Building A Concrete Swimming Pool
Crete Real Estate Developments: Swimming Pool Construction
If you are planning to have a concrete swimming pool designed and built in your garden in your dream home in Crete, or in another part of Greece or Cyprus then this page is for you. Please be aware at Brits in Crete we are not professional advisors and you should seek help to achieve your dream of planning to have a swimming pool in your Cretan home. Also be aware that laws and rights can change frequently especially regarding taxation.
Important sub text: Swimming pools in Greece are regarded as a "luxury" and impact property taxes.
Re: Brexit, the article here is still relevent. Mainly it is just the residency process is being amended to cope with Brits being outside the EU and are to be treated as such. (Edit: August 7, 2020)
Important Planning Considerations
- 1. Based on our experiences - mainly in Crete, the general advice would be that you will need to consider the key question: Is the expense to build and maintain a swimming pool worth it? You need to weigh up the running costs versus how much of the time the pool will be utilised. But it is always a great talking point, just the same.
- 2. To build an outdoor swimming pool in a private Greek land plot is straight forward from an architect's and real estate developer's point of view. Across Greece there are a number of local specialist construction companies to take on the job of cement, tiling and installing the water pump and filter systems for foreign buyers. As you fly into a Cretan airport you can spot the pools from the air.
- 3.Importantly, you need to take the decision to include a pool for a new house at the outset, regardless if your future house is your holiday, or permanent home as in the example of retirement. The obvious reason is related to building costs, but there are other considerations - mainly the local government bureaucracy and tax implications. The latter is most important if you intend to use your dream home to generate income for short term rental to holiday makers. In that case an EOT License (Issued through the Tourism Authorities) is required. (See page bottom for link).
This article from the Brits in Crete team sets out some of the pros and cons of adding a private swimming pool at your residence on the island of Crete. It also applies to anywhere else in Greece.
Picture right: Foreign resident, John Westover's standard sized swimming pool with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Olive Groves and the Mediterranean Sea beyond.
Photo: Johnwestover1, Member of Brits in Crete Forum. With Permission
If as a Standard Size of Swimming Pool
A standard pool size would be 8 x 3 metres or 8 x 5m, or thereabouts. Cost to build is one element, but you should be aware that depending on your local Greek tax office and which 'legal' definition your pool falls under, you may have to include it under the elevated "Luxury Tax" band and declare it as part of your annual tax submission. Speak to your Crete Accountant on this point. Again, if you are hiring an architect, discuss the pool at the planning stage. Another caveat, every location falls into a specific tax band so when buying a property always check this fact, as it will dictate taxation levels.
Before making a decision for your swimming pool, you should address a checklist of questions:
* How much time will I, family or visiting friends and relatives swim in the pool; actually use the pool?
* How much value does a swimming pool add to the property?
* Each year Crete is receiving less rain, what happens if there is a water shortage or restrictions put in place for water usage?
* How much does the garden size pool cost to run month-by-month?
* Are the costs justified?
* If on a pension, or limited income can you afford the running costs?
* Are you really sure you want to spend the money on a pool?
Q - How much time will you or your family and relatives spend dipping in the Crete pool?
The swimming season can stretch from April right through until the Christmas holidays if the weather is kind. But in truth it is more likely to be consistent from late May until mid-September only. Climate change has impacted however has impacted on the traditional annual weather pattern in Crete where summer seems to start later and last longer -- often well into November.
Q - How much value does a standard swimming pool add to the property?
Speak to your Architect or 'Mechanicos' for a building cost estimate, then ask your real estate agent about the house re-sale value with a pool. There is no hard and fast rule. There is also the question of size. If it is only to be used by the visiting grandchildren or other youngsters several times during the summer, would a "play pool" be better? or if for adults what about an outdoor jacuzzi, that could be used for much of the year?
Q - Each year Crete is receiving less rain. What happens if there is a water shortage or restrictions put in place on water usage? (NB: The Crete Winters of 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 have been exceptions with more rain than usual)
- To initially fill up your home swimming pool you will be advised to buy a bowser (water tanker) of well (artesian) water. That is usually around 28,000 litres worth for a regular sized pool.
- Rate of evaporation can be problem in summer, but a top up from the house water supply is usually enough, although it takes a long time to run the tap.
- Water is the responsibility of your local municipality where your home is located. If water is cut off at peak usage times, as happens now in Summer if you share supply with a tourist resort or intensive farming area(greenhouses or olive groves), the time to replenish water supply can be as long as overnight. And that is just to refill the 200 litre storage tank at your home. This is due to everyone else filling up, causing low water pressure. Normal pressure is unlikely to return until all tanks are filled by the early hours of the next morning.
