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Thread: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

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    Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    So after interviewing several PBs and going through the second rounds of meetings, I started to have initial bids coming in. Hubby and I are still debating on a few items so they are not finalized yet. But here are the questions I've already got for you fine folks here to take a stab.

    1. Do you negotiate when the final bids come in on the finalized design?

    2. A painful truth we found out about our pool project is that we have very poor soil. Two best quality builders (judging from the conversation and TFP member comments) had different opinions on it. One said we'll have to do piers with no mentioning of chemical injection. The other said chemical injection is necessary but piers are optional. I know this is not going to be a common case to most people here. But could whoever have the knowledge about this topic weigh in? Are we getting ripped off if somebody's charging us more than $500 per a helical pier?

    3. The pool is going to be about 38K gallon. What hp should a main pump (VS) be proper for this size without overdoing it?

    4. I won't have a spa. The only water features are going to be 5 deck jets. Again the two top candidates deal with this differently. One was going to use a 1.5hp booster pump to run the deck jets. The other was going to use an actuator valve. Pros and Cons of each?

    5. One PB wants to put in another booster pump to run a Pentair Legend cleaner. Is it really necessary? I thought the purpose of the VS is to run at different speeds to accommodate the different functionality (water feature vs. cleaner vs. water circulation). What's the point of having a VS pump and still have two other booster pumps?

    6. Glass tile: One PB was quite lenient about bringing your own material at a better cost. We love the looks of the glass tile - who doesn't?! I saw some selections in Home Depot much cheaper that are rated to be suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and frost proof. According to reviews, it's probably just somewhat thinner than the more expensive ones - yes, I know the quality would be maybe one grade down. I just wonder if I could use those for waterline purpose. Most people obviously use them for backsplash. If that's not a good choice, anybody know some value providers I can check out online or in DFW area for pool tiles?

    That's about it now. I'm sure more will come when I zoom in on a couple of finalists. Feeling like I am going through the darkest part of the tunnel right now

    Thanks in advance!!

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Hey, Welcome to TFP Flamingo!

    I'll just take one to get this going.

    1. No, you are pretty much there in most cases. Negotiation is done around choosing less, or lesser quality/quantity of things.

    Don't worry, with a lot of thinking and talking it over with the Hubby, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It was a very stressful process weeding out different builders for us, but hopefully it will be well worth it.
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    2) Is either builder using a professional engineer to design the pool including the support structure? If not, you might want to get a professional engineer to advise you.

    The cost of piers will depend on multiple factors, such as size, depth etc.

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Some thoughts:

    1 Unless you are starting with a single design and specs you generally can't directly force contraxctors to bid against each other. What I generally do in these situations is get the bids of the two I like the best, tell them what I want to change and ask them for their best price, then decide.



    2. Prices for this work vary by a factor of 2 depending on location. Each builder is probably bidding not with what is the best or most cost effective solution but what they are familiar with. I would have the largest local builder give you a bid talk to their salesman about the different options. Maybe you want to call an engineer and ask them. We can give you some ideas on here for engineers. Again where you are located is important.



    3. 38K is a big pool. I'm no expert on pumps so I'll defer on that one. I will say with that big a pool you probably want a Steiner pump or some other type of automatic chlorination system.



    4. A properly sized vs pump should be able to handle the deck jets and a cleaner. The big advantage of a dedicated booster pump is that you can have spectacular deck jets and run other water features (like a cleaner) at the same time. Pool automation makes that psoible with a single vs pump.

    5. The Pentair calls for a booster pump -- do you need it with a VS pump? Probably not. There are other cleaners that don't need a booster pump ask for one of those. The reason -- Part of is manufacturers haven't caught up with the technology yet, part of is that they sell to PBs who want to sell stuff. Just like deck jets a dedicated booster pump allows you to run that feature with any other feature also on.

    6. I'm usually one who goes for it. But I would be inclined to stick with the tile my PB sells. I want him on the line when there is a problem. If you do select your own check it out and make sure the installer knows about any special instructions. There are a number of internet sites that sell glass pool tile also.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Just a comment on pump... HP is not same as flowrate. You need to figure out what your max flow rate is and look at the pump to determine if its going to be enough to generate adequate flow. Your water features will require a specific flow rate (for example 15GPM) since you have 5, you'd need 75GPM (just an example) just to run that. Now add what's needed for the cleaner + filtration/skimmer. Take that number and lock up the performance curve for s given pump. Dynamic head is going to be really tough to estimate, but most builder seem to be able to build pools that produce about 40' of head, filter/heater/plumbing size will be factors in that number. Now, if the pump you're r looking at is capable of supporting your flow requirement, that's the pump you need. If multiple pump can handle the load, look for one that can do the work at lowest rpm. VS will be great as it allows to control how much water to move (you actually really want a VF pump, but vs can provide a good approximation). If a single vs you're consider is enough to handle the volume all by itself, than you found your match...

