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How much will an in-ground pool cost? Why you need a contingency budget.

Adding a luxurious swimming pool to your property is a dream many Sydneysiders share. Not only does it provide a refreshing escape from the scorching Australian summer, but it also enhances the aesthetics and value of your home. However, before diving into the world of pool construction, it's essential to understand the various factors that contribute to the overall cost to build a pool. We've been asked many times "How much will an in-ground pool cost?". As part of this blog post we will delve into the details and provide a breakdown of the expenses involved in building and maintaining a new concrete swimming pool in Sydney.

Pinnacle Pools is one of the leading and longest running concrete swimming pool builders in the Sutherland Shire. We’ve been setting the standard in concrete pool construction for over 30 years.

in-ground concrete swimming pool

Part one: How much will an in-ground pool cost?

Constructing a concrete pool involves several components, each contributing to the overall upfront cost. To see the process and each stage of how we build a new concrete pool, please click here.

The total upfront cost of building a concrete pool in Sydney and NSW can vary based on factors such as size, complexity, design, site access and chosen features. However, as a rough estimate, you can expect the overall cost range to be between $60,000 and $150,000, including design and planning, construction and materials, filtration systems and pool finishes.

It's important to note that these cost ranges are estimates, and actual expenses can vary depending on various factors specific to your project and location.

Contact us to come visit your site where we can provide more accurate estimates based on your specific requirements and preferences.

Should I install a concrete or fibreglass pool?

At Pinnacle we design and build custom concrete pools. We have done a previous blog post outlining the differences between concrete pools and fibreglass pools. Please click here to have a read.

Part Two: What are the ongoing costs for swimming pool maintenance?

Once the pool is built, ongoing maintenance is necessary to keep it in good condition. Here are the typical ongoing maintenance costs to consider:

  1. Chemicals and Water Treatment: The annual cost for chemicals and water treatment ranges from $200 to $1,000, depending on pool size and usage. Concrete pools require additional acid during the first 3-6 month start-up process to balance the water due to concrete being an alkaline substance.

  2. Energy Consumption: Pool-related heating and pump energy expenses can range from $500 to $2500 per year, depending on equipment efficiency and usage. For example, the price of gas/electricity has gone up recently, so running a gas or electric heater when the weather is colder can have higher running costs. Pool pumps also need to be run daily. Having a pump that can be run at multiple speeds can also help reduce costs.

  3. Cleaning and Maintenance: Costs for cleaning tools, occasional professional servicing, and repairs should be factored into the ongoing maintenance budget.

  4. Water Usage: Water bills may increase due to topping up the pool, with costs varying based on pool size and local water rates.

  5. Insurance and Safety Compliance: Additional insurance coverage and compliance with safety regulations may sometimes involve occasional expenses.

Filling concrete swimming pool with water

Tips for Cost Management:

To manage the ongoing costs of maintaining a concrete pool in Sydney, consider these tips:

  1. Opt for energy-efficient pool equipment to reduce electricity costs.

  2. Install Solar Panels to offset the costs of running pumps and heaters during the daytime.

  3. Implement proper pool maintenance practices to minimize chemical usage and extend equipment lifespan.

  4. Pool covers - Cover the pool when not in use to reduce evaporation and heat loss.

Part 3: Why you need a contingency budget when building a pool!

The contract is signed. Approvals are in place. Now you’re sitting with your cup of tea watching as we dig a big hole in your yard. Everything is going swimmingly (excuse the pun), when you hear a loud and awkward noise.

"We’ve hit rock."

Guys, we do everything we can to ensure our quotes are as accurate as possible, but some things are impossible to know until we get started. These are often referred to in the construction industry as ‘PS items’ or Provisional Sums.

Pinnacle Pools have been building in the Sutherland Shire area for 30 years and we generally have a good idea on what type of material exists under your site although unfortunately sometimes we do find hidden surprises (asbestos, rock, concrete slabs, septic tanks etc) , that means that there are instances where additional costs may arise during the build process.

At Pinnacle Pools we want the new pool journey to be a stress free as possible with no surprises, so we always educate our clients on the potential risks and additional costs that can be incurred. It’s better to be upfront and communicate these risks early so you’re not caught unawares.

