EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Any thing to do with swimming pools, fish ponds, or other man made structures which hold water (but not wells for drinking water).

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EVERYTHING you NEED to know for your first SWIMMING POOL

Postby jazzman » Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:33 pm

I occasionally come back and update this article and the last update is 27 Mar. 2009. Where I have quoted prices however, you may now need to add anything between 15 and 20% as steel, diesel and petrol went up by over 50% in mid 2008 and it has had an impact on prices. Now that fuel and steel price shave dropped just as dramatically, pool constructors have not reduced their prices again, thus benefiting from the wider profit margin. Only one constructor, a consultancy offering a panoply of real estate and corporate solutions for foreigners at reasonable prices, maintains a policy of adjusting its prices in keeping with the flux in the cost of raw materials, and traveling expenses.
Do please remember that I offer this information 'as is' to the best of my knowledge and I take no responsibility for any issues resulting from building you pool yourself.

Here are the very basics that you need to know and a lot of useful working links in one posting to constructors, suppliers and consultants. Please read it all, I cannot continue to personally answer all your PMs where the information is already supplied and is of a general nature, At the end of this posting is also a link to a site which provides important information on the safety regulations for design, construction, use and maintenance of all pools, private and commercial, in the UK. All the tips on the other threads are relevant and should be read too.

I've been involved with a few pools in a few different countries over the last 34 years (10 of those years in Thailand), from my own small domestic things to being talked into taking over the project management of an extremely large commercial concept in Thailand where the British consultant took several million baht deposit, left thirty Thai workers pouring a concrete floor the size of a football field and ran off into the night never to be heard of again.

One of the first things farangs will rush to do once they have built their houses, is to build a pool because it's a luxury they could probably never afford in the UK, even if they did have enough room in their housing estate sized gardens and could get through the maze of building regulations and planning permission. But it is a doddle here in Thailand. However, unlike the USA, Australia and southern Europe, in the UK because of its lousy climate, there is no tradition for domestic pools, and the Brits are the least knowledgeable about them and the most likely to fall foul of less honest propositions. There maybe a few private pools dotted around Bournemouth and the rest of the south coast, but they are certainly not a year-round luxury. The cost of building a pool which you can use for only three months of the year or less in the UK is best invested in an all-terrain SUV which will never see a rougher surface than the M25 and affords just as much swank as a pool. More people will see it, the missis can take the kids to school in it and it comes fully equipped of course with totally useless but impressive GPS for the already best mapped and signposted country in the world.

98% of all the roads in Thailand are paved so you don't need a 2 million baht off-roader. GPS is useless because neither the government nor Google have published any maps with regional roads to show on its screen. So you are going to invest your money and spend your spare time in your own swimming pool. No swank, because nearly every farang who has got a house here has got a pool to go with it. But if you live in Pattaya it is nice and it is a boon because you can't see the sea these days for the thousands of eastern European tourists enjoying newly found freedom and fortune, and the hundreds of scantily dressed Thai ladies trying hard to rip them off.

Turn-key solutions include everything from digging the hole to finishing the decking (surrounding path or patio) and all the pumping, filtering and plumbing, testing and commissioning the plant. Most builders will throw in a free cleaning suction pole, a season's worth of chemicals, and with a great flourish, a plastic Ph and Cl tester worth all of 400 baht. They often offer 7 - 10 years guarantee, but if it is a Western company, how much guarantee do you get that they will still be around in 10 years? Most western firms based in Thailand WILL charge significantly more than a Thai company (often as much or more than a pool would cost in America) and unfortunately there really HAVE been more than a few instances where they have received a deposit or payment and not fulfilled the obligations of the contract. Most however are perfectly respectable, particularly if they have been in business for several years, are authorised direct importers of the equipment they sell (important for guarantee service) and will readily agree to show you pools they have built and to meet their customers.

Pools are made generally in four different constructions:

• Concrete in-ground, tiled, painted or vinyl liner walls and floor.
• Moulded glassfibre, in-ground, pigmented smooth surface finish
• Stainless steel, in-ground with vinyl liner.
• Above ground (like you see in council house back yards) Frame+Vinyl or Inflatable.
NOTE: Gunnite® / Shotcrete® is not widely used in Thailand and its cost would probably be prohibitive.

