In-Ground Pool - New Build: Water Level uneven by 2"

nicknash

Member
Sep 8, 2020
10
nashville, tn
I have a contractor building my pool at the moment. We're about 90% done at this point, but after pouring concrete, installing the liner and filling up the pool, we've noticed a 2" water level different in one of the corners.

We have a pretty big hill that the pool sits on. The corner that is uneven is on the largest portion of a retaining wall, which would definitely be considered the weakest corner.

We haven't even had the final inspection due to the contractor not completing the grading of the yard and covering up the electrical. We noticed the uneven level of the water as soon as the pool was filled up. The contractor has pushed back saying that he can't control leveling, but it's not like this has happened a year down the road. This happened day one.

Any advice on making sure the contractor fixes the issue and making sure he does it correctly this time?

I've attached the image of the back corner. This was right after concrete was poured.
 

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PoolGate

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TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,882
Damascus, MD
Is the out of level condition because the liner isn't straight, or is the pool itself out of level? Is the distance from the deck to the waterline consistent?
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
It looks like the gate/fence is also sloping down. It's as if the entire backside of the pool has either sunken into the ground/settled (by a large margin) or the pool was purposefully built that way. At least your decking will drain off real well? What sort of engineering was done on that back wall? Any pictures of the foundation from the outside would be helpful?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
20,788
It's important to figure out if it was installed out of level or if the ground is sinking.

Ask the builder if it was built like that or if the ground is unstable.

You probably need an engineer to advise you.

Is there a difference in the stability of the ground for some reason?

Did you have an engineer involved with the design due to the necessity of the retaining wall?

Is the pool on fill dirt?

Do you have construction pictures?
 
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nicknash

Member
Sep 8, 2020
10
nashville, tn
wow. thanks, guys. Just realized i had responses. Few answers to your questions:

So, i should clarify and say that the builder said he can not control the ground settlement. And again, i could understand if this was years down the road, but i haven't even made it to final inspection yet. It wasn't level the day we filled the pool with water (3 months after breaking ground).

No engineer involved (until last week). We just hired a pool company to put it in. They said they would do a partial retaining wall, so we didn't think we would need to hire one. We figured the contractor knew what they were doing, and would tell us if we needed to hire one. I'll never take on another project like this without hiring an SE to coordinate again. Lesson learned there. Their cost is a drop in the bucket compared to what you end up spending on a pool.

So there are 2 issues with that corner. 1: the steel wall of the pool isn't level. It had settled after (possibly before) pouring concrete. 2: the retaining wall has also settled, causing the fence to slope as well. Contractor has taken his time on excavating around the pool, so that back corner keeps washing out. (i'll post pics)

Also, gravel backfill with geogrid between retaining wall and pool.
 

nicknash

Member
Sep 8, 2020
10
nashville, tn
Here are a few pics from where we stand today.
 

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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,893
Central California
the builder said he can not control the ground settlement
It may be true that he cannot control ground settlement (obviously), but it's reasonable for you to expect a pool builder to be able to do that, or to be able to declare the site unsuitable for a pool, long before the gunite goes in. Long before excavation, for that matter. That's what soils engineers are for. If he didn't know or bother to check the viability of the site to support the structure, then that's on him. Stop paying him. Demand it be made right. And that might mean getting an SE involved (on the PB's dime). Or did you do that already?

It's important to figure out if it was installed out of level or if the ground is sinking.
Super important, I'd say. We're going to hope he built it wrong, because I can imagine the fix for that (bad, but not start-over bad). If the ground is sinking, I think that's a much more complicated/expensive fix, if even possible, and that's assuming a pool can even be installed there.

Is this guy carrying any liability insurance?

I would want a letter from the PB agreeing to pay for a soils report from an engineer of your choosing (not his). The results of that analysis would determine the next step. Maybe you're already doing that?
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
6,893
Central California
After viewing that last batch of pics, I think it's going to be easy to prove shoddy workmanship, along with sinking soil. It's going to come down to his liquidity (or his insurance), as you can't ignore what's happening and it has to be repaired or redone. Otherwise you'll get stuck with the bill in some not-to-distant future. So sorry this is happening...
 

nicknash

Member
Sep 8, 2020
10
nashville, tn
Here are some pics of the construction. Unfortunately, i dont' believe i have any with the retaining wall being built.
 

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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
6,893
Central California
What did he do? Just slop a pile of concrete behind the steel on top of recently graded soil and grass? This is not my expertise, at all, but that can't be right.
 

nicknash

Member
Sep 8, 2020
10
nashville, tn
Thanks, Dirk. Yeah, so engineer basically said that the pool shouldn't have been built that far towards the hill without additional support. So yes, ground is sinking. He thinks it has settled as much as it's going to (it's been more than 90 days), but that it needs to be excavated asap in order to make sure soil doesn't keep washing out. So, we have a foundation coming out to meet with me, pb, and the se next week to discuss next steps on securing the corner. We will weigh options of leaving the pool as is as long as the very expensive foundation repair/secure is covered by PB or paying for the securing of the foundation ourselves and having PB rebuild that corner of the pool, which is going to be a ton of work.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,763
Tallahassee, FL
It sure looks like that area can go over time..........that would be my biggest worry........it settling and settling and settling over time to the point ti lets go in that corner. One BIG rain event could take it out and take your pool with it. :(
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,882
Damascus, MD
I think I would start to think about hiring an attorney. Also check your local area and see what local resources like a contractors guild or something like that is available to remediate the issue. I suspect based on what your builder has already said that he isn't going to be putting much effort and no money into making this right. Doing nothing I think even a year down the road you are going to have major issues.
 
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