Bond beam/collar on fiberglass pool

McLovitz

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2019
49
Livingston, NJ
We have permits in hand and we are scheduled for the pool dig to begin on Oct. 1st. While we are waiting, I asked the contractor about a bond beam/cement collar around the pool as I wasn't sure if that was required. We will be using a landscaper to install ledgestone coping/paver stone once the pool is in but I was not sure if the beam/collar is required prior to the pavers going on. The pool builder informed me that (a) you need a beam/collar in order for the pool warranty to be valid but (b) they didn't include that in the price and I'll have to pay $2,800 for the beam/collar. Feels like a sucker punch as I assumed the install would include everything required to have an installed Blue Hawaiian pool with a valid warranty. Of course our contract is not specific on this point so I assume I'm out of luck here and should have asked the question before signing.

This leads me to a few questions:

1. Is a bond/collar necessary for a fiberglass pool? Would I be taking a big chance if I simply said "screw it" and installed the pool/stone without a collar?
2. Are they pulling a fast one on me or is it reasonable for them to have sold me a pool install package that includes everything but the bond/collar?
3. Is $2800 reasonable for the cost of doing this work? The pool is a 14x33 rectangle (Blue Hawaiian Venus).

Thanks in advance.
McLovitz
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,188
NY
To me it seems like a fair amount for what they would charge by me and you're pretty close. Although the amount is probably fair, it is, and i cannot stress this enough A TOTAL SLEAZEBAG MOVE to sign a contract that the inexperienced buyer thinks is complete. The PB new better but left the price off to make the buld more attractive. Then hit you with the 'Oh, you want a valid warranty?? Thats $2800 extra' And its too late to change your mind. I would be reporting him everywhere i could. BBB (which is a joke but still would anyway), Yelp, and every social media platform available. I would probably start my day everyday with looking up new ways to pay him back.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,188
NY
**edit**. My anger at the sleazeball move made me forget the part that you weren’t started yet. You have a lot more options than I first thought. I would walk with this guy no question. He is using deceptive business practices and you would probably win in court. Him building to factory warranty specs should be understandably expected and he is basically changing the contract on you after you’ve signed it. If fighting this guy and possible losing your deposits would absolutely ruin your chances of having a pool, you could go ahead with it and then go on finding ways to pay him back. I would let the manufacturer know either way. If you took a loan it would probably be best in your favor because you could tell the bank that he changed the terms and let the builder fight it out with the bank.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,800
Northern NJ
It does not look like a collar is a requirement. See...

 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,357
Morris Cnty NJ
You need a collar on a fiberglass pool. It keeps shell in place and there are fiberglass pins that anchor it to the concrete. Make sure they form it well and flush the top to make it easier for coping guy to lay his stone. Cant skip this step. Also make sure the landscaper knows what hes doing and can show you other coping jobs. Coping is the hardest part of the pool build it's not for amateurs that cut grass you want a Mason or hardscape guy and hopefully that's who you got
 
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McLovitz

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2019
49
Livingston, NJ
I appreciate the comments and agree this is a B.S. move. Not the first by this pool builder and I should have known the lowball price would not hold up (though the reviews were solid). In any event, I'm annoyed but will start with a call to Blue Hawaiian/Latham. This is their authorized builder and this is a real garbage way of doing business.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,188
NY
Man that sucks. I’m sorry you are stuck with them. The manufacturer needs to know either way. The builder is giving them a bad name and if enough people let them know they will step in eventually but that won’t help you in the ‘now’. Also the manufacturer may tell you that the bond beam is not needed if it’s backfilled properly another way. It could just be the builder being a sleazebag on the side. And it would be fun to present him with that info if the manufacturer agreed.
 

McLovitz

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2019
49
Livingston, NJ
Man that sucks. I’m sorry you are stuck with them. The manufacturer needs to know either way. The builder is giving them a bad name and if enough people let them know they will step in eventually but that won’t help you in the ‘now’. Also the manufacturer may tell you that the bond beam is not needed if it’s backfilled properly another way. It could just be the builder being a sleazebag on the side. And it would be fun to present him with that info if the manufacturer agreed.

I appreciate your thoughts. I spoke with the landscaper/mason and his view is he doesn't want concrete poured around the pool. Instead he wants room to pour the coping base around the pool (I had trouble hearing him but I believe he mentioned 3-4" of room for him to pour a paver/coping base of QP). I guess the question is whether this is sufficient for warranty purposes or whether I need a concrete collar/bond beam.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,357
Morris Cnty NJ
Without a collar there is nothing holding the pool down or keeping the walls true. You need a ring if concrete if you want this to hold up. Normal install is a 12 to 18" ring around pool under the fiberglass lip with pins into the concrete. The coping guy glues to the fiberglass lip and thinsets to the concrete. Then pavers overplayed transitioning to a setting bed or concrete over the whole thing. If you want cantilever coping you can do the coping and ring in one shot keeping it thinner and save on a single pour and coping combo. It's kinda fuzzy but if pool guy is installing pool hes really only doing that and hence his price. The guy doing coping and deck usually does the ring from what I've seen with glass pools as everybody wants it left a different way based on deck material choice. He should have been clear on what he was doing in aspect of the build. Make sure he backfills with stone not the excavated dirt
 

McLovitz

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2019
49
Livingston, NJ
Well, here's the latest. I spoke to the pool builder yesterday and they sent me the Blue Hawaiian Installation Guide. I was quite upset with them as my view is I had no way of knowing what is required in the installation guide (it is not mentioned in the warranty, just the installation guide) and only they would know that as an authorized distributor/installer of Blue Hawaiian pools.

