New Build in Austin, TX

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
Hi Everyone,

I'm in Austin, TX and am pursuing an owner build. I just submitted for HOA approval and expect it to get approved quickly.

My plans include a 35x21 geometric pool with 13x6.5ft sun deck. It will also have a raised 7x7 spa with spillover into the pool below. Depths 3.5-7 ft and approximately 27.5K gallons. I'm going SWG with travertine coping. The construction plans say leuder but it's being fixed as coping is travertine.

Below is my initial equipment list. I would love any feedback or recommendations:

Pump: Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump
Water Feature Pump: Pentair 1.5HP Whisperflo
Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Natural Gas ()
Heater: Pentair Heatpump chiller 140K BTU
Sanitization: Pentair IC60
Filter: Pentair 420 Cartridge is listed but I'm going to push this to the 520
Lights: Pentair IntelliBrite (2) pool (1) spa
Automation: IntelliCenter I10 PS (the document attached also shows a screen logic. Am I correct that this is not needed with IntelliCenter)
Blower: (1) Pentair 1.5 HP

Here are some specific questions:
  1. Any benefit to having the 2nd pump a Whisperflo or should I go with another Intelliflo VS? I'm 99% about changing this to an Intelliflo VS
  2. My document shows a 400K BTU heater and a separate heatpump chiller. Is this a best practice to have both units or go with a combined unit that's a heater/chiller?
  3. My document shows a "Pentair Screen logic modem". I thought this was only needed with an Easy Touch system and not with the newer IntelliCenter systems? Am I off base here?
  4. Are there any specific blowers that are recommended? This is an area I haven't researched yet and would love any feedback.
  5. Any feedback on skimmer/returns location and/or qty?
I've just started turning my attention to design on the outdoor kitchen, but I also need to think about overall lighting. I know I want it tied in to the Intellicenter but haven't gotten into which lights and where to put them. Thanks in advance for any insight into the above questions or any other comments, recommendations, or feedback!

Chris
 

Attachments

jalapenopopper

Active member
Jul 21, 2020
28
Austin, TX
Hi Everyone,

I'm in Austin, TX and am pursuing an owner build. I just submitted for HOA approval and expect it to get approved quickly.

My plans include a 35x21 geometric pool with 13x6.5ft sun deck. It will also have a raised 7x7 spa with spillover into the pool below. Depths 3.5-7 ft and approximately 27.5K gallons. I'm going SWG with travertine coping. The construction plans say leuder but it's being fixed as coping is travertine.

Below is my initial equipment list. I would love any feedback or recommendations:

Pump: Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump
Water Feature Pump: Pentair 1.5HP Whisperflo
Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Natural Gas ()
Heater: Pentair Heatpump chiller 140K BTU
Sanitization: Pentair IC60
Filter: Pentair 420 Cartridge is listed but I'm going to push this to the 520
Lights: Pentair IntelliBrite (2) pool (1) spa
Automation: IntelliCenter I10 PS (the document attached also shows a screen logic. Am I correct that this is not needed with IntelliCenter)
Blower: (1) Pentair 1.5 HP

Here are some specific questions:
  1. Any benefit to having the 2nd pump a Whisperflo or should I go with another Intelliflo VS? I'm 99% about changing this to an Intelliflo VS
  2. My document shows a 400K BTU heater and a separate heatpump chiller. Is this a best practice to have both units or go with a combined unit that's a heater/chiller?
  3. My document shows a "Pentair Screen logic modem". I thought this was only needed with an Easy Touch system and not with the newer IntelliCenter systems? Am I off base here?
  4. Are there any specific blowers that are recommended? This is an area I haven't researched yet and would love any feedback.
  5. Any feedback on skimmer/returns location and/or qty?
I've just started turning my attention to design on the outdoor kitchen, but I also need to think about overall lighting. I know I want it tied in to the Intellicenter but haven't gotten into which lights and where to put them. Thanks in advance for any insight into the above questions or any other comments, recommendations, or feedback!

Chris
Hi Chris,
When I saw your post I thought I had posted twice because I wrote one, or possibly two by accident, post very similar to the start of this.

I can’t offer much advice on equipment, though my inexperienced opinion would think a water pump over a bubbler would be better. I prefer the water pressure over bubbles in a spa.

I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far, especially if you are in Austin city limits. I’ve learned a good amount about critical root zones, setback encroachments, electric line clearances, narrow clearance excavation machines and costs, etc.

Also can point you to some local queries for limestone boulders, gravel, palm trees, PVC pipe, and the likes.

I’ve been ghosted by a number of PBs and the estimates and one quote is a bit out of my budget.

let me know how it goes, and I can fill you in as I line up contractors.
Hook ‘me,
 

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
Hi JP,

Thanks for the response. I’m just west of oak hill so the great thing for me is I’m technically outside the city limits in the ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction). This means I’m not governed by the permitting requirements from the City of Austin. My only redtape is HOA architectural committee which I expect should approve relatively quickly.

That said, I’m definitely interested in learning about your research on narrow clearance excavation machines and costs. I’m about to go to bid with subs and am trying to figure out if they are going to have to take a portion of my fence down or if I can get them to take the long way around through an easement at the back end of my property.

I also didn’t have a great experience with several PB. They seem to have so much demand that many backed away as soon as I mentioned multiple bids and others wanted to charge me $500-$1K just for an initial design. This, the overall cost savings, and my personality type wanting to be more in the detail made BYOP a relatively easy decision. I’m still early in the process but it’s been great so far. Let me know if you want to talk through it and I’ll keep you posted on my experience with subs as well.

