Earlier this year we eventually got quotes from the only two pool builders in the area I could find. Getting a quote was like extracting blood from a stone which gives me zero confidence in actually hiring them. Added to that, I asked in a local well known pool supply store who they would recommend. "Nobody" was the curt answer - and not from a professional independence but they simply did not think any of the local builders was any good. Both quotes were in the low to mid 40k for a 15ft x 40ft pool with spa.
So I mulled over the options and, what with a couple of unplanned financial hits, abandoned the idea of doing it this year. However, I'm now thinking again and have dismissed the idea of fibreglass and vinyl pools (really bad reputation around here, mostly because of the harsh sunlight up here at moderately high altitude in the Mojave desert).
So what I would like to do is partly self build a concrete pool but in stages. Please can you comment on whether any of this is a good/bad idea! Inspections as and when necessary.
1. Hire someone to excavate. I'm a little concerned about wall collapse during digging, with this sandy soil, though it's fairly firm underneath.
2. Myself: erect retaining walls with something like plywood and 2x4s (smaller if I can but only if wall collapse risk is low)
3. Myself: erect rebar
4. Myself: lay in plumbing/returns etc for pool and stubs for spa (spa to be built much later), plus stubs for solar panel
5. Myself: pour small concrete slab for mounting filter/pumps/heater etc. Install and plumb equipment except heater.
6. Hire electrician to hook up electrics.
7. Hire shotcreters to form pool shell.
8. Myself: plaster pool
9. Hire water tanker to fill at least most of the pool.
At this stage it would be a concrete shell, albeit plastered. No coping decking as such. Is this going to be usable at this stage?
1. Myself: install coping and *possibly* pour decking (otherwise hire).
I guess I'm asking here whether it would be that much of a problem adding the coping and the walkways several weeks after filling and using the pool?
1. Myself: Dig hole for spa
2. Myself: Lay rebar, connect plumbing stubs
3. Hire shotcreters to form spa shell
4. Myself: Plaster/finish spa, this time with coping and decking before first use
1. Install and plumb the aquatic side of the heater
2. Hire gas engineer to hook up the gas side of the heater (mains gas, not tank)
3. Possibly electrician too if necessary
1. Install and plumb in solar heating panel
To reiterate, I would want to hit each phase as a block of work (whether a couple of days or a few weeks), then there might be weeks or months before the next phase.
One other thing, where I'd ideally like the heater and pump would be probably 30ft from the nearest corner of the pool, and could be 80-100ft from the spa. I'm more concerned about heat loss over that distance. But having the heater and pump close to the spa would mean 80-100ft of gas pipe and electrical which is a big up-front cost, though no ongoing cost as such.
Sorry for the long post but any comments would be very much welcomed. Any very rough ballpark costing figures for each phase would be helpful too, let's say 15ftx40ft rectangle, 8ft deep end, plus 8ft diameter spa. Nothing particularly fancy. Southern California codes and earthquake considerations.