Space can be tight in Sydney to squeeze in a swimming pool! This month Renovating Mums chatted to Jess Canabou about how she went installing a small plunge pool in her back yard in the Northern Beaches. To help her budget Jess managed her pool installation as an Owner Builder…read on >>>

Installing a small plunge pool on a budget.

Installed a small plunge pool sydney costsWe had planned a large extension on our house and were not sure if a pool would fit into the budget. It was a now or never sort of situation as once we did our extension we would have limited access to our backyard for excavation equipment. 

We decided to go for it and install a little plunge pool!  2.5m x 4m

I had a few quotes from some of the big names for a variety of finishes. Fibreglass, concrete or drop in concrete. I quickly realised that the quotes were super vague with a number of exclusions.  
They didn’t include excavation costs. They didn’t include fencing. They only included pavers around the perimeter of the pool. It was looking as though a complete pool was going to be anywhere in excess of $60,000. 

Embarrassingly, I only had $25,000. 

I started to wonder whether I was being crazy to think it achievable.

I decided to look into DIY kits. I love to project manage, and I already had my owner builder permit. I came across a supplier called Australian Kit Pool Sales. The company is a small company with an owner named Andrew who has been working with fibreglass pools since the beginning of time. I arranged a meeting and knew straight away that this man was no pushy B.S salesman. He was matter of fact and knew the ins and outs of compliance and the best way forward in terms of how we lodge our application.

We decided to do a CDC application, separate to the CDC application for my home extension and run them concurrently. This avoided a lot of costly extra work that would have been imposed on my home renovation by doing them together. Who would have known? Not me. Andrew also suggested I rethink my retaining wall plans and have 2 smaller retaining walls instead of one large one. This would save me costly engineering work.

I will refer to the company as “Andrew” for ease of reading. After all, he is the owner operation of Australian Kit Pool Sales.

We agreed on a schedule of works and who was responsible for the jobs

So off we went...

After my CDC was approved and I had the gexcavation for a small plunge pool sydney costso ahead to start I found someone with a large excavator to come and dig up my back yard. Excavator and operator cost around $100 p/h. 

I was surprised at the float costs involved with these excavators. I never considered that they are so big they need to be transported on a tow truck. Float was around $600 total. 

I had a lot of fill to remove before we even started digging the pool. 100 tonnes in total was removed. The man who I hired with his excavator had a contact for a “truck and dog”. This is a large truck with a large trailer attached to it. It takes 27 tonne of fill. And costs around $1300 per load. I was responsible for interpreting the engineers plans and marking out the zone for the digger to dig the hole. I had a laser level to check the depths. I could barely believe I was doing it!!!

Plunge pool installation sydney northern beachesOnce the hole was dug the pool was scheduled for delivery. This was quite seamless and the part that I paid the pros to do. They craned the pool in and ran all the pipes for the pump and filtration system.

Once the pool was in I engaged my builder to do a lot of the rest. He formed up the pool for concrete and arranged the concrete pour. About $1000 of concrete, and half a days labour. 

After that I engaged my tiler to come and pave around the pool. I was able to save money here. I already had a lot of travertine pavers laying around that just needed a jet wash. I think I saved about 2K by reusing these. Expect to pay around $100 sqm for tiling. While the paving was happening I sent my fence plan to a place called Fences Galore who sell online glass pool fencing. They told me what size panels I would need, and for $2100 I had all my glass pool fencing supplied and delivered. My builders then installed the fence. Another half days labour.

Project managing installation of a small plunge pool sydney costsAll of a sudden I have a fully functioning plunge pool!!!! 

Our home extension is still underway and some of the pool finishes have taken a back seat. 

There are a couple of jobs pending with the pool. Render a wall along one side. Redo the gardens with non climbable plants. Install a heater – this was out of our budget to begin with so we made sure the system could be expanded to accommodate one. Tile a waterline…

 I don’t love the fibreglass finish around the top of the pool. It was always a big no no to tile onto fibreglass but there are now products available to do this and I will definitely do this! My tiler says it’s a summer job. Hehe. The pool cannot be empty so he will need to get in the water to do it 😊

Below is a breakdown of my costs.

Thank you Jess for sharing your new plunge pool and how you went about planning and installing it on a budget! Love how you enbraced the restrictions of your site and made it work for you. Your pool is a stunning addition to your back yard and we can’t wait to see how you go with your home extension. 

Do you have have great renovation experience you would love to share with us (or even a not so great Real Reno story?). We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line here and let us know all about it.  

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Leave a Reply

  1. Michelle Coco

    Hi Jess, great work! What do you mean by being able to avoid costs associated with submitting one CDC for both the pool and house reno? What are the advantages of having 2 separate but parallel applications? Complete beginner over here 🙋‍♀️ Thanks!

  2. therenohoe

    Hi Michelle

    I would have never known. It was only that my pool guy suggested by including them both on the same application I may be forced to include more extensive storm water management. I confirmed with my certifier and engineer and both confirmed it was likely. This was due to retaining walls i had and the ground levels at the time of doing the pool. Also my pool guy suggested rather than having a 1200 high retaining wall to break it up into 2 x 600’s. One at the back of the pool and one at the front. A 600 retaining wall was exempt from formal engineering diagrams. In my case it was actually a better design and looked better anyway.

    I hope that helps 🙂