Two basic techniques are used to get the water to the filter and back:
• Skimmers (rectangular holes in the pool wall that the water goes down)
• Balance Tank system with Perimeter Guttering or with an infinity edge (some ifinity edge syastems do not need a balance tank). Normally used in professional/commercial pools but increasingly popular for private pools. Allows the water level to be flush with the surrounding decking and also a gradually sloping floor from the edge to full depth. More expensive than a skimmer system, because it needs an underground tank of up to 25% of the capacity of the pool or at least a displacement surge trough for the displacement of water caused by the maximum bather load. There are tables for calculating all this. An automatic topping up supply with a break tank (because it must NOT be directly connected to the mains water), and special PVC grating all around the edge of the pool which is very expensive to buy (up to 1,000 baht per metre). The system also does away with the problem of positioning skimmers in a free-form (irregular shaped) pool, and building special formwork for them, and having to take any prevailing wind or breeze into account when siting the pool. Great safety for kids too as a long sloping floor from the deck level, at least on one side, could be incorporated making the pool particularly easy to enter and exit. It also has a further safety aspect in that the open/closed positions of the ball valves can be selected to feed the pump from the tank and not from the main drain which will then only be used for heavy filter cycling at night or completely emptying the pool thus avoiding the danger (see below) of people being sucked onto the grating and drowning.

A few types of filter medium:
• Sand (usually fine silica sand, can be bought from most builder's supplies)
• Diatomatious earth. (better than sand).
Zelbrite, a crushed volcanic product needs only 75% by weight than sand, is fairly expensive for the first load, never needs changing, excellent filtration qualities and perfect in combination with a salt-water chlorinator). or DiamondKleen crushed silicone dioxide from Poolrite which is even better and with which we have the best experience.
• Cartridge filters (A total waste of time and a rip off for imported replacement cartridges every 6 months).

And four basic techniques for treating the water:
• Manual addition of chlorine, algaecide, ph+ or ph- . (not accurate, time consuming, often wildly overpriced when done by pool maintenance firms, and expensive when the generic chemicals are packaged and sold as proprietary 'special' pool products.
• Automatic addition of the above chemicals using sensors and microprocessor controlled peristaltic pumps.
• Salt-water chlorinators for automatic and practically maintenance free function. The salt is a very low concentration and the chlorine it produces is completely imperceptible. No additional algaecides are needed and the cost against buying chemicals and/or paying a so called pool maintenance firm is amortised in one or two seasons.
• UV or ozone water sterilisation (generally only for very small pools or spas). Expensive; debatable performance; use not widespread.

All have been mentioned on this forum by other posters and in more detail. Below are some links to local manufacturers and to the leading international suppliers of pumps, filters and water treatment equipment that are almost all manufactured in Australia.
The leading Thai pool specialists all stock the items but many add far more than a reasonable profit margin, even taking into consideration the shipping and import duty. Some just go completely OTT particularly with farangs. If you come from Australia where most of the world's pool equipment is manufactured, buy it there, the saving will certainly cover your trip home to check on your errant, grown up children; and if you're not, it's a good excuse to visit the country if you've never been there and see some real live kangaroos and koalas, and buy some cheese and some frozen lamb chops.

Although each pool manufacturer/supplier will come up with the most convincing arguments for the kind he specialises in, unbiased pros will all agree without hesitation that there is nothing better and more reasonably priced than a correctly constructed in-ground concrete pool with tiled walls and floor, and a standard pump/filter combination. They are slightly more labour intensive to build, but we are in Thailand where labour just happens to be an extremely inexpensive commodity, and the rax materials are the cheapest. Which all makes the choice for concrete a perfect solution and is really the only choice too if you want to build it yourself. By doing so, it can easily cost you as little as 25% of a professional all-in estimate (see below).

DIY: No special technical knowledge is required for its construction except just what every house builder who can work with formwork (shuttering), bricks, gravel, sand, cement and rebar can do, read a simple drawing and use the specified materials and mix concrete.
So if you decide on a concrete pool, there is no real need to call the specialists in at all if you and your labour can do the above, and learn how easy it is to cut and glue high density PVC piping (NOT to be confused with the blue PVC used in domestic water installations). The filter and its multi-port valve and the pump all come with easy to follow manufacturers' instructions and templates and can be installed with no knowledge at all of how the machines work or of the processes involved in pumping, filtering and conditioning your water.
:idea: And if you are still queasy about the design side of the equation, a pool consultant will provide a perfect set of drawings based on your ideas, including a Bill of Quantities and where to buy. Their fees are negligible and will save you a lot of money, sorrow and frustration later. Sometimes they will provide a site manager at a small extra cost, and may be able to organise the labour for you at the correct rate. As far as we know, there is only one consultant/constructor who is prepared to offer these services. One DIY builder (Udon Thani, September 2008) originally declined the negligible quotation for the help of a consultant, and the pool he tried to construct has now cost him more than 200,000 baht in re-construction work after all the concrete (no rebar) collapsed, and the sub-standard piping blew apart.

All the brochures for the equipment tell you exactly which pump/filter combination to use for the capacity of your pool and climate, and tell you the pipe diameters to use and the max/min depths / heads and flow rates.
Anyone who can afford a pool in the first place, is not going to penny-pinch and compromise on quality, There is therefore no really cheap and nasty pool equipment on the market to watch out for except maybe equipment copies from China (filters rupturing, multiports leaking, pumps seizing - always when just out of warranty). Prices differ only slightly between manufacturers' products of the same performance and whether their pump housings are carbon-fibre, steel or cast iron. Standard pool filters are all built on the same principle; pumps may vary in price due to additional, but possibly not necessary features.

