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Thread: Review Pool bids

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    Review Pool bids

    Hi - Would like some input and advice on the pool bids I've received. I'm not entirely excited by the price of the bids. Apparently they are in line with what construction costs here in Ventura County California.

    We talked to three builders - All are well rated and have years and years of experience. The bids came in low, medium and high - kinda what I expected. Gave each the same design and asked for detailed bids. The size of the pool is spec'd at about 20 by 38, running 3.5 to 7.5 feet deep. baja shelf, with a spa, concrete decking.

    I think I'm looking for opinions on the quality of these bids. What is missing? I appreciate any advice you can offer while we work through the bid process. I have noticed that getting updates and responses from all our potential builders is hit or miss.

    None of the builders have really quoted what we wanted. It seems that builders get an idea in their head about what we want and just write down what they think we want. The only guy to give an idea of what he wanted for draws is the first bid (medium price) neither of the other two cared to add that information.

    Bid #1 describes the basic pool package in a separate document, which I had to ask for when it wasn't in the original package. what the **** are all pool builders like this?


    Thanks - Joe

    The bids:

    Bid #1 - lowest price (before adding on the options we'd want)
    ---------------------------------------------
    POOL/ SPA CONSTRUCTION
    A. Base Pool/ Spa package $29,895.00
    B. Pool to 21.5’ x 38’, raised bond beam, raised spa,
    pool raised 18” 11,800.00
    C. Demolition and rock excavation 6,000.00
    D. Grass removal, 2 loads 700.00
    E. Retaining wall removal 2,200.00
    F. Grading 3,600.00
    G. Additional pool light (total 2 pool, 1 spa) 960.00
    H. Coping (choice) 6,280.00
    I. Stone on raised portions 2,150.00
    J. Salt generator, Aqua Rite (Goldline) 1,590.00
    K. Permits, plans, engineering 3,868.00
    TOTAL POOL / SPA $69,048.00

    OPTIONS
    1. Remote control, AquaPlus w/ chlorinator (Goldline) - $2,895.00
    2. 30 l.f. retaining wall, stone faced & capped) @ $200.00 l.f. - 6,000.00
    3. Drains 3,200.00
    4. Mastic 400.00
    5. Firepit 1,150.00
    6. Stairs, 80 l.f. @ $40 - 3,200.00
    7. 500 sq ft stamped concrete @ $10.50 - 5,250.00
    8. 30 l.f. seat wall (stone faced & capped) @ $90 - 2,700.00
    9. 2 pool skimmers included
    10. Variable speed pump add 650.00

    BASIC POOL/SPA PACKAGE (ITEM "A" above)
    32’x16’ pool 3’6”-5’ depth (js: changed in the quote)
    7’ spa (flush w/ pool)
    Excavation w/ dirt removal, 6’ normal access
    Reinforcing steel, no deck detail
    Gunite to 60 tons, 2500 PSI
    Waterline tile w/ step trim
    All schedule 40 PVC plumbing, 2 ½ “ suctions, split main drains, hydrostatic valve (if required), pool equipment 40 l.f.
    One 400 watt pool light, one 100 watt spa light
    100 l.f. electrical line, sub panel @ equipment, GFCI
    100 l.f. gas line, meter to heater
    White plaster finish
    1 HP filter pump
    2 HP booster pump
    Seven spa jets
    60 sq ft D.E. filter w/ backwash
    407,000 BTU natural gas heater
    Lien Releases
    50 day construction time

    Permit fees vary in different areas and will be added to pool cost. Coping, deck outside pool, drains, grading, hardscape are not included in the base pool price.

    ============================================================ =
    Bid #2 - medium price - copied and pasted from the document we received and (excluded identifying info)

    1- INSURANCE: Furnish $1,000,000 of public liability insurance with negligent
    Property damage RMI Insurance Services Inc. policy number
    Includes workman’s compensation insurance with State Fund policy.

    2- ENGINEERING: No- deck detail / slope detail engineering & permits by builder.

