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Thread: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

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    New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    I signed the contract for my pool in April with all excitement hoping to be able to swim in the summer, construction started May 8th 2015 and its been about 8 months now and it is still not done. Communication has been off and on since I made the 3rd payment installment in June, PB usually shows up each month, does one thing and goes MIA again. June 1st was gunite, July waterline tile, August concrete deck, September plaster, fill and start up, stayed for over 2 weeks without any equipment, It took complains to the overall owner of the company (my PB is a franchise) to get him to come out and install the pump and filter. Pool cleaner was put in 1st week of October and 2 weeks back, he showed up and installed the heater, fire pit, pool & spa lights, nozzles in the spa, air blower and I-aqualink system, which has greatly reduced my exposure. I have tried to be patient and manage my pool builder till now that I'm certain that the last payment ($3600) I owe can complete the outstanding work. I was looking forward to this point when I can call it quits with him and get someone else to complete the work without spending more money. But the problem is that he has not been paying subcontractors, so I have 2 liens ($9,170 - gunite and plaster company) and I saw a note on my door yesterday from the concrete guy saying he has not been paid (he didn't state the amount). If PB had finished my work, I would have used his last check to pay off one of the subs. The gunite, plaster company and some other pool owners have filed claims against his bond; the bond is only $12,500. I heard that we are over 15 people that he took money from without completing the pools and he is about to declare bankruptcy. He no longer responds to phone calls, emails or text messages, I fear that he has run away. I have complained to the Contractors State License Board, his license is currently suspended for the bond issues. I am about to file a claim on his bond as well; just confirmed they haven't paid out yet.

    The outstanding work/items on my project includes:
    1. Salt water cell, sensor kit and hook up to the Aqualink control system
    2. Hook up all gas lines and ensure that the heater and fire pit work
    3. Auto fill valve and hook-up completion
    4. 3 backyard lights install and hook-up to the Aqualink control system
    5. Retaining wall on one side of the fence line
    6. Rock concrete slide completion (work already started, about 70% complete)
    7. Clean up and seal the concrete deck
    8. Maintenance kit
    9. Basketball hoop
    10. Final inspection


    What else can I do? Should I continue to wait for him and hope that November will be the final month that everything gets done or should I get someone else to finish up? Any advice will be appreciated.
    Thank you.


    1. Complete the rock concrete slide (work already started)
    2. Clean up and reseal the concrete


    Last edited by zea3; 11-07-2015 at 09:33 AM. Reason: remove blank spaces within post
    12.5K gal, IG plaster, Overflow Spa, 2.7 Hp variable speed Jandy E pump, JS 100-SM Jandy sand filter, Zodiak MX6 (builder installed), purchased Dolphin M500. SWG not yet installed, treating as a chlorine pool and spa for now. TF100 test kit. Plastered and filled Sep 2015.

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Wow. I know everyone always hates to hear these kind of stories because anyone who's ever hired a contractor to build anything can empathize with your situation. I don't have much I can say except I think you are into lawyer territory at this point if nothing else then to fully understand your liability on the liens and how to proceed. A $12.5k bond is not going to do anything for you with 15 other people trying to file claims on it.

    For peace of mind, I would be at least researching other pool builders right now so you can get an idea of what it will take to complete the pool and make sure your permits are approved.

    Good luck
    plat.
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    If your PB is a franchise, I would place some calls to the overall owner. They may be willing to step in to protect the franchise name and make you happy. Otherwise, I agree its time to talk with a construction lawyer. I don't know about California, but contractor's bonds are often first-come-first-to-get-the-money until the bond runs out. If you as the owner have a claim against his bond, you probably want to be at the front of the line instead of the back.
    Owner Build. 32x16, with 6x8 raised spa. Broke ground April 1, 2016, swimming July 18. Pentair Intelliflo VS + Whisperflo for Water features; Clean & Clear Filter 420; Master Temp Heater 400k BTU; Intellibrite 120V pool and spa lights; Regular ol' plaster.

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    Helen203's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    I leave this to the lawyers to offer advice, but just want to say how sorry I am that this happened to you. We had a similar situation here in Maryland this summer, and it was ugly...
    My Pool Build (2015): inground 12K gals gunite/plaster pool, SWG, 2-speed pump, cartridge filter, gas heater, and polaris cleaner (Jandy). TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir

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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    contact the franchisor

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Get legal representation now. Do you have access to legal services through your employer (some offer it as part of the benefits package)? Did you have the PB sign lien releases for the subs? The punch-list you have could easily exceed the PBs bond considering how many claims there are against it already.

