I just learned - the hard way - all about building a pool!

judithleah

Member
Oct 10, 2018
21
Boca Raton, Florida
Hi guys,
It's been a few weeks, but I wanted to update you on the situation. We are still at an impasse. PC refuses to make needed repairs until I pay final 8% of price. And I don't want to give them another penny until I have a finished, problem free pool and a closed-out permit. We recently discovered this Correction Notice posted to our pool machinery, which seems to bring even more issues to my attention.
And, by the way, this is the second time the electrical final has failed. Can someone out there tell me what the first two parts of the violation means, and how difficult they will be do rectify? I understand the third part very well - the pool should not have been filled until the electrical inspection passed. Does this mean that we will now have to empty the pool? Yikes!!

As you experts out there have advised, I have documented everything that has happened to the best of my ability and written a detailed letter to PC itemizing all the issues (that I know about) with the pool construction and sent it to them both via email and by certified mail. If this is heading to a legal showdown, as it seems to be, I need to be able to quantify the damages. To do this, I need to get another pool construction company in to tell me how much it will cost to fix all the problems, pass all the inspections (there are several still outstanding), and close out the permit.
So, if any of you live in the South Florida area and can recommend an honest, competent pool company that won't take advantage of this situation, I would be very grateful to hear about them. Thanks as always.
Judy
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,460
Northern NJ
Judy, the pic you posted of your Correction Notice is too small to read. You need to post a larger pic with better resolution or transcribe what it says so we can advise you.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,832
Damascus, MD
I think 1 means they have to change the panel breakers to a different type (should be easy).

I think 2 means the SWCG is not connected to the bonding grid (also easy fix).

- - - Updated - - -

FYI: Take that out of the packet and keep it in a safe place. If your PB shows up they will probably take it my PB used to take all the failed inspections until I got wise and took them for safe keeping.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,460
Northern NJ
As PoolGate said both are easy to fix by someone who knows what they are doing and what the Florida Building Code requires.

Was there any electrical work done after you received the first failed electrical inspection? This one notes that point 2 on the chlorinator not being bonded was failed on the 8-23-2018 inspection.

Who told you to call for this electrical inspection?
 

murraymartini

Member
May 26, 2017
8
Ocoee, FL
#1: Find out about the make and model of the panel (should be on the panel), then you can find out what kind of breakers it accepts, then replace/rewire with the appropriate breakers. This can be done easily, make sure to take picture of the breaker panel as is for documentation. This can be fixed by yourself, or any licensed electrician
#2: I assume bonding for other equipment/lights were done so all you have to do is to run a #8 green bonding wire to connect to the rest of the bonded equipment/grid. Again, a licensed electrician can do this.
#3: You will need to call the inspector's office and ask them whether you have to empty the pool before they come back for re-inspection, since you're not suppose to fill before they pass electrical final for safety reasons. You may have to drain the pool unfortunately.....
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,297
Central California
sigh why, why does he think he can get away with this?
Because it costs him nothing to wait her out. His life is unaffected by the unfinished work. He knows his 8% is gone, unrecoverable. To do any work now would be wasted effort. He's hoping Judy will cave or give up. And he doesn't really think that will happen, but he'll just keep stalling until he's forced to act or she gives up. If she gives up, he's in the clear. If she goes after him, he'll just have to pony up what he would have anyway, so it won't cost him anything to wait, he can only "win" by waiting. So he's waiting. My contractor did the same thing. Went on for months. It wasn't until the Contractor's Board got involved that he ponied up for the repair. They must have threatened him with something that mattered to him. Judy's letter was a necessary step for the end result, but matters not in the least to this contractor. It doesn't have any teeth yet.

Assuming the letter had a deadline, once that is past, then the next step is to file a complaint with the Contractor's Board, and a similar one with the bond company (if the contractor is carrying a bond).

Judy, don't wait too long for these next steps. He could move out of state, file bankruptcy, be sued by others who would claim all his cash, drop dead, whatever. Once you write the letter and wait out the deadline, there is nothing in it for you to wait longer. He's not going to perform, he would have by now. I think you have to accept that and move on. Either have the pool finished by another contractor and go after him for the cost (that's how I did it), or gather the estimates for repair and go after that before the work is done. I didn't want to wait to have my pool fixed, so I gambled and had a contractor fix my pool, then went after the money. The disadvantage of that tack is that you're gambling you're ever going to see the money. The advantage is you get your pool done way sooner than you would otherwise, and you get to start using it, and you'll know the exact amount to go after. If you try to get the money first, it could take months, or even much longer to both sue and collect, and you could still come up short if you later find that more work needs to be done. It's a tough call.