NOTE: if you are having a domestic pool designed or built by a pool firm, a steel control box containing starter relays, fuses, an array of knobs, lights, and switches, is a scam. Installing these adds more profit for the firm. All a modern domestic system needs is a 16A earthed (grounded) power socket with a switch and a plug in electric or clockwork timer. You can save yourself anything from 5,000 to 15,000 baht on your constructor's estimate.

The first phase, digging the hole is the easiest, quickest and cheapest part of the whole operation. Jazzman hired a JCB (backhoe) with driver to dig out a 5 x 13 x 1.7 hole and it was done in less than two hours for 2,000 baht. But if you live in or near a big city with a lot of farangs (Pattaya, Jomtien, Udon Thani etc.) accept to pay 10,000baht and think yourself lucky, otherwise 5,000 baht is the going day-rate for anywhere else and the price includes taking the dirt away. Get your wife to enquire about prices for the digging and insist that she NEVER mentions swimming pool, and never mentions that her husband is a farang - preferably she should say that her father wants a hole dug for water for his buffalo, otherwise the quote could be in the region of 60,000 baht! (Steve, Udon Thani, January 2007).

The major expenses are:
Formwork and rebar.
Ready-mixed concrete.
Tiles and special tile adhesive (or vinyl or Beadcrete, etc).
Decking (pool surround) if other than standard sandwash.
Pump and filter.
Salt-water chlorinator (if you want it).

Jazzman's total budget at his new home near Udon Thani for a 4x12 pool, average depth 1 m, with balance tank and saltwater chlorinator is 265,000 baht including labour - less than half the next cheapest estimate. (The dearest was 880,000 for the same spec.) Even if he's underestimated by 1O%, and he usually does, it's still a great price. Working flat out, with three labourers, the whole thing could be finished and swum in within 20 working days.

PRICES: As a (very) rough guide to complete pool solutions, if your pool has an average depth of 1 meter, has a standard rectangular form, a simple sloping floor, a skimmer based filtration system and standard (not gold plated) components, and you are quoted a price of more than about 13,000 baht per sq. metre for a simple pool, the director of the company is laughing all the way to the bank at your expense. Pool companies almost always quote for luxury and commercial quality solutions that you may not want, and he may pretend that more economical do not exist.

A couple of things to remember:

Free-form pools (irregular shapes, round, kidney, fancy) can work out at up to 20 - 50% more than rectangular, L-shaped, hexagonal or octagonal pools all which have straight sides. This is mainly due to the complexities of the formwork (shuttering) and the probabl need (recommended) for more cost intensive balance tank systems, infinity edges, or perimeter grating.

Even a small pool is going to be holding around fifty tons of water.
Concrete may set hard enough to walk on within a few hours but it takes about 28 days to cure and reach full strength. Some types of concrete continue to cure for months. Shrinkage will take place during this period and when building a pool it is essential to hire a vibrator to compact the aggregate once poured to fill any cavities and expel air pockets. The water in concrete does NOT dry - it reacts with the cement and becomes part of it - see my lead articles on concrete and materials here:
Topic #1027, Topic#672, and basic materials). To avoid any unpleasant shrinkage cracks it is therefore essential in a tropical climate to prevent it from drying. It's a good idea to cover large surfaces of concrete floors and beams with sacking, then drench them well with a garden hose. Even after the shuttering (formwork) has been removed, keep it moist this way for anything up to ten days before carrying out any further crucial construction on it or laying tiles; you can use this waiting time to get on with building your pump house and installing the technical goodies - there is nothing more frustrating than tiles coming off AFTER the pool has been filled. Inspect the concrete carefully and fill any cracks firmly with a fine, waterproof filler. Tiles MUST be laid with special proprietary waterproof adhesive, and MUST NOT under any circumstances be laid the Thai way.
- it is [i]very difficult to train Thai house builders in the art of laying swimming pool tiles.
When the tiles have been laid [/i]and allowed to dry - even if your pool is built by a 'professional' - tap every single one gently with a broom handle. There should be a dull thud. It will be obvious if there is a hollow ring to the sound, and there is no other solution than to prize the offending tile carefully up, clean out the adhesive and grouting and stick a NEW tile in its place.

Except for the water distribution nozzles of the variable direction bull's eye variety and floor distribution diffusers, main drain covers and skimmers, ALL the other plumbing accessories (piping, unions, ball valves, check valves, glue, etc.) are non-swimming pool specific and can be purchased or ordered at half the price from a local hardware store. The same applies to tiles and mosaics and waterproofing additives and binders for cement. And never say what you want it for or the price is likely to double again as if by magic.

