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Thread: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

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    Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    A few weeks ago we signed a contract for an old in-ground pool remodeling project for $12,000 worth of work. This morning they started the job. I get a call a few hours later. Apparently, while in the process of cutting the concrete deck (after removing the paver bricks) to replace a skimmer box, they cut two conduits and about 12-16 wires. Here is what I think they cut:
    Pool light wiring to spa (outgoing and incoming from switch panel)
    Pool light wiring to pool (outgoing and incoming from switch panel)
    Wiring to Spa blower(outgoing and incoming from switch panel)
    Wiring to spa filter motor (outgoing and incoming from switch panel)
    Wiring for an auxillary 120 V outlet

    In the other conduit they cut, I think it was the light harness wire that goes from the junction box to the fixture.

    All these wires route to a panel near the back door of the house and were apparently run in conduit under the deck.
    I have a bad feeling about this project. They will probably want me to pay something toward the damage since they are already stating that the conduits should not have been run under the deck. I'm sick about the whole thing. Even if they do cover the damage, my fear is that they will shortcut the finshing job to cut their losses. Any suggestions?
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Did the contract exclude anything damaged under the decking? If it didn't then you can negotiate the costs.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I haven't reviewed the fine print, but I suspect there is some clause about unknown conditions. Most contracts usually state something like that to protect the contractor. I'm still at work so I'll have to do a visual and get some pictures tonight. If the guy went way wide with the concrete saw then I might have some ground to stand on. My guess is that they have to go fairly wide to excavate under the skimmer box to cut and re-do the plumbing for the new box. I'm not that familiar with how skimmer boxes are replaced on in-ground pools.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Here are some pictures:








    Pool and spa is drained. I don't know how they plan to fix the electrical circuits.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I'm sick just at reading this and looking at those pics!

    I hope the fix it!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I would have to say it's not normal to run the conduit in the actual decking like that. In my build everything is buried below the ground and then the decking goes on top. (Mine is travertine pavers, but still, the same principal would apply.)

    If that conduit was actually in the ground, under the decking, then they wouldn't have cut it. There is no way they could have known that conduit was there, embedded in the actual concrete deck.

    They'll be able to run new electrical wiring to fix it, just like they did when they first installed it. They'll remove the old wiring, patch the conduit where they cut it, and then add new wiring everywhere that it's needed. That wiring is all fed through the conduit with fish wire even when installed new. An electrician should have no problem with that, in my opinion.
    Bryan
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I have to agree with Bryan, that conduit should have been a lot deeper than that. I don't think you can hold the contractor totally responsible for that. Nether you or them could have known it was like that. You've got to blame the people that originally installed it.

    I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but the best thing to do is work with the contractor to get it repaired and move on.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    They are moving on to the pool and will probably do everything but the spa until we can get this resolved. I have a couple of problems here. First, when this pool was put in (I was not living there then), a permit was pulled from the County, and the construction was inspected and signed off. Apparently the inspector found the wiring part to be acceptable. I found the permits in the County records. Second, I would think it is customary to locate all wiring and plumbing before going below ground on any type of digging or cutting project. The cable, phone, and electric companies all do this and have signal toners and locators. That simple step would have prevented this problem from occurring. There is almost always plumbing and electric for lights and controls routing around a pool. They cut the deck pretty far back away from the back of the skimmer toward the house. In my opinion, that was not necessary (but I'm not the guy putting the skimmer in). They probably could have worked this from one side or the other effectively if they had located the wiring first. To blindly put a saw to the deck and start cutting just doesn't seem right.

    Anyhow, I'm not happy about this. I suspect that they will try to get me to relocate the control panel to the other side of the house near the pumps and filters instead of next to my back door which was really convienent (I won't go into the reasons why but it is nice to be able to turn the lights on before walking across the deck to the back of the house). That would eliminate all the wiring under the deck except the 12 volt feed for the light fixture (2nd conduit).

    Anyhow, thanks for all the thoughts and comments folks. I'll provide an update on how it goes.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I was in environmental construction a long time. Locating the wiring would have been easy as you said. Though, I have had locators tell me the lines were 6 inches down, set the concrete saw for the 4 inches of slab and then the fireworks started, locators aren't exact either, though with it marked and a small jackhammer it could have been avoided.

    Negotiate with the contractor.....being on the contractors end a lot I can tell you that a irate customer is a lot less likely to get good service for the rest of the job than a guy who says, hey, none of us knew they were there, I'll pay for materials to fix and you do the labor....etc.....though don't make any explicit offers to pay for anything till they tell you a materials and labor amount to fix. Splicing is an option there, though not desirable if your going to pour new concrete over it. Though copper is pretty spends so pulling all new wire might be more than you think.
    Patton B.

    30K in ground pool, 1500 gallon in ground spa. Jandy aqua link 10 controller (1994 construction). Getting ready to replumb all surface pipe as well as replace heater and motors.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Yes, there will be a lot of copper wires (they look like #12 stranded).
    Anyhow, it looks like they will be splicing the conduit and new wires will have to be pulled. Since I am at work 11-12 hours a day, I only get to look at the progress when I get home. Tonight I observed the concrete chipped out away from the conduits in preparation for splices. They also got the skimmers set and got the tile up around the pool. Strange how close that skimmer is to the edge of the pool (???) See the pictures below.






