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It's time to finally make the most of the great outdoors. And what better way to do so than to have your own swimming pool for your garden. Whether it is from a fitness point of view, relaxation, or for its aesthetic appeal, there is no getting away from the fact that owning a swimming pool offers myriad benefits.
''A swimming pool can enhance the quality of the time you spend outdoors,'' suggests Katie Hilal, Business Development Director of the multi-award winning landscapers, Terraverde. ''A swimming pool is a wonderful focal point for the garden and can become the primary focus. By adding water features you get the additional sound of water which can be soothing and relaxing.''
There is certainly no doubt that having your very own private pool is highly rewarding, but it can be lucrative in more ways than one.
According to members of the sales team at Better Homes, adding a pool adds value to a property. Rents for a villa with a pool usually start from Dh150,000. However it could be far higher than this depending on things like size and style of the pool, materials used and landscaping around the pool.
But while it seems that a swimming pool is a wise investment there is quite a lot to think about before going ahead.
''When thinking about installing a swimming pool you have to consider the size and how you would like to use and enjoy your pool — is it purely for fun, fitness or leisure?,'' explains Hilal. ''If it is for entertaining you can add built in pool bars, seating, pool loungers and jacuzzis. Or for fitness, you would consider a design that you can swim a length in.''
Don't neglect the law
There are also legalities to consider. Amirali Somji, General Manager, Silver Fox Contracting, explains, ''Local law requires a minimum space to be set back of 1.5 metres from boundary wall and villa structure. A new law states that four-foot safety fences with a self-locking gate are mandatory. Apart from these two stipulations, there aren't many requirements for residential pools.''
According to Somji, there is also quite a bit of paperwork involved with obtaining permits for pool installations. ''Every community or developer has his own set of rules, requirements and policies. A reputable pool contractor will be able to evaluate the amount of paperwork, times and costs involved depending on the location of the pool being built. The process involves submitting proof of ownership, workshop drawings for proposed modifications, contractor details and credentials and a host of other documents that differ from community to community.''
There are three types of pools available in the local market; these include concrete, fiberglass and vinyl liner.
Matter of time
''Building a pool that will last a long time and look good is an art that requires time. First things first, don't rush the process,'' says Somji. ''While you may be in a hurry to dive into your pool, understanding that it is a permanent addition to your home means that it has to be built right the first time.''
Somji says materials will have to last so you have to be careful while selecting something that is intended for outdoor use. There are many upgrades available such as nicer looking glass mosaics instead of the standard blue, salt chlorinators instead of conventional chlorine use, energy efficient heating and chilling systems instead of the conventional electrical heaters and coloured LED lights instead of the old halogen lights. Be sure to ask your pool contractor for a list of available upgrades that suit your budget.''
The construction of a swimming pool does take quite some time and a considerable amount of manpower. ''Building a pool is a time consuming process that involves excavations, levelling, block work, steel reinforcement work, concreting, tiling, plumbing and electricals, all of which is carried out by skilled workers, supervised by senior foremen, overlooked by engineers and controlled by the management,'' said Somji.
An ordinary and straightforward pool would take about 60 days to complete, whereas complicated infinity or overflow pools with multiple levels and complex hydraulic systems can take up to 100 days. Add to that landscaping and wood work and you are looking at a project that can take anywhere from two to six months.''
Once the pool is complete, many pool owners reap the rewards and the best bit is that with pools being so ubiquitous in this part of the world you don't have to lift a finger to maintain it.
''Maintenance is fairly straightforward but best left to the professionals,'' concludes Somji. ''Regular physical cleaning of pool surrounds, floor and wall vacuuming, addition of sanitization chemicals, filter backwashing, pre-filter cleaning — all would fall under the scope of works offered by a pool service company. This is normally for a flat fee of generally between Dh400 to Dh700 for residential pools, depending on size and location.''
With the maintenance in hand all that is left is to enjoy your pool. After a hard day in the office, or being stuck in traffic on the way home, what could possibly be better than to step into the garden and take a dip in your very own private swimming pool!
Find the right pool company
Ask these questions:
• How long have you been in the business?
• Have you been in business under any other name?
• Are you licensed? Ask for proof.
• Are warranties in writing?
• Do you provide after service following completion?
• Will I be instructed on the operation of my pool?
• Will your crew clean up when they finish?
• Who applies for and obtains the necessary permits?
If you are happy with all the answers then you know you are in the right place.
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Source: Helga Jensen-Forde, Special to Property Weekly