If you find the cost
of the hi-impact PVC maindrain grating excessive (and at up to 2,000 baht it certainly is. It cost 35 baht to manufacture, but it IS for a swimming pool owner), by all means check out the superb new designs complete with integral hydrostatic valve from Poolrite or <edit Dozer 7/30/09> at a fraction of the cost and always remember that a badly designed or wrongly positioned maindrain grate can create a dangerous suction that people, especially young children can get stuck to and drown. It happens every year in public swimming pools in the UK. The grating must be designed for maximum unobstructed flow without creating a vortex and must be bolted or screwed down, but easy to remove under water for maintenance. Current building regulations in the EU now require a minimum of TWO separated main drain gratings so that if one gets blocked by a person, the other will continue to cope with the suction from the pump. They must be interconnected.
Some injection moulded maindrain units comprising both bowl, grating and hydrostatic valve are appearing in the pool shops at prices between 3,800 and 4,500 baht and pool builders will charge you for them instead of the perfectly suitable 600 baht ABS gratings.

If your water table is higher than the pool floor, and it almost certainly will be be unless you live on particularly high and well drained land, you may need to incorporate one or two hydrostatic valves in the pool floor to prevent an empty pool from rising out of the garden under groundwater pressure and floating on it like a concrete ship. It only needs to move a couple of millimetres to fracture all the plumbing buried deeply in your concrete under and behind all those expensive tiles which were lovingly placed with great precision in the shapes of whales and dolphins...

Pool builders and suppliers in Thailand

S. Napa (Builder, supplier, importer. Most other swimming pool firms purchase from them. Large showroom and factory in Sukumwit somewhere near Ekkamai. Vast stocks of materials too. Not cheap, but regular and highly recommended, will give big discounts on very large quantities, i.e. if you are a professional pool constructor or building a really enormous commercial pool).
http://www.jdpools.co.th (builder, quotations MUST be compared with realistic materials and labour prices from other companies)
Pool & Spa (builder, and manufacturer of a wide range of ABS and PVC fittings, shop and showroom in Sukhumvit , 100 m from Thong Lor Skytrain station. Reasonable prices for equipment)
Interwater (builder, Khon Kaen, professional, first-class, and very, very expensive. Specialised mainly in large scale water treatment).
Funny Family (commercial pools, builder)
(builder, dodgy quotations for farangs at 3 x the list price ! and a 'take-it-or-leave-it' attitude)
[url=http://www.valiantpools.com[/url] (manufacturer, supplier. Est. 1995. Phuket only. Still listed in Google but when Jazzman checked in June 2008 none of their websites were responding. The quote Jazzman received from them in 2007 was totally outrageous)
<edit Dozer 7/30/09> - these people will will take any constructor's estimate you have been given and will tell you for FREE if you are being ripped off, and what your pool project should be costing you, and if you get stuck with a DIY project, they will come in at any stage and bail you out for a very modest fee. They will also quote for domestic turn-key solutions in Isaan, Bangkok and central plains, and thePattaya - Chonburi - Chacheogsao - Rayong region. In other areas, they will quote for commercial sized pools and for domestic pools that are part of a larger concept. They will however recommend a good firm near you. SZC is the only firm to constantly adjust its prices with the ups and downs of the cost of raw materials and exchange rates for imported equipment.
There are nearly as many pool constructors in Pattaya as 7-Eleven shops. Some are really excellent but are booked solid up with up to two years waiting list. Others are good and deserve more orders, some are a must to avoid.
And if you are in Isaan (not every farang lives in Pattaya or Phuket), there is a choice between a big water treatment company called Interwater Ltd in Khon Kaen, Desjoyeaux in Udon Thani, and <edit Dozer 7/30/09> that operate all over the region. Interwater have built nice pools for farangs in Udon Thani and you should by all means get them to quote you, and then be absolutely sure to compare their prices with, for example, <edit Dozer 7/30/09>. Interwater have enjoyed a quasi monopoly in Isaan for many years and charge accordingly knowing that there is no alternative. Nowadays the situation has changed with a couple ofcompetitors on the scene. Interwater's main office and showroom is on the Mitraphap Highway about 5km on the right hand side, after the main traffic lights in KK, leaving in the direction of Udon. The factory + another small shop and office is on the left hand side of the road which goes to the airport, near the footbridge right opposite the main entrance to KK University. BTW, continue down this road for 2km and 100m on the left before the overpass to the airport is the HQ store of one of the country's largest DIY megastores: GlobalHouse.
There is also a very small and inconspicuous Thai owned pool shop in the Udon Thani area. Quotations are outrageous, and the designer always bills for pumps and filters of exactly double the maximum required capacity, and at about 20% more expensive for the same models and brands as other retail outlets.
Try contacting to <edit Dozer 7/30/09> too if you need information or advice in in perfect German or FrenchThai. Their main Isaan unit is located on the Big Gym City complex on the leg of the ringroad that goes round the south-west quadrant of the city from near the airforce base to the Airport-Nong Bua Lamphu-Loei highway.

