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Hot tips for a cool pool in summer

July and August are generally the busiest months of the year for swimming pool builders, as homeowners look forward to summer and take advantage of the dry weather in most parts of the country to get their additions and alterations done.


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“But with pools, as with any home improvement, the secret of being able to really enjoy the finished work is to start right - by picking the best contractor and controlling the building process,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.
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Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he has the following advice for homeowners:
*Never hire anyone who comes to your door unsolicited or interrupts dinner with a telesales “special offer”. If you want to put in a pool, you make the first move, and find out what planning permission you need from your local authority to do so. Then get quotes from at least three reputable pool builders who are members of the National Spa and Pool Institute (see list on www.nspi.co.za).
 
*Don’t base your choice of contractor entirely on price. Research the track record of each company. They should have no less than three years’ experience building pools, be able to show you photos of their finished work and be able to supply phone numbers of past clients you can call for references.
 
*Insist on running a credit check before settling on a contractor. You can do this on the Internet now at a minimal cost.
 
*Ask about who will be doing the actual work - the contractor's employees, or subcontractors? Good pool companies use their own labour, and will only start work once the necessary plans have been approved.
 
*Protect yourself. Get everything in writing and never pay more than a 10% deposit – and that into a proper bank account, not in cash.
 
*Link all further payments to specific building “milestones” and hold on to the final 10% until you are satisfied that all is in working order and, if required, you have received approval from the local building or safety inspector.


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