How much access is required to build a swimming pool?

Thanks to modern construction rules, many homes are now built on property lines with no limited setbacks. It means that full-width car access down one or both sides of a property is no longer possible.

For pool excavation, access widths are crucial as the efficiency and cost of the operation are inversely proportional to the size of the equipment utilized. Through regular doorway access, we can quickly complete all other components of a pool’s construction.

We have the pool excavation equipment which allows us to transport all excavated debris from the job site. We can build your pool as long as you have a doorway-sized opening to access the intended construction area. 

You should know what we’re doing before starting pool excavation. To give you a clear concept about pool building access, below is a guideline.

In This Article

Table of Contents

Swimming pool access guide - Hammer Excavations

Our Excavation Process

Part of laying a pool’s foundation involves digging a hole. Digging a pool often necessitates a significant amount of time and labor. Above all, digging a swimming pool necessitates knowledge and the appropriate tools.

Excavation is only the first stage in constructing the backyard swimming pool of your dreams. Excavation, filling, compacting, concrete or fiberglass building, and so forth are all included in the process of a pool project. We, your excavation contractor, will come out and conduct a site survey to determine the soil condition, access for machinery to the excavation area, access to the backyard, and the surrounding environment, among other things. We bring in the needed machinery based on our assessment, as our fleet of machinery ranges from large excavators to medium and small excavators.

Our excavation procedure begins with any vegetation and dirt removal from the area to expose the earth beneath and assist our excavators in starting the digging process. Here are just a few things to keep in mind during excavation.  

1. What’s the level of access to building a pool?

You can construct a pool with nearly any level of accessibility. A working width or an opening the size of a conventional doorway is the minimum access requirement.

A. Excavation size

  • The excavated hole will be about 1.0 metres longer and 1.0 metres broader than the final swimming pool measurements. 
  • In addition, the depth will be approximately 400mm deeper than the finalized pool. 
  • The concrete shell will be 200mm thick across the walls and floor, as per the particular engineer designs. 
  • The client should think about temporary safety fencing or barriers.
You can also view our mini excavator sizing guide.

B. Standard Access

The standard width of access for constructing a swimming pool is 2 meters. Although we can crane your pool shell over a fence or a house, standard excavation equipment requires a ground-entry and departure point to your property, which can be difficult in limited-access areas. The following is a list of the equipment needed to build a standard access pool.

  • For shell lifting, a Crawler Crane or Franna Crane will usually suffice up to 8-20m that don’t require a long boom. A Franna Crane is an excellent lift, load, and move crane, and the Crawler Crane is versatile, making it ideal for tight spaces.
  • Excavators and Bobcats can dig up and remove the dirt from your backyard for new pool installation.

C. Limited Access

Several strategies will be required in circumstances where backyard access is even more constrained. A site with limited access (less than 2m width access) may necessitate the use of the following instead.

  • If there is a restricted front of access, or if the pool shell is exceptionally massive or heavy, a larger crane is required. The crane’s size and length of the boom are determined by the weight of the pool shell. If a long boom length is required, a 55T or 90T crane is recommended (greater than 20m). 
  • Mini excavator will be used.
  • Motorised wheelbarrows bring the dirt to the front yard before the pool building begins. A bobcat can only be used in the front yard to load dirt into transport, as well as fencing, payments, and ordering of equipment and supplies, among other things. 
  • It may be essential to remove an existing fence or acquire permission from a neighbour to cross their land and access your yard with machinery.

As you may expect, when smaller equipment is used, the excavation is less efficient than when numerous larger machines are used. In most cases, a conventional excavation goes without a hitch. We layout the pool and its depth, then bring in the machinery and begin digging. We’ll be in and out within the day if there are no hitches. Clearing roads for the machines, doing a simple soil test before the day to check for rock, and sewerage plumbing checks are all things that can make this operation operate successfully. A site with limited access or rock would generally take 2-3 days to properly excavate.

2. How close is the home to the boundary of the pool?

When underground barriers are discovered, decisions must be made quickly. Excavation of a conventional swimming pool usually takes a whole day. Bobcat and Backhoe excavators are the most common machines. For access, a typical skid excavator requires a 2.0m width and a height of less than 2.0m. The machine that is best for the job is determined by access to the pool area. Smaller equipment is slower and more expensive to excavate a pool. A hand dig may be required if the distance between the house and the boundary is less than 1.2m. For machine-assisted hand digs, specific compact excavators are available. It is an additional cost that accounts for 25% of modern dwellings on small sites. A little machine may not be able to load a tip truck because it is too high. There is still some additional handling because we need a bobcat to load the soil into the truck.