Pumps, Fllters and Treatment

Direct Pool Supplies
Poolrite (excellent price/quality ratio)
Zodiac - the people that make the rubber boats.
Clark Rubber

Traditional systems of pumps and filters which have enjoyed the same optimal design features for over thirty years are difficult to improve upon. Metal filter housings and internal components have been replaced by industrial strength long-life plastics and fibreglass and are now offered by leading manufacturers with a guarantee of at least 10 years. Pumps in varying qualities are now manufactured from light corrosion-free alloy and carbon fibre bodies, stainless steel impellers, and shaft seals from the latest technology. Pumps come in a huge range of prices, but these depend on the features rather than great differences in manufacturing quality.
Compact, 'no plumbing' solutions. The world's largest swimming pool company is a group of franchises operated under the Desjoyeaux® banner, a French company with outlets worldwide including six in Thailand. has come up with a patented, self-contained pump/filtration unit they manufacture themselves, and which has been ither copied, or licenced to a few others. It hangs over the side of the pool and is used as a selling point. However, we cannot see any obvious advantages for the customer over a traditional set up, except maybe not needing a pump house. It is a significant cost saving solution for the constructor, but the pools are no less expensive than a traditional, well engineered concrete pool, with a traditional water hygiene system, and pump house. The addition of any convenience in-line systems for pH stabilisation, chlorination, UV or Ozone sanitation is not possible.
Standard pump & filter. easily maintained. These can be from the same or different manufacturers but MUST be correctly matched to avoid damage to either unit, and must be properly rated for the size off the pool - no more, no less. Can be filled with high performance filter media instead of sand. Guarantees of 5 - 10 years.
FILTER8.jpg (15.78 KiB) Viewed 16917 times
desjoyeaux filter2.jpg
Desjoyeaux® combined pump & filter unit. Technical maintenance by the owner is not possible. A simple and cost saving solution for the constructor, but does not always make the pool any cheaper for the customer. Additions to the system are not possible.
desjoyeaux filter2.jpg (8.38 KiB) Viewed 16912 times

Before we go, a quick word about maintenance and costs:

After investing in a pool, with the available technology today it would be wise to go that tiny little bit extra and include a saltwater chlorinator and Zelbrite (or similar) filter media. It will prevent tedious problems which always occur sooner or later either with your water or your 'maintenance' people. Some pool owners actually pay pool firms (this is a Pattaya tradition) to carry out 'regular maintenance'. This is a good idea if you are absent from your home for long periods. However, Jazzman has heard that if you don't engage a Pattaya pool firm to clean and test your pool weekly, terrible things can happen, like the plug being pulled out in the night, or a dead buffalo being thrown in or potasssium permanganate being added to turn the water blood red. But this is probably more idle rumour than real Mafia tactics, even for Pattaya which now enjoys the highest crime rate in the Kingdom. So this service is perfectly ok for something that takes five minutes every four or five days and costs a thousand baht or so a month and you don't want the hassle of this incredibly easy task yourself. But if the pool company has got 30 cleaning contracts it's worth considering just who or what, is being cleaned out. In Bournemouth, boy scouts do it for for 20 pence. If you are unfortunately convalescing from an illness, of reduced mobility or wheelchair bound, the service certainly makes sense. Maintenance means trawling the surface every morning for five minutes with a net to remove any leaves, insects, dead frogs, dead dogs, dead cats, dead rats, and dead anything else which has fallen in overnight. It means bending down to the water every three or four days to scoop up a little water into a plastic double test tube, putting a couple of drops of test liquid in each tube and holding it up to the light to check its colour. If the colour doesn't match the colours on the scale, one adds a couple of tablets of solid chlorine to the pool water. And that's about it, until you have to use your Barracuda once a month or so to clean the floors and walls, and that will take over an hour. So you can see that once your pool is built and filled, the work does not stop there. Jazzman lives in a village where there are no pool firms, not even within a 200 Km radius, so his gardner-handyman gets to do it within the scope of his full time 8-hour day job on Jazzman's land, on his monthly salary of 3,800 baht, a plate of som tam every evening at the kitchen door, and a bottle of laow kaow thrown in every three or four days. He thinks the Barracuda is some kind of living thing, (well he does wrap it in a blanket each time he puts it back in the pool shed). He is very, very happy. So are his grandchildren who we often take into Udon on shopping trips. So is Jazzman.

One more warning about Pattaya
pool maintenance companies: on 29 July this year (2007) it was discovered that yet another Pattaya pool maintenance firm was taking a monthly fee for a scam. A second opinion regarding the filthy water was called in from <edit dozer 7/30/09> who discovered that the chlorine level was completely zero and there was up to a milimeter of accumulated muck on the floor. The owner could not see the muck because the water was so cloudy. The pool maintenance firm always claimed that this is a perfectly normal condition! The maintenance operator was always careful to schedule his visits when the owners were absent, and to obtain a signature from the maid.
A further pool was recently repaired where all the Underwater Lights had broken, many tiles had come loose, and one pump seized, after only 2 years of operation. All constructed and installed by a well known firm of notoriously high prices, and, unfortunately, substandard materials and craftsmanship.