    3- EXCAVATION: Pool site grading 4 hr preparation . Remove 33" retaining wall and two load of trees & shurbs
    The layout will be formed or painted on the ground on day of excavation for your approval

    4- STEEL: Install steel rebar for no-deck detail per Pool Plans INC. with 64 PCF.
    Install 6 #4 steel rebar in the bond beam of pool and spa

    5- PLUMBING: Swimming Pool Circulation: (A 3" pvc split suction (B 2.5" to
    1" pvc return. (C) Install Jandy valve to control pool sweep (D) Install 2" pool sweep line
    Spa Circulation: (A) 3" suction line (B) 2.5" return to 6 jets (C) 2" air lines
    Booster Pump Circulation: (A) Install 3" pvc suction (B) Install 2.5" return (C) Install two jet paks
    with 12 extra jets (D) Install 2" air line (E) Install 2 hp pump
    Gas Line: (A) Install 186 ft of 1.5 " gas line (B) Install 10' of 3/4" gas line to fire pit
    (C) Install key and 6 ft gas ring

    6- GUNITE: Apply 2500psi gunite to pool, spa and raised area

    7- ELECTRICAL: Install 325 ft of electrical line with three LED lights with j boxes, time clock.
    GFI duplex plugs at pool equipment and hook up pumps, heater, and remote system

    8- MASONRY:
    A. Install 14" to 15" wide Bellecrete pre-cas architectural coping (choice of colors)(sanded finish extra cost)
    Includes 76 ft of double bullnose coping and 49 ft of 10" dbl bullnose wall cap
    B. Install 313 sq ft of pavers ( paver allowance $3.00 per sq ft)
    C. Install Pour-A-Lid skimmer cover
    D. Install 200 ft of 4" drains with overflow line
    E. Install 318 sq ft of stacked culture stone facing
    F. Install 75 ft of bullnose pre-cast steps Riser face with culture stone
    G. Install 52 ft of 36" to 18" retaining wall capped with pre-cast bullnose and faced with culture stone
    H. Install 84 ft of 4" perperated drains with 12" gravel behing retaining walls ( waterproff back of walls)
    I. Install 62 ft 0f 18" wide concrete swale behing walls
    J. Install 18" firpit per plan
    K. Repair two access wall and gates
    L. Install 19 ft of concrete steps with 89 sq ft of concrete
    M Install 207 sq ft of water proffing behind wall and raised pool area
    N Install two of bolder face on spa dan wall starting 9" below water line with two spillways

    9- EQUIPMENT:
    A. Install Pentair 4 x140 Intell-flow mult-speed pump and Pentair 2hp Wisperflow booster pump
    B. Install Pentair 520 sq ft Clean & Clear filter for pool
    C. Install 400,000 BTU Sta-Rite heater
    D. Supply pole, brush, test kit, CPR sign, solar cover, and thermometer
    E. Install Sta-Rite shark pool sweep
    G. Install Pentair Easy Touch 8 function remote system

    10- TILE: Install 6" band of tile around perimeter per plan of swimming pool and spa.(allowance $6.00 per sq ft)

    11- FENCING: Alarms and 5 ft fencing around property line or pool by owner

    12-DIAMOND BRITE Install Diamond brite (choice of color)
    . NOTE: If colored plaster is chosen or / Diamond Brite/ Durazzo/ and Pebblecoat is chose it
    tends to marble, streak, and become blotchy. The darker the color
    the less favorable condition may occur. Owner to brush plaster 2 to 3 time a day for 7 days
    or to pool is balanced

    13- START-UP: Pool start-up including all chemicals and balancing the water
    to proper PH levels and brush vacuum. The pool service on this pool will last only two weeks

    14- CLEAN-UP: builder will remove all debris after equipment set.

    ALL OF THE ABOVE WORK TO BE COMPLETED IN A SUBSTANTIAL AND WORKMANLIKE MANNER TO STANDARDS OR ABOVE PRACTICES FOR THE SUM OF (bid good for 35 days) $96,000.00

    OPTIONS (Additional Cost)
    A. Install Enviro-swim pool water sanitation system $5,300.00 (Anyone have this? Experience?)
    B. Install Cl-Free sanitation system $2,150.00 (Not sure what this is)
    C. Install Bellecrete pavers to match coping $1,118.00 ( option for different decking)

    SCHEDULE OF PROGRESS PAYMENTS
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    DEPOSIT $1,000.00
    ENGINEERING & PERMITS $3,500.00
    COMPLETION OF EXCAVATION $8,500.00
    COMPLETION OF STEEL $8,500.00
    COMPLETION OF PLUMBING $10,000.00
    DAY OF GUNITE $17,000.00
    START OF MASONRY $17,000.00
    COMPLETION OF MASONRY AND TILE $17,000.00
    POOL EQUIPMENT $8,000.00
    MISC $-
    DAY OF DIMOND BRITE $5,500.00
    TOTAL $96,000.00
    PAYMENT SCHEDULE AMOUNTS ARE PROGREESS PAYMENTS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE EXACT COST OF THE CORRESPONING PHASE, BUT ARE A CLOSE REPRESENTATATION POOL AND SPA SHOULD BE COMPLETED 10 WEEK AFTER EXCAVATION.

