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Should you consider a pool kit?

When looking at swimming pool installation options, many homeowners investigate pool kits. For some, it may be the lure of DIY and for others, it’s a desire to remove the middleman. Whatever the motivation, it’s a complex route and you’ll need to be aware of potential pitfalls.

While it may sound as simple as flat pack furniture assembly, don't let the name fool you — electing to purchase and install a swimming pool kit is a complex construction project. It requires knowledge, skills and experience that are probably beyond the average punter, so it shouldn't be attempted without some serious consideration, careful planning and a fair whack of expert advice.  

What is a swimming pool kit?

Swimming pool kits are essentially the shell of a pool, sold by a manufacturer or retailer and installed either by the purchaser, in the case of DIY, or another party — usually a builder. The shell is typically either fibreglass or vinyl liner and the kit will also usually include items like the pool pump and the filtration and skimmer system. 

There are a few sales channels for swimming pool kits including online platforms, retail outlets, pool suppliers and manufacturers. You should make sure that your potential purchase is coming from a verifiable supplier and that it meets all of the relevant local standards.  

Who should install a swimming pool kit?

Deciding who will install the pool kit is a major consideration. If you opt to DIY, you'll need a pretty good grasp of engineering and construction principles. The installation must comply with all of the relevant ANZ standards, as well as being in line with manufacturer's recommendations. Deviation from either will run the risk of voiding your warranty and probably cause major headaches when it comes to insurance. 

As the purchaser, you are significantly exposed if your swimming pool is installed outside of required legislative requirements. This means you need to be across everything include contracting with multiple related or unrelated parties, any installation defects or sequencing issues (problems that affect the logical flow between each of the major construction processes), workplace health and safety problems, building warranty and other general insurance coverage checks and balances. 

Contracting expectations and obligations

If you are using another party to install your swimming pool kit, it's imperative to understand your contracting expectations and obligations from the outset. These include (but aren't limited to): 

  • Understand the relationship between the swimming pool kit supplier and the installer — whether recommended or used. What is the nature of the relationship between the two? Can these parties provide contact details or written references from satisfied customers? Can you verify that the product being supplied is legitimate, meets with required standards and is covered by necessary warranties? Does the installer have the necessary skills and license to undertake the work?

  • Make sure you have executed a suitable construction contract. This is a major building project, not a Saturday arvo working bee with a few beers. The contract is a legally binding document that outlines the exact project scope and terms.

  • Insist on checking the installers' qualifications before anything commences.

  • Ascertain up front who will be responsible for seeking local council permissions, permits and any other approvals. 

  • Decide and document the process for any changes from the original plan and project scope that may affect the installation costs. 

  • Decide and document a process for roles, responsibilities and direction when any issues arise — as they inevitably will. 

Quality, installation and peace of mind

If you are managing the purchase and installation of a swimming pool kit, you should satisfy yourself that the following actions have been taken:

  • You have confirmed the quality and the warranty of the pool shell and any other provided equipment before purchasing

  • You have confirmed the adequacy and accuracy of supplied drawings and specifications

  • You understand completely the scope of engineering required for the installation including necessary equipment and any additional associated hire charges

  • You have made the installer aware that you must have full oversight of the project

  • You are satisfied that compliance with building, work practices and health and safety regulations is being observed.

Align with an expert

Any building project comes with a degree of stress and building from a swimming pool kit is no exception. What begins as a potential cost saving exercise can quickly derail, leading to unexpected delays and escalating costs. 

The best option for anyone taking this route is to work with reputable suppliers and installers. Electing to engage a certified SPASA member means you can avoid quality and installation issues and unnecessary stress, while minimising the likelihood of budget blowouts in the event that things go wrong.

To locate your nearest SPASA certified pool professional, jump to the Find a Provider' tab for more information. 

Don’t get caught out

  • Be informed – be sure you understand the full engineering scope of the project.

  • Be clear – document roles, responsibilities and expectations in the event of unforeseen changes.

  • Be pedantic – ensure that all supplied equipment meets necessary standards and is covered by warranty. Insist on seeing installer qualifications, licensing and all approvals documentation.

  • If in doubt, don’t – if anything about the project leaves you feeling nervous, don’t move forward until you’ve sought the expert, legal or financial advice necessary to overcome those doubts.

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