.
Top five factors when building a pool
- Budget – how much are you willing to spend?
- Area—how much room do you have
- Access – are you going to be able to get machinery in easily?
- Leaves – the location of your pool is best not to put a massive tree that’s going to drop leaves in it.
- Dial before you dig – make sure underground services are checked, especially given how deep a pool is.