    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I think they are going to have to cut the coping or you will not be able to get the basket out and put the lid on the skimmer.
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Skimmer location doesn't look strange to me. Do you mean it should be further from the pool? Thus justifying the concrete cut location? Don't they have to now dig down and connect it to plumbing, or have they already? If they have they probably needed the extra space to dig and connect.
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    Skimmer location doesn't look strange to me. Do you mean it should be further from the pool? Thus justifying the concrete cut location? Don't they have to now dig down and connect it to plumbing, or have they already? If they have they probably needed the extra space to dig and connect.
    I believe the plumbing has been connected up. The old skimmer had a longer entrance weir and was back a few more inches from the edge than these new ones. Now it looks like they will have to cut a semi-circular section in the coping to get a cover on it. I guess they know what they are doing.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I am sorry to hear of your troubles. When we had a fence installed, they cut the line running the drain tile from the filter. I was sick about that. That sounds minor compared to what you are going through. Good luck, I hope you get it all fixed.

    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Conduit is an easy fix, the wire will be some money though.
    Is your entire paver deck done over concrete? That's a good way to keep the weeds out!
    Anthony 16,000 Gallon Oval, White plaster, 30' Long 15' Wide 5 1/2' Deep end 3 1/2' shallow end.
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    The original deck was river rock (from 1980) we had that ripped up in 2004 and paver bricks put down. There were two areas that were cut out for planters and the paver stone company just filled those with sand. Over the years some of those bricks have settled. I'll probably take those those up, remove the sand, and put a base of pre-mix concrete, followed by leveling sand and the pavers back in those areas. No work was done today and likely none for the next couple of days due to tropical storm Andrea. ):

    I am concerned about the length of the pull with the number of wires in such a small conduit. There are quite a few bends.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierrun
    The original deck was river rock (from 1980) we haOd that ripped up in 2004 and paver bricks put down. There were two areas that were cut out for planters and the paver stone company just filled those with sand. Over the years some of those bricks have settled. I'll probably take those those up, remove the sand, and put a base of pre-mix concrete, followed by leveling sand and the pavers back in those areas. No work was done today and likely none for the next couple of days due to tropical storm Andrea. ):

    I am concerned about the length of the pull with the number of wires in such a small conduit. There are quite a few bends.
    If they know what the are doing, and an electrician should, they use lube, yes lube, to grease up the wires as they pull them through.
    18'x43' Sport Pool
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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    OK, so they pulled their pump and all the equipment and left the site. Now there is nasty ground water in the bottom and it is starting to stink.


    I talked to a number of old timers who went through pool installations in Florida in the 80s and found that it was pretty common back then to run the conduit in the poured deck. The reason is that many florida decks cover the expanse of the backyard and the electrical wiring was often getting cut by cable, phone, and sprinkler companies who auger under the edge of the deck to run their lines or pipes. By encasing the conduit in the concrete, it was protected. Also, acquantances and co-workers who are familiar with electrical work agree that a simple 15 minute electrical cable location job would have prevented this. Yet, the pool workers say the damage is not their responsibility and it says in the fine print of their contract that they are not responsible for damage caused by unknown conditions. I took another picture at a different angle and you can see an electrical junction box right in-line with where they made the cut. I think an arbitrator would agree that this was an employee or project supervisor mistake.



    I did some price checking on #12 THHN and #10 THHN wire and and it looks like Home Depot and Lowes want from between .45 to .60 per foot. My rough estimate of the run is 85 feet, so using .50 per foot times 14 wires equals about $560 in wire plus tax. It will probably take an electrican about 4-5 hours to make the repairs, so we are looking at about $600-$700 in labor. To be safe, I'd probably request 90 foot lengths of wire. I think the damage is about $1500.

    I have an appointment with the owner of the company tomorrow to discuss this. If they won't fix it, my next step is to call the the County licensing board to see if they will provide the owner's liability insurance company and policy number. They may be able to set up a dispute hearing. I feel like I have a good case, but only time will tell. If I start getting citations from code enforcement or the homeowners association, I may have to seek legal help which will cost big bucks. I really hope we can work this out and get the pool finished. I really hate dealing with this and trying to work a full time job at the same time.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    I really don't think you will win this. Regardless of what old timers say, it is not code to encase electrical conduit in a deck like that. I don't think any legal entity would side with you on it.

    As others have mentioned your best bet is to work with the contractor and negotiate something. They may give a little to keep you happy. In the end, since their fine print covers them if they don't give you probably will need to pay for the fix.
    ~15K gal, IG gunite with new Wetedge Satin Matrix Pebble Finish installed mid 04/14, 1 HP Pentair Challanger pump, Sta-rite System 3 300 sqft cartridge filter, G3 cleaner

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    Re: Remodel - Not off to a good start.

    Do you guys think that there was a code in 1980 (the pool build date) stating that the conduit should not be run in the concrete? I can't find anything specifically stating how deep the conduits should be or if they were ever allowed to be run in the deck. Is this NEC or a National Pool code? Could it be State specific?

    Again, I appreciate the candid responses whether or not they are pro customer or pro contractor. I understand the problem from both sides and I will try to work with them, even with my gut feeling that says they should be responsible.

    EDIT: I found this in the NEC:

    230.3 Pass Through a Building or Structure

    Service conductors cannot pass through the interior of another building or other structure.

    230.6 Conductors Considered Outside a Building. Conductors are considered outside a building when they are installed:
    (1) Under not less than 2 in. of concrete beneath a building or structure.
    (2) Within a building or structure in a raceway that is encased in no less than 2 in. thick of concrete or brick.
    (3) Installed in a vault that meets the construction requirements of Article 450, Part III.
    (4) In conduit under not less than 18 in. of earth beneath a building or structure.

    These conduits are more than 2" beneith the deck structure.
    John (DIYer). Concrete, approximately 13,000 gallon in-ground pool with adjoining concrete spa. Approximately 40 years old. Hayward Super II pump for pool and legacy Anthony Sta-Rite bronze pump CF6 for spa, VA-26 filter,(2 sets), Rheem propane heater for spa. HASA Liquidator for pool.

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