Contract Expiring - Still Not Finished

Ben B

New member
Jul 21, 2019
2
Montgomery, TX
Contract with PB is for 84 days from the dig day. That will be in 5 days. 30 days ago the yard got torn up to put in the plumbing, gas, and electical. Not much seems to be happening. PB says the plumbing failed inspection (I noticed they added a back flow). Electrical is inspected. There is no deck yet, just gunite and plumbing. There is still alot to do with the construction of a pool house, deck, bathroom, tile, coping, ect. I was told tiling would start a week ago but I cant cover up the plumbing ditches yet.

What happens when a PB stops working on the pool? I expect I could end the contract now but will other builders be willing to bid to take over and finish? Will the warranty any of it?

Any advice on how to get PB moving along? They have a large project bigger than mine that started about a week before mine. It has had significant issues and I suspect that is where the effort is going.

Thank you
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
12,241
SW PA
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Jandy Aquapure 1400
I wouldn't be so quick to fire them. You are building in a pandemic and you should expect major delays. You're going to be hard pressed to find someone willing to come in and finish that pool if you fire the original PB. My suggestion is this (you're not going to like it)... Take a number n sit down. They will get back to you. Hopefully you didn't pay them all your draws ($$$$$).

Welcome to TFP. Sorry this is your first post n response. I know it sounds off the cuff but it's not intended that way.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
28,630
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Welcome to TFP.

It is rare for another Pool Builder to be willing to take on the first builders project and problems. Especially considering every good builder is busy. I would not terminate your current builder unless you have an alternative committed to take over the project.

Contract schedules in today’s environment are merely suggestions.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,552
Katy TX
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14600
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Liquid Chlorine
I would sit down with the PB and understand what his future timeline is for completion. I can see a contract be for a completed pool with a build time of 84 days from dig day plus any weather delays. I find it unusal that the contract has a term of 84 days then automatically terminates. If he is a good PB then he should be willing to sit down to provide you a plan going forward.
When are your payments? those are normally tied to some event, such as dig, passing of plumbing, finish of plaster, etc. Do you have any to be paid at completion of pool and all punch list items?

There was 1 other post from a member where the PB was arrested and he had a heck of a time finding a new PB to complete the work. He finally did find one but it was not outlined what he had to pay extra or give up on warranty times. So it is best to try to work it out with the current PB.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,079
Tallahassee, FL
I have a sad for you as I know this is frustrating and madding!!

Casey is correct in all she said. In the long run firing the PB will cost you money AND time as it will take a LOT of time to find anyone willing to do the finish work and they may charge you more.
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
148
Athens, GA
Any advice on how to get PB moving along?
You can try what I am and have been doing for the most of the last going on seven months. Politely but frequently (to the point of being annoying) call, text and email often hoping that they will prioritize your job so they don't have to deal with you anymore. I have resisted being consistent but am now going to increase my inquiries. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Good luck and keep us posted on how it proceeds.
 

Ben B

New member
Jul 21, 2019
2
Montgomery, TX
Thank you all for confirming what I suspected to be true. Replacing a PB would be very hard. I understand the delays and pandemic issues. I work in a service industry and empathize. Some of my problems are the communication (lack of), but I will continue to be persistent. Is there a point where you become overbearing? We have paid out on the draws as we hit milestones. After 3 weeks of ditches in the yard, those have been filled in and coping is being started.
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
148
Athens, GA
Although some here have said their delays were pandemic related, In my case, I don't think that was any relation. I do think there is a tremendous demand for the contractors with the builders like mine competing for their time. But my biggest complaint would be with communication and the builder not being upfront on his schedule. I too have wondered how long to wait things out before deciding that time could keep going and going. But the good thing is that work is resuming.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,486
Tucson, AZ
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The construction trades are filled with terrible communicators even in the best of times. It’s not their forte …

Most PB’s are just general contractors that are scheduling sub-contractors to do the work. They rarely do anything hands on. With the pandemic related construction boom, finding competent subs with open schedules is nearly impossible. You can be as pushy as you like but that doesn’t change the facts on the ground, everyone is booked solid. And you want to be careful about pushing because if you do, the PB may hire some bozo to do the work and then you could be left with a very substandard job.

Communication at this point is key. Call a meeting and work out a new schedule. If the delays are going to be significant, then ask for compensation either in terms of money off or upgraded equipment. Be polite. Nastiness only poisons the well and leads to a fight that no one will win.
 