If your state law allows, and he's past the deadline, I would celebrate and get the pool fixed. You don't want this guy back on the job anyway, do you? If you go to the Board, or court, without the pool finished, he might eventually be forced to come back to do the work to save himself some money. Would you want that? If you can now legally fix the pool and sue for damages, then you're going to be better off, all around. In CA, his action would amount to abandonment, and that on top of all his other misdeeds is a biggie. He's actually doing you a favor, by shooting himself in the foot, and leaving you to get the job done by someone better. (Though I know it's hard to see it that way now.)

As others have suggested, if you're not confident about which way to go, or how the law works in your state, it might be time to have a consult with an attorney.
 

judithleah

Member
Oct 10, 2018
21
Boca Raton, Florida
Hi All,
Thanks for all the great advice. For those who have been following this saga, the situation is as follows: In terms of the hole in the ground being filled with water, the pool is finished, and indeed, we have already swum in it. That is the basis of the contractor's claim that payment should be made in full. However, I don't consider the pool to be substantially completed for the following safety, legal and aesthetic reasons:
I don't know whether it is safe because
- they have given me no explanation or assurances that they have been able to connect the bonding wire to the handrail since it was installed after the pavers were laid.
- the pool has failed multiple electrical inspections and there are other final inspections, such as plumbing that haven't even been conducted yet. (To ajw22: I'm not the one who called for any inspections - the pool company did. Makes no sense that they asked for another electrical inspection before fixing the problems with the first one, but that seems to be the way they work - doing things that don't make sense!) The last failed inspection was in early November, before we arrived at this impasse and they made it clear that they will not take any further steps unless I pay them in full.

I don't know whether it is legal because of
- the failed and not performed inspections. I know I could call the City and ask them if it is legal for us to swim in the pool, but I'm not sure I would like the answer :-( and I certainly prefer not to have to drain the pool. :eek: On the other hand, I know I must find out somehow what the legal implications are and whether or not this job is in fact considered to have been abandoned by the contractor. (He will say it's not, because he's willing to come back if he's paid in full).

I know that it's not aesthetically satisfactory because of
- the way they mis-layed the pavers (with all those slivers of tile around the pool edge)
- the fact that they forgot to put on the escutcheons that I provided, leaving the area around the handrail pole open and unattractive
- the footprints that were clearly visible right after they plastered are not so visible now with the pool full. However, I have read in this forum about footprints that emerge months later that must have been set when the plaster work was done. I would like assurances that they will take care of this issue should the prints re-emerge sometime in the future.

As you have suggested, (since I have already sent a certified letter stating my case (it had 15 different complaints about the job!) and the deadline for action on their part has passed), what I need to do now is get another company to fix all the problems and get final approval from the city and then try to reclaim the costs for this from my current PC through legal channels. So this is where I need some solid advice from fellow TFP'ers who live in South Florida (not too far from Boca Raton).
1 - Can anyone recommend a competent and honorable pool company in the area who can come in and save the day?
and
2 - Can anyone recommend a competent and honorable Lawyer, who has experience in these matters and could help me get them resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible? Among other legal questions I have, I'm not sure whether Florida law would allow me to just go ahead and finish the job with another company and then expect to get compensated for it.

I look forward to your recommendations and to the day when I can post on this forum that all this is behind us :).
Thanks as always :).

Judy
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,832
Damascus, MD
Yiikes! This is really just contract law so find a lawyer that specializes in that if that is the route you want to take. The lawyer is going to want his fee up front and is not going to take this case on contingency. The lawyer will probably cost you between $500-$1000 just for advice.

I don't think it is "illegal" to swim in your pool! The worst that could happen is the city maybe would condemn the pool and post an order not to use it (unlikely). You can test that handrail for proper bonding and you also could bond your SWCG yourself it is a 10 minute job. Those are the 2 main safety issues. The inspector not liking the breakers is an easy fix, but if you are not comfortable around electric, get an electrician to do this. I doubt that is much of a safety issue but since it failed inspection needs to be addressed.

I suggest you contact your pool builder and ask him to stop by in person perhaps with one of his engineers/designers and you guys hash it out. It is always preferable to come to something amicable.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,394
Tallahassee, FL
This is a time I don't like the internet because it makes the world seem small but a situation like this shows how big the distance is between us is :( I have no idea how you find/pick a lawyer. As for a pool finisher............look on Angie's List and such and see what you find. Do you have a Next Door for your area? Throw up a post asking about a good PB and see what they say. Do NOT talk about your troubles in print on there. You are just fishing to see what name comes up in both places as good. It will be more of a general "Hey who builds a good pool?" kind of thing.