Such a great site and wealth of knowledge I've decided I need to give back some and go ahead and post my build, we are well into it so this will be on fast forward but I hope I can offer some insight to others who are considering a build and possibly help them at the very least get a little more comfortable with what they are doing. Here goes.
To give a little background, we moved to Texas a little over two years ago, when house hunting a pool was on our wish list. What we found was that every house we looked at with a pool we just didn't quite like it enough to buy, so we decided to look for a house that we could build our own pool. We did that and then proceeded to get some pool companies to come out and take a look. To be honest I don't think we knew how much of an investment a pool really is. We then spent the next two years talking and working with different pool builders. Last November we finally dived in, pool and patio extension with kitchen design approved, contract signed and deposit check cashed our pool build adventure began. I'll go ahead and get this out of the way now, would I recommend my PB? My answer is I don't think I would feel comfortable recommending any PB, they each have their own Pros and Cons, I also believe their performance is really dependent on too many variables, but I am quite happy to offer anybody assistance with navigating the design and contracting phase, while this is my first I think we learned a lot.
Here is some photos (I hope) of what we started with.
Important things to keep in mind at this point are to take a look at the layout and make sure you are happy with it. This can be difficult because without the hole in the ground your perspective can be a little off. My suggestion is to make sure you are there with the PB and assist them with the layout, if nothing else you will feel like you are part of the build and you would be surprised at the questions you think of while going through the layout step by step.
I believe it was at this point that we encountered our first "Change Order", I was asked if footings had been discussed, no nothing about footings why would I need them? As it turns out the slope in my yard is a bit more than would appear at first glance, this is something that I knew but didn't think to address it as I assumed the designer would let me know if anything needed to be done. The lesson there is if you have a question go ahead and get it out there. I'll go ahead and close out this post, hope everybody finds this enjoyable and informative, please don't hesitate to comment or ask questions, keeping in mind this build is well on its way so not much to be done in way of improvements but your comments may help others in the future.