A detailed breakdown of maintenance costs: see Jazzman's post
this here..

See http://www.baracuda.com/ , these are the world's leading pool maintenance products, also made in the land of Koalas. Be aware that they cost exactly double their AU$ price in the UK, and in view of the low cost of labour in Thailand, manual cleaning is highly recommended and it gives somebody a job.

:idea: You might be interested in a rather nice posting by ThaiMic on this CoolThaiHouse forum. It is a report of a truly successful experience with a firm of pool builders:

:idea: Please also connect with the Alternative to Tile topic, there is some interesting new information on wall and floor coatings/coverings.

:idea: Finally, see all you would ever want to know
about the building recommendations and regulations here. There you will find advice on things you never even thought of, but which are paramount to safety in use and construction.

Hope all this helps. Good luck with your pool project, surf the other threads on the topic for more info,
:idea: If you are in Isaan and want some ideas on how to save on the cost of building or maintaining an existing pool, post your questions on this coolthaihouse forum now; anywhere else, a consultancy will be pleased to tell you how much their help would cost. Don't hesitate to PM me with any info I may have left out.
Jazzman's $20,000 Green House
Last edited by jazzman on Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:52 am, edited 25 times in total.
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Postby dozer » Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:52 pm

Jazzman - great info. I have will be doing a eventually doing a new house with hopefully as large a pool as the budget allows in the next few years. The pool is one of those areas that I intend to do further research on, would be very interested to see pics of your pool as it came along, if you have any. The cost of your pool seems very resonable. Here in Pattaya there are several good pool builders but the prices are nearly as expensive as if you built the pool in the US or England (2x or 3x).

-- thanks for the well organized informational post --
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Postby jazzman » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:36 am

Yes Dozer, that is unfortunately the effect of having so many 'rich' farangs concentrated in one area - it puts the prices up for every one. This does not happen in Isaan.

I have such a big pool in France that I was a part-time rep for a pools chemical supplier (it started because I was buying chemicals and cleaning equipment in such big quantities for my own use). Until I discovered the cost of buying the same generic chemicals in bulk direct from local chemical factories (about 1/4 of the price of the brand names in fancy packaging in the DIY stores, supermarkets and pool shops). The obvious happened, I dropped the franchise, bought hundreds of 5 gallon (25l) plastic containers and packaged the stuff myself and sold it at a fraction of the price to my existing circle of clients and even made more profit than on the original franchise deal!

The arguments of the importers here for their wildly inflated prices for materials and equipment just do not gel. (I heard one say once, that there is a high import duty on the chlorine. Importing chlorine???? BTW, he has an Irish accent and lives in Jomtien ...)

A pool should cost nothing more than the calculable Thai labour costs, and the prices of the same materials when NOT purchased from a pool specialist. The real prices of the technical equipment can easily be obtained from the manufacturers' websites. Or I have them here to save you the trouble.

The pool I 'm building here is just a family size standard 4 x 12 rectangle, but I've gone for flush-with-deck water level and the expensive balance tank system which it incurs. Saltwater chlorination? I wouldn't be without it. In Pattaya you've saved your 1,000 baht per month (+ chemicals) maintainance cost in the first year, and you've got one less bunch of people coming on your land every week and telling evrybody in town what you've got that's worth nicking.

Dozer, you built your own (very nice) house - you would laugh at the ease of building your own pool.

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Postby John » Wed Dec 27, 2006 10:10 pm

Anything you guys need to know about pools saltwater or regular please ask and I will do my best to assist. So many pool nightmares have passed our way in the past months I feel compelled to help and avoid same same disasters.

This is my latest pool project. Its deep (3M) has integral Jacuzzi and waterfall. Will post more pics on my return to the UK min Jan.
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Postby Nawty » Wed May 09, 2007 5:45 pm

Thought I would post these questions here. Posted them on ThaiVisa but then got unceremoniuosly banned for providing info on a scheister.

I have some questions, read the whole thread and many sites, still more info is better than less.

We have had several quotes for a relatively small pool of 10x3mx1.4m of between 800k and 1.1mil. We decided to do it ourselves as having a pool built here for double and more the cost of the same size pool back home is just against my religion.

So if anyone can answer any of these, feel free to express yourself.

Many of these questions and queries I have answers to, unfortunately I have several different answers to the same questions so just trying to clarify many areas.

How large as a percentage of the pools capacity, does a surge tank have to be, here I see 25%, this seems a lot and my tank design currently allows for just under 10% at about 3.6 cubic meters.?

