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Thread: New pool under construction, significant problems

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    New pool under construction, significant problems

    Since I'm still optimistic that we'll manage to find a mutually agreeable solution to the problems, I'm not going to post my location (for fear of identifying the builder in question). However, I need to vent a bit, and am looking for as many points of view as possible.

    So, 2 weeks ago we broke ground on a new IG pool. Nice shape, interesting curves etc... The plan all along was to have a patio between the back side of the house (attached garage specifically) and the pool. The plan was for this patio to go up to (and replace) an existing walkway, at the same grade. First 3 feet pitching away from the house, the rest away from the pool (towards the house) with a drain where they meet, moving the water away from everything. Existing walkway is about 8 or so inches below the sill plate of the garage, and since we're in an area that gets a good bit of rain (and snow) I'm inclined to keep as much distance between the wooden sill and grade as I can.

    However, best laid plans...

    Last Wed. I was told I should really put a retaining wall up on one side of the property. I declined (I'll build tiers myself, the slope we're talking about isn't too bad, but measurements aren't in front of me). Then, friday, as I was eyeballing where the patio was supposed to go, it looked REALLY steep. Arguably I should have looked earlier, but with the mounds of dirt everywhere, there was no clear line of sight, and since they had a transit level on site the whole time, I assumed (I know, assumed...) things were under control. After some measurements, it turns out that with the intended coping forms and even a relatively aggressive 1/4 inch per foot of pitch, the patio was going to be 6 inches or so above grade (and that's without stopping 3 feet short so we can pitch away from the house.

    The PB owner came out (second time he was on site since the construction started, first time was Wed) and his only recommendation was to just go as planned, and go with the higher grade, and rebuild the concrete steps that go to grade (without any real detail on how you do that without having improperly sized steps).

    At this point, I put all digging, earth moving, and patio planning on hold (my wife was away for the weekend, returning monday, and since we put a few months into planning the now-impossible patio design, I wasn't going to make snap decisions).

    I've got lots of ideas of "plan B" possibilities, but I'm amazingly frustrated that such a huge mistake like this hasn't elicited more than a single visit from the owner where he proposed what I feel is an unacceptable remedy to a situation that I had no hand in creating. As you can imagine, this has caused a rather large ripple effect in the construction process, bringing in a large amount of fill etc...(at my cost so far, since it was done prior to _my_ discovery of the issue. Who knows how long they've known).

    Am I out of my mind to expect a remedy to be a joint effort between the PB and myself? It seems like he's waiting for me to tell him what to do next.

    I'll add that he's doing the concrete work for the patio mentioned above, so _he_ isn't even going to be whole until this project is completed. It's not "put in a pool and leave". All interactions with the owner have been great so far, save for the poor (in my opinion) recommendation on friday, followed by no contact since.

    Pool details: Vinyl lined, steel walled, concrete floor.

    I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for here, Im mostly venting, and cautioning everyone NOT to feel bad double checking all the measurements. Not everyone is an expert, and even if they are, even experts make mistakes. I'm kicking myself for not bringing out my own lasers and measuring everything myself sooner (finally did friday to prove my suspicions).

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    CUTiger78's Avatar
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    I had a fiasco when I remodeled my pool - reminded me of the lyrics in that Warren Zevon song, "Send lawyers, guns, and money...."

    My patio re-build was the worst. I won't go into the details, but here's my advice: Get another opinion and get it from a real pro, an old-school concrete artist. If you find out your PB is right on target, you'll be happy. If the second opinion causes a change in plans, you'll still be happy. A bad concrete job resulting in a do-over makes people unhappy, to say the least.

    One last thought - one-quarter inch per foot is an aggressive slope, no matter what anyone tells you. Try it yourself w/ a sheet of plywood. Then, put a table on the sloped plywood and watch stuff roll off the edge.

    Good luck, sir. I've got my fingers crossed for you!

    BTW, welcome to TFP!!
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    Quote Originally Posted by CUTiger78
    I had a fiasco when I remodeled my pool - reminded me of the lyrics in that Warren Zevon song, "Send lawyers, guns, and money...."
    One last thought - one-quarter inch per foot is an aggressive slope, no matter what anyone tells you. Try it yourself w/ a sheet of plywood. Then, put a table on the sloped plywood and watch stuff roll off the edge.
    No question. The 1/4 inch per foot _still_ has us too high. To connect the dots, it would have to be either much steeper than that (no good) or ride up almost to the wooden sill of the house, meaning it'll get wet and eventually rot. I don't need a second opinion to tell me that much. I've had it happen elsewhere in the house, and have fixed it for good once. Not looking to do it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by CUTiger78
    Good luck, sir. I've got my fingers crossed for you!