3. What machinery is used to dig a pool?

Excavators are essential in the construction of a pool. A track-mounted excavator or a mini excavator will be used on a typical job in a Melbourne residential area. Land clearance machinery will be required to clear the land if foliage or vegetation is hindering your digging area. When transporting soil to a dump truck to be removed from the site, skid steers and track loaders come in helpful.

A. Bobcat

Many companies prefer bobcats because they are less expensive to operate, can be equipped with accessories, and can conveniently dispose of soil. The only issue with Bobcats is that they require a lot of room to move and maneuver, and they can’t usually get into spaces that are less than 6 feet wide. A bobcat is a type of mini-dozer with a 6-foot wide-toothed bucket, making it ideal for large sites with wide access paths.

B. Mini Excavator / Skid Steers

Mini excavators have the advantage of being able to work in tighter spaces because of their long arms. A good operator can work above the excavation and hurl dirt away from the pool excavation because of the arm’s reach. The only drawback is that you’ll need a wide enough driveway to park a truck near the excavator, as the dug soil will need to be transferred onto a dump truck for disposal. When opposed to the bobcat, moving significant amounts of soil can take longer. Overall, small excavators are the finest choice for digging backyard pool holes.

4. What size of excavator do I need to dig a pool?

It’s crucial to consider the ease of access to the construction site when deciding what size excavator will best suit your pool. A 14-tonne excavator, such as the Case CX145C, or a larger model will be more efficient and less expensive if development is taking place on a vast land with no access concerns. On soft or lumpy soil, tracked excavators will provide the traction and safety needed. Smaller machines will be required if you are putting a pool on a suburban block or in a residential neighborhood with limited access. For pool building, a 5-6 tonne mini-excavator is ideal.

A complete set of excavator buckets, particularly a GP bucket, will ensure that you are ready for whatever type of dirt or rock you may encounter on your job site. The teeth of a GP bucket are ideal for breaking up the ground and making penetration simpler. A sieve bucket will also come in handy. In the civil construction industry, sieve buckets are used to separate soil from debris such as rocks, bricks, and roots. They aid employees in retrieving supplies that can be reused on the job later. If you plan on backfilling parts of the excavation hole, this will come in handy.

A rock hammer will be ideal for breaking up tiles and concrete if you’re trying to renovate an old or existing pool. Make sure your excavator has the necessary hydraulic flow to get the most out of a rock hammer. When possible, we employ the largest machine available because it moves the soil more efficiently. It should be less expensive because it takes less time to excavate the area if it is more efficient. At various spots along the floor, use a dumpy level or a water level to check the depth of the excavation. Digging should be done from the deepest to the shallowest point. The pool shape must be marked out six inches outside the finished internal dimensions.

5. How will we dispose of the soil?

A standard pool requires six truckloads of material; renting an excavator isn’t enough; you’ll also need a truck to transport the soil and a location to dump it. For soil removal rules in your location, check with your local regulations. You’ll need around 20% of it on hand to backfill the pool after the concrete is in place.

6. Safety first

The actual digging will take a day or two, but you’ll have a fairly large hole in your garden until the pool is installed. As work progresses, it’s a good idea to put up temporary fencing around the location.

7. Dig a little more than necessary

You’ll already have your pool designs drawn out, so you’ll know how big it will be and how it will fit into the garden. It’s vital to dig a little deeper than the plan (one metre in length and width, and then 400mm deeper) to allow the concrete shell to fit properly. After the pool is installed, this space can be backfilled before any other pool work can be done.

8. Does your soil need stabilisation?

One of the most significant reasons to have us on hand is to supervise the pool construction project. It is to determine if the pool will compromise the integrity of the home or any other structures on – or adjacent to – the property. If it is found that excavating a pool hole might endanger the building, it may be necessary to first perform a soil stabilization procedure.

Chemical grouting of the soil may be required at times before it can be dug. This is a method of hardening soil by injecting liquid cement into it before excavation. It adds to the project’s cost, but depending on the size of your property or your pool’s designs, it may be necessary.

Leave it to us, the Professionals

Building an in-ground pool necessitates careful planning and execution to get that perfect design and ensure your property’s safety. To construct the pool, you’ll need the necessary earthmoving machines, attachments, budget, and people on your side. When it comes to excavating a swimming pool, you can’t just go ahead and start digging wherever you want. Double-check the plumbing or phone lines run beneath the surface and that there will be no drainage issues before starting the digging process. It must be evaluated before bringing in the excavator to the site. As specialised professionals, we know where to dig and how to ensure that no nearby areas, such as your garden path and patio, are harmed in any way. Of course, the goal is for your new backyard resort to be completed on time and budget, with a beautiful, long-lasting result.

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