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Thread: PB knowledge levels.

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    philboyj's Avatar
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    PB knowledge levels.

    I was speaking to a PB today regarding a quote they gave me for building a pool in Houston. I was asking him his opinion about water chemistry and salt water pools and use of trichlor pucks etc.
    I was a little surprised at their remarkable lack of knowledge even though they are in the business.
    For e.g. : Me: what do you recommend the free chlorine level to be at when using SWG..
    Answer: Nope...I'm not that much into water chemistry.
    Me: What is your take on the increasing CYA levels using trichlor pucks?
    Answer: haven't heard of anything like that.

    This PB quoted in excess of 100k to build a "pool" only. No kitchen, no landscaping, no pergolas or covered structures.

    My question is: Is it reasonable to expect a PB ( that too the owner) to have in-depth knowledge of these things or am I asking for too much?

    Geometric pool with all Pentair equipment. Raised spa - 18" with Artic Lagoon 1" glass tiles. 3HP VS Pump, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, IC40 Salt system, Easy Touch 8 with LED color light in pool and spa. 1200 sqft of Marble White Pavers decking in Versailles pattern. Tiling and coping almost completed, Indigo Blue Prism Matrix plaster. Pool Build Thread: Houston (Katy) Pool Build - Started April 2016

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Frankly if you were actually talking to the owner of the PB and he doesn't know much about pool chemistry that tells me he is a construction guy and a very small PB.

    How many pools did he build last year? He would be too small to entrust with a $100 K job.

    There are many different kinds of pool builders. There are large fully integrated companies that build and service pools. There are small one man shops that sub all the work out and do no service work. And there is everything in between.

    You should get three bids on the same plans. From three companies. At least one should be a large integrated pool builder that does most work in house. At lest one should be a small high end custom pool builder. Talk with them about what you want and listen to their suggestions. Then give them a general drawing and some specs and ask for a bid. The bids won't be exactly the same in what they are bidding on but they will be close enough. Let them know you are putting the job out to bid.

    If the PB is a small guy who got his start in construction he probably has no pool at home and doesn't know service. Does he build great pools? Maybe. But are you going to gamble your $100K on a guy who runs a pool company and doesn't have the ability to hold his own with a two week trainee at Leslies?
    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: PB knowledge levels.

    Your best bet is do all the research you can about water chemistry and become your own expert. Pool builders make money building pools, period. The questions you ask about salt water, or specific chemistry should only relate to the warranty that is offered. My pool builder had a crew that did all the concrete work, and that was their specialty. Everything else in the pool build was subbed out to "experts" in their respected fields. Electrician came in and did his work, tile & stone guys came in to do their jobs and the gunite crew did a great job doing the shell.

    During the quoting phase I also learned that even the biggest builder in CA (CA Pools) uses subs. So, you can look at it in as two trains of thought. You employ multiple crews throughout the year (even on the off season) with a huge overhead and/ or end up with "jacks of all trades, but masters of none." Or, you have a good group of guys that can do all the heavy lifting, then use a well trusted group of subs (experts) to complete the detailed work of each particular part of the build.

    Your best bet will be to go look at pools that are a few years old that were built by your prospective PB, then ask him the loaded questions about specific aspects of the build. Water chemistry is independent of the build and will be the same whether you are dealing with a bird bath or swimming pool.
    Pool done!! (backyard = work in progress) 32' x 19' inground freeform with 7' spa, baja step w/ (2) bubblers, stonescapes mini pebble finish, rock waterfall feature, 12" raised bond beam, Intelliflo VS, Whisperflo feature pump, (3) 5G Color LED's, FNS + DE 60, 400K Master Temp, Easytouch 8 w/ remote, Intellichlor IC40, Vision Classic Ceramic Kamado smoker, Margaritaville DM1000!!! Party Coming Soon!!
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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    The beauty of TFPC is once you learn the basics, you know more about water chemistry than 99% of of the people you meet. That includes anybody, PBs, pool $tore employees, pool boys, and the average pool owner.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    You are expecting too much. Most PB's build pools. For the most part, they dont own or maintain pools.

    Additionally, you are posing questions about the pucks adding CYA, etc, The people who are in the pool water maintenance business, do not recognize the issues that come with that. The CYA/FC ratio is not taught in CPO classes.

    This is why TFP disagrees with the method of pool store maintenance, and this is why TFP exists to begin with.


