Pools are a great addition to any home. They are a source of relaxation, fun and enjoyment for the entire family. When you are considering building a custom pool in your backyard, one of the first questions that usually comes to mind – and one of the first questions we get asked as Vancouver pool builders – is:

“How long will it take?”

There is no one answer to this question, because of the unique factors involved in each and every build.

Since each custom-built swimming pool will depend on the preference of the individual, it is important to work with a qualified and reputable swimming pool contractor. A swimming pool contractor will help you understand the stages of building a pool, including what is needed, possible delays and the approximate timelines. 

It is important to start your pool preparation early because the process of building a custom pool in Vancouver can last a few weeks to several months. Here is an outline of the various stages of building a pool to help you understand how long it might take to build your custom pool.

Plans and Permits

Site plans of a pool and yard are drawn by a draftsman and sent with engineered structural drawings to the Building Department of your municipality, for a plan check and swimming pool permit. The time required for the issuance of permits varies depending on the municipality’s own permit processing time. 

This process for permits can take up to 9 months and depends on the city. Here are links to information on building permits for the following locations: 

Changes in Contracts and Addendums 

Any additions, deletions or modifications to the original contract, estimate and specifications of your custom pool build may result in delays to the progress of the job. When considering changes, ask your custom pool contractor how the changes will affect your timeline.

Workable Working Days

A standard swimming pool requires approximately 90 workable working days after the completion of excavation. This approximate time period will vary depending on:

  • Inspection dates
  • Crew scheduling
  • Weather conditions
  • Materials
  • Other incidental factors


Pool sites need to be cleared of trees, shrubs, existing deck work and other above-ground obstructions. Normal excavation and fill removal time is approximately 1-2 workable working days, but this time frame can vary due to weather and site conditions. 

The excavating crew will form and lay out the pool as per the drawings before they begin excavating. The duration of completion for excavation varies depending on the layout, size of the job and any special site conditions.

Plumbing and Steel Placement

After excavation, the plumbers will lay the plumbing and then the steel will be installed. This stage can take a few working days, depending on the size and complexity of the pool. When completed, there will also need to be an inspection.


After the inspection is complete and approval has been granted, the gunite is scheduled. This is the step in the process where the pool really starts to take shape. Gunite is when concrete is sprayed onto the pool form.

The crew will take precautions to ensure the area around the pool is protected then proceed to start the gunite machine and begin to gun the concrete into the pool. After the gunite process, the pool will be left to cure for a minimum of 7 days.


Coping is the protective lip or cap at the top of the pool wall. It is decorative and functional, controlling the amount of “splash back” or pool water that splashes out of a pool.

A wood form is installed for an edge that hangs approximately 1.5” over the pool. After the form is installed, concrete is poured into the form, then the deck is poured and lastly the form is removed.

This process usually takes 2 workable working days. An electrical inspection typically follows the completion of coping work.


After the electrical inspection, the decking stage begins. The perimeter of the pool will be backfilled with granular fill, formed for deck, rebarred, and deck concrete poured depending on the deck finishes desired. Decking usually takes 3 workable working days. 

If the gas line must be placed underneath the decking, then a gas line inspection must be made prior to the deck being poured.


If you have selected a tile detail at the waterline, the installation will typically take 2 workable working days.

Landscaping and Fencing 

Most landscaping and fencing will need to be installed after the pool is fully constructed, so machinery can still access the pool while needed. The time frame for landscaping and fencing depends on the size and complexity of the job. Your landscaper should be able to give you an estimated time frame. It is a good idea to connect your pool builder with your landscaper, so they can inform the other of their time frames.


The sparkling clarity of a fine quality pool depends heavily upon keeping the plaster clean through the crucial curing period. This stage usually takes between 1 and 3 workable working days, during which you will need to prevent sweeping, burning or yard work in the area until the pool is full of water. 

After these initial stages and the pool is full of water, there will be another 1-2 days of clean-up.

Other Considerations

There have been unprecedented delays over the last year due to COVID-19 and building supply shortages. These delays continue today, even though many areas are re-opening, there is still a backlog to work through. Talk to your pool contractor and ask if they foresee any COVID-related delays with your pool construction.

Building a custom pool has a number of steps, and with the help of a swimming pool contractor, you can ensure the project will run smoothly. 

If you are ready to build your dream pool today, take a look at our Construction Outline for more information. If you have any questions about hiring a Vancouver swimming pool contractor, contact us here