    Franchiser/Franchisee liability law is complicated.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Sorry to hear what you are going through. I agree with JoyfulNoise about getting legal representation asap.

    Also, I think you should name the PB here - especially since this is a franchise type PB and probably serves several areas that could affect a lot of home owners like us. .

    I wonder of you have any leeway with the parent organization - as I would assume they have a certain amount of responsibility towards this as well. If they are large enough and have a reputation to maintain, one hopes that they step in to solve the problem.
    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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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    No naming of PB or companies allowed on the open board please. IF you want to share in PM that should be okay.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Contact the parent company for the franchise. They may be willing to step up and make it right.
    If that fails, make sure all your complaints are well documented and find a good lawyer to protect your rights and property, and get you satisfaction in this matter.

    For the rest of the forum please do not ask Blessed to name the builder publicly. If they wish to give this information through a private message they are welcome to do so.
    TFP Moderator
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    No naming of PB or companies allowed on the open board please. IF you want to share in PM that should be okay.

    Kim
    Apparently that is not strictly being enforced - based on the large number of PB firms being named on the forums in various posts.

    So, presumably it is in the spirit of ensuring that PB's or their employees do not start using this forum to advertise their services - rather than one home owner reaching out for help and also to serve as a red flag if someone else is in contract or considering the said PB for their pool.



    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: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Been there done that. My PB started dragging his butt towards the end of the job (mine took three years to build). The Solar contractor wanted 10% more because my pool took so long to build (he did not get it),
    I guess my 5K in his bank account did not count.
    I have a real close friend that is a "Construction Defects Expert" I brought him to my house, and the subs soiled themselves..I did call in fresh subs to complete my pool.
    Maybe you should contact a "Construction Defects Expert" and go after the franchise...ask for 100% refund..then settle for a completed pool, with "no" liens.
    22K gal Plaster, 3M color, (4) Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro pumps (P6E6G-208L), Sta-Rite System 3 Filter (Sm8-500),
    Pentair Intellitouch System I9 + 3,Pentair Intellitouch System I10X Expansion center, Intellitouch Spa remote.
    Helicoil Solar Heating, Sta-Rite SR400 (Propane) Heater
    (3) PG2000 Illuminators, Pentair 320 Chlorine Feeder, Zodiac Nature2,
    Pool Shark (GW7700), All Jandy Neverlube valves (with Actuators), Jandy Check Valves.
    Sam Light Spectrum Amerilite (color changing w/color swim) SaL (color changing w/color swim,also)
    Pentair Auto Fill ... 100% real Rock all Hand picked, no concrete formed rocks, or slab

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    philboyj's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by avpowerstn View Post
    I have a real close friend that is a "Construction Defects Expert" I brought him to my house, and the subs soiled themselves...


    I was so LOL at your comment.

    I was researching stamped concrete and saw this video about an unhappy homeowner who is going after his stamped concrete company. Very professionally done and informative too - for anyone considering stamped concrete.
    Stamped Concrete - YouTube

    I still like AVpowerstn's method described above...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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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Thanks everyone for your input. I have started gathering quotes for the completion of my job, so I can know my total financial liability before I proceed. The invoice from the concrete guy is $8,500 which brings the total to $17,670 for unpaid subcontractors. Which means I cannot sue in a small claims court. Will have to hire a lawyer and yes there is a program through my workplace, will look into that tomorrow.

    I haven't been able to reach the Franchisor, I'm beginning to think they are all avoiding my calls. But I learned one or two other of their franchises have done the same thing (taken money from people and absconding) that it may not be a new thing for them. They have a disclaimer on their website absolving them from being liable for non-performance from the franchises.

    I got all the gas lines hooked up today by someone else so the heater is working now. I ordered my salt cell and sensor kit online, should come in by tomorrow, hope to get that installed and hooked up soon as well.