It is important to have a contingency budget in place to ensure that you are prepared for any unexpected expenses that may arise during the pool building process. Having a contingency budget of 10-20% of the overall project cost will also give you peace of mind, knowing that you have the resources to address any unexpected issues that may arise.

So what are the kinds of things you might need your contingency budget for when building a pool?

Sometimes you hit rock bottom

Words you don’t want to hear when digging a hole are “We’ve hit rock”. Hitting rock when excavating for a pool can be an unexpected and costly event as the excavation time and dumping costs are increased. Additionally, if the rock is large and leaves behind a big cavity, this may need to be filled with additional concrete or reinforced as well. Unfortunately, this is one of those “we can only find out when we start digging” scenarios.

excavation of swimming pool

It’s a landslide!

When we dig the hole for your swimming pool, if the surrounding soil is poor or we encounter lots of bad weather (La Niña anyone?), this can cause the land to keep falling inward into the hole prior to concreting the pool shell. To stop this from happening we need to build additional formwork and shore the walls up around the pool with tin sheeting to hold back all the surrounding soil.

These extra materials and labour add additional costs based on the size of the retaining wall required. To minimise the risk of this happening, we always aim to move quickly through the process from excavating to concrete pour and hold off from digging if a tranche of poor weather is predicted.

concrete pool excavation

Soils ain’t soils

Occasionally we come across sites with soils that are reactive, too sandy, have poor drainage or could potentially allow the pool to shift over time. To prevent this from happening our engineer may require us to add additional re-enforcement or dig piers into the ground to add stability to the overall structure.

Electrical, gas and plumbing ohh my.

Electrical: Additional power point outlets maybe required for lights, pumps, automation etc and this may vary based on your requirements toward the end of the project. If you don’t have an electrician handy, we can always point you in the right direction.

Plumbing: Pool filters need access to the sewer system for backwashing and drainage of the pool. If there isn’t one close, a plumber may be required to install or connect these services near the pool equipment.

Gas: If you have a spa and want gas heating and don’t have a connection to where the gas heater is a plumber will be required to connect these services.

concrete swimming pool plumbing

Council bond

Although the majority of times not an expense, all projects will require a council bond or damage protection fee. This is around $3000 and needs to be paid by the owner to the council when the project commences. If no damage is done to council public property including roads, paths etc this will be repaid at the end of the project.


Whilst we take the utmost of care of your property (as though it was our own!), the heavy excavation machinery can sometimes damage turf where site access is required. In some cases we use heavy duty mats that the excavator drives on to help minimise damage but sometimes this cannot be avoided, especially when there is wet weather. The grass will either need to be repaired or usually homeowners will use this opportunity to refresh certain aspects of their pool area and yard (new plants, lawn or garden features etc) to match the look of their dream pool.

concrete pool Kirrawee Sutherland Shire

Part 4: Can any Builder Construct a Pool in NSW?

In NSW, a builder can construct a pool provided they hold the appropriate Swimming Pool Builder license and comply with the regulations outlined by the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018. Engaging a licensed pool builder with experience in navigating the permit and certification processes ensures a smooth and compliant construction journey.

One last thing to think of when comparing pool quotes & pricing

Swimming pool builders usually give quotes which are vastly different in pricing and structure. Its really hard to compare apples with apples sometimes. Picking the cheapest pool cost sometimes can come back to bite as some pool builders might hide costs or add "additional cost" line items which will be added at the end of the build process.

At Pinnacle, we don't take shortcuts or have hidden costs. We want to ensure that your pool building process is smooth and you finish with a pool that you love and will also stand the test of time.

Its important to know that things like pool fencing are not included as part of the quoting process and you will have to engage with a pool fencing company to install this prior to water going in the pool. If you can't find anyone to do this, we have relationships with the best in the business.

What is the cheapest shape of inground pool?

A rectangular shaped pool is the standard shape of pool installation which is usually easiest to excavate. An inground swimming pools installation and pool costs are always reduced by having good site access and when digging not hitting rock. The averaged sized in ground pool for a family is around 7mx3m in size.

concrete pool Caringbah Sutherland Shire

So, there we have it. Building a new pool is exciting!

There are risks, but by managing these upfront and ensuring you have a contingency budget in place, you safeguard against surprises while we take care of everything else required to get you swimming in your pool as soon as possible!

Click here to contact us and talk to us about your dream pool today!!


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