    EXCLUSIONS
    ---------------------------
    GUNITE INSPECTION
    SOIL ENGINEERS
    DOOR ALARM SYSTEM
    PORTO-POTTY RENTAL OR MAINTENANCE
    LANDSCAPING REPAIRS TO EXISTING LANDSCAPEING AND SPRINKLERS
    CORE DRILLING
    UNFORESEEN UNDERGROUND CONDITIONS THAT MAY EXIST SUCH AS HARD OR ROCKY SOIL, UNDERGROUNG WATER CONDITIONS,
    UNDERGROUNG UTILITIES AND SEPTIC TANKS.

    Every thing is cut and pasted from the proposal - spelling mistakes and all. - uh - not very professional!

    ============================================================ =
    Bid #3 (the most expensive)
    ----------------------------
    Setup/Excavation
    ------------------------------
    Base Pool & Spa per Plan
    All demo of proposed pool area included
    all standard excavation, rock digs not included and will be charged at the rate of $385.00/hr
    Gunite pool and spa shell

    Equipment
    ------------------
    Pentair 400 master temp heater
    Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump
    Pantair 520 Clean & Clear filter
    Subpanel at equipment area with time close for pump
    Pool and spa light switches licated at equipment
    Two 400w pool lights
    One 300w spa light
    Suction side "The Pool Cleaner" included

    Plumbing
    --------------
    1 1/2" gas line for pool heater
    Two skimmers in pool each individually plumbed with 2.5" pvc with home runs to equipment
    2" pvc pool sweep line
    2" pool return to 4 pool returns
    2.5" spa return to 7 jets
    3 waterway rotating jets
    4 standard jets
    3" spa suction with Safety split and VGB covers
    2" airline for jets
    Manual Fill line

    Tile and plaster
    --------------------------
    Category 1 tile included wityh coordinating bench seat trim tile
    Standard White plaster finish

    Masonry
    ----------------
    Per plan
    3" drains to street with brass drain heads
    Flagstone coping and steps
    Flagstone veneer on raised bond beam
    Flagstone veneer on raised face of pool
    Boulder and stack stone spillway
    18" retaining wall with stone cap and stucco face
    Pillars (4) stone veneer and poured cap
    Stone bench with backrest. Stone seat and stucco backing.
    Stone fire pit
    Approx 1047 (sqft) concrete stamped pool decking
    24" stone wall at steps 18" stucco retaining wall on right of pool
    5' stucco equipment wall

    Misc
    ----------------
    No gates or fences in estimate
    No pilaster lights

    Base $140K 126K with deductions.


    Options:
    -----------------
    Add 3hp Whisperflow booster pump with eight additional jets (4250)
    - 4 Waterway rotating jets
    - 4 standard jets
    - 3" pool and spa suction
    - 2.5" spa return
    - 2" spa dump for spa spillway
    - 2" airline for jets

    Add three 24" sheer descents on raised bond beam of pool (1250)
    Add Jandy PDA remote system with four button spa side remote (2750)
    Add Jandy Levelor automatic waterfill system (750)
    Add Pentair 5G color lights. Two in pool and one in spa (2100)
    Upgrade to colored plaster (750)
    Mini Pebble Finish any color (5500)
    ==========================================

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Review Pool bids

    Here is a view looking down on the pool from the top of the house. The green is not representative of the landscape. Our back yard slopes up hill at a good rate - 1:3 slope - mostly. The beige decking is existing and the pavers show new material, which will likely be stamped concrete to better match with the existing. We had to scale back on the pretty stuff, so we're looking at alternatives to the façade that's showing on bond beam to tile or stucco and no stairs going up the hill.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Review Pool bids

    Good luck with selecting a bid. Don't be in a rush to select someone - It's a huge purchase and the quality of the design and work can also significantly influence long term costs and maintenance (the running costs and any needed renovation of a pool over 15-30 years should be considered as much as the initial purchase price). Also, it's important that the pool design provide you the length of pool season that you want. In any case, the most important factor usually is how well you work with the pool builder and how responsive and flexible he is with the dozens to hundreds of ideas and comments you'll provide him during construction. We ended up paying about $5K more to go with a good pool builder, and that will probably be money well spent (we're almost finished with our build and it's amazing how many little items and quality control stuff going into making an awesome pool/backyard oasis). In our case, we thought about a pool for ~5 years, solicited bids 3 times from various builders, and during the final bidding - took ~3 months to research, select a winning bid, and get a detailed design put together.
    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.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    MattM's Avatar
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    Re: Review Pool bids

    other comments -- bid #c pricing seems crazy even for california, residential pools are usually $50-100K ...our san diego pool with extensive options is only about ~$80K total - any california builder who has a list price of $140K for a residential pool would definitely trigger my danger senses, $96K is more within reason since you have a spa...but for that I'd expect everything you'd want and pebble sheen rather than diamond brite.
    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.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
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    Re: Review Pool bids

