How is a swimming pool built?

May 28, 2015

Building a pool is an engineering endeavor: it follows technically proven rules and a precise, detailed process. Cimarron Circle has built swimming pools in all shapes and materials for 40 years in the Tucson metropolitan area, and the process described in this article has been proven to save time, avoid waste and ultimately, help create wonderful swimming pools that will, with proper maintenance, last for generations.

Blueprinting the pool

Once a pool is sold, we get a plan drawn to scale and fully dimensioned. That plan, as well as the proper paperwork is sent to the local municipality for a permit. This same plan is sent to our structural engineer and he submits a letter back to us which states the proper rebar and wall thickness of shotcrete that is required for this project. The size and shape of the pool will determine the structural requirements as well as the soil conditions at the pool location. Bluestake is called to mark any underground utilities which we may run in to while excavating the pool or trenching for plumbing lines.

Once the permit is issued, a “handoff meeting” is set up with the salesman, the superintendent and the owner at the owner’s house. The pool is painted out on the ground for the owner’s approval. The owner, then has to sign off on a construction drawing that he is satisfied with everything we will be doing for him.

Digging and filling the pool hole

The excavator is scheduled and comes to dig the pool and any utility trenches we need. At each phase of work the superintendent checks the job. Next come the plumbers who refer to the construction drawing as to where to place the pool returns, main drain, etc. Pool equipment, pump, heater and filter, are normally installed at this time by the plumbers.

The rebar crew follows the plumbers and ties all of the steel in place prior to shotcrete. Next comes an inspection by an employee of the municipality. Once everything is approved the shotcrete crew shows up and places the shotcrete which is the shell of the pool.

Tiling and decking

Waterline tile is the next phase. The tile has been chosen in advance by the owner. It is typically 6” x 6” and is set at the top of the vertical pool wall. Once the water is in the pool, it will be 3” up on the tile.

One reason for the tile is to have a material which is easy to clean. A white calcium accumulates on the tile due to water evaporation and has to be cleaned off periodically.

Decking is the next phase and there are a variety of materials used. Concrete, travertine, brick, slate, flagstone are common deck materials.

Plastering and electrical

Next we prepare the interior of the shell for the plaster by pressure washing it and knocking off any of the really rough places on the surface. Prior to plastering we need to have another inspection to make sure the electric is done properly and that the barrier around the pool meets with current laws as far as height and openings. There can be openings of no more than 4” in diameter.

The plaster crew normally starts and finishes within the same day on a standard size pool. They start the water in immediately after walking out of the pool. Once the water is half way up on the tile, the owner notifies us and we go out to start up the equipment.

Delivering the swimming pool

A pool requires precise maintenance. When we give the owners “the keys” to their pool, we teach them what it will need to stay beautiful and enjoyable.

After this “pool school”, the owners take over the pool and everyone jumps in the water!

Doug Staples, President
Cimarron Circle, Tucson Pool Builders since 1978