Can this be patched or is it a total demo?

Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
103
Alpine, Ca
I totally agree ajw, I was brain storming the idea the builder would refuse to tear out and start over. And if the inspector looked at it and said the shell was too thin that could help. I believe the thickness is on the rebar sheet. Also the analysis of the gunite would be on the home owner if the PB or gunite company refused to have it done. This is all directed as suggestions to assist in turning a PB/ sub contractor who is not taking any responsibility. :)
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
287
Austin, TX
I offer no expertise like the others in here, but I don't know that I'd rest easily at night with the patch work.

I am interested in the timeline. It's typical that gunite shells will sit for some period of time before they get plaster. At minimum it needs to cure for 30 days by most standards, but most pools just take longer due to coping, tile work, electrical and just industry delays. You said gunite was done in 2017 and then plaster in Spring 2018. If it was late 2017, I'm not sure it's that big of a deal.

The not watering the gunite the days following the gunite was a miss. You said you can't remember if you did it. I'm inclined to say that you didn't though. That's an exciting time, sitting out there for 20-30 minutes hosing things down. I just think that's the type of thing you'd remember. In my case, my PB had one of his guys come by daily and water it, I added an additional daily water to it on top of that. Watering for 1 week (and even more) is best practice as it slows the curing and strengthens it, but I'd have to imagine if it was missed, the pool integrity should still be good unless there was another underlying problem. I could be wrong.
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
287
Austin, TX
See the chart in Watering New Gunite and Concrete - Further Reading



Properly mixed gunite will have adequate strength if air cured but have over the double the strength if watered for 7 days.
Thanks for sharing. We did two weeks and had some help of the rain. We also did our gunite in November so it stayed cool, and fortunately we didn't have any freezes or majorly cold weather. We watered for 3 weeks, twice a day early on then once a day after 2 weeks. As stated, it's kind of fun and exciting at first since it's this huge new pool. Lots of time to think about how it'll be when it's done. I've now replaced that time with chemical and cleaning work.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
The local inspector is not there to do quality control on the build. He will only review the build to see that it is built to the approved plan and all building codes are followed. The quality of the gunite is not his concern and what is built can fall apart the next day and it is not his problem.

The responsibility falls onto the builder who submitted the pool design plans to the town for approval and any engineer who put his stamp on the plan. A plan that meets the minimum structural requirements may not be appropriate for your properties specific conditions. The town and inspector only reviews the plans to see that it meets minimum code requirements. It is up to the builder to determine that the minimums are insufficient for the job he is taking on.
Yes, I agree, and I was hasty with my comment about that. My thinking was that if everyone on this thread could tell that the rebar was wrong, it might be something that could have be noticed very easily. You make an excellent point that it could have been within industry standards but wrong for my build.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,162
Northern NJ
Yes, I agree, and I was hasty with my comment about that. My thinking was that if everyone on this thread could tell that the rebar was wrong, it might be something that could have be noticed very easily. You make an excellent point that it could have been within industry standards but wrong for my build.
Many folks post pics of their build in their Under Construction threads and I and others comment when we see rebar that looks too widely spaced. The rebar contractor tries to cheap out and save on material. First place to look is on the curved areas and if there is more rebar density then in the falt surfaces. But then too tight rebar will not leave room for gunite to get in and around it. So there is a correct amount of rebar and too little or too much can be a problem.

Lots of good information at...

 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Many folks post pics of their build in their Under Construction threads and I and others comment when we see rebar that looks too widely spaced. The rebar contractor tries to cheap out and save on material. First place to look is on the curved areas and if there is more rebar density then in the falt surfaces. But then too tight rebar will not leave room for gunite to get in and around it. So there is a correct amount of rebar and too little or too much can be a problem.

Lots of good information at...

Thank you. I didn't realize rebar was that expensive. I would have paid the difference to have it done correctly. We've been looking at photos of the pool and just realized that we can see the rebar grid through the plaster. Like a faint rusty grid all around the pool. What a disaster.
 

JimR1998

Member
May 16, 2020
9
Southeast PA
Your pool looks like a bomb hit it. You should not even entertain the idea of "patching" that mess. You hired a professional to do the job and they failed. You may now need another professional -- a lawyer to fix their mistake. I would be very firm and offer them one opportunity to correct this under very specific terms: a full tear out and reconstruction under the supervision of a third-party with completion by a certain date. OR they can refund ALL your money and restore your site to how it was prior, also by a certain date. Put a description of the problem with photos in a letter sent certified mail to the pool contractor and subs, requesting a written response within 14 days. Do not threaten to sue, just lay out the options. Meanwhile look for a lawyer.

