Installing a swimming pool at your Italian property

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Installing a swimming pool at your Italian property

Depending on who you ask the words 'swimming' and 'pool' will either conjure up images of tanned bodies sipping gin and tonics, leisurely floating along in their ray bans on their lilo. Or some people may more readily associate with the thought of crying into their hands having realised they have financially ruined themselves for a cracked mess of concrete and mud in the middle of their garden.

Our pointers below guide you through the pitfalls and waterfalls, the deep ends and roman ends in no time.

Before you even start to build a pool in Italy, whether it is an above ground or submerged pool, you must take the advice and seek permission from the local authority. Granted, in some areas, they may look at you like a silly foreigner for wasting their time, asking if you can have an oversized paddling pool in your garden, but 'better safe than sorry' is by far and way the best option before even the first belly flop has happened.

Today, there is a catalogue of different choices available to the potential swimming pool purchaser; the above-ground, submerged, concrete, pre-fabricated, liner, DIY etc. Put simply though, the two main choices are: Above the ground or below the ground i.e. Do you want still be able to afford dinner tonight or are you happy with just drinking chlorinated water for the foreseeable future?

Above the ground: Installing an above the ground swimming pool is becoming an increasingly popular option due primarily, to its affordability. Arriving flat packed, they are easily assembled (well easy is what it will say in the manual) and offer the option to be dismantled, taken with you if you move and occupy comparatively little space. At the lower end of the range, you are looking at less than £500 for a inflatable vinyl sided variety, up to a hard panelled, wood, plastic or galvanised steel costing between £4,000 and £10,000 depending on shape, size and materials.

Below the ground: When you start on considering the options for the more traditional below the ground swimming pools, the first things to consider are 1) budget 2) what type of swimming pool you would like and 3) most importantly is my garden suitable for this type of pool.

Many people plough head long into digging great big holes into their prized lawn before having an appropriate and essential survey carried out on the soil. Depending on the type of soil and footing, this will greatly influence the type of pool you will be able to have (if any at all)

The choices available are ever growing but essentially fall into 3 main categories:

Concrete and Tile
The most expensive but the most impressive. This method involves creating reinforced steel walls with poured or sprayed concrete. Tiled interior. Options are infinite regarding shape, size, heating systems and filters.
Cost: From £30,000 upwards in Italy

Less expensive and the technology is improving but this type of pool uses concrete foundations lined with vinyl. The only problem is that the vinyl typically has a shelf life of only 10 years before needing to be replaced.
Cost: From around £18,000 to £25,000

Often seen at the side of roads throughout Italy, these fibre glass pools are already shaped and delivered in one piece straight into a hole in you garden. Much less expensive but limited on options and are often quite shallow, preventing you from perfecting your triple summersault with pike.
Cost: £8,000 to £15,000

With all these options it is worth bearing in mind the cost of digging the hole to fit the pool. Excavation and renting machinery can be expensive and not to mention where to offload all the soil.
Maintenance is of course worth bearing in mind too. Filters, heating systems, chemicals, solar panels and so on all add up. Typically, allow around £1,000 to £2,000 per year to keep it clean and in good working order.

Pools are an expensive business in anyone's terms and it is therefore a good idea to seek professional and reliable advice before embarking on any project. If you can afford it, always pay professionals to carry out the work for you as this should not only ensure a better end product but should also give you some recourse should any problems arise.


A Place In The Sun