How to calculate the weight of the pool when full to see if it comes in under the piles in place. By weight I mean how to calculate the pool structure weight and then the water when full also.

How do you calculate the spread of the load over the pilings ?

What is considered to be the most critical part of construction of the pool ?

How do you calculate the size of the pump and size of filter required ?

Is a single pour prefered over pouring in segments ?

What is the 'water stop' and how does it actually work ?

Does adding extra 'waterproofing' to the readymix load create any problems ? a builder told me they throw in their own waterproofing as they not sure if the readymix company has done it correctly if at all.

How do you seal lights, inlets/drains and the hydrostatic valve etc. I have wondered how a pvc pipe encased into concrete actually is sealed so well, surely any pinhole mistake will result in significant leaks when under pressure from the entire pool load of water.

How does the hydrostatic vale work ? particulalry in relation to the pool floating out of its resting place.

What is the most critical aspect to laying tiles properly that will not peel off in any short period of time ?

And last but not least, how about the price of the salt water chlorinator. Prices quoted to me so far here in Bkk have ranged between 50k and 60k.

Good site and lotsa good info, thanks to all for the time to provide it all.
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Postby jazzman » Wed May 09, 2007 8:22 pm

Hi Nawty and welcome to this site.

Jazzman has been following your posts on the 'other' site with interest and wonders why you didn't come here in the first place 8)
If you carefully read all that has been posted on this forum about pool construction and rigorously follow the links so meticulously provided, you will find the answers to most of yours questions - particularly concerning hydrostatic valves etc and saltwater chlorinators (both questions I thought I had already answered quite adequately for you on that 'other ' site).

Yours is a very small pool and does not pose any specific construction problems whatsoever. Use foundations and footings for the floor ring beam much as you would for a house and a 15 cm thick floor with a transverse beam halfway along.

All your questions about concrete have also been preempted in the concrete section of this board.

To recap, a saltwater chlorinator
will cost you only half what you have been quoted, send me a PM for more details as I know someone who has decided not to build a pool after all and has a brand new, never installed unit for sale. The owner has abandoned his plans to settle in Thailand and will shortly be returning to the UK.

A reputable pump and filter
together will cost around 28,000 baht.

If you build your pool yourself, the whole project will come to about 250,000 baht.

Please don't hesitate to post again if you are not sure about anything.
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Postby Nawty » Fri May 11, 2007 8:57 pm

Hope your not a stalker...or if you are...hope you are cute.

You did answer the hydrostatic question very well, I simply copied the post and put it here...lazy...and hense the same question remained.

I will read through this site and all its info as soon as I can, I am not a big computer person and that combined with my current puter shitting itself every 5 minutes...5 times while trying to reply to this 2 nights ago.....and see if I can gather all the info I need and have aksed.

One thing, I costed thematerial for the pool and have already got more than your 250k, I think your price is Isaan where same materials are somewhat cheaper and so on. I might list what I have calculated for my costs soon.

I also just found an engineer who is going to do the working drawings for my builder, but he has not given me a price yet....I am nervous now waiting as I expect a shafting here as usual also...but quietly hoping not.
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Postby jazzman » Fri May 11, 2007 10:52 pm

Not a stalker, (not cute either) just someone with a genuine interest in problems associated with building houses and pools in LOS and maybe helping people to avoid some of the pitfalls :D

I can only reiterate again, that if you look up the information that has been posted in this thread, particularly the lead article.(you don't need any computer expertise for that - just three or four minutes), you will be well on the way to saving considerable costs - if budget is an issue - and avoiding mistakes or even going OTT (the usual error) with the build. Sufficient price examples have been given for materials, construction plans, labour and consulting for you to arrive at a fairly accurate estimate.

Calculate semi-skilled labour, four men for 30 days and you will be very close. You may still need someone with a little bit of knowledge to install the filter and pump. This should not take more than a couple of hours if the rest of the plumbing has been correctly carried out according to the engineer's specifications.

For the calculations you require, the links to the manufacturers' sites have been provided. They give all the tables to enable you to work it all out. The suggested prices of pumps and filters do not differ wildly.

If you order CPAC with the waterproofing agent (called Nam Ya) from a reputable CPAC delivery firm, it will be correctly mixed and will cost about 1,700 baht per cu. m.

Prices in Isaan are not necessarily cheaper. In many cases they are often slightly more expensive because of the transport distances, and significantly lower turnover of stock. The only thing which is cheaper and of interest to someone wanting to build here, is land. It starts at 10,000 baht per rai.

Jazzman's 1.3 rai plot is valued at about 140,000; in or even well outside Pattaya, it would probably be closer to 1.5 million.

Costs depend on whether you have included decking in your calculation, and at what quality; the type and quality of the floor and wall finish which can vary from as little as 180 baht per sq.m. to 2,000 baht per sq.m., and underwater lighting, if any.