    Wrt to single pump w/ a valve.. do you want to be able to run everything at once (filter/cleaner/water features)? If so, valve won't allow for that...

    Just my $0.02
    28K IGP, AquaPure 1400 SWG, Inteliflow filtration, Inteliflow spa, pentair 1.5HP water feature pumps, pentair cartridge filter, 2.5 / 3" plumbing.

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out

    Wow, I just keep learning !! Thanks, everyone! I'll keep the numbering going on the questions to keep good track of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by garykli
    Wrt to single pump w/ a valve.. do you want to be able to run everything at once (filter/cleaner/water features)? If so, valve won't allow for that...
    7. Honestly I have no idea since we never had a pool before. I just know we'll probalby want to see the water jets on when we out there swimming or spending the outdoor time - that'll mostly be in the afternoon to evening. So when do the other two functions need to be on usually and for how long? Could I at least drop one pump safely/conveniently? I'm imagining a cost different between a booster pump vs. actuator - can't tell from the bid since one is not itemized.

    Now two more things just came to my mind.

    8. Heat bend or not - there are a few builders including some large ones everyone knows use heat treated PVC pipes. They touted as a way to improve hydraulic flow. Well, of course the others talked down on it, saying that's where a lot of the leaks happened. Just by common sense, I feel that it's gonna be your weakest spot on the pipe and you are trying to get a product do what it's not suppose to do - I mean that's why fittings exist, right? But the ones using it are giving lifetime warranty on their plumbing. What do you guys think?

    9. Gunite vs. Shotcrete - I know shotcrete is harder (or could take much higher psi pressure) than gunite. Does it mean it's better? Instinctively, I was going to say yes. But one builder explained why they purposely choosing gunite vs. shotcrete. They said that while shortcrete was harder, the gunite gives more flexbility to deal with the unstable soil environment in TX. Does that bear any merit?

    Don't be surpised I've got more coming

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    For number 9....

    Technically shotcrete and gunite should be similar strength. The target for both is to be shot at about 4000 psi.

    Shotcrete is wet mix while gunite is dry mix. The gunite has the water mixed at the nozzle which means a consistent psi rating across the shell is entirely up to the skill of the nozzle man. In Texas, I doubt you will find a nozzleman that carries all proper certifications

    With shotcrete, the concrete already has the water mixed, and the nozzle man is taken out of the equation. Barring any other variables, you will get a consistent 4k psi with shotcrete

    There is a reason most engineers call for shotcrete on commercial builds
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Very helpful post, jamcha02....Thanks!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    I agree and will add that everyone around here I talked too does except one, and we didn't like them. But oh how they raved on how much stronger it was. Something you ought to consider is the size and amount of rebar they will use. Some will quote less and smaller than others, and to me this was also an important decision.
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    "1. No, you are pretty much there in most cases. Negotiation is done around choosing less, or lesser quality/quantity of things. "

    I disagree.

    It's always negotiable. The fact is we are moving into to slow season for pool building. This means the builder will likely be building a smaller number of pools and the subs will have less work on their plate.

    When it comes to negotiating price, your builder has 2 choices. He can cut his margins or he can push his subs to come down on price. You don't necessarily have to downgrade equipment or options.

    At the end of the day, it's going to depend on whether or not the builder will accept making a little less. That is going to depend on his capacity. But if he's slow, why would he walk away from making 15k, as opposed to 25k on the job?

    The fact is, they don't build the pool, the subs do. So if they have the project management capacity, I'd say it'd be foolish to turn down a 10k spread.

    Supply and demand
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Not here. I tried with every builder and the answer was no every time. Perhaps if you live in a market where there are lots of builders the answer is different. So, I suppose we should say that a blanket answer on this for all areas of the country is incorrect.

    Never hurts to ask, but around here I know what they will tell you. Supply here is low, and demand is very high for builder, with few to zero subs working on their own.
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Trying to negotiate certainly wouldn't hurt anything! I asked each builder for their best price & a couple came down a grand or threw in a few extras.

