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Swimming pool construction surged by 62% in Baton Rouge during pandemic; demand still high



BATON ROUGE, La. – Last October, Jenny and Lucas Firmin decided to build a pool in their backyard. The Magnolia Woods residents felt their three children were old enough to swim safely, and the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders motivated them to create a fun outdoor space for their family.

They weren’t alone in this pursuit. In 2020, the City of Baton Rouge  issued pool permits to 281 homeowners — a 62% increase from 2019, when the city issued 173 permits.

“As far as building pools, the numbers have been the highest ever,” said Jenny Firmin, who also co-owns a pool construction company, Lucas Firmin Pools.

Precision Pools owner Jake Duncan said that’s consistent with his experience.

“We did around 75 pools this year. Usually, we do around 50,” he said. “In the past, we ran a six- to eight-week backlog. Now it’s two or three months.”

Pool construction usually slows down in the winter months, but Duncan didn’t see a seasonal slump this year. Duncan and Firmin credit the pandemic for stoking demand for comfortable, safe outdoor gathering spots.

“A lot of it has to do with COVID,” Duncan said. “People weren’t comfortable with traveling, so they created their own oasis at home.”

Firmin started building her family’s pool in October 2020. Seven months later, it’s still unfinished. Unprecedented demand, pandemic-related labor shortages, supply chain issues and fallout from other natural disasters combined to drive up wait times and prices for new pools.

Shortly after Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwest Louisiana on August 27, 2020, a fire at BioLab knocked the chemical plant out of service, resulting in a shortage of chlorine, among other pool treatment products. That chlorine shortage continues to affect pool owners.