- Water Conservation in Greece particularly in Crete is becoming a critical issue along with the whole Mediterranean basin.
Q - How much does a pool cost to run month-by-month?
€100 for chlorine / chemicals alone per month is not unusual. A monthly regime requires that:
- chemical levels have to be checked and topped up,
- pumps have to be maintained (and still sometimes break down),
- and, filters have to be cleaned.
Q - Are the costs to build then maintain a pool on Crete justified?
Justifying the expense is a personal decision, often one based on ego and living out a dream. That is why it is important to draw up a list of pros and cons for adding a pool to your home. For example: Are you prepared to undertake all the work of upkeep or do you need to hire a maintenance man?
- electricity usage can be quite high to keep the water and heating pump(s) going,
- during heavy rains all sorts of muck can get washed into a pool,
- concrete pools may crack, and
- lined pools are liable to degrade in the high ultra-violet (UV) levels found in Crete.
Q - If you are receiving a pension, or fixed income is the total cost of the ongoing investment justified versus the time you use the pool?
Not everyone coming to Crete to live is of the same mind. If you are a sun worshipper and you need to cool off with a dip in the pool every half hour in hot weather that is one thing. But if you like to read a good book and just look at the water perhaps there are better ways to spend your money - a landscaped garden, could be one? As with everywhere else in Europe, living costs continue to rise. Budgets should be realistic and planned for 3 years hence. Allow for 10 per cent annual increases in running costs.
With the high possibilty of more water restrictions in successive summer,s due to the possible lack of sufficient winter rain, are you sure you want to spend the money on a pool?
We offer some comments both the pro's and con's of building a swimming pool in your back garden - Views and opinions as expressed by members in the Brits in Crete Forum:
"To retire and live in a nice house in Crete with a swimming pool has been our dream for many years and now it's time to make that dream come true."
"I love to swim and when in land-locked middle England and later in London I spent a lot of time in pools but now I live within 4 minutes of the big one out there and when we move I doubt we'll be more than 15 minutes away which will suit me fine. Another benefit we've found by going down to the big 'pool' is that we've widened our circle of Greek friends simply by saying "kalimera" to total strangers and taking it from there. Personally, the last thing I want is a pool especially as there's a big one at the coast.I came here to relax not work on pool maintenance. "
"I don't know much about borehole water but have heard of some serious problems recently with boreholes in parts of Crete near the coast producing saline water as the water table has dropped so much. Levels are dropping far faster than they can be replenished. This may be something to bear in mind if it might affect your pool in the future."
"The maintenance on a jacuzzi is the same as on a pool and, because the water is warmer, the chemical levels are more critical. The maintenance of our pool takes no longer than half an hour per week, a small price to pay (in my opinion) for the pleasure it gives."
"We have a pool and we certainly don't regret it - it does need topping up with water, and it does need cleaning etc. It also uses quite a bit of electricity to keep the pumps going in the summer months but as it's not used at all for more than half the year It's not keeping us much out of pocket. You should be aware though that goats and sheep do tend to fall in and drown if your property is not fenced in. It's distressing and messy to get the poor drowned animal out, so bear that in mind."
"I have had experience of the local sheep taking a dip in my pool! Subsequently I have had a gate fitted, if they had drowned it would have been an expensive accident which I would have had to square with the shepherd! The main problem after their adventure was that despite the pool getting a thorough clean, it turned a disgusting slimey pea green a couple of weeks later which made a busy week for my housesitters who had to clean it out in my absence!"
Comments that inevitably lead to a private pool joke...."I had never thought of swimming with sheep or goats. Do they do the b-a-a-a-rest stroke?"
If you have any comments you wish to add, please contact us, so that they may be included here.
If you wish to find threads on the subject of swimming pools in Crete, check the Brits in Crete Forum through the search function at the top of this page. Best to put one word in search such "pool" or "swimming" and set it to "all posts" .
Finally, as Swimming Pools in Crete can be taxed as part of property taxes in Greece, be sure to use a licensed architect or mechnicos to handle all the bureaucracy and the planning, building and commissioning of a pool in a private home, especially if you plan to rent it out. Your real estate developer or agent can also advise you. Trying a go it alone or "DIY" building of a garden pool may backfire on you. Our advice is always consult the professionals.
Further reading on swimming pools if you plan to rent out your property in Crete to be found on our "Getting a Greek Government approved EOT License" page.
Return to Swimming Pools Index Page to Visit Other Useful Articles on Building a Swimming Pool in Crete, other places in Greece or Cyprus