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Thread: Trench with cement - is this okay?

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    Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Hi all,

    My wife and I decided to have an in-ground gunite pool built earlier this year. We did a good amount of research on what kind of pool we thought was best for us, and finally picked a pool contractor and pool type back in April. They started construction in early May and we've been having a bunch of issues with them along the way.

    I was hoping with all of the experienced pool owners on this board, I might get a few people that could comment on a concern I have.

    The electrician my contractor hired is actually one of the most well known and reputable electrical companies in the area. In fact, I used them in the past to install a generator for my house and everything went extremely smoothly...maybe generators are their thing, while pools aren't. I'm saying this because they failed inspection 4 times now. They keep on failing because the 10 feet of trench that's closest to the pool equipment (for the electrical line they ran from my house to the equipment) wasn't deep enough. The inspector from my town keeps telling them that the trench needs to be deep enough so that the top of the conduit they ran is at least 18" below the ground level. They keep coming back and digging maybe an inch or a half in deeper and then calling back for re-inspection. Last time I measured it was anywhere from 12" to 14", depending on where I measured.

    I woke up in the morning and saw the electricians back there filling the trench with concrete, instead of digging it deeper. They said that the inspection would pass as a result of this, and that digging it deeper isn't necessary as a result of doing this. I know that the inspector ended up calling them prior to them coming on site, because at this point he was feeling bad for us...but I told him I didn't care how long it took as long as the job is done correctly and safely.

    As soon as I saw the electrician out there, I went out there and told them that I was concerned that them doing this could lead to major issues for me down the line if I needed any plumbing or electric lines they've now surrounded within the concrete to be fixed. Are my concerns valid? Today, the town came and did pass the inspection, so I'm thinking I don't have much ground to stand on. I'm hoping that I'm wrong and what they did is perfectly normal.

    I'm providing a few pictures of how it looks now. As you can see, some of the PVC from the plumbing is now surrounded by the cement. So is some of the ground wire that runs from the electrical equipment to the pool (to tie into the bonding grid).

    IMG_2390.jpgIMG_2391.jpgIMG_2393.jpg

    Thanks in advance for any input!

    Jo
    In-ground 47'x25' free-form gunite pool w/ spa w/ waterfall. 35,380 gallons. 3' to 8' deep. 96 sq ft 6" deep sun shelf. SunStone Select Quartz Finish (Graphite). 2 Hayward skimmers. Jandy DEV60 DE Filter + Pro Series Plus 2HP Pump. Polaris PB4-60 Pressure Cleaner Booster Pump. Raypack P-R406A Heater. EasyTouch 8. IntelliChem w/ Acid Tank. IntelliChlor IC60. Techo-Bloc bullnose coping + Blu 60 mm paver patio. Merlin SmartMesh cover. TF-100.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Welcome to TFP!

    Normal? I would say no. I have never seen any trade pour concrete on top of burried utilities to keep from digging a little deeper. But, I understand why they did it. If they went 6" deeper they would have to lengthen the pipes and then the wire that is already pulled and cut would be too short. A couple of bags of concrete are less expensive than a bunch of new copper.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Geez. Probably not much you can do about it now. Some might feel that for them to do that shows little to no regard for future work/repair that you the owner may incur down the road. However, trying to look at it in a positive way, that conduit is protected from above from punctures/digging. Hopefully there would never be a need to replace the electrical line once ran in the conduit. The fact they did that as opposed to digging deeper seems kind of odd though.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
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    ozdiver's Avatar
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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Electrician shows no regard for your future plans.
    If you wanted to add landscape lighting to your automation, he has made it near impossible to add conduit runs to this load center.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
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    MARCO...polo's Avatar
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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Perfectly ok here in CA. PVC conduit still has to be 5+ inches below surface and can either be under OR encased in the concrete. Or so I'm told.
    13,000 gal.Peanut shaped IG Plaster (med. gray) w/ 7' raised spa. ALL Pentair: Intelliflow 3hp VS, Cartridge filter, 400,000 btu heater, 2.0hp spa motor, Easy Touch control panel & is4 spa side switch, Intellichlor 40C SWG, Paramount PV3 In Floor cleaning system, spa spillway and two sheer descents. Solar: 10 FAFCO panels 1.5hp booster. Testt kits: K-2006 & K1766 (Chloride/Salt) Fill date August 15, 2114.

