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Thread: What makes a good pool construction contract?

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    What makes a good pool construction contract?

    What makes a good pool contract? What do you guys recommend be outlined? Did you guys review your pool construction contracts with a lawyer prior to signing?
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    45 views and no responses? Maybe a better question would be any lessons learned related to contracts? Anything you know now you wished you'd known before you signed? I am getting close to signing and just looking for advice.
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Welcome to TFP

    Patience my friend....with thousands of members, you'll get great advice...but 2hr turnaround on a Sunday evening is kind of agressive no? Anyhow, just wanted to say welcome...since I went the AGP route, I really can't give you good advice...but at least I'm replying
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    OK, I'll give it a shot, but I'm no attorney!

    Remember, the pool contract is written, for the most part, to protect the builder. He wants to stipulate when he will get paid (progress payments) and what is included (hours for the dig, extra trucking, equipment, plaster options, tile allowance, etc.). He also wants to tell you for how long and under what conditions he will warrant the pool. While he is entitled to make a profit, and protect himself, you also have items that need to be discussed and clarified. Here's an example: He will put on the contract that you are representing to him that you have stable soil in which to build a pool. You would probably assume that to be correct, so you sign the paperwork. Now, if there is a structural failure down the road, he will ask you to produce the soils report that you had done or had in your possession from a Soils Engineer prior to signing the contract. If you don't have one (if he told you to get one or not), then his structural warranty is void.

    Anything stated needs to be put in writing. Verbal agreements do not stand up in court! If it is important to you, get it in writing. How many hours for the dig, hard ground condition costs, if any, additional trucking time costs, tile allowances, coping allowances, pipe sizes and length of run, all equipment supplied, dry gunite or shotcrete (depending on where you are), interior finishes and upgrade costs, if start up is included. Will you get a walk through on how to use the equipment, and are the cleaning tools and testing kits included.

    This is not by any means comprehensive or all inclusive, but it is a start! In the end, you won't be able to cover everything, and something will be left out. Get a reputable builder from the start. Don't get the new guy or the least expensive guy, or even the guy you "like" if that is all there is! Go to the BBB and the Contractors State Licensing Board and check up on any you consider. Ask around for referrals. Not every PB is a crook, and not all of them are reputable. Take your time, and remember that we are in a recession, so they need you more than you need them!

    OK, like I said, I'm not an attorney! You can do this, just stop and listen and take your time deciding. If you feel pushed, walk away; it's your money!

    Then, when you've decided and get started, post up a whole lotta pics for the rest of us to see

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    @dmanb2b
    Thanks for the guidance. Just to be clear, my point wasn't, "Answer me now, dammit." It was more, "Wow, this many people have viewed, and no replies? My question must really be awful. Let me phrase this another way..."

    Also, not a big deal in any way, but please take another look at the two-hour turnaround time statement in your post...I posted the original message at 8 am. This forum is great, and sorry if my post read as anything other than positive.

    @simicrintz
    You make awesome points. Your example about the soil sample is excellent, and really underscores my concern about the contract. At the end of the day, this document is going to be the only thing I have to ensure both me and the builder are happy when all is said and done. I plan to have the builder put walkthroughs at each construction/payment milestone into the contract, so will be taking lots of pics at each.

    Thanks again for the advice, any and all feedback welcomed. I am hoping to sign a contract next week.
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Quote Originally Posted by ncpool
    @dmanb2b
    Thanks for the guidance. Just to be clear, my point wasn't, "Answer me now, dammit." It was more, "Wow, this many people have viewed, and no replies? My question must really be awful. Let me phrase this another way..."

