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Thread: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground pool?

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    MattM's Avatar
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    Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground pool?

    After months of research, discussions with pool builders, and receiving proposals - my wife and I have finally decided on our pool design and selected a pool builder for our home in San Diego.

    Only thing holding us up at this point is the contract.

    The one that was sent to us appears to be entirely one sided (no big surprise).

    Given that I have zero experience with construction, I thought I'd see if there was a generic contract available somewhere or a clear list of common contract clauses to watch out for or ensure are added?

    The pool will cost $64,999 and we'll be procuring an automatic pool safety cover directly from manufacturer $(~8K) plus installing a solar heating system $(~6.5K) for a total project cost of ~$79,500.

    I'm naturally a little risk adverse getting into this...
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

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    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Watch out for the extras, i.e. if they are going to build a deck around the pool, they normally indicate how many square feet. Put in the contract the price of deck per square feet for overages. Also make sure anything that has the potential of overages, it is well defined in the contract stating how much per unit for overages. I got stuck with a $9/sq ft bill on overages on my deck where the standard rate around here is $4-5.
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    For that much money, you should hire an attorney look at it. Even if he charges you $500, it's probably worth it for the peace of mind.

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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Wow! That's a lot of $$ to invest in a pool!

    I thin Rockhopper has a good idea to have an attorney get involved to make sure that you are safe.

    Contracts are not set in stone and a good company will work with you and even change parts of the contract if they want your business. Your pool is probably quite the project for whoever you're considering .. they should be happy to have your business and should be willing to negotiate some things in the contract w/you, but you will have to be the one to say what you want.
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist buy w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panels mix 2, TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Just be aware that an attorney will definitely muck up the water and push the contract conclusion out. That is a lot of money, Rockhopper is definitely right and worth the review. We put a performance clause with a substantial completion date, changed the % paid to have it loaded more towards the end, and changed numerous other little things that seemed to protect the PB. Just made it equal and not so one sided. My PB told me that most people dont even look at the contract and just sign it. I think that is crazy. Also make sure they list out every option and piece of equipment they are supplying and have it stored on site if possible. However, contracts are just for worst case and usually take an attorney to implement, which will stop your project. I work in the water and wastewater engineering business, and have seen things go bad. If you have done your homework, checked references, etc. All should be fine, but make sure you cover your bases for worst case. My two cents. Good luck.
    21,500 Gunite Free Form ~ 18'X40', Sun Deck w/ foam jets auto valve, 3-Laminar Deck Jets w/ auto Valve, 1-Swim out, 3' to 8' deep, NPT Raku Tile
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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Definitely ask how they will handle "change orders". My PB did all change orders with no additional fees. We added, changed and removed items from out project; you will too.
    40x20 Free Form IG Pool (aprox 29,000 Gal, 140 Perimeter, depth 3'6"-7', Baja Shelf, 8x8 Free Form Spa) - Gunite Shell, Pebble Plaster Finish, Poured Concrete Coping - 3 Deep Heat Returns - Jandy LXi400 Gas Heater (400,000 Btu) - Jandy Variable Speed Pump JEP 2.0 - Jandy CL 600 Filter - HASA Liquidator - Jandy PDA 6 w/ Remote - 4x Jandy WaterColors Pool LEDs - 48" Gas Fire Pit - 6x Gas Tiki Torches - 12'x15' U-shaped BBQ Island (Firemagic Equipment)
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/new-p...ca-t28413.html

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    MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Thanks for the feedback -- yep, a lawyer would be helpful but was hoping to avoid adding that cost plus time.......around here, I could easily see a lawyer charging $1K+ to revise the agreement. Good comments about overages, performance clauses, and change order pricing. Thank you all.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Starting out with the Lawyer is like asking for a Pre-Nup. You are already setting the stage for problems.

    My PB is a rather large builder in SoCal, I'm sure they have a contract that protects them more than the client.

    We liked our Project Manager, he lives close by, the company has been in business for over 50 years. We probably could have done some more background work (Research, references, etc.), but it wasn't necessary. We are VERY happy with the pool and the rest of the project. The only "Problem" has been the Landscaper...
    40x20 Free Form IG Pool (aprox 29,000 Gal, 140 Perimeter, depth 3'6"-7', Baja Shelf, 8x8 Free Form Spa) - Gunite Shell, Pebble Plaster Finish, Poured Concrete Coping - 3 Deep Heat Returns - Jandy LXi400 Gas Heater (400,000 Btu) - Jandy Variable Speed Pump JEP 2.0 - Jandy CL 600 Filter - HASA Liquidator - Jandy PDA 6 w/ Remote - 4x Jandy WaterColors Pool LEDs - 48" Gas Fire Pit - 6x Gas Tiki Torches - 12'x15' U-shaped BBQ Island (Firemagic Equipment)
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/new-p...ca-t28413.html

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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Not that I'm right but why mess with a lawyer? It's a big investment but what is he really going to tell you?
    DONE, 20 x 40, inground gunite, 30" raised bond beam with 3 12" sheer descents, 8' diving board, pentair 420 cartridge filter, vs-3050 pump, intellechlor ic-40, auto cvr, Tahoe blue pebble tech, 6ea 4' x 12.5' & 2ea 1' x 12.5' helicol solar panels, legend robotic cleaner.

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    MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Well, I ended up taking feedback from all over and coming up with a 4 page addendum to the contract the selected pool builder sent (w/o a lawyer). It was rejected right away of course, but eventually the pool builder and I were able to narrow the differences down so that about 2-3 pages of that addendum were used plus there were some modest changes to the main contract too. It looks like we'll sign the final document tomorrow morning. We'll probably have excavation started before the end of the month.

    If anyone finds themselves in the same situation in the future, feel free to ping me and I'll forward a copy of whatever I reasonably can - thanks for all the help.

    next post will be when construction starts with hopefully lots of nice pictures.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a fair contract from pool builder for inground p

    Feel free to post the details of the construction (size, equipment, plumbing, etc etc etc) and we can take a look and help make sure you get the good stuff and leave out the bad.
    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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