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Thread: Pool Builder "evaluation grid" - any feedback? Items missed?

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    Pool Builder "evaluation grid" - any feedback? Items missed?

    Hi all - I've been reading this site for some time, and am very thankful for all the content.

    We are in the slow, methodical process of designing a pool and selecting a pool builder. Having met 3 builders, we are finding wide variations in design recommendations and having difficulty selecting who is the one to go with. Having been on both ends of "request for proposals" as part of my work, I felt using such a grid might help. And who best to get input on the design of the grid than all the experts on this site?

    If it matters, we live on the west edge of the Phoenix, AZ metropolitan area. Wife and I have four children, ages 9, 8, 6, and 4, and two med sized dogs. We are tired of going through these AZ summers without a pool! We've never had a pool before except for the cheap walmart above ground temp types. We basically want a ~40x20 foot pool, 9 foot on deep end, with waterfall/grotto/jumping rock, 2 baja steps, and if finances line up, a sunken bar and Spa. Other more specific items you can see below. Some of the items we can mandate a certain way, such as volume of cool deck or # of umbrella sleeves. Just trying to keep it as equal as possible in certain areas.

    Hope this works - please send any comments on the grid items below, or comment on items missed.

    The Grid:
    Total Cost - stratified by component/items below.

    Specific details for each of the items below. (ex: number of jets for spa, BTU's for heater, number of umbrella sleeves, sq feet of cool deck, type of fence)

    Base cost/construction of pool - includes what exactly? amount/type of re-bar used, gunnite or reg cement (?)
    40x20 flowing design; 2 baja steps. 9 feet deep on deep end. Sitting benches on sides
    waterfall/grotto - height, width, grotto bench dimensions. Waterfall water volume.
    cool deck type and sq feet
    extra rock in few places (real, fake?)
    umbrella sleeves
    sunken bar (with or without roof? Electric/gas outlets, sink, etc.)
    spa, heating (gas) - # of jets, sq feet
    lighting with remote (LED, etc., colors)
    cleaning (cartridge filter) system (infloor jets)
    SWG
    pump (size, speeds)
    fence/gate.

    Upkeep costs for items above, such as cost of cartridge filter replacement every x years. infloor jet replacement post warranty, etc...

    Warranty - again, stratified by each of the items above - what is covered for how long - is it fully covered or is labor not included.

    Company reputation - years in existence. check BBB and references. How many pools have they built in past 2 years. How many included spa's, bar's and grotto/waterfalls. Any websites to check for financial stability of these companies?

    Construction - how long to build; onsite (english speaking) supervisor how often. % outsourced work - what is outsourced exactly. Removal of gravel, dirt, landscape recovery (landscape drip lines replaced?). Drip line support while cut off.

    Contract - how much is specifically listed in the contract they deliver? Up front cost amount and paid stages. Penalties for delays? Intangibles. Flexibility of changing if needed.


    Thanks again for any feedback. Sorry for the long first post. Hopeful that this is a beneficial exercise, for us and perhaps for others. If something like this has been built on this site or elsewhere, do let me know!

    RawhideKid, Phoenix, AZ
    RawhideKid
    Phoenix, AZ (Goodyear actually)
    Pool finally complete!!! IG, 40,635 gallons w/2080 gallon spa with 16 jets. Pool is 40x21 ft with 10 ft deep end; two baja steps
    Pentair Cartridge filter - 520 SQ. PebbleSheen interior. 2 Pentair VS pumps. Pentair Intellichlor SWG
    4 deck jets, 2 bubblers, fake rock grotto/waterfall with wet steps. 3 surrounding half-pergola's with misters in future
    Sunken covered ramada with cabinets, fridge, and wood fireplace. (soon to have big screen TV)
    Basically, 14 years of planning on how to survive this blistering AZ summer!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    Sacramento, California USA
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    Re: Pool Builder "evaluation grid" - any feedback? Items missed?

    Quote Originally Posted by RawhideKid
    We are in the slow, methodical process of designing a pool and selecting a pool builder. Having met 3 builders, we are finding wide variations in design recommendations and having difficulty selecting who is the one to go with. Having been on both ends of "request for proposals" as part of my work, I felt using such a grid might help. And who best to get input on the design of the grid than all the experts on this site?
    Welcome to TFP forum!

    Wide variations should serve you well during the RFI (pre-bid) phase. If you can get a number of contractors to respond without zeroing in on quotations too early you'll be in a better position to specify the requirements for your pool. There isn't any level of detail I found that is too much when you are collecting bids... the contractor I used threw all kinds of twists and turns at me -- even after the bid was accepted and the contract, signed. "I can't get xxx product" "You'll be better off with xxx not yyy" etc. Sometimes these deviations were legitimate; most were not. Arizona has a better reputation for responsive pool builders than N. California, so assembling the specifications may be something you can do collaboratively with potential bidders. Here, few contractors wanted any part of a real discussion of design. Most dropped out (9 of the 14 companies that sent sales representatives) when they saw my puny 10 page request for information. I took about a month after RFI responses were received to conduct product/price research for each conceivable equipment item, then prepared an abbreviated Request For Bid for distribution to my top 3 contractors. By that time, the contractors and I had a pretty good idea what equipment would be installed (though they were split over Pentair vs. Hayward), so this made the bid document straightforward.

    I've attached the bid spreadsheet I used to collect bids --- one of the pool builders, at the last minute, declined to participate, providing only a ball park bid (50-60K) on my ~40K project. I disqualified them and selected one of the two remaining players. In the event, both received bids were within $2000 of my budget but I followed my scoring plan and awarded to the higher. Lots of additions and changes followed as it turned out... the pool got larger, I added more stuff, but basically I got what I wanted. Hope this helps.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
    __
    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    Re: Pool Builder "evaluation grid" - any feedback? Items missed?

    Now is not the time to go with a start up or "little guy" company! I know that Shasta is in your area, and I believe Paddock is as well. Shasta builds more pools in AZ than anybody, and I would strongly consider them. Your scope seems nice, and even though I do not live in AZ or have anything to do with Shasta, I do have a pretty good idea who would run your project and I would assure you that you would be pleased. If you have spoken to them or end up with them, send me a PM and I will point you in the right direction as far as the Superintendent is that would run your project.

    Congrats on your decision to build a pool! Those kids are gonna love it, and the memories you all will have will last a lifetime!

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