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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    That will pass inspection as long as the conduit has 3" cover in all directions.

    If your not happy with it, tell them to get a trencher and put the conduit where it belongs. I wouldn't accept this solution. In addition to burying the conduit I would make them remove the concrete, very carefully.

    Trencher rental is about $200 for half day. In this area we have be onsite for all inspections (4 hour window). I would be out nearly $1k in labor if I failed 4 times. Add in the cost of wasted wire and the contractor is lucky if they break even on this job. As soon as a contractor starts losing money they start making stupid decisions. That's not your problem and there is no reason you should accept it.

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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    THIS IS JUST MY OPINION:
    If they have to do a wiring repair they are just going to pull wire through the conduit. They would not unbury it for any reason. I would be concerned my grass may not grow back, but it looks like they can still put plenty of dirt back over it. It also looks like you have plenty of room to the left of your automation box if you want to run any lines yourself. I really think you will be ok the way it is.
    8500 gallon IG Pebble Sheen with Spa. 3hp Pentair VS Intelliflo ( pool ), 3/4 hp WhisperFlo ( water feature ),Pentair Racer, 400K Pentair heater, Pentair 500sqft Cartridge filter, EasyTouch 8, Stenner 45mp2 15gallon wired to ET8

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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Is this code compliant? Probably. If they have sufficient cover over the conduit and the inspector believes they have sufficient cover.

    Is this Ok? Well its safer because the conduit is protected -- that is the intent of the code. Look I have a 220 volt conduit running across my backyard lawn around to my pool pad burred 2 feet down. Its covered with 6 inches of sand. Why 6 inches of sand? Because if I'm digging I want to know before I get near the conduit that its there.

    On the other hand you have this concrete 8 inches down in your yard. If you want to do something it will be difficult to change.

    I would not be happy but I'm not sure I'd want them to change it. They should have talked to you first.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Messy work. I think I'd call them out on it.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Messy work. I think I'd call them out on it.
    Does that make you feel better instead of picking out furniture for the ladies?

    I'd probably call them out on it too for principle but be done with it in the end.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    Re: Trench with cement - is this okay?

    Hi all,

    Thanks so much for the replies. I really appreciate everyone's advice and opinions. I'm definitely glad to see that nobody thinks this wasn't safe. I am not happy that the general consensus is what I thought - that this was a inconsiderate thing for them to do that may lead to headaches for me down the link (hopefully not though).

    I think I'll save myself a lot of aggravation if I just let everything continue as is. Being that the town passed the inspection, I don't think there's anything that I can legally do. Sure, I can say that I never agreed to having them pour the concrete...but they can then just say they never specified exactly how they would handle this aspect of the job.

    I'll just try to focus on the positive and think that at least those lines are very protected from being cut.

    Thanks again for the quick responses. I'm really happy that an online community like this exists.
    In-ground 47'x25' free-form gunite pool w/ spa w/ waterfall. 35,380 gallons. 3' to 8' deep. 96 sq ft 6" deep sun shelf. SunStone Select Quartz Finish (Graphite). 2 Hayward skimmers. Jandy DEV60 DE Filter + Pro Series Plus 2HP Pump. Polaris PB4-60 Pressure Cleaner Booster Pump. Raypack P-R406A Heater. EasyTouch 8. IntelliChem w/ Acid Tank. IntelliChlor IC60. Techo-Bloc bullnose coping + Blu 60 mm paver patio. Merlin SmartMesh cover. TF-100.

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