This is a big enough of a mistake that it makes sense to take this route. Nobody likes lawyers, the subs may lean on the GC for him to resolve it.

Good luck.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Your pool looks like a bomb hit it. You should not even entertain the idea of "patching" that mess. You hired a professional to do the job and they failed. You may now need another professional -- a lawyer to fix their mistake. I would be very firm and offer them one opportunity to correct this under very specific terms: a full tear out and reconstruction under the supervision of a third-party with completion by a certain date. OR they can refund ALL your money and restore your site to how it was prior, also by a certain date. Put a description of the problem with photos in a letter sent certified mail to the pool contractor and subs, requesting a written response within 14 days. Do not threaten to sue, just lay out the options. Meanwhile look for a lawyer.

This is a big enough of a mistake that it makes sense to take this route. Nobody likes lawyers, the subs may lean on the GC for him to resolve it.

Good luck.
Thank you. This is an excellent response. I will have that letter drafted right away. Thank you for the parameters.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
UPDATE: We had a local engineer look at it and he said the same thing all of you have said - it's a complete demo. Thank you all so much for you input. Deep down I knew it was a demo, but I didn't want to believe it. Fingers crossed it will go somewhat smoothly. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all.
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
287
Austin, TX
Best wishes, you've already waited so long and endured ridiculous long times, best to get it done right. Please keep us posted, I know that once lawyers get involved, sometimes posting things becomes more difficult, but I hope we can see your project completed in its proper glory.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Best wishes, you've already waited so long and endured ridiculous long times, best to get it done right. Please keep us posted, I know that once lawyers get involved, sometimes posting things becomes more difficult, but I hope we can see your project completed in its proper glory.
Thank you! I will try to keep you posted and hopefully will be able to share a photo of a beautiful pool one day.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,501
Morris Cnty NJ
This looks pretty bad based on pics.Where in NJ are you?
The fact the pool is built on compacted fill should have made for a tighter rebar frame and thicker walls. The caging should be on average 1/3 depth from face on wall thickness ratio. Nothing larger than 12x12 spacing unless your sitting on ledge stone. I would expect to see 8x8 to 10x10 spacing on this with 9 to 10 inch thick walls. I would rip this out amd starg fresh. I would also have a geotechnical engineer do a proctor analysis on the base amd make sure its 95% or better. Cracks thru the shell are rarely related to the material and likely movement cracks based on what your telling us. Why was virgin ground 25ft down? Who is the emgineer who stamped the drawings do you have an actual copy?
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
This looks pretty bad based on pics.Where in NJ are you?
The fact the pool is built on compacted fill should have made for a tighter rebar frame and thicker walls. The caging should be on average 1/3 depth from face on wall thickness ratio. Nothing larger than 12x12 spacing unless your sitting on ledge stone. I would expect to see 8x8 to 10x10 spacing on this with 9 to 10 inch thick walls. I would rip this out amd starg fresh. I would also have a geotechnical engineer do a proctor analysis on the base amd make sure its 95% or better. Cracks thru the shell are rarely related to the material and likely movement cracks based on what your telling us. Why was virgin ground 25ft down? Who is the emgineer who stamped the drawings do you have an actual copy?
Thanks for weighing in. We’re in Monmouth County. Our property was once part of a farm. They dug out whatever was of value (marl?) and filled in with demolished outbuildings, old refrigerators, etc. We found the engineering plans and the called for a 12” grid and 9” walls. Some of the rebar is an inch from the surface of the wall. I think we’re looking at bad rebar placement, bad plumbing placement, and a dodgy gunite mix. Not sure if you’re supposed to be able to see striation in the mix, but it’s very noticeable. The walls of the spa seem very sandy.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Not sure if I should be starting a new thread for this, but can anyone advise me on what to do next? I’ve accepted that it’s a full demo. My dad (an attorney) says work it out with the builder. My aunt (in insurance) says call an insurance adjuster. An independent PB in the area said hire someone to do gunite testing. Someone else said hire an engineer to put together a report. Our original PB is going to come back with his gunite guy at the end of the week. Until then, I have no idea what we’re supposed to be doing, how best to ensure this gets properly resolved, how to advocate for ourselves, etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
103
Alpine, Ca
Your in a tough spot, but here are my thoughts. Take the path of least resistance. Meet with the builder/gunite company and see if they will rip it out and start over, no cost to you. Remember you signed a contract and did not get what was promised. If they agree, great! If not, don't rush things as this is a huge mistake to correct. You might be out a pool this summer but there are many more to come. If they know you had an engineer out, they might be open to the tear out and redo. You never know, they may meet with you and agree a mistake was made and get to work.