    Also, not a big deal in any way, but please take another look at the two-hour turnaround time statement in your post...I posted the original message at 8 am. This forum is great, and sorry if my post read as anything other than positive.
    Oops...that darn am/pm thing...OK nevermind my idiotic statement...except the welcome . If it still means anything, I think your question was fine, it just may take a while until someone wants to speell out all they experienced to go through a build. There will certainly be replies though!
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Quote Originally Posted by ncpool
    At the end of the day, this document is going to be the only thing I have to ensure both me and the builder are happy when all is said and done. I plan to have the builder put walkthroughs at each construction/payment milestone into the contract, so will be taking lots of pics at each.
    OK, now my point of view from the PB's side! Let's say that I am in your mix of builders, and you decide to hire me. I am going to do everything in my power to build you the best pool I can possibly build (I personally will not cut corners or use inferior equipment. I only build for friends now, so that makes it easy, but that is how I was taught, so it isn't to tough to continue!). I know what I am doing, I know who I need to use for each trade portion of work and they know what I expect out of them.

    Now, if you, as a individual who has never built a pool before, comes in and starts requiring that every phase be explained in great detail, you are probably going to get a few folks that just want to do their jobs that they were trained to do. They do not want to stop and explain to you how, what, why, etc. since they do not get paid for that. They are there do do their job, finish, get paid and go to (hopefully!) the next job! That may also apply to the builder, who (again, hopefully!) has other jobs to go to and oversee or bid, and he may not want to teach you how to build a pool either.

    I'm not trying to be harsh, but I want you to be realistic. I would give you all the time I could to explain things to you, and I believe that you deserve to be kept informed, but to a degree. To some, it may come across that you are trying to tell them how to do the job, or "check up on them", when you have no experience in pool building. Nobody really wants anyone looking over their shoulder, and pool builders are no different.

    You're doing great! Ask for references and call them. Let the guys you're considering know that you will want some "extra" input along the way, so they know it up front. Hire only a reputable builder, with good references and standing with BBB/CSLB/whatever regulatory agency is in your area. But don't try and reinvent the wheel for your job. These guys do this every day, and they have a system that is pretty much the same on every job.

    You deserve the best they can provide, and sometimes that means you need to stay out of the way and let them work Again, I'm not trying to be harsh, but I am being honest! Good luck!!!

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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Yeah I definitely worry about this. It is a gray area. For example, everything i have read here basically says, "Use 2" PVC--Accept no substitutes. *NO* flex pvc, ever." Or, "Get a two speed pump. You will save ~50% on your electricity." Or, "Two skimmers are better than one, even if you have a smallish pool."

    Then, when I talk to the builders, I get the following answers to the questions above, respectively:

    "2" pvc is overkill. 1.5" is plenty"
    "2-speed pump is a waste of money. You'd be better served buying a timer."
    "Pool your size no way needs more than one skimmer, I'll put in two if you want"

    This leads to my dilemma...If I can't find a builder out of the three I have asked for bids who is on the exact same page as this forum regarding build techniques, I feel like I am forced into the position to some extent of telling the builder how to do their job in order to ensure I get the pool I am comfortable with, and is line with all the best practices I have read from taking advice of experts on this site.

    Is asking for a walkthrough at each milestone telling them how to do their job? I don't really think so, but is it reasonable for a builder to take offense? I don't really know. Also I have read several times how critical the contract becomes when something goes wrong.

    Thanks as always for your feedback. Your feedback is really helping me determine where exactly the proper middle ground is located.
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    In response to the above questions I'd reply.

    2" may be overkill but I want it anyway!
    A 2-speed pump is what I want!
    I do want two!

    Having had a dad in the building business for 40 years those are very minor items in the big scheme of things. The PB might say those things but that certainly shouldn't be an issue for them. If those small items are and issue then you're better off with a different builder anyway.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    lol...yeah, that was my response as well. And just to be clear, I don't think the PBs I am dealing with are crooks--I never would have invited them to my house if I had any reason whatsoever to believe that. The guys I have talked to are well-respected in our community.

    The specific examples listed were really more off the top of my head examples to help simicrintz understand my struggle between just letting the PB take the wheel as the expert--and my insistence that certain things be done a certain way, in spite of the fact I have never built a koi pond much less a swimming pool.