They had the installer who will be installing my pool next week call me directly to discuss and we had a good conversation. He expressed concerns with the knowledge of this landscaper/mason if he is not pouring a concrete collar and simply laying coping on QP as if it is a patio. Now, I'm far from an expert on this matter, but what he said made sense and made me doubtful of the abilities of our mason to do this work properly on a pool. The pool installer agreed he would speak to the mason and try to get on the same page and get a sense as to whether the mason truly knows what he is doing. The pool installer mentioned that he would never do the patio without a collar/bond beam and had we hired him to do the patio, it would have been included. However, I hired the landscaper/mason and they view it as part of the mason's responsibilities (as jimmythegreek noted above). If I assume good faith on the part of the pool builder/installer, this was simply something lost in translation though I still think I have the correct argument in assuming anything part of the installation guide would be included in my "full installation." But I left the call questioning whether the mason truly will do the best job for us. Learning on the call that the pool installer also does coping/paver work on pools, I offered him the opportunity to match the mason's pricing (with bond beam included) and I would use him rather than the mason to do the patio. He was adamant that he was not trying to steal the other guy's work but would price the patio for me today, including bond beam, and see if he could hit the price with no added expense to me. So now I'm waiting on his estimate.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,188
NY
So i'm slightly less upset with your builder if it wasnt in his immediate realm of things. Im still pretty upset with him (on your behalf) because he knows his business and you dont. Surely this isnt the first time this came up and as a good professional should have gone over everything related, whether it was his problem or not. My PB told me up front that they would destroy my sprinklers and it would be my problem. He also went out of his way to detail anything else that was extra, like the coping. They didnt do it but could find a sub if wanted him to.

So your PB is less shady now but still mostly at fault.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,357
Morris Cnty NJ
I agree with your PB and if the mason wants to set on QP he is not the right guy for the job. Coping is not for rookies even paver guys screw it up if they haven't done pool coping before. Always see their past work. I love to show off my work to customers and previous clients have no issue with us sending ppl to see their installs

I would bet the PB will be higher than the landscaper as he knows what's involved and how to price it. The coping is priced at a linear foot price and an upcharge for any cuts/curves. The patio is sqft pricing. I bet the landscaper priced whole job by sqft. Get 2 other prices from hardscapers this is an easy estimate to do and compare them to the PB
 

malba2366

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2016
73
Middletown, NY
We are doing a fiberglass pool, I ended up using the same contractor for the pool and the patio but with I also got two quotes for just the pool to see if it made sense price wise to divide the work and both of those quotes made it very clear that no concrete was included. I think it is standard for the person installing the deck to pour the concrete, because the type of coping and patio you chose affects how the concrete is poured. Your builder could have been more communicative of this, they may have done this intentionally to come in lower on the bid but I don't think there is much recourse here.
 

McLovitz

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2019
49
Livingston, NJ
We are doing a fiberglass pool, I ended up using the same contractor for the pool and the patio but with I also got two quotes for just the pool to see if it made sense price wise to divide the work and both of those quotes made it very clear that no concrete was included. I think it is standard for the person installing the deck to pour the concrete, because the type of coping and patio you chose affects how the concrete is poured. Your builder could have been more communicative of this, they may have done this intentionally to come in lower on the bid but I don't think there is much recourse here.
That makes sense to me but certainly nothing I thought about until now and nothing the pool builder told me about. I just happened to ask the pool builder about the collar after reading up about pool installs a few weeks ago. Frustrating.

Today's developments left me no more comfortable with the PB. Their installer texted me around noon to tell me he was going to the office and would get me a quote for him to do the patio and concrete pour. I heard nothing. I texted him tonight and heard nothing. The installer had told me last night that he would call our landscaper/mason to discuss the concrete pour. I spoke to the mason tonight and he never received a call. He said he will reach out to the pool installer himself and asked that I send him the installation guide so he can see what is required for the warranty. In the meantime, the PB had Blue Hawaiian call me. The explained the concrete pour is absolutely required for the warranty and basically said "the builder is an independent contractor and we can't speak to their contracts." In any event, it's frustrating but not the end of the world. We'll sort this out in the next day or two. Just all the little things that are making me lose confidence a week out from our dig date.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,188
NY
Maybe this will be your big setback. Some people hit rocks or water when digging and lose $4k. Others have build problems that can stretch out for 6 months and $$thousands. With any luck you're getting youf stuff out of the way early and the rest is gonna be smooth sailing.
 
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McLovitz

Well-known member
Aug 26, 2019
49
Livingston, NJ
So here's the latest:

- Pool installer offered to do the concrete pour plus the coping, patio and firepit all for around the cost of the landscaper (who is not pouring the bond beam). But I've been asking him for 10 days to put this in writing including stone he plans to use and exact price and he keeps telling me "you'll have it tomorrow." Still nothing and today I told him I need the proposal in writing or need to move on and he acted offended. So this makes me think I can't trust him to do this work.

- Pool installer spoke to our landscaper yesterday and then told me again he doesn't think the landscaper knows what he is doing.I'm a novice on all this but the installer said the landcaper's plan of "wet setting" the coping on a fiberglass pool is a mistake that will cost us money over the years rather than dry stacking without a mortar joint between the coping. This means nothing to me as I know little about hardscaping. Anyone able to clarify if his concerns are valid?

- In the end, I think this leaves me having to suck it up and pay the installer $2800 to do the bond beam in order to ensure the pool is properly installed and covered by a warranty. Then I'll let the landscaper (who gives me a 2 year guarantee on his work) to do the coping and bonding... that is, unless anyone here agrees with the pool installer that the wet set method being used by the landscaper is improper and shows the landscaper doesn't know what he's doing.

Annoyed at myself for being in this position and not doing more homework in advance. But here I am.
 
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