saralines

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2020
79
Los Angeles
My PB verbally said 2 months, the contract said 90 days. Water fill began around day 145. Now it is just over 5 months from excavation, but the water hasn't been balanced yet (acid start-up), the pipes for my pool equipment have not been painted, the automatic cover lids have not be installed, and my coping also hasn't been sealed. So it happens, just slowly. You will get there. We tried writing around the 90 day mark to ask for a revised timeline for expectations, but got no response! So I think the PB know you are stuck with them at that point.
3 days delay - make sure water in excavation was not subterranean and for ground to dry out for bobcat
3 day delay - waiting for more tile to redo some of the tile to fix sloppiness
3 day delay - raising pool walls so coping would be same level as patio
2 1/2 week delay - waiting for PebbleSheen to become available
ALL THE REST (many weeks) - workers not showing up - PB blamed this on the pandemic and politics, but i also think he over-scheduled himself and assigned his worst subs for tiling/coping, which basically took 6 WEEKS and did not turn out as well as it should have (I wish I had hired my own tile sub).
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
635
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
15000
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Plaster
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Neighbor's pool was dug early January. Finished early September. Subs have the same problems other businesses have these days. The government (aka taxpayers) has provided more income for many workers than they made when working. It should be picking up soon, since bonus unemployment has ended. If the $15 minimum wage happens, there may be a whole new round of construction problems, not the least of which could be prices.
 

dntboles

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2019
78
Boerne, TX
Pool Size
15818
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Cantera Pools never finished everything in the contract for our pool. We haven't heard from them in more than 1 year. They never earned the final payment, so they didn't get the final payment.
 
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revitup

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Nov 30, 2019
634
Pawleys Island, SC
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I don’t get this ‘84 day contract’ thing. What it sounds like is if the PB doesn’t finish in the 84 day contract period, he just can walk away with whatever money you have already paid him? Although it’s his fault he didn’t finish? There is no consequence for him, if he doesn’t finish, in the contract? Who would sign a contract like that? What am I missing?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
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May 23, 2015
18,486
Tucson, AZ
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I don’t get this ‘84 day contract’ thing. What it sounds like is if the PB doesn’t finish in the 84 day contract period, he just can walk away with whatever money you have already paid him? Although it’s his fault he didn’t finish? There is no consequence for him, if he doesn’t finish, in the contract? Who would sign a contract like that? What am I missing?

Almost all pool contracts are written that way to favor the PB. You’d be hard pressed to find any that don’t do it. And the last thing you want is to hire a PB on a handshake deal, that’s just a disaster waiting to happen. The entire notion that a PB will finish in XX days is laughable. They have no control over their subs’ schedules and most of the PB’s out there are not integrated shops. So the best anyone can expect is that time line to be a “typical build” with no issues. It’s informational more than legally-binding.
 

revitup

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Nov 30, 2019
634
Pawleys Island, SC
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I’ll have to dig out my contract to see if there was any language like that in there. I don’t think so, if there was my PB and I would have had an interesting conversation across the kitchen table.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
2,207
Chapel Hill, NC
My pool contract said 30 days. Five months later, (from first dig) we had a pool. This was 25 years ago. No pandemic, no "great resignation", just greedy, over committed pool builders. Today must be even worse!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,486
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
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Plaster
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I was curious and dug out our pool contract. The actual contract (legally binding document with signatures) has absolutely no verbiage about a time line. Nada. Along with the contract (and plans, etc) is an informational flyer that describes the build/construction process with ESTIMATED days to complete each phase. But at the very beginning of that flier it is explicitly stated that all timelines are estimates and subject to change and variation. It also clearly states that estimated build times can be affected by subcontractor schedules and equipment and material procurement delays. So basically the contract is to build a pool with no specific project timeline. There is some language in the official document about work starting within a year of the delivered designs and the BUYER being charged for any delays they cause (1% per month for the start of work) and it also heavily favors the builder in any dispute (delays caused by disputes can be subject to price increases, requests to alter work schedules or stop work must be in writing and by certified mailed, etc, etc).

With our builder I clearly remembering him saying that his average build time was about 90 days but that he would work to get it to 60 as best he could. Our build started at the end of June and so he was trying to get it completed by September so the kids could have a few weeks of swim time. He actually finished right before Labor Day weekend so we did get a few weeks of swimming in before cooler weather and school made swimming impossible. All in all, he got the pool done in a bit over 60 days. We also built our pool a few years after the economy crashed in '08/'09 and so the entire pool building industry was in the toilet. It was a buyer's market for pool construction and you could easily get 3 to 5 PBs to show up for bids (they all came to our house, we did not need to go to them). Our builder was also a genuinely nice guy who we struck up a friendship with that lasted many years after the work was done. I have pictures of him driving my boys around on his mini bobcat while he was working on grading and layout. So, at the end of the day, his timeline was fine with us and he always went the extra mile in terms of professionalism.
 

KCNM

Silver Supporter
May 20, 2021
144
Tampa Bay, FL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
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Jandy Truclear / Ei
I just grabbed my contract also to weigh in. It has zero language about timeline. Just a clause detailing that delays happen with several potential reasons listed. Like JoyfulNoise, we received a *separate* document from the contract detailing the estimated timeline. And the bottleneck for my PB is 100% the PebbleTec plasterer sub. They are one of only two licensed applicators in the entire Tampa Bay area. The rest of the work done on my pool they probably could have done immediately after signing, but then I'd just have an empty pool for months until the plasterers had time.

I don't know whether I would have signed a contract that just let the PB walk away after a certain time. That's a lot of good will to be handing them up front. Based on the contract I have, they are obligated to perform this job until it is done, with the payment schedule being my counterbalance. If anything were to go wrong, I could easily sue for ideally specific performance.
 
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