Building a Home and Swimming Pool: Save Money by Doing Both at Once
—Keep project costs down with simultaneous house-pool construction
Are you buying a home in a planned development or hiring a builder to construct a custom residence? Well, if you also plan a swimming pool in your new backyard, consider building the pool right along with your new home.
While home builders typically finish a project before the new owner adds a pool, it’s not the ideal approach. A more effective strategy is to cut costs by doing them both together.
Timing the two jobs at once—instead of separate dates for a home build and a pool dig—should save money on a variety of construction costs. In some cases, it may not work out to build the two simultaneously, but in all cases, it makes a lot of sense to check if it’s possible.
Reducing odds for construction complications that increase expenses
As with most any home improvement project, it stands to reason that efficient construction cuts chances for extra project costs. The smoother the process and the greater the coordination of labor, supplies, and equipment, the lower the potential for snags that raise the budget.
For example, your home builder will hire an electrician to install power lines in your new residence. So, if you are building a house first and planning a pool afterward, why not handle some of the infrastructure needs ahead of time?
Another opportunity to save money: Have the home electrician run power to the future site of the pool equipment. Yes, an electrician will have to come later for a quick visit to connect pool equipment to a power source and the electric meter, but the needed electrical lines will already be in place.
You can do the same with stubbing a gas line and connecting it to the gas meter. Complete this kind of work in advance to save time and money.
Here is another potential scenario to consider: In some cases, your home builder may have a landscaper put in trees, shrubbery, and flowers. They might even have crews install a sprinkler system and add other exterior finishing touches such as a walkway or patio.
But they may be in the way of heavy machinery and other construction site activities needed to build your pool. Why face the possibility—and added cost—of having to harm or tear out landscaping or other outdoor improvements that were just installed?
Another possible complication can occur when a home builder erects walls or fencing around the property lot. It’s better to avoid this by having the pool go in while your house is under construction and before walls and fencing is up. Doing so allows wide open access to your lot, and that allows for a large excavator and dump truck to easily enter your backyard. In some cases, that alone can save money on pool construction costs.
Here’s why: Once walls or fencing is up, access to the yard may be limited. A side yard may be the only way in, and in some cases, it’s very narrow. As a result, there may not be enough room for a large excavator—which is needed to dig the hole for the pool—to enter the pool site.
In the case of narrow access, your builder typically has two options. One is to use smaller machines, such as a Bobcat, that can make it through a tight entry space.
The smaller equipment will take longer to complete the work, driving up costs. And the dump truck—needed to haul off tons of excavated earth—will have to park on the street. Crews will have to use not one, but two Bobcats for the job: one to dig the pool and another to transport dirt in small increments out to the parked dump truck. Again, costs will increase.
The other option is to take down the wall or fencing. In the case of walls—which typically cost more to build and replace than fences—the more effective approach will likely to use the first option above. With fencing, you will need to evaluate the cost of removing it and then putting it back up against the cost of the first option.
A tougher scenario is when no side yard or other access to the pool site is available. In that case, taking down the wall or fence may be the only option. You will need to have your contractor put it back up after the pool is completed.
Extra-difficult access issues: In rare cases, homes are built with virtually no access to the backyard from the street—providing access only a few feet wide. Such a scenario comes from a home’s tight proximity to other homes, slopes, cliffs, or unusual lot position and configuration. It’s so tight that even a Bobcat cannot squeeze in.
While uncommon, it does occur. And once the house is built, typically one of the only solutions comes down to what’s known as a “hand dig”; crews with shovels manually excavate for a pool—a costly, labor-intensive process. Or, builders may opt to use a crane to lift a tractor into the backyard over the wall; the tractor will unload dirt over the wall and into wheelbarrows. However, a proactive tactic will avoid this problem: Have your pool builder excavate the hole before the home foundation gets poured.
Yet another yard-access consideration could be lurking. Your property may pose some hidden excavation—and cost—challenges. For example, the lot could contain hard ground, such as rock, caliche (sedimentary rock), or other underground obstacles your builder might need to break up and remove.
In that case, big machinery can dig out or bust up rocks faster than can smaller equipment. So, if your yard’s access is limited and can accommodate only smaller machines like a Bobcat, the dig will take longer—thereby increasing your budget.
Coordinating your home and swimming pool projects
Among the best reasons to build a home and a pool at the same time are the ways doing so can save money. By minimizing the potential for construction complications, you lessen the possibilities for cost overruns and achieve some efficiencies.
To top it off, a coordinated construction process paves the way for you and your family to move into a new home and start swimming right away!