    Quote Originally Posted by philboyj View Post
    My question is: Is it reasonable to expect a PB ( that too the owner) to have in-depth knowledge of these things or am I asking for too much?
    Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    I'd want my PB to build a good pool. I don't give a hoot of what he knows about water chemistry. Without TFP, different story.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    I wouldn't expect a PB to know much about chemistry, especially not the TFP methods. That said, I wouldn't really care either. Being good at pouring concrete, plumbing, and plastering can certainly be exclusive from knowing the FC/CYA relationship.

    Our PB has a deal with a pool care company (solo guy in a van) who comes out for free to do startup/owner education in hopes that you'll contract him for closing/care work down the road (we didn't). He advocated using test strips, 1-3ppm FC regardless of CYA, and told us to Shock our pool at least once a week and before/after high swim loads. I was told drop tests are too expensive and complicated unless you are a pro. He came back a month later to add the salt, and told me my FC was "dangerously high" at 6ppm.

    Needless to say I am very thankful I found this website.

    $100k sounds high, but I guess it could depend on your location/design of the pool. Our 28k IG gunnite build came in at around $58k.
    Helpful Links: Pool Chemistry 101 - Recommended Levels - Recommended Chemicals - FC/CYA Chart - SLAM Instructions - Pool Math
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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Not a chance I would expect my pool builder to know those answers. They built a great pool however....
    18k: IG: Black Granite Liner: Aspen: 16x33.5: SWG: Polaris 280

    My pool build new-pool-build-in-nh-t60957.html

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    At least one should be a large integrated pool builder that does most work in house.
    Hi gwegan. Thanks for your input. Not sure if anyone in Houston does most of their work in-house. If other forum members knows of any, please let us know.

    Thanks again

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim View Post
    I'd want my PB to build a good pool. I don't give a hoot of what he knows about water chemistry. Without TFP, different story.
    You hit the nail on the head - " Without TFP, different story" - I believe 90% of pools are being built by clients without TFP knowledge. This is exactly why I feel PB's need to know this. At this rate we will be dumbing down PB's "must have" skills to being able to pick up the phone and scheduling the subs. They dont need to know about concrete, steel, hydraulics, pumps, etc etc.

    I think a more than a basic working knowledge of each item is necessary. After all, the profit margin for each pool starts at 5K to nearly 30K. It is not a 10 dollar widget they are selling.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    The beauty of TFPC is once you learn the basics, you know more about water chemistry than 99% of of the people you meet. That includes anybody, PBs, pool $tore employees, pool boys, and the average pool owner.
    Amen to this. My wife says, I can write a thesis on this subject. She is already bored to death with the technical details of why the stabilizer is required or what CYA means and the other thousand little things etc etc...lol
    Geometric pool with all Pentair equipment. Raised spa - 18" with Artic Lagoon 1" glass tiles. 3HP VS Pump, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, IC40 Salt system, Easy Touch 8 with LED color light in pool and spa. 1200 sqft of Marble White Pavers decking in Versailles pattern. Tiling and coping almost completed, Indigo Blue Prism Matrix plaster. Pool Build Thread: Houston (Katy) Pool Build - Started April 2016

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    It isn't just chemistry knowledge that they lack but few PBs really understand plumbing hydraulics especially when it comes to spas. So if you are building a spa, review the PBs design very carefully. Over the years, we have gotten many posts on problems with poor spa performance.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    TFP is my water maintenance expert and guide. I agree... in a perfect world, PB's would have a better understanding of water chemistry. But it seems we're in a time of specialists. For back pain, go to a spine doctor (and may even have to specify a lower spine guy).

    With my PB's assistant who helps new owners with maintenance, once he realized how much I've learned from TFP, we had more time for him to work with me on the pumps, etc. They really don't have all the time in the world.

    After 2 hours with my pb, I had no doubt how much he knows about each phase of pool building. He started out in plumbing which was a plus. And the icing on the cake for him is his integrity and he's a gentleman. (ex: he still refuses to take final payment until a couple of little things are done.) His downside? Communication. I think there are few PB's who have it all. I'm thrilled with the results and would have him build for me again.

    I live in the Cypress area. That $100k bid sounds way out of line - at least around here. I don't have your specs handy, so maybe you're going for a larger than average size pool and/or a lot of bells and whistles. But my pool didn't come close to that.