    BTW, welcome to TFP!!
    We'll figure it out. Neither the house nor the pool are movable structures at this point, so it's a matter of figuring out how to connect the dots with lines we like.

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    bigfunky's Avatar
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    I would find a landscaper who can model your backyard in 3D. My wife and I thought we had the pool shape, deck, etc. all figured out, then we paid our landscaper to model the pool shape, our house and the decking in 3D and wow, we made some major changes. Luckily this is all prior to dig, irritated our PB since he thought everything was finalized but I know he's happy we made the changes now rather than halfway though the project.
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfunky
    I would find a landscaper who can model your backyard in 3D. My wife and I thought we had the pool shape, deck, etc. all figured out, then we paid our landscaper to model the pool shape, our house and the decking in 3D and wow, we made some major changes. Luckily this is all prior to dig, irritated our PB since he thought everything was finalized but I know he's happy we made the changes now rather than halfway though the project.

    Unfortunately we had everything picked out and finalized. But due to (whatever happened) the pool being about 6 inches too high means that the patio that we wanted would have a much steeper grade than we expected, or it will ride up much higher on the house wall than we wanted. I don't want to create a drainage problem nor a safety hazard, which is where I am currently.

    Plan B will likely be to relocate the patio, but I'm less than thrilled about paying this much, and then settling for plan B.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    Would it be possible to add a lateral drain in the deck between the pool and the house? You could reduce the slope of the deck and divert the water away from the house. Of course there is the risk then that the drain clogs and does not allow the water to flow away quickly enough.

    So did they actually build the pool too high? That really seems like an oversight if so. And it should be thier responsibility to fix it.
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    bigfunky's Avatar
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    How about some pics?
    26,000 gallon gunite IGP with 50 sq ft Spa, Jandy VS FloPro 2hp Pump, Jandy DEV48 Filter, Jandy AquaPure SWG, Jandy AquaLink PDA-PS6 Controller, RayPak R406A Heater, Polaris 380 Cleaner, completed April 2013

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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Would it be possible to add a lateral drain in the deck between the pool and the house? You could reduce the slope of the deck and divert the water away from the house. Of course there is the risk then that the drain clogs and does not allow the water to flow away quickly enough.

    So did they actually build the pool too high? That really seems like an oversight if so. And it should be thier responsibility to fix it.

    A lateral drain between the pitch away from the pool, and the pitch away from the house (they meet in a valley) was part of the plan.

    However yes, they built the pool too high (by my calculations right around 6"). So we've now got two fixed points, the coping edge (poured cantilevered coping) and the house. There are a limited number of lines you can draw between the two. The plan all along was to use a coping form that sat 4" over the steel walls. The PB has found a 2" form, but even if we go that route, we'll end up several inches higher than the desired grade, and also several inches up into the bottom step in a set of concrete steps. I'm very much afraid that no matter what gets done there it'll either cause water issues being so close to the sill (even just from splashing when it rains) or just flat out look silly with the steps.

    Thankfully, we've got plenty of yard to move the patio section into, but now we've got a bunch of useless space close to the house. We can pour a large pad and put a hot tub in the middle, but at this point I'm not really interested in giving the PB any more money for additional concrete, and _certainly_ not to buy a hot tub . While we wanted a hot tub in the future, it wasn't quite in the budget for this year.

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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    I guess a followup is in order here.

    After some discussing with my wife, and some replanning, we've decided to redesign where we were putting the concrete patio etc... so it all works with the new (and unexpected) grade. We like the new design, and in the long run, it's probably a better plan, more flexibility, room for a hot tub etc... While everyone is in agreement that this was a mistake, after tossing it around in my head I realized it's not in anyone's best interest to push this matter out of "agreeing it's wrong" and "lets make the best of it". If it got down to yelling and screaming, the builders wouldn't be doing their best work, we'd be forever frustrated with the results, and in an extreme case we'd be trying to figure out how to part ways with a builder who built half a pool, and still come out with our shirts.

    The truth is, the pool is beautiful, the grade really works well (even if it's not as we planned) and provided the patio is shifted 90 degrees around, it will _never_ look like a mistake, and with very little effort, all of my drainage concerns were dealt with. The PB has been happy to work with us on the finding a way to make it work, and the workers have been great at going the extra mile since we discovered the snafu (honestly, they were doing so prior as well).


    Pics when we're done, for sure.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: New pool under construction, significant problems

    So often all it takes with these sorts of issues is to look at things with an open perspective, sometimes you even find the solution is better than the original design. There is a saying in the software development world about good software is written twice, the first time through work out all the issues and patch things, then throw the whole thing out and start over from scratch and you will end up with a better product because you have already dealt with the various unexpected problems once.
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