If you are building in a heavily farang populated area, the chances are almost certain that you will end up paying over the odds for any special services.
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Postby Nawty » Sun May 13, 2007 11:42 am

Ok....for example, the cost of concrete here...readymix, is about 2500b to 2700b. So there alone is a cost difference to your quoted pricing.

Rebar here at the local shop for 12mm is 198b for 10m lengths, a little cheaper from other suppliers and in bulk, but not much.

Glazed blue ceramic 4cm x 4cm tiles, the price varies between 400b sqm to 750b sqm and that is not laid.

Still waiting on the engineer to give a price for the drawings, but as I said, expecting something next to ridiculous.

1 hp pumps have been around 19k to 25k and sand cylindrical filters around the 20k to 30k mark.

Soon as I get my puter fixed and have a reliable period of staying active, I will post the quantities and pricing I have for it and see what you reckon.

Good on you for providing your expertise and advice to others, buddha will love ya.

Oh and decking is calculated into the house, not the pool and we have 2 lights in the system, also the pumphouse may need some foundation piles, just the little suckers as ground very soft here. The pool has 6 x 21m piles already. Funny thing was one pool company quoted 75k just to build the pumphouse and we already have 2 walls of it there.
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Postby Nawty » Tue May 15, 2007 3:56 pm

Well...been searching till my eyes have gone blurry....but although found answers to several questions, some still need nurturing....time to go to more websites provided.

However, I have not seen hide nor hair of mention of engineers working drawings costs.

I have however been quoted today a price and if as discussed on the phone and was assured it will...includes the structure, system, electrial, plumbing and every other nook and cranny required to be perved into...also includes the engineer to visit site regulalry as required, not daily, but before or during certain stages of construction to confirm all going correctly and also available on the phone to my builder 'ás required' to discuss any probelms.....

for the grand price of 35k baht.

Which taking into account it is Bangkok and not Upcountry...i think is ok, but then again not sure what the úsual'cost should be.

Also considering this is the ground work and basis for the builder to foolow and theoretically not get it wrong if he follows the dotted lines !!!
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Postby jazzman » Tue May 15, 2007 7:42 pm

Just make sure that you get at least three indipendent quotes for consulting, site supervision and every scrap of material that you intend buying that might not be subject to fixed list prices, and send your wife, do not, under any circumstances at all, let them know that there is a farang behind it before you get the prices. Otherwise you are just asking to be ripped off, and you will be.

75,000 baht for a shed for the pump is ludicrous. It would still be expensive at 4,000. Are you sure he's not trying to flog you an overpriced pump and filter included in the price?

A genuine, experienced, Western pool consultant who is not in cahoots with the workers, will charge anything up to 80,000 baht for the site management service for a project this size. A Thai would be asking far too much at 35k and will still be looking to make a bit extra somewhere...
A farang might not do it for that if he were a real expert and can be trusted to save you more m oney than his fee will cost.

A set of plans will not be more than what I previously mentioned - but you will have to find a pool designer who is prepared to make the plans only without expecting the contract for the whole thing. There are some.
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Postby Nawty » Wed May 16, 2007 12:12 pm

Yes, already been down the route of pricing in similar ways to yourself, I do it, a fluent speaking farang does it, a thai does it both in person and on the phone, then compared with several boq's etc and it is relatively easy to get the real price if your prepared to do the legwork and research in the first place.

The builder that quoted 75k for the shed I am obviously not using, I am using a great builder who i am using on other jobs and he is excellant, but he has not built a pool before and is a little hesitant for all the right reasons.

I doubt I will find anyone for under 35k in a relative short period, especially in Bkk, so I may be happy with this, especially as it is a learning curve and will benefit later on as well.
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Postby grant » Thu May 31, 2007 11:49 am

Does anyone know what the duty + taxes are on pool equipment imported into Thailand? I priced out a chlorinator here in Phuket a few days ago for 98,000 baht and the same unit can be bought online in Australia for 22,000 baht. I'm curious to know how much of the price difference is due to taxes and duties and how much is due to margin.
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Postby Nawty » Thu May 31, 2007 6:19 pm

Is this for a salt water chlorinator ?

Some guys on here have good prices for various brands of pool equipment, sure they will kick in with a recommendation or 3.

Also the pool guy in hua hin is the agent for Poolrite and he sent me a price for a chlorinator which was about 1/3rd of your price and they can ship it to you in Phuket.
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Postby grant » Thu May 31, 2007 6:36 pm

Nawty wrote:Is this for a salt water chlorinator ?

Some guys on here have good prices for various brands of pool equipment, sure they will kick in with a recommendation or 3.

Also the pool guy in hua hin is the agent for Poolrite and he sent me a price for a chlorinator which was about 1/3rd of your price and they can ship it to you in Phuket.

It's an AutoChlor AC50 saltwater chlorinator. Price depends on the pool size of course and this is for an 18 x 4 x 1.4 m pool.
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