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Thread: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

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    Jul 2015
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    Unhappy Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    We are 5 weeks into our new pool build in Pasadena, CA and the city inspector just told us we need to replace the entire perimeter wall in our backyard. There are 2 of them and they are shared with 2 different neighbors, and total approx. 120 feet. Weíve tried reasoning with the inspector, our PB has tried too, and our PB has also talked to the senior inspector at the city but he stands behind the field inspectors opinion. Itís difficult to accept because we are confident the wall is strong and will not come down. But we think we need to come to terms with this awful snag and just do what they say. A big problem is we donít know what this means for us exactly, but it seems like itís opening a can of worms -- let alone will probably cost us an additional unexpected $5k.

    A friend said we will need to get a surveyor out to ensure putting the new fence in the same exact location as the old wall will not encroach on anyoneís property. And someone said we might have to work with the neighbors to pick the new materials and style of the new fence. We gave one of the neighbors a heads up and they seem to be annoyed with us now. The other neighbor is right behind us and has an electrical pole close to the existing wall which must be an easement for them, but we bought our house 2 years ago and there was no easement listed in the escrow docs for us. Nonetheless, Iím concerned replacing this wall will open up some kind of legal issue regarding this electrical pole.

    We are contemplating building a fence inside the existing wall to avoid property line issues, angering our neighbors, legal concerns, electrical pole becoming a problem, and perhaps even avoid pulling a new permit. Not sure it will work, but itís something we want to explore. Does anyone have any insights on this issue or encountered a similar experience? Would love to know how it worked out for you. And if thereís anyone in Pasadena, CA could you tell me if your perimeter wall was ever an issue in your pool build?

    Meanwhile hereís a pic of our build so far:
    Day 17 Tiling mostly done.jpg

    Thank you,
    Julie
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    Re: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    Welcome to TFP! I don't really know much about this, but I'm sure some will come along soon and help you out. But that said, I will offer my 2 cents! Lol

    Can't really tell by the pic, but is it the existing wall masonry? If so, can you hire a structural engineer to come out and look at it. Perhaps if the engineer says is safe, then you could present that to the city? I would think it would be cheaper than 5k.
    I don't know what things are like in CA, but if the fence is on your property, I would put up one I liked and not get the neighbors opinions. Of course if you have to go thru an HOA of some kind that's a whole new ballgame.

    Like I said, I don't really know much about it, but just offering an opinion.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    Thank you, Marla. We're not in an HOA, and yes it's masonry. It's a really old block wall that was probably built in the 50's (the house is 1940). That's a wild guess, but they don't make that kind of block anymore and they did an addition to this house in the 60's, so in my mind they probably built the block wall somewhere in between building the house and building the addition.

    The field inspector would not talk to me! It was so frustrating trying to get information out of him, but I did ask what would be necessary to vet the structural integrity of the wall and he said get an engineer to vouch for it. It so happens I work for an engineering firm but when I talked to a friend there, who is a highly respected concrete engineer that designs big bridges and dams, etc., he made it sound so complicated despite wanting to help. He said he'd have to know what the city wants to see so he could provide mathematical formulas proving their requirements are met (i.e., what is the wall's function under what type of conditions). And I don't think the city will provide that level of detail. Further, we are concerned about 2 other things: 1, angering the inspectors and making our lives even more difficult as a result; and 2, we're in a drought and trying to beat the city's clock for when they restrict filling new pools and I hear fighting something like this with a hearing, etc can take months. But compared to $5k and the can of worms that comes with rebuilding the walls, it might still be a worthwhile pursuit if we knew there was a specialist out there who can confidently sway the city. Do you think that there is a type of structural engineer who does this kind of thing? Frankly I'm surprised my coworker couldn't help more. It's one of the main reasons we are (almost) ready to accept defeat.
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    Tujunga, CA
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    Re: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    Sorry to hear that you're going thru so much trouble over such a trivial thing. Here's a link to my pool build: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...in-Southern-CA notice the size of the retaining wall in my yard? I know that you don't need a retaining wall, but that you need a perimeter wall. Since we have a somewhat similar situation, some points I can offer:

    1) Doesn't your PB have engineers he can bring in to check the integrity of the wall? I remember with our build, we brought in an engineer who told the PB exactly what to do with the retaining wall so we wouldn't have problems.

