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Thread: Using Engineering Firm?

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    Using Engineering Firm?

    I am planning on installing a pool next Spring. Was looking into fiberglass, but now leaning towards a gunite pool. A friend used a local engineering firm to develop the plans (all the details, pipe sizes, locations, pump sizes, etc.), they would help me bid to the 4 or 5 local installers, do a few on-site inspections during the pool bid, etc. My friend claims he saved $25K on his pool because all the builders had the exact plan to build/bid against.

    Anyone go this direction before, thoughts?

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    That's a great idea. It eliminates all the apples and oranges stuff you get when letting the PB supply the plans and build. They will also provide some construction managment if you wanted them to.
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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    Sounds like a good idea to me...so long as the engineers in question have relevant experience in this sort of field (engineering is a wide field), as for the saving 25K, I dunno, that sounds a bit too good to believe.
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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    We are in the middle of something like that. We started with 3 bids from local pool builders (no engineering) to get an idea of what turnkey would cost. We were going to get our designed engineered and sub it out, but then decided to do what I think you are suggesting. We paid a pool builder a flat fee to engineer our design and get building permits, he will also inspect and advise.

    He has quoted each major part of the build separately and we have some other quotes. We expect to save some money, I'll know when we are done. We broke ground yesterday and are already going over budget... (we hit a pool where we wanted to put our pool and are now two days into demolition)
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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    I dont know....depending on a plan from someone who doesn't do the pool building for a living might be risky. If it was me I would feel a little insulted. I might take the job, BUT....there could be alot of complications that I would not take responsibility for,....if encountered.
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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    This is the company:

    http://www.waterdesigninc.com/

    The friend is my financial adviser and his as well, so I feel pretty comfortable.

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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    I am no expert at all... just repeating what I was told.

    For a residential pool, there is no such thing as "engineering" it - it's all cookie cutter. With that said, our inspectors require plans with an engineering OK, so we pay for engineering. For the turnkey bids the cost is rolled in, but it's there. I'm not sure how your friend calculated his savings btw? A lower price than a price that could have been negotiated down is not really a savings.

    Still, like I said - I'm in the middle of basically this route now.
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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    Saving was probably not the right word. He actually started the process a year earlier without his buddy's help. He was confused because the bids varied around $20k. That is what started the discussion with the engineer (the company does mostly commercial, but some residential). The firm engineered everything so the bids were then on a level playing field instead. A lot of the support equipment, pump size, chlorine vs salt water, etc. made up the large variation in the bids.

    In the end, he spent about $25k less than he would have the year earlier and felt much better after getting the engineering firm to basically contract the process out and do the inspections.

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    Re: Using Engineering Firm?

    JMO:

    In my area, pools are frequently built near steep slopes, or in a grade, or near existing structures (e.g. houses or retaining walls), or in areas with poor drainage, or in poor soil. Site drainage can be dramatically affected by the project, with negative con$equence$ for neighbors.

    There are many instances where engineering is important. For example, it might be important to evaluate soil type, soil stability, and soil moisture content for the pool site. Engineering might be needed to characterize the site and determine the need for piers or chemical injections or drains. Structural engineering might be needed to assess loads on pool walls (and bond beams) or loads on new/existing retaining walls and to design/specify structures capable of withstanding these loads. It is quite common for engineering analysis/design to call for changes to steel/rebar, beam/wall/cove/floor gunite thickness, pool plumbing, and site drainage.

    PB's usually quote outdoor-scape design (form/appearance/fit/function) and construction, but not engineering. In one way or another, the PB's contract will include clauses which (1) place the responsibility for engineering or for opting to not engineer on the buyer and (2) place the liability for consequences of construction on the buyer. So it is important for the buyer to be able to identify situations in which the need for engineering is indicated.

    IMO, engineering fees are usually quite reasonable relative to the overall cost of the project and well worth the cost.
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