    As far as the tile, the builder will get a lower cost than you at the large tile supply stores. Pick out what you like & have your PB ask what the contactor's price is. We saw a big difference.
    Tracy

    35' X 19' pool (pool depth: 3.5', 5.5', 4'. Perimeter 97) 2 HP Jandy (2 speed)
    Spa 9.6' X 7.4' (10 jets total- 4 on circ, 6 on 2hp booster, 6' cascade spillway to pool). Heater: 400 BTU LXi
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    I'm in Texas too, tried negotiating - exact same pool size, equipment and extras - no deal. Both companies told us we would have to cut down on features, size or lose the spa to bring the price down. Supposedly, both were giving me their winter rates.
    Finally Done! - 21x34 IG, SWCG, depth - 3.6 - 4.6 - 6.6, Pentair IntelliFlow 3050 vs+svrs, 60 sq ft Pentair DE Filter, 400k BTU Heater, Polaris 280 w/.75 hp booster pump, Pentair EasyTouch wireless, 38 sq ft raised spa, wet edge Barbados quartz finish - ODK w/36 in Napoleon grill

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Something else to consider in chooing a builder what draw schedule they have. Our final payment will be 25%, and the agreement reads that it will be paid after " Pool is complete and customer is satisfied." Do not even consider a builder that wont give at least 10% or more as a final draw.
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    I was negotiating right up to the day I signed the contract. The pool builder can always say no and I can always go somewhere else. Much of a PBs flexibility comes down to how skinny they quoted in the first place.
    35'x16' IG geometric with 8'x6' spa (16.5K gallons); White Diamond Pebblesheen w/Abalone Shells; Jandy 460 cartridge filter; Jandy 2HP E pump; Jandy 400K heater; Water Tech Blue Diamond Pro; TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup
    Not here. I tried with every builder and the answer was no every time. Perhaps if you live in a market where there are lots of builders the answer is different. So, I suppose we should say that a blanket answer on this for all areas of the country is incorrect.
    There are over 300 PB in the DFW metroplex.
    18,600 gal, IG, Jandy 60 sq ft DE filter, 2HP VS pump
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    SKC - that may be true but not all 300 are reputable. We limited our bids to companies that were highly rated with the BBB or had excellent ratings on Angie's List. All of our neighbors who have pools put in years ago and surprisngly none would recommend the companies they used! Those PB that are highly rated flaunt that - which they should, and I know pools are a luxury, but DFW is not the cheapest place to buy a pool.
    Finally Done! - 21x34 IG, SWCG, depth - 3.6 - 4.6 - 6.6, Pentair IntelliFlow 3050 vs+svrs, 60 sq ft Pentair DE Filter, 400k BTU Heater, Polaris 280 w/.75 hp booster pump, Pentair EasyTouch wireless, 38 sq ft raised spa, wet edge Barbados quartz finish - ODK w/36 in Napoleon grill

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    I completely agree in every point you make.
    18,600 gal, IG, Jandy 60 sq ft DE filter, 2HP VS pump
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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Yeah...definitely look at their BBB score. Also, ask the pool builder if you can see some of his projects in person. We are in the DFW area. Pools definitely aren't cheap :-/
    Just go with your gut
    Tracy

    35' X 19' pool (pool depth: 3.5', 5.5', 4'. Perimeter 97) 2 HP Jandy (2 speed)
    Spa 9.6' X 7.4' (10 jets total- 4 on circ, 6 on 2hp booster, 6' cascade spillway to pool). Heater: 400 BTU LXi
    Tanning ledge and benches covered with stone. 2 LED pool lights, 1 LED spa light.
    PebbleSheen finish in Aqua Blue
    30" gas fire pit raised 18".

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    Re: Bids Rolling In and My Questions Rolling Out :-D

    Quote Originally Posted by tracyne
    Yeah...definitely look at their BBB score. Also, ask the pool builder if you can see some of his projects in person. We are in the DFW area. Pools definitely aren't cheap :-/
    Just go with your gut
    I would take the BBB with a pinch of salt to be honest. Look at it and check that there's not a ton of complaints, but having none doesn't make the PB an angel. I don't like the way they have their system set up.

    Definitely agree with seeing some of the PB's projects and speaking to some other owners. Most good PB's will happily give a list of references. We knew a couple personally and phoned a few randoms to check they were happy.

    Also agree about pools not being cheap! Certainly seems to me like prices are on the rise at the moment (in the Houston area at least)
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
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    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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