    2) Hire an engineer yourself to come check the integrity of the wall and write a detailed report.

    3) As mentioned before, if you do need to tear down the wall and start over make sure you get a survey done. When I had my survey done it turns out 20 feet behind my existing wall was actually my property, if you need the number for my surveyor let me know.

    Good Luck.

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    Re: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    Quote Originally Posted by emil View Post
    Sorry to hear that you're going thru so much trouble over such a trivial thing. Here's a link to my pool build: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...in-Southern-CA notice the size of the retaining wall in my yard? I know that you don't need a retaining wall, but that you need a perimeter wall. Since we have a somewhat similar situation, some points I can offer:

    1) Doesn't your PB have engineers he can bring in to check the integrity of the wall? I remember with our build, we brought in an engineer who told the PB exactly what to do with the retaining wall so we wouldn't have problems.

    2) Hire an engineer yourself to come check the integrity of the wall and write a detailed report.

    3) As mentioned before, if you do need to tear down the wall and start over make sure you get a survey done. When I had my survey done it turns out 20 feet behind my existing wall was actually my property, if you need the number for my surveyor let me know.

    Good Luck.
    Yes, please. Would appreciate a referral to your surveyor. I'm definitely going to read your post next which will probably answer my next set of questions for you, but if you don't mind I'll ask them here too. Did you have to work with your neighbors to be assured of the legal boundaries or was the surveyor's report enough to satisfy any legal issue that could come up? Is the cost of hiring a surveyor approx. $500 as my friend thought? Still curious why we have to hire a surveyor if there is an existing wall. I see in your case it worked to your benefit, but what if there was a survey done by one of the prior owners of our home or even one of the neighbors who share our wall? Do you know if that could be the case and it could be easily accessible and used for the purpose of rebuilding the wall this time around?

    You're right about pursuing our PB's engineer. I think I made him think that wasn't necessary by talking up my coworkers and the company I work for, but I'll press to use his resource tomorrow. Thank you! I think I'm going to look around for a different engineer I can hire directly as you suggest too, just to see if that goes anywhere. I was just so surprised and discouraged my coworker really wasn't sure about how to proceed that it made me jump to the conclusion that hiring an engineer might not work since we don't know the requirements of the city. We feel the inspectors opinions are subjective to some extent and therefore you can't fight them successfully. Do you agree?

    Going to read your post now. Thank you so much for your help.
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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    Re: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    Hi,

    The surveyor's name is William (Bill) Nailing - 661-713-8677. I think the cost of the survey depends on how many corners of the property he has to do, I had 3 quotes and Bill charged the best price. He will also set markers in the ground and record the survey with the city. I didn't work with the neighbors, I just went ahead and did the survey. I figured if it's my property why do I have to tell them anything. Remember just because you have the wall that doesn't mean that is your property line. I had a wall at the back of my property, but as a result of the survey we found out it's in the wrong spot. You can call the city and see if a survey has been done before, if you're lucky a survey might be recorded. You can then get that info and avoid having to pay out of pocket. Yes, the city inspectors opinions are based on their mood of the day, if you had a different inspector probably you wouldn't be in this mess now.

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    Re: Pool Build in Pasadena, CA - Perimeter wall question

    Thanks for that. Agreed we got a grumpy inspector (I'm being really, really nice in my description). I just saw your post and see you don't really have neighbors that you needed to be concerned about like I do. Good for you!! We'll be sure to get a survey if we have to rebuild the wall, but it seems so unlikely that our wall is in the wrong spot considering all the walls on this block for all the neighbors are in the same spot. Hopefully we can find one already filed at the city instead.
    Completed new pool & spa in Pasadena, CA Oct 2015
    14' x 25', raised bond beam for water feature
    deck jet, Baja step, 7'x7' spa
    Pentair equip, saltwater, EasyTouch remote system

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