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Thread: Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

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    Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

    Hi Guys,

    Hoping to get some help as I am currently working on building a pool/sunken Ramada in our backyard and have decided on the Owner/Builder route to save the most money and get the best bang for the buck.

    I'm honestly at a loss at where to start though, have done some research and found a site called howibuiltmyownpool and it's even from the perspective of a Arizona native however it hasn't been updated in several years...

    Looking for some advice in how to get a list of subcontractors etc., and some advice on how to start.



  2. Back To Top    #2

    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Re: Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

    What part of the valley are you in?

    As a pool builder in the valley I will say of all places in the country this is the cheapest place to build a pool.
    O/B's used to be a very high percentage, but not so much any more.
    With all of the competition here profit levels are quite low, so I think you would be surprised how little you would save doing it yourself, factoring in the headaches, problems, lack of insurance to cover someone getting hurt on your property, and all else that goes along with it.
    Obviously that depends on the companies that you are calling, and if you are using real contractors, not just a guy on his day off.

    For your next question, it took me years to find the best and weed out the rest when it comes to subs. If they are good quality subs they will be busy with their contractors, and wont be doing owner builders.

    Sunken bars are a little more complex, you need special engineering, retaining walls, sump system ect.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not against O/B's, nor does it threaten my livelihood, as I stay very busy from word of mouth.

    When you get into the meat of it, we are here to give advise, just dont expect a how to guide complete with phone numbers.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Buckeye, AZ 85326

    Re: Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

    I have two friends that built their own pools in here in AZ and both had issues soon after the pool was built that cost them out of pocket or they put the issues on the back burner due to lack of support and the cost to fix the issues. One big ticket issue was the deck separated from the pool in places and the other had infloor cleaner issues. I'm a DIY'er but felt a project as big and as costly as a pool needs to be done under the umbrella of known and proven company. Good luck with your pool!
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
    Blue Granite Pebble Sheen finish
    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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    4knights's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    NE Kansas

    Re: Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

    I'm not in Arizona, but did my install all by myself. Having said that, it was a major PIA and I have a fiberglass pool so cannot even imagine doing a concrete/shotcrete job as a DIY.

    That said, I'm also not in an area renowned for professionals in the trade that do this anywhere from 50 to 100 times a year. Locally the builders might do 3-4 a year and that to me along with ridiculous prices started my DIY journey.

    I spent 6 months researching (this website as well as another based out of Virginia) fantastic videos, pictures and advice all over the web but very confusing at first. If I had do it all over with the same budget the only thing I would have changed is having the coping and deck poured by a pro. Not that mine turned out bad or that anyone around here does it much. Most didn't know what cantaliever coping was! Just think it may have been a little smoother finish.
    Funny thing about my pool builder search was that none of the folks offering quotes had their own pools and the one that did had been built by someone else. (found that real strange)

    I saved over $1900.00 on my pool equipment buying from one pool store on Amazon, still got the 3 year warranty like the local dealer offered. saved another 8-900 on lighting going factory direct using a third party contractor. Plumbing material costs were another 300 cheaper than the quotes from PB.

    All in all, if I lived in your area with multiple professionals with real experience (not 3 pools a year) I would stick with the pros and possibly barter on the equipment and extras.
    I always understood that businesses need to make a profit as does mine, I just don't think all the profit needs to come from one job.
    Ron- Kansas. IG fiberglass, Riviera 30 Freeform 13600 gallons,
    EasyTouch 4 w/IC20 SWCG, Pentair Whisperflo 1hp, 2 speed 220 pump, Hayward ProGrid 4820 DE filter using Eco Klean instead of DE, 2 Savi Melody 12v 5 color LEDs, Raypack 266k btu millivolt heater, Arctic Armour Mesh custom safety cover (Total self Install) TF-100 test kit w/Magic stir.

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    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    DFW Area

    Re: Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

    I am in the process of building my own pool right now. You can do it, but you do need to do your homework. I have a background in engineering, project management, and contract management, so that helps. Research this site, ask questions, and do your homework. Most subs know how to do their job, but the ultimate responsibility for making sure the work is done right lies with you, the general contractor.

    As far as subs, check to see if you have any pool steel & plumbing companies. Call them, and there is a good chance they can recommend excavators, electricians, and gunite companies. Also, many plastering companies also do tile & coping. Lastly, there are probably lots of hardscape/decking companies that can help out. Check out your subs by asking to look at their work, asking questions to see how they respond, and talking to other subs about the ones you are considering.

    Based on the estimates I got, I expect to save about 25-30% off the PB's bids I received. That said, I am not building the pool to save money, as my time is worth something. Like others here, I am doing this because I could not get PB's to build the pool the way I wanted (follow APSP standards), don't use rebound in the pool, engineer the pool to withstand highly expansive soil, use the equipment I wanted, etc.). I am semi retired so have the time to do this. My advice? Make sure you know why you choose to go this route, commit the time and energy necessary, and you can do this. It ain't rocket science after all.
    19,000 IG Pacific Blue plaster,raised spa with spillover,rock waterfall, Jandy 2.5 HP pump,Pentair sand filter,Paramount in floor cleaning system, Jandy Aquapure SWG, Aqualink remote

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    Lershac's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Baton Rouge, LA

    Re: Arizona Owner/Builder - Where to start?

    Hi, I built my own pool too. Pools around here are very expensive so the investment was worth it. In your area I am not sure I would do it.

    That said, as a project for personal gratification and accomplishment, it was well worth the time invested.

    If you choose to continue along this path, my advise would be to read, read, read. There are some very good books on amazon and probably at your local library. In my project there was ample opportunity to do semi-skilled labor and I had a great portfolio of friends in various trades who either physically helped out, referred subs, or offerred advise. There is always another way to skin any cat so if a great idea does not pan out, back up and approach it from a different angle.

    One way to find sub is to contact who will be doing your gunite or shotcrete. You will be having that done definitely by a team of experienced people, and they know everyone in the area, as they probably do alot of pools for a lot of different companies. Gunite or shotcrete is almost never done in-house by a pool co. The equipment to do it is pretty expensive and has to be kept busy to pay for itself, so one crete installer usually services many many pool co.

    It would be well worth it to take a cpl dozen donuts to the office of that company and explain whats up and get what you need there.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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