    Thanks for your reply.
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Bama's right; you are the customer. If I were building a pool, I would not hesitate to specify what I want in terms of plumbing and equipment, and I would expect the pool builder to comply. They may say 1.5 is plenty, 2-speed is a waste of money, etc., but when I say "Thanks for the advice, but I want it anyway and will pay the extra $$" I would expect them to say "OK" and do it, even if they think it's ridiculous, like 3" pipe with a 3/4 hp 2-speed pump.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Quote Originally Posted by ncpool
    I plan to have the builder put walkthroughs at each construction/payment milestone into the contract, so will be taking lots of pics at each.
    I'm waiting for my PB to give us a copy of his contract this week so I'm in the same boat.
    Thanks for the suggestion on documenting the milestones.
    I added it to my current contract checklist below:

    • Request quantity and manufacturer part numbers of all equipment and parts.
      Request diagram of plumbing and a scale diagram of pool layout including placement of stairs, steps, skimmers, returns, and drains.
      Request documentation of procedure for change orders and associated charges.
      Request contingency for rock or ground water to provide for changes or allow cancellation of contract.
      Request estimated installation date and completion time with specified consequences for drastic overages (xx deducted from final payment).
      Request homeowner walk through and documentation of work before payment of each milestone
      Request builder to furnish lien waivers from vendors and subcontractors to prove they’ve been paid.
      Request documentation for proof of workers compensation insurance and commercial general liability insurance. Record the name of the insurance carrier and phone number.
      Review warranty section for any stipulations for service, etc.
      Review payment schedule to ensure final payment is not made until equipment walk through has been completed.


    Good luck,
    Token

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Thanks token for listing your bullets. All great points and will def incorporate yours into mine as well.

    On a sidenote, do you plan to review your contract with a lawyer? I really don't know if it is worth the expense, but interested if you'd considered that.
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
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    Poolvergnuegen Two Wheel Suction Cleaner - One Poolskim
    Inter-Fab T7 Diving Board w/Edgewater Assy - Four Pentair Deck Jets - Intermatic T10604R
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  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Here's what I learned from my build this summer....

    1. All parts listed with part numbers in the contract. (I did this and glad I did, no guessing what I got.)
    2. 2" Piping, no ifs ands or buts. If they won't do it move on. So nice with a Variable speed pump to move water quickly.
    3. Fill Dirt from the dig. Make sure this is outlined in advance. Go look at the pictures of my yard to see what can go wrong. Make sure it is outlined in contract EXACTLY where dirt is going to go and how much you will need to pay for fill dirt to be removed if needed. I am still trying to get my lawn to grow here in NC because it is ruined.
    4. Expect delays....they will not show up when they say they will and it will not go as fast as you would like. Everybody I talked to told me this and mine was the same way no matter which builder you choose.

    I had a list of about 50 items that we discussed before the build and amended on to the contract.
    18' x 36' Vinyl Kidney 24,000 gallons
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  15. Back To Top    #15
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    OK, now I'll really mess with you a little bit Did you ever consider doing an owner/builder project? You hire the tradespeople directly and tell them exactly what you want, and they have to do it since you're the boss! Might be something to consider.

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    @ themilkman
    You bring up great points, esp. about the fill dirt. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    @ simicrintz
    Yes, I absolutely thought about that. Especially after reading every word (that is available without paying) on this site three times:

    http://www.howibuiltmyownpool.com/

    However I eventually decided against trying to be my own GC for the following reasons:

    -If you read the site, this guy was home *all* the time. I honestly don't know how he was able to photograph and monitor the work. He was literally home for every stage of the build. Just not practical for me.
    -He is in the Arizona area, where I assume pool subs are a dime a dozen. Prob not the case in NC.
    -Because there are so many subs, each is very well versed in building pools. Does every electrician in NC know how to wire a pool? No idea, but I bet they would say they are. If I go with an established PB then I am sure they will call an electrician they have worked with before.
    -I can probably get my PB to commit to a date. If I had to plan the build around my schedule, I'm not sure when I could get everything done.