    My opinion says to keep shopping for bids. Don't get the thought that 3 bids are enough. As you experienced, all three of these bids are significantly different in pricing and presentation. The second bid is more in line with a "professional" bid, but I would be scared that he can't even present a bid with proper spelling. In California it is getting tougher to find quality pool builders as there just isn't that much work out here for them in our location.

    Start picking the things you like and don't like in each bid and ask more questions before you get your next bid. Before you sign any contract make sure everything is included in the final bid. The 2nd bid is more in-line of what a bid should be but I would not have a good feeling with this builder as he didn't even take the time to spell check his bid. If they are this "lazy" up front, don't expect much more during the build.

    Every bid should include the cost to do any upgrades, such as LED lighting, a SWG, raised walls per ft, water features, and decking cost per ft over the estimated deck size. This way you will know the cost upfront for any changes during the build.

    Figure out what type of safety fencing and or door alarms you need to install. The builders should know the specs to pass inspection in your city and give you some ideas before you begin. Myself, I had to include a 5ft safety mesh fence with a self latching gate and alarm one window. Depending on your situation, your fence can add thousands more. I only needed a straight run of 30 feet and it was a $1000. Little things like this add up and the more of the little details you take care of up front you will not be surprized during the build.

    Keep reading pool school and threads here at TFP and get an idea of how you want to take care of your pool. Most people around here stay away from the optional sanitation systems as offered in bid #2. Most use a SWG or an in-line chlorinator.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Review Pool bids

    Quote Originally Posted by MattM
    other comments -- bid #c pricing seems crazy even for california, residential pools are usually $50-100K ...our san diego pool with extensive options is only about ~$80K total - any california builder who has a list price of $140K for a residential pool would definitely trigger my danger senses, $96K is more within reason since you have a spa...but for that I'd expect everything you'd want and pebble sheen rather than diamond brite.
    Again - thanks for the comments - I agree on the prices posed. I was underwhelmed with the second PB. He just seemed that he knew best what we wanted, We're not likely to hire him as, it's like pulling teeth to get him to make changes.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Review Pool bids

    Quote Originally Posted by ping
    My opinion says to keep shopping for bids.
    Keep reading pool school and threads here at TFP and get an idea of how you want to take care of your pool. Most people around here stay away from the optional sanitation systems as offered in bid #2. Most use a SWG or an in-line chlorinator.
    Thanks for the advice. We definitely have already decided against any kind of addon sanitation system. I have a coiuple friends really pushing SWG, but one of the PB's really recommended against it in my location - due to the cost of disposing of the water when the pool water needs to be recycled. The main concern was the left over salt residue on the features when the water was off. I like the idea of SWG, but I don't want to be penalized more in a few years when city and county gvmts "outlaw" the run off in to the drain.

    j

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    Re: Review Pool bids

    The first bid's excavation and demolition costs sounds like robbery.

    Have you considered alternatives to gunite? Gunite pools are really expensive compared to liner pools. The liner options out there now are pretty incredible in design and looks. I know gunite is the norm in Cali, but a liner pool with all the bells and whistles, spill over spa, cantalever coping, and all the decking and steps in your design pictures would most likely run about half of the cost of gunite.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Review Pool bids

    hmm. My wife is fairly against a liner pool. How deep can a liner pool be? She wants to be able to jump in to a deep area. regarding the excavation - i thought it was all highway robbery. The problem is that our 'yard' is going to be mostly rock anyway. In bid #1, the cost included what the PB thought the rock clause would cost us, something I appreciated.
    j

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Review Pool bids

    Quote Originally Posted by jsteggy
    hmm. My wife is fairly against a liner pool. How deep can a liner pool be? She wants to be able to jump in to a deep area.
    How deep you want it? Thats how deep they can make it. Seriously, 10 feet deep enough? 12? It's done all the time.

    Like i said, vinyl's not the norm in California, but the way they do vinyl pools now, it "ain't your grand dad's or dad's vinyl pool" anymore. They still have to excavate, put in pool equipment, put in coping, the deck, etc. But the pool cost is less than half.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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