    Take care,
    Susan
    Suz~Cypress area~ 2015 pool build. 23K gallons. IG swcg system. 35'x18'; 573sf; 104' perim; depth 4'-7'. Bubblers, sheer descents, 7' spa. Jandy: color LEDs; 2HP 2sp pump; 1HP 2sp pump; spa pump; 580 cartridge; 400K BTU; Dolphin M500; PS8; Inline chlorinator not used; Aqua Pure 1400. Blue Granite Sheen. Travertine deck. Lightstreams Peacock Blue TF-100, K-1766, SpeedStir

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Heck, my house in Alabama, was only a little more than that and it's 3000 sq fT!
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    Heck, my house in Alabama, was only a little more than that and it's 3000 sq fT!
    I need to move to Alabama!
    18k: IG: Black Granite Liner: Aspen: 16x33.5: SWG: Polaris 280

    My pool build new-pool-build-in-nh-t60957.html

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    It's for sale...
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    100k for house and add 100k for pool. Well balanced )

    Geometric pool with all Pentair equipment. Raised spa - 18" with Artic Lagoon 1" glass tiles. 3HP VS Pump, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, IC40 Salt system, Easy Touch 8 with LED color light in pool and spa. 1200 sqft of Marble White Pavers decking in Versailles pattern. Tiling and coping almost completed, Indigo Blue Prism Matrix plaster. Pool Build Thread: Houston (Katy) Pool Build - Started April 2016

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Plus the same people that no nothing about water chemistry are trying to sell you Nature2 or UV systems to help with maintenance. This is exactly why you shouldn't choose pool equipment based on PB recommendations.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    I hope its a very large pool with a lot of upgrades for 100k.... In AZ 100k will buy you a resort pool
    Freeform /620 Surface/110 perimeter/20k gal/ Raised bond beam/Baja shelf (2)//Pentair- Intelliflo VS pump, Pentair Whisperflo 1hp// Easytouch, C&C 520 Cartridge, Intellichlor SWCG// A&A- Magnasweep in-floor, LeafVac, Venturi Skimmer,// Mini-pebble (Aqua Blue w abalone shell)//4 Pentair Globrite LEDs//3 sheer descents//Travertine coping and decking.

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    My PB and I talked water chemistry a LOT after we were up and running and starting having problems with the pool maintenance services. He specifies and includes a Taylor kit as part of his package. About a year past our completed build, te came over one afternoon and we spent an hour going over the tests and the Taylor book. By that time, I was already lurking on TFP and was able to relate the two items. His expertise is in building pools and I've developed a level of expertise in maintaining mine. That's my responsibility as a pool owner that doesn't want to pay a service. He helped me get started and we've trade many emails back and forth. I tend however, to think that he is an exception (as well as being exceptional).
    Central TX / 12K GAL / IG / SWG / DE filter / Pentair SVRS & 3 swim jet pumps / Spa bench and jets / Single body of water / No heater.

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by ummgood View Post
    Plus the same people that no nothing about water chemistry are trying to sell you Nature2 or UV systems to help with maintenance. This is exactly why you shouldn't choose pool equipment based on PB recommendations.
    Great thought ummgood - I was laughing so loud just thinking about how much sense your comment made. Even though water chemistry knowledge was minimal, PB insisted on the Ozonator and UV thingie.
    Geometric pool with all Pentair equipment. Raised spa - 18" with Artic Lagoon 1" glass tiles. 3HP VS Pump, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, IC40 Salt system, Easy Touch 8 with LED color light in pool and spa. 1200 sqft of Marble White Pavers decking in Versailles pattern. Tiling and coping almost completed, Indigo Blue Prism Matrix plaster. Pool Build Thread: Houston (Katy) Pool Build - Started April 2016

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    Re: PB knowledge levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by azjoshers79 View Post
    I hope its a very large pool with a lot of upgrades for 100k.... In AZ 100k will buy you a resort pool
    AZJOSHERS79 - I wish it were a resort pool. I dont mind PB's showing me designs where I said " I wish I had 100K plus to install this pool". Instead the thought has been more along the lines of "why would I pay even 50k for that pool. I will rather not have a pool than install that".

    On another 100K bid - which was on exactly one page, PB had so many typos ( it said freeform instead of geometric, it said Flagstone instead of travertine, no mention of any decking material, quoting older PCC2000 instead of newer PV3, no line item pricing - just one lumpsum number at 99,XXX - maybe that was a typo also - lol ) It made me wonder - what level of pools are these guys used to building that they give so scant attention to detail when they are trying to woo a client to build a pool that they think is worth 100K

    I will keep looking - I'm sure that the right PB will show up soon.
    Geometric pool with all Pentair equipment. Raised spa - 18" with Artic Lagoon 1" glass tiles. 3HP VS Pump, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, IC40 Salt system, Easy Touch 8 with LED color light in pool and spa. 1200 sqft of Marble White Pavers decking in Versailles pattern. Tiling and coping almost completed, Indigo Blue Prism Matrix plaster. Pool Build Thread: Houston (Katy) Pool Build - Started April 2016

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