Are you looking to Splash Out?

Are you looking to Splash Out?

After finding the house of your dreams in France if you don’t already have one installed you might want to consider buying a pool or a hot tub, perhaps both, to maximise your fine weather pleasure.
Most people will know in advance which they prefer but for the undecided I have listed  my thoughts, which might help you to decide.

Pool or Spa

Pool or Spa

Pools – there is a huge range of size and style depending on the amount of room you have available and your budget, there are many specialist companies throughout France who can supply them.

Above ground pools

Ranging from inexpensive models which can be purchased at a supermarket from around €150 upwards or more sturdy metal or wood framed pools where prices can start from circa €1500.

Back Garden Prior to  Pool Work Starting

Back Garden Prior to Pool Work Starting

Pools fitted above ground can be a cheaper alternative as they may not require planning permission or be covered by security laws, however as with all things building wise I would always advocate checking beforehand with your local Marie to ensure you get it right first time and are not subject to particular restrictions in the area or on a lotissement, the pool must not come within 3 metres  of your neighbour’s property, as a general rule over ground pools won’t require permission.

  Work Starts, Hole  Dug, Former in Place

Work Starts, Hole
Dug, Former in Place

For in ground pools it is a requirement to provide security which can take the form of either an alarm, a barrier, a cover or a shelter. Safety regulations have been set up by the Association Française de Normalisation a maximum fine of £31,000 (EUR 45,000) should one of these safety measures not have been installed.

These security regulations do not apply to above-ground pools nor inflatable or demountable pools or those situated in a building. They are aimed at preventing access to a pool by children under five without the assistance of an accompanying adult.

 Pool Under Construction

Pool Under Construction

Pools built before January 1, 2004, require either the installation of a current system or have written confirmation that their protection complies with the new rule.
Any security measures installed before June 8, 2004 must have an attestation from the supplier of the safeguard confirming that the system complies to norms.

Electric and Water Supplies Connected and Pump House erected

Electric and Water Supplies Connected and Pump House erected

Owners of pools built after January 1, 2004 should have had an appropriate system fitted by the pool installer who should also have provided them with a document which both describes the equipment and advises the purchaser of safe pool practice.
For new build pools, security measures must be in place as soon as the pool is filled. There are four types of approved security systems:

1. Security Barriers
AFNOR standard:
NF P 90-306.
Removable or permanent barriers or fencing used to restrict young children’s access to a pool.

2. Pool Alarms
AFNOR standard:
NF P 90-307.
Immersion detector or perimeter alarm.

3. Pool Covers
AFNOR standard:
NF P 90-308.
Summer or winter covers are compliant if they are AFNOR approved.
Older covers may not satisfy the recent legislative requirements.4. Pool Abris
AFNOR standard:
NF P 90-309.
Abris can be fixed or telescopic structures which effectively cover a swimming pool

Fibreglass or Mono-bloc pools

These are more expensive and can be installed as a DIY project or by professionals, access for delivery need s to be checked beforehand and you will normally need permission for these types of pools.

Concrete pre-cast pools

As with the above you need to ensure there is sufficient access to the installation area and you are aware of all the delivery costs.

Block and liner concrete pools

A more traditional method of pool installation which can either be lined, tiled or painted, they can be of any size and shape, permission will be required.

Section pools

These pools could be made of steel, plastic, polystyrene, sometimes wood with liners, planning will be required

Pool companies will be able to advise you on these and their relative merits, local companies should have good knowledge of local planning requirements (still check with Marie first)

Additionally  all pools you will need to use some form of Filtration, sand being the most common, the pump is normally situated in a purpose built pump house/shed.

Alternatives to sand are,   Zeolite high-filtration media,  Cartridges, Diatomaceous Earth Powder (DE)
Sanitation via  Chlorine/Salt/Automated Dosers /Ultra Violet

Lots of pool owners will also buy automated cleaning robots although my wife asserts the allure of a fit pool boy far outweighs a robot any day..

Pools can be heated by electricity generated from the mains or Solar powered, or by Solar heated water, or by summer covers.

They can be fully enclosed so they can be used all year round whatever the weather.

Overall Pools can be as expensive or as large as you want them providing you can meet local requirements and have sufficient money… they can provide endless hours of fun for family & friends, a useful method of cooling on a hot day and/or providing exercise space.

Remember pools require maintenance – although this can be quite minimal they do need to be maintained on a regular basis to ensure your ongoing enjoyment, entering into a leaf encrusted, algae filled, pool may be bliss for frogs but it’s not top of my favourite things to do.

When the building of your pool is finished you should consider how you want to landscape the surrounding area. I see a great many pools with no proper surround  other than grass or shingle and to me it always detracts from the visual appeal of the pool not to mention making it uncomfortable getting in and out of it.

If you choose an in ground pool it will add an extra payment to your tax bill, by adding the pool you have increased the value of your property. The pool must be declared on your tax form and is then charged as part of your tax every year. It is not a one-off payment.

Both pools and hot tubs will require the installation of electric supplies and proper drainage.


Hot Tubs

Hot Tubs come in many designs

Hot Tubs come
in many designs

A more recent ‘must have’ with a myriad of choices.

The advantages over a pool are generally – size, cost, less planning, they will probably will get utilised  more throughout the year, easier to install indoors, can be available on hire, – you may even be able to take your spa with you if you decide to move…

A hybrid version is the swim spa (which is a larger version of a spa but smaller than a swimming pool) which can be used for swimming exercise.

Hot Tub Design

Hot Tub Design

Higher end hot tubs can cost as much as a swimming pool depending on size and specification.

Overall everyone I know who has a hot tub has been very happy with it and they get plenty of use. Hot tubs and Spas also require proper cleaning and maintenance to ensure they continue to function at optimum levels, as with pools the finish of the surrounding area can greatly enhance the user experience.

For me I see the merits in owning either a pool or a hot tub, if I had sufficient resource and space I would have both, ultimately it’s down to personal preference – enjoy.

Some companies local to me (Lot et  Garonne) who install Pools and/or Spas

Any questions or comments please do not hesitate to get in touch via my website

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