How to Demo a Swimming Pool

How to Demo a Swimming Pool

So you bought a development project with an existing pool? The not-great news is that it is almost always more expensive to fully remodel a pool than it is to just get rid of it or build a new pool. Pools are tricky, and in L.A., we have millions of them.

Here are the basic rules of pool removal in L.A. for a developer working on a “new build”. The situation in your city may be different (I’d like to hear about your town’s pool rules in the comment below), but here’s the story in L.A. and on a view lot for new construction.

In almost every scenario in new construction, you will be required to remove the pool. (see below for other scenarios). In L.A., we have a hillside ordinance which requires us to demo the entire pool structure including the cement shell, tile, gas line, power, everything. And nope, you can’t chop it up and bury it, you have to haul it away from the site.

After the pool is removed, the City comes out and does a “compaction report”. This means your crew has to replace the space left by the now-gone pool with soil. The compaction on the soil has to match the compaction rating of the rest of the pad. This is all part of the “grading” process. This helps ensure the integrity of the land – it is important.

For the project “Above the Beverly Hills Hotel”, we had to remove the pool because:

  • It was trashed.
  • It was situated where we plan to put a retaining wall and a portion of the new house.
  • We build infinity pools that wrap across our view. That’s one of our signature design features.

On a sidenote. Pool demo is almost always required for new construction developments but remodels are different. In many cases, with City approval, you can “fill in” a pool either for a remodel or because you own the home and don’t want a pool. (Realtor’s experience note here: Realtors and home owners, when you sell that house, you need to disclose there is a pool buried in the yard.)

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 11.58.05 AM
This is more like it. (Different project but similar design)

As always, if you need advice on your project, contact Jay anytime at


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