    There may be other reasons I made the decision not to be my own GC I'm just not thinking of at the moment.

    Thoughts?
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
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    Poolvergnuegen Two Wheel Suction Cleaner - One Poolskim
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  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Quote Originally Posted by ncpool
    On a sidenote, do you plan to review your contract with a lawyer? I really don't know if it is worth the expense, but interested if you'd considered that.
    At this point I'm not going to involve a lawyer but I'm carefully reviewing the contract it and comparing it to others. I'm going to send it back with my modifications tomorrow and see what the PB comes back with.

    If you would like to see some of the language in my contracts, PM me and we can share.

    Good luck,

    Token

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Lana537's Avatar
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    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    To the OP,

    I hesitate to go into detail, but I've gotta say--I sat up and took notice when I saw your user name. Are you in North Carolina? TheMilkman is in NC; so am I.

    With our project, DH and I tried our level best, did our due diligence, researched, shopped around, became well educated, and stayed on top of the project every major step of the way, etc.....the cost of our pool and surround was enormous; the builder is "reputable". However, the last time we saw him and his crew was months ago. We swam in the pool all summer. The project has yet to have finishing touches completed in order to pass inspection, and several final features and steps have been put off until some vague time in "the future". The contract stipulates these steps but does not go into detail as to when they will be completed. Final payment was due and paid at the completion of the seventh major step of the build.

    Our contract? Totally for the builder-although we couldn't see it when we signed it. Is a lawyer a good idea? Probably. Heck, an architect to design and spec the pool for bids would have been a good way to go, but we couldn't afford that on top of everything else.

    So, after all of the above venting, my advice to you is to include in your contract some mention of timely passing of inspection!

    Good luck!

    Lana
    23,600 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 2 hp variable speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Lana thanks a lot for your reply and guidance. I am in the CLT area. If you had it to do over, what would you have stated differently? Would you have reserved final 10% of payment until both you and builder agreed the job was 100% completed to your satisfaction and all inspections passed?

    In my area, city inspection (code) isn't a great milestone simply because my area doesn't look for much. It is basically inspect @ bonding complete, and we look at the fence. That's it.

    Thanks for your feedback, and for sharing your hard earned experience so freely.
    Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-4 - Pentair Tagelus TA 100D
    16x32 Vinyl Rectangle 3.5 to 8 ft deep - One skimmer, One dedicated suction, three returns - 2" PVC
    Poolvergnuegen Two Wheel Suction Cleaner - One Poolskim
    Inter-Fab T7 Diving Board w/Edgewater Assy - Four Pentair Deck Jets - Intermatic T10604R
    Circupool RJ45 - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit (purchased prior to learning of the TF-100, unfortunately)

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: What makes a good pool construction contract?

    Lana is correct, I have still not passed final inspection but due to final payment my PB is long gone. And if you read through my build I read on here I spent a month getting all the suggestions I could and still came up short.

    I do have one recommendation for you and they are local. I used Premiere Contractors out of Charlotte for my fencing and couldn't be happier. You need to stay on top of them like any contractor but our fencing is beautiful and really adds to the ambience of our pool. I also have a 10% off coupon if you would like it, just PM me your email address. They were much cheaper than anyone else in the area and are a family owned business.

    What it boils down to is if you are a detail oriented person you will stay on top of your PB and contractors to make sure you get what you want, but you will still be frustated along the way. Probably building over the winter would be the best way as you aren't looking out the window every 100 degree day wishing you were in your pool.
    18' x 36' Vinyl Kidney 24,000 gallons
    Soon to have Salwater system up and running.
    Intelliflo pump, Colorlogic LED Light and a lot less money in the bank

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