    Another question: The concrete decking was poured on August 1st, the subcontractor has missed all his timelines for recording a lien. Should he still be my problem, will I still be required to pay him? Shouldn't he be going after the PB for his money? I think he is taking undue advantage by giving me an invoice for $8,500 and my concrete was not sealed, knowing the PB is no longer in the picture to verify this. On meeting with him, he was disappointed that I was not going to pay him right away. He probably had the impression that I was going to cut him a check and beefed up the amount to cover some of his other losses (my PB owes him for 2 other jobs). He tried to play the lien card not knowing I have done all my homework since I got my first lien and he can't sue me either because he is unlicensed. I got someone else to come in and check how much the concrete should have cost and I got an estimate of between $4,000 and $5,000, max of $6,000.
    12.5K gal, IG plaster, Overflow Spa, 2.7 Hp variable speed Jandy E pump, JS 100-SM Jandy sand filter, Zodiak MX6 (builder installed), purchased Dolphin M500. SWG not yet installed, treating as a chlorine pool and spa for now. TF100 test kit. Plastered and filled Sep 2015.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    It sounds like you have your ducks in a row. I hope you do not need them but............better safe than sorry.

    Yeah for the gas line and heat!

    I have no idea about the lien Sad for you and the concrete man.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Two thoughts -

    Yes, the concrete sub can still attach a lien to your property because you ultimately are responsible for paying him regardless of whether or not the PB runs off with the money. This is why lien-releases are an important legal document to obtain from PBs during a build. They basically absolve you of any responsibility for payment once you give the money to the PB.

    Second, I don't think it matters from a legal perspective if the franchisor has a disclaimer or not. It only matters how much control the franchisor exerts over the franchisee to establish liability. That said, only a good lawyer knows the ins & outs of liability law.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    @JoyfulNoise: but in CA, the law says that the subs have 20 days from job completion to send a lien notice and 90 days to record the lien otherwise the lien is invalid.

    Are you saying he can still record a lien despite missing the time lines? He did his job on August 1st, completed everything on that day, never showed up on my property again. Another caveat is that unlicensed contractors cannot record a lien nor sue even if the homeowner was aware of their license status and fraudulently took undue advantage of them, you can actually sue the unlicensed contractor to recover any money you already paid them.
    12.5K gal, IG plaster, Overflow Spa, 2.7 Hp variable speed Jandy E pump, JS 100-SM Jandy sand filter, Zodiak MX6 (builder installed), purchased Dolphin M500. SWG not yet installed, treating as a chlorine pool and spa for now. TF100 test kit. Plastered and filled Sep 2015.

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    philboyj's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Home-owners got the wrong end of the stick with this law allowing sub contractors with whom we have no contract or dealings with to put a lien on our houses.

    At the very least, we should have the right to pay sub contractors directly.

    Secondly - it seems that putting a lien on the house seems to be the first recourse. Why not put a lien on Pool Builders business and then their house and their other assets. Putting a lien on homeowners should be the last recourse and subs should have substantial proof that they went through the necessary steps before approaching the homeowner. Homeowners are likely to be seen as soft targets with limited legal knowledge.

    Putting it in perspective - if I buy an Ipad from BestBuy and if BestBuy goes out of business without paying Apple...Apple can come and get their money from me or repossess the Ipad. It is as ridiculous as this situation.

    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: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    If the PB business is an LLC, I think his home and assets are not touchaable.
    15x54 swim & play vinyl metal wall AG
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    philboyj's Avatar
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    Re: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    Liability typically does not cover fraud - or maybe I should recheck that.

    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: New Build - 8 months and counting; what are my options?

    My heart breaks for you and the trouble you are experiencing! Praying for justice and favor in the courts for you!


    PB #2 tried to tell me the subs can't put a Leon on us if he doesn't pay, thus he wouldn't give lien releases. He's also the one that never got back to us with a price quote on the design he sent us... Maybe we avoided a problem...
    Denise-TFP Guide
    IG 13.6x30 gunite, Radiant Fusion Topaz, 3.6/5.6/4, 14100 gal, 2 skimmer, 4 Hayward LED lights (pool & spa), Hayward Echostar VSP, 2 future fire bowls, raised beam wall w/ scuppers,7x7 raised spa, DE Progrid70, SWG Hayward Goldline, OmniLogic, Hayward 400K BTU heater, stamped colored deck, Dolphin Discovery robotic cleaner, TF100 test kit, Newbie in Bixby Oklahoma

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