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Thread: Designing my own pool and need some advice

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    Designing my own pool and need some advice

    Hi Everyone,

    I have designed a pool for my garden in sketchup but need some advice on the best way to get it built and more importantly get it done properly. So would really appreciate any advice.

    Firstly. I am based in London but the property is in Italy where there are a few local pool contractors. In the uk there are higher standards though, particularly when something something goes wrong, re liability , insurance etc. So I am just a little nervous/unsure as to the best way to approach this. When doing small building works in London I normally go with one contractor so they are responsible for everything. The issue here is I am nervous that if I just take my design to a foreign contractor I will not be sure they will build it the best possible way and I think it is essential for both a structural and pool engineer to be involved.

    What would you recommend out of the following options?

    A - Get a UK based pool designer/structural engineer (i have worked with one before) to produce a package of drawings and specification (based on my design) in order for the Italian contractor to build from?
    B- Get the Italian pool contractor to produce a package of drawings and specification (based on my design) and then get a UK based Structural engineer and Pool designer to approve it?
    C- Try and find an Italian pool designer and structural engineer to produce a package of drawings and specification and then put it out to tender. (Might be hard to find one though!)

    Secondly. - As the pool is totally above ground and on a slope I believe the only way forward is using a reinforced concrete shell. What method would you guys suggest for the walls?

    A - Entirely formed (poured) and reinforced concrete walls?
    B - 2 skins of block work with poured reinforced concrete in-between?
    I have seen both methods used but i am unsure as to which is stronger. I do also understand alot comes down to the installation but I would like to take the safest route possible. I understand that pool designer or contractor will recommend one way but I wanted some advice from other sources as well.
    Also how thick would the walls be approximately, my walls are shown at 500mm?

    Thirdly. - Is there a good child safety cover that works on negative edge pools? ie. one that you can walk and fall on without it sagging. From my image you might notice that the cover comes from the terrace (where the furniture is) and therefore I am not sure how the cover is fixed on the negative edge side. (which is the long front side).

    Fourthly. - Has anyone had any experience using limestone walling on the inside of the pool? The render behind i assume would act as the water barrier. I know it wont be very smooth and it may sound a little crazy but the idea was for the pool to look rather rustic and perhaps how a flooded ruin might look.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    With best wishes,


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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Designing my own pool and need some advice

    Welcome to TFP!
    I can't really answer your questions regarding engineering, but my gut feeling is to let the Italian builder design it as they feel is appropriate. They know the terrain, the geology, and would be the ones liable if something were to fail.

    I don't see an image so can't help regarding the cover...though I expect you'll have trouble with a safety cover and negative edge. Every safety cover I've ever seen is anchored every meter or so on all sides, and with a negative edge that won't be possible.

    Do you mean a solid limestone, or something like a travertine, with lots of pits and holes? I think it could work, but I wouldn't use anything that doesn't have a smooth surface...otherwise the pits will fill with dirt and/or algae, and will be a nightmare to clean.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    cbink's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Houston, Tx

    Re: Designing my own pool and need some advice

    I would tend to agree with MITS.
    I think my concern would be if you had a Brit engineer/designer that unless they took on the entire project management of it for you, you could potentially be in a difficult position if something didn't go to plan as the builder will no doubt claim it's the designers fault and the designer/structural engineer will no doubt say it's not been built to plan. I think I would want all my eggs in one basket in terms of who would be taking responsibility for the build.

    If you're concerned about the structural integrity you could get an independent structural engineer to review it.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
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