The Real Cost Of Swimming Pool Building

If you’ve ever looked into building a pool you’ll know that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about swimming pool cost.

Some sources tell you that building a pool starts at £20k and others suggest that it can’t be done for less than £100k. So which source is correct? (If any). There are so many variables when estimating a swimming pool cost which can easily become problematic. 

There are a wide range of swimming pool construction methods, all with their own pros and cons. For example, a one-piece or fibreglass pool can be fast to install, but can be inflexible in design options, finishes and specifications. A poured or sprayed concrete pool can take 2 to 4 months to install but can, within the bounds of physics, be any shape or design you like. There’s also stainless steel to consider as well for a striking aesthetic.

There are also many different finishing methods: Liners, large format porcelain tiles, mosaics and renders.

So understanding the context of your project cost can be extremely difficult. Do you need £50,000 or £250,000? And how do you know if you’re getting value for money at your chosen price point?

Swimming Pool Costs – Our Research

To try to solve this problem I asked for prices from 10 of the UK’s leading pool companies. I put the same project parameters to all of them because I wanted to ensure the quotes were all on the same basis.

To represent the majority of pool buyers, our example project was an 11 x 4 metre heated pool with an automatic cover. The reasoning behind this choice is that an 11-metre pool is long enough to feel like you’ve completed a meaningful length, but not so long as to be outside the bounds of what can be considered a reasonable average family pool size.

Swimming Pool Cost Conclusions

The first thing worth noting is what was included in the quotes. Most companies generally quoted for tanking (creating the watertight shell), installation of the liner or tiles, filtration and specialist pool items like heating, fittings and pipework.

Companies rarely quote for ground works (digging the hole and getting rid of the soil) beyond giving a rough guide. This is a  reasonable approach, given the complexities that ground works can entail. Any quote for groundworks provided prior to a site survey to get a full understanding of the site conditions, access and ground makeup should be taken with a big pinch of salt.  

So what did they quote me? There was a very wide range of cost provided, from around £85,000+VAT for a basic concrete liner pool or a one-piece pool – to £220k+VAT for a very high spec tiled pool with stainless steel fittings, and good quality filtration, heating and cover systems (and many prices in between the two).

When you google pool building costs you find a multitude of articles and pages suggesting a family pool build costs between £20,000 to £50,000 – none of the companies we contacted could deliver a family pool at that price point.

Also surprising was the range of prices I received considering I asked each company for exactly the same thing. The majority of the quotes I received were between £120,000 and £200,000 + vat without the ground works. 

Each company had their own methods and specialities, some would only one-piece pools, some only tiled pools. This can make it difficult to know what the best option is as there will always be bias based upon each supplier’s preferred approach. Our advise is to triangulate opinions and speak to as many suppliers as you can asking for the facts about why their solution is best for you.

What We Learnt

There are several lessons learnt from the exercise for swimming pool cost.

  1. Swimming pools are expensive in the UK. Due to the fact that the cost of labour is high and because pool builders simply don’t build as many pools in the UK as they do in warmer countries, they can’t achieve the same quantities of scale.
  2. The range of quotes you will receive is wide so make sure you read each quote carefully to understand what has been allowed for.
  3. Make sure to factor ground works into your budgeting. A lot of pool companies won’t quote for this as it’s usually more cost effective to have a local groundworks company do it as they will have local resources and won’t have to travel and rent as much machinery. Groundworks can include: digging the hole for the pool, digging trenches for pipework, levelling the site (if required), any surrounding hard landscaping, drainage, plant room construction, creating temporary access and setting up the site.

Does A Pool Add Value To Your House

As an extra bit of research, we phoned a range of high-end estate agents to get some advice on the effect a pool can have on house value. The general feedback suggested pools will only add value to a house in the middle to the top of the market as the prospective buyer will be more likely to be able to afford the maintenance and running costs.

But, this depends entirely on the type of pool you build. The classic ‘bright blue box’ (a cheap blue liner with low end coping stones and tiles) in most cases will never add value; this is because they are seen as un-slightly, and perceived as having high running costs.

On the other hand, a robustly-built, well-designed pool with high-end finishes in keeping with the house and economical plant/machinery and low (or zero) chemical-usage is likely to add value.

In summary, it’s clear that pools in the UK are a significant investment so it’s vital for you to ensure your money is being spent in the right place. Our advice is to do your own research, take biased opinions of pools builders with a pinch of salt and come to your own conclusions about what will make the project worth it for you given your requirements.

If you’d like a quote for a chlorine-free natural mineral water pool you can get in touch by contacting us and speaking to one of our consultants. For more blog posts relating to swimming pool cost, please visit our blog archive.

Cost of building a swimming pool