In Malta, cooling off is taken very seriously. When the heat starts crawling in over the islands as early April, the first sea-testing toes are dipped, most warm clothes hibernate and the ACs start flexing their cool-blasting muscles. For many it is also time to switch on the pump again and clean out the water, and lo’ and behold, the ultimate heat-beating phenomenon – the swimming pool! At RE/MAX Malta, we have an interesting selection of properties with swimming pool, but if you prefer to build your own on your property (and thus make it more saleable), read on.
Between 2008 and 2014, swimming pools, both domestic and not, doubled in number to a total of 4,007 swimming pools consuming 253,281 cubic metres of water pumped in for pleasure and perhaps sport. The trend has definitely kept increasing with the rise of the boutique hotel, the AirBnB economy and tourism in general. For some, the swimming pool is a commercial prerogative.
In Malta, building a swimming pool is not immediately associated with high-end real estate, but rather with any building within certain areas or having a backyard big enough to hold it. The very English back garden has slowly lost its importance as the concept of relaxation changed, especially in the hot and heady summer months. A recent trend, given the introduction of innovative construction methods is the rooftop swimming pool, which whilst not being of Olympic size, can definitely hike up the property’s value considerably.
Mark Arrigo of MA Architects, an architect and structural engineer who trained both in Malta and in the UK, steps in to give us some basic guidelines on what is required to build a swimming pool.
What about space?
“You can construct a jacuzzi up to a larger type swimming pool if space allow this in your back garden.”
Does one need an architect’s intervention?
“Most definitely. An architect will need to get your property surveyed and prepare digital plans to accompany a proposal for the planning application. You will need to have the original permit of your building since the proposal will have to relate to what had been previously approved. Once all plans are presented to the Planning Authority, a decision can be expected between 60 – 115 days later. There may be special conditions enforcing monitoring of excavations if your property lies within a sensitive location.”
How much water will it need?
“This can be easily calculated. If the pool is an overflow type of pool, you need a balance tank to cater for a constant refilling of the pool to maintain the overflow effect. Careful initial planning is tantamount.
Will it take very long to have my pool ready?
“If the assigned contractors are on board straight away, this job can be completed within five months approximately. This time-frame includes the planning application process.”
What typical hiccups should I look out for?
“This depends on the property itself. Usual challenges includes finding the right contractors to work, remove and bring in materials; adjacent or underlying structures that may potentially effect the works, position or construction of the pool….”
With this basic information, you can start considering your swimming pool in style. Keep in mind that the architectural aspect is only one side of the coin. Swimming pools are taxed in Malta. The Malta Resources Authority requires the registration of a pool for the issuing of a swimming pool licence, even for those within the domestic domain. And that, along with the expense of building and maintaining your pool in good order, will lead to the ultimate question – is it affordable? It all depends on your kind of investment and obviously the weight of your pocket in the long-term.