The idea of these articles is to share his valuable knowledge with Barganews’ readers on a number of specific themes.
The third article in a series of articles from Resident expert, David Collins, this time giving advice on building a swimming pool.
So you are ready to turn your dream home in Tuscany into an oasis in paradise with a new pool? Fun in the sun with your family and friends. Sounds great, doesn’t it? A swimming pool is an engineering feat in many ways. Able to support the weight of tens of thousands of litres of water while withstanding the onslaught of sun, chemicals, tremors and more, a swimming pool can be as difficult to design and build as any home – perhaps more so.
Most people who purchase properties in Tuscany tend to look for remarkable views. This often leads to hillside locations where the terrain can be somewhat difficult to situate a pool. In this example, we are looking a 12m x 6m pool that was constructed on a terraced hillside in proximity to an area that has been subject to soil creep or slippage over the years.
The most important step in the process is to smartly locate the pool. Not too near yet not too far away from the dwelling. Remember pools look wonderful for 3 months per year. For the remaining 9 months they tend to become eyesores so try to keep this in mind. Try to have the pool south-facing and enjoying the best views if possible.
Before embarking on planning applications, aim to get a realistic feel for the overall budget. A pool structure, liner, pumps and filters will have a finite price. The budget can easily skyrocket when you add on items like retaining walls, footpaths and paving, bad access, landscaping and unforeseens like micro piles. These are all items that pool contractors start to feel very uncomfortable with as they often fall are outside their scope of work and they make their pools look eye wateringly expensive.
Once the location has been established, you’ll probably need to get the services of a geologist to do some soil investigations. Normally, the weight of the soil excavated is greater than the combined weight of the pool shell and water. However, in our example, part of the pool sits on rock and part of it on normal soil. This situation is not uncommon and often causes differential settlement over time which could easily make the pool go lopsided! To avoid such problems, a number of micro piles were required under the base slab to ensure that the entire pool rested happily on a rock base throughout.
The steps on the excavation and concreting are self explanatory from the video. It’s important to get the backfilling right to avoid settlement over the following winter. The curved stone retaining wall and paving are really what add the “wow factor” to an otherwise simple rectangular pool.
Finally a few considerations on permits: You’re going to need planning permission from your local town hall if you want to construct a pool in Tuscany. Generally it is possible to build a pool almost anywhere once you follow the aesthetical requirements laid out by the local Town hall. Sometimes they will allow very limited paving around the pool preferring a grass perimeter instead. There are also practical and urban planning considerations to adhere to such as water supply, drainage, stable soil conditions, access to plot, privacy, safety, exposure to wind and sun and vicinity of surrounding trees. There may also be restrictions regarding minimum distances from roads, boundaries or adjacent dwellings. In case of doubt, we generally visit the local town hall to discuss these requirements thus making sure that the planning application will be successful the first time.
Remember, a pool will add aesthetic, as well as intrinsic, value to your home. And when the time comes to sell, rent or simply enjoy your house in Tuscany, an in-ground pool will often make an enormous difference.
Article by David Collins – www.ourtoscana.com