I see a couple of things that could happen if they are not open to the tear out :

They may offer a refund and leave it as and you are left with the project. I don't like this option. You have to think about what it will cost to tear it out and dispose of the material. At this point you may want to contact your insurance. I also hate this path as you may end up with higher insurance cost even though it is not your fault. You could be considered high risk. But if you use insurance, they will be the ones that decide if they want to go after the PB for the costs.

Second option would be to higher an attorney. Talk with your dad if things don't go well at your meeting. I would do this first. Get his advise.

If you have to hire an attorney, remember the more evidence in support of your claim the better. I.E. engineer report, gunite report etc. You need to stack the evidence to make your case. Once again- talk to your dad about that, not sure what the reports would cost, but you may never recoup that money. Not to scare you but I have heard of companies claiming bankruptcy and opening up the next day under a new name. No idea if this actually happens.

In short, meet with the builder and subs if you have to and see if they will correct the problem the right way. If not, my first call would be with your dad.

Try not to get frustrated even though that is near impossible. Be patient, as you want this done correctly. And keep us posted and I hope I see a beautiful pool in the end.
 

8675309

Active member
Aug 16, 2018
26
NJ
Your in a tough spot, but here are my thoughts. Take the path of least resistance. Meet with the builder/gunite company and see if they will rip it out and start over, no cost to you. Remember you signed a contract and did not get what was promised. If they agree, great! If not, don't rush things as this is a huge mistake to correct. You might be out a pool this summer but there are many more to come. If they know you had an engineer out, they might be open to the tear out and redo. You never know, they may meet with you and agree a mistake was made and get to work.

I see a couple of things that could happen if they are not open to the tear out :

They may offer a refund and leave it as and you are left with the project. I don't like this option. You have to think about what it will cost to tear it out and dispose of the material. At this point you may want to contact your insurance. I also hate this path as you may end up with higher insurance cost even though it is not your fault. You could be considered high risk. But if you use insurance, they will be the ones that decide if they want to go after the PB for the costs.

Second option would be to higher an attorney. Talk with your dad if things don't go well at your meeting. I would do this first. Get his advise.

If you have to hire an attorney, remember the more evidence in support of your claim the better. I.E. engineer report, gunite report etc. You need to stack the evidence to make your case. Once again- talk to your dad about that, not sure what the reports would cost, but you may never recoup that money. Not to scare you but I have heard of companies claiming bankruptcy and opening up the next day under a new name. No idea if this actually happens.

In short, meet with the builder and subs if you have to and see if they will correct the problem the right way. If not, my first call would be with your dad.

Try not to get frustrated even though that is near impossible. Be patient, as you want this done correctly. And keep us posted and I hope I see a beautiful pool in the end.
Thank you for the thoughtful response. We got an estimate for demo this weekend: $12,000. We’ll give that to the PB when we next see him. The guy who gave us that quote made a helpful suggestion that we should also stipulate that a certain amount goes into escrow to cover any damage to the property during demo and rebuild. We will start by dealing directly with the PB and see where it goes from there. We got a third local opinion from a guy who got so hot under the collar when he saw the pool that he offered to be a expert witness, should it come to that. Boy, was he mad. In the meantime, we are collecting photos of the build. Like you said, we just have to try our best to be patient. Thanks again for your help.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,501
Morris Cnty NJ
You dont have enough time to get an analasys before they come to look. The good thing is you have an idea now what your looking at. Stand your ground. If it comes to it am emgineer will need to do a report and get the specs on mix from the suppliers they will do a few core samples and have them tested.
I'd think at this point they both know it's a demo job. The PB prob subbed the shell to the gunite crew amd hes in a bad spot too. Whether they eat it or they split it is their problem. See what happens and insist on a tear out. If the rebar is improperly positioned ita a breach of contract. It must be built per emgineer specs. Mayne reach out to the emgineer who stamped it. My guy would be flaming mad to have his stamp sitting on that shell a failure could come back to him as well as other parties involved. I've been an expert in 2 trials it was ugly and the homeowners suffered the most. In NJ you not only get reimbursed in a win but your attorneys costs too are added in sometimes doubled depending on contract breach