What is used for excavation to build an inground swimming pool?

A shovel!

Naw, just kidding. The answer depends on a couple of factors. Most importantly, what are the soil conditions? Rocky soils require larger equipment and more time to complete the excavation. On softer soils, you are not limited on the types of equipment used.

The second factor is access. How will the equipment enter the yard? Are you limited by fence lines or existing slopes and grades? Or your landscape, are there big trees limiting the access.

Today most companies excavate inground swimming pools with two different options. The first is a front loader, commonly referred to as a BobCat. These machines offer an affordable means to excavate your typical backyard swimming pool. Doing a search on "BobCat S130" will show you an example of this type of equipment. A BobCat is a smaller version of a bulldozer with a toothed bucket on the front of the machine. The buckets are slightly larger than the width of the machine. The most popular units require a six foot access.

Having less than six feet of clearance requires removal of fences or landscapes. In rare occasions, this is not acceptable and a swimming pool excavation company will be limited to wheelbarrows, jackhammers and yes, shovels.

The second option for the equipment used is an excavator. This piece of equipment has a smaller toothed shovel with a hydraulic arm attached. The advantage to using this piece of equipment is it's ability to dig a pool without the need to fill in a ramp. To explain, with a front loader, the excavator needs to dig a ramp into one end of the pool. This ramp is on the exterior of the swimming pool requiring back filling and additional gunite and steel for structural strength of the pool shell. The disadvantage to using an excavator, is the need to remove the dirt with a front loader to a dump truck. Unless, a dump truck can pull up to the excavation site. For most homeowners, this is not feasible, unless you live in the country.

To see a picture of a mini excavator, search the term "Cat 303C".

Lastly, there are times when the soil conditions are so poor in solid rock conditions, that the only way to excavate a pool is by drilling and blasting with explosives.

A word of advice: A lot of times, a homeowner knows of a friend who has a backhoe. Thinking anyone can dig a swimming pool. While this is a logical solution, with most swimming pool excavation companies not only do they dig the swimming pool, they are also forming for the gunite and the bond beam. These excavation companies also take additional steps to ensure the finished dig is excavated as close to possible with the dimensions to the pool. This is called trimming which is usually done by hand. With an experienced swimming pool excavation company you will avoid overages of gunite to fill in voids and poorly excavated pools. Often times, these charges will exceed any cost savings of hiring your "friend with a backhoe."