My plan was to document our build process all along the way, but time got away and that didn't happen so I wanted to share our experience post build. We stared discussing the pool idea around the fall of 2015 after water restrictions led to our backyard going from a beautiful oasis (well not really but...) to a neglected dead weed patch that was no joy to look at. The kids were at the right age (7 and 10), and able to swim and love the water (as do we) so a pool seemed like the perfect idea to anchor a backyard renovation. We looked at both owner builder (I have done some fairly involved DIY projects over the years so was not afraid of the OB route) and the traditional PB route and after some deliberation decided that the PB route would ultimately result in a more timely completion in our case (given the amount of time I would be able to give to the build). Ultimately we liked Premier Pools and spas and selected them as the builder after talking to 3 other companies. I was clear with the builder that I didn't care for their design so if we signed I wanted them to provide their CAD files from Pool Studio and I was going to modify them (staying within the lineal footage and square footage we were contracting with them). Once we signed I deleted their design and started over, adjusting my design to meet the agreed upon sizing. Pool Studio has a definite learning curve but after some practice isn't too difficult to get excellent results from. The revised drawing was given back them (not without some hiccups - they sent their original plan into their plan drawing sub which created the detailed build plans from that original design, so they had to have it re-done based on our revised plan before we could start the physical layout marking). Anyway - on to the build which commenced Ma 5, 2016:
Pool layout on the lovely weed patch:
Starting the Dig May 5, 2016:
Rebar May 13, 2016 /plumbing May 14-16, 2016:
Gunite day May 23, 2016!
Oops - baja shelf collapsed during gunite application:
Under the "you had one job" catagory - the dog was allowed to explore the gunite shortly after the crews left... can you tell?
Coping/Ledger stone/Glass Tile/waterline tile - 30 day wait for Pacific Stone custom coping to be fabricated (had to template off bond beam after gunite).
Coping arrived June 24th, 2016 installation completed by July 1:
Dam wall glass tile:
Laminar installation (I did this installation myself, had PB plumb 6 lines for deck jets, which I installed (decided to use 2 of the lines for LED Laminars and the other 4 for deck jets - LOVE the laminars):
1800 sq ft of Decking (not done by PB, contracted separately) July 14, 2016:
Plaster day! Aug 8, 2016 (Wet Edge Satin Matrix Tahitian Tropical)
Pool filled - Aug 9, 2016 (used 4 hoses - started mid - morning completed by midnight)
Mistake #1 - Nature2 mineral/tab dispenser. I removed this after the build and replaced it with a Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG system - PB said an ozone system with mineral dispenser was better than a SWG and was offering it at the same cost - unfortunately I did my research after the fact and then determined unequivocally that I wanted a SWG system (left the ozonater hooked up for the minor benefit it provides - knowing it oxidizes some of the FC). As soon as the 30 days was up for the plaster to cure I salted the pool and installed the Jandy SWG.
Mistake #2 - PB did not mention that almost any water feature (sheer descents were always in the plan) should be supplied from a filtered source. Our plan included a separate water feature pump, but no mention was ever made of the need to filter it. In their defense it became mandatory once I decided to install the laminars which MUST be filtered.
That being said I installed a filter (Jandy CS150) in the water feature loop. I also took the opportunity to correct a couple sloppy details by the PB:
1 - they installed a check valve on the discharge side of the pump, meaning the pump lost its prime any time the basket was accessed - so i replaced the check valve and put it on the suction side.
2 - the auto fill was sloppily connected from the top of a nearby hose bib and the PVC pipe was routed across the eq pad so i took the opportunity while installing the filter to also tap into the water pipe underground to supply the autofill.
That's our build story - the process really moved along quick quickly without any major unexpected delays. The overall experience was a good one and we think the builder overall did a very nice job. We are loving the pool and I have really appreciated all the information and participation by the users of this site - it's a great resource and community.