Without doubt the first question all your friends and family will ask you when you tell them you are buying a property in sunny Spain is “DOES IT HAVE A POOL”?
If you are purchasing in a community or an apartment block you may find that you have a communal pool, however if you are purchasing a country villa some do and some do not and if you are buying a new build or off plan you may need to decide if you want a pool or not.
There is the cost to consider, the mess whilst it is being built, the ongoing upkeep with cleaning and maintaining levels…….. these are all costs that must be taken into consideration, however the first time you jump into your own pool on a hot and sunny afternoon to cool off… It was worth every penny.
So what do you need to know before dipping you toe in the water (sorry).
DO IT BY THE BOOK.
Building a pool in Spain is a very common practice. The builders, architects, planners, town halls all have great experience, so make use of it.
Firstly solicit the opinion of your friends and neighbors. Who built their pool, what did it cost, how happy were they with their builder, did they finish on time, hidden costs, what was included in the price and Would They Recommend Them?
Armed with this information you can then invite the recommended builders to come and quote for the work. A good builder will also make recommendations on pool size, terrace size, location, orientation, salt or chlorine, auto or manual ph, glass or sand filter, cold or solar shower. The builder will tell you what is included in his quotation such as architects fees, planning application, license fee and end of works certificate.
My builder suggested building a seat in the pool steps. There is no better place to sit and have a cold drink or my partner sits here for hours reading a book. He also recommended LED color changing lights which added 100€ to the total cost but wow does the pool look great.
When you have settled on the builder they will come back with their architect who will make all the drawings to be submitted to your local town hall (Ayuntamiento). The architect will advise you on where you are allowed to put the pool on the plot in ration to borders as well as orientation for the sun etc. The architect will be familiar with all the technicalities of each Ayuntamiento and how to approach the application.
Do not try and cut any corners. Falling foul of the planning process will cost you more in the long run.
Once planning has been submitted and approved your build can get underway. Things tend to move very quickly. The diggers move in and the hole is dug with a single day as long as they do not come up against bedrock.
Once the whole is dug the iron work (reinforcement) and bricks are installed then the concrete (gunnite) is sprayed then the pool back filled then smoothed and waterproofed. Then the tiles are fitted, electric, pumps and systems.. Lots happen in a short time. The only slow down is whilst they are waiting a few days for the concrete to set.
Meanwhile your terrace concrete is laid. My builder gave me a cost per m2 for tiling, however I chose my own tiles, which were slightly more expensive and paid the difference.
Finally when the pool is finished….fill it up. Remember that you may not be allowed to use tap water, so again check. You may find it is not only quicker but cheaper to order the water by a tanker (75€ for 12.000lt).
Your builder will leave you with copies of all the paperwork for the pool. A copy and receipts for all licenses and permissions, the pool project and the end of work certificate to say the pool has been accepted and passed by the authorities. With this in hand you can now register the pool with both the land registry and catastral who are responsible for informing the town hall about what you have on your plot and how much council tax you should be paying. Your annual property tax (IBI) will increase slightly, but you will not be back taxed and fined if you do not register.
This paperwork can be done by the architect, your gestor or your lawyer. They will do it faster and easier than you.
USEFUL POINTS WORTH REMEBERING.
Orientation: Keep the pool in the sun as long as possible.
Keep it away from trees that drop leaves or seeds.
Auto fill: Do you want the pool to top itself up with an auto fill or do you manually want to top the pool up with a hose. I went for auto fill and occasionally disconnect it so I can monitor water usage.
Depth: Do you need a deep end? My pool is the same depth. You can always touch the bottom, the pool is warmer, easier to clean and it is safer if you have youngsters in the water
Pool lighting: Go for LED lighting. You can manually change the color, the colors can cycle through. Worth every penny.
Auto ph and salt system: I personally chose these with my pool. The computers monitor the levels and dose accordingly. I simply clean the pool as and when required. The auto systems level out any chemical peaks and troughs and ensure optimal levels. Much better for sensitive skin, young and old alike and dyed hair.
Costs: I have lost count of how many times I tell my clients to set a price and stick to it, and yet I am just as guilty as everyone with allowing costs to build without keeping control. I specified better terrace tiles, led lights in the pool, led lights around the walls, I had the walls redered around the pool, up speced the pool surround, changed the design of the pool house, added salt system and auto ph system.