In regards to the equipment, I think the idea is the Pentair VS would pump water for circulation throughout the spa/pool while the 1.5hp blower should generate the pressure in the spa. The bubblers are set to go in the sun deck.

More experienced posters please correct me if something looks off here.

Chris
 

jalapenopopper

Active member
Jul 21, 2020
28
Austin, TX
Chris,
I definitely want to keep up with your progress and experience with subs as you move along, thank you.

For small machine excavation, I think you'd save the most money and have quicker excavation if they go the long way and have access for an full size excavator and 7 ft. skid steer, and if the dump truck can get to the site, even better. My dig is approximately 90 yards. Every asks to move the neighbor's AC, or my sheds and trees and such on another side, but in the end, it would cost as much and trouble the neighbors.

PBs have quoted the small machine adding $5-7.5K ontop of normal digs, which may be around $1.5-2K. I met with three excavators who quoted between 6-9K. They're approaches would be a mini excavator, 5 ft. skid steer, or wheel barrows (possibly motorized). One may require two skids steers on top of excavator, one to move dirt to front yard and the big one to load into dump truck.

Hook 'em auto-correct got me last time :)
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
378
Central Texas
Automation: IntelliCenter I10 PS (the document attached also shows a screen logic. Am I correct that this is not needed with IntelliCenter)
  1. My document shows a "Pentair Screen logic modem". I thought this was only needed with an Easy Touch system and not with the newer IntelliCenter systems? Am I off base here?
You are correct. The IntelliCenter has integrated WiFi connectivity (it doesn't need a separate modem or WiFi card added) and you access it VIA a web service (ie: a Pentair website).

My builder also said I had to buy ScreenLogic setup if I wanted IntelliCenter, and I argued with them about it since it adds $700 from them. I wonder if my PB uses the same wholesaler you are getting the self-build plans through?

Either way, you don't need it. I actually contacted Pentiar about it, since my PB was so adamant that I did ... and Pentiar was just as confused as I was, as to why they were requiring me to purchase ScreenLogic with an IntelliCenter.
 

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
Chris,
I definitely want to keep up with your progress and experience with subs as you move along, thank you.

For small machine excavation, I think you'd save the most money and have quicker excavation if they go the long way and have access for an full size excavator and 7 ft. skid steer, and if the dump truck can get to the site, even better. My dig is approximately 90 yards. Every asks to move the neighbor's AC, or my sheds and trees and such on another side, but in the end, it would cost as much and trouble the neighbors.

PBs have quoted the small machine adding $5-7.5K ontop of normal digs, which may be around $1.5-2K. I met with three excavators who quoted between 6-9K. They're approaches would be a mini excavator, 5 ft. skid steer, or wheel barrows (possibly motorized). One may require two skids steers on top of excavator, one to move dirt to front yard and the big one to load into dump truck.

Hook 'em auto-correct got me last time :)
Do you have any ideas on what the clearance requirements are for a full size excavator vs small machine excavation?
 

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
You are correct. The IntelliCenter has integrated WiFi connectivity (it doesn't need a separate modem or WiFi card added) and you access it VIA a web service (ie: a Pentair website).

My builder also said I had to buy ScreenLogic setup if I wanted IntelliCenter, and I argued with them about it since it adds $700 from them. I wonder if my PB uses the same wholesaler you are getting the self-build plans through?

Either way, you don't need it. I actually contacted Pentiar about it, since my PB was so adamant that I did ... and Pentiar was just as confused as I was, as to why they were requiring me to purchase ScreenLogic with an IntelliCenter.
Thank you! I think it was an honest mistake as when I spoke to my guy he mentioned he’s done more of the easy touch than anything else. He was going to check on it and get back to me but this is validating and helps me to understand what the expected answer is.
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
378
Central Texas
Thank you! I think it was an honest mistake as when I spoke to my guy he mentioned he’s done more of the easy touch than anything else. He was going to check on it and get back to me but this is validating and helps me to understand what the expected answer is.
That's exactly what happened with me, but when they checked and came back, they still said I needed it. They also said I had to purchase the actuators for $275 each!

The IntelliCenter also comes with 2 smart actuators, so you don't need to purchase them separately either, unless you need more than 2. And you certainly don't need anything additional to activate WiFi connectivity and remote access ... it's all built in.

You can call Pentiar directly to confirm, and maybe even conference in your guy if he comes back with anything different than I stated above.
 

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
Thanks, @Stoopalini! Very helpful! I haven’t really started to think through exactly how many actuators I’ll need yet so probably time to start looking at it. How should I be thinking about this... as in 1 actuator needed per what?
 

Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
378
Central Texas
Thanks, @Stoopalini! Very helpful! I haven’t really started to think through exactly how many actuators I’ll need yet so probably time to start looking at it. How should I be thinking about this... as in 1 actuator needed per what?
You need an actuator for a valve you want to automate. So one for the spa, one for the water feature. Two is pretty common.

FYI: I sent you a private message with some detail on my experience with the IntelliCenter config ... it may be helpful to you when dealing with the wholesale company (who I imagine is in turn dealing with the local regional Pentair rep).
 
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jalapenopopper

Active member
Jul 21, 2020
28
Austin, TX
There’s various sized excavators at sunbelt rentals I’ve looked at for widths. The biggest mini and smallest regular, which might not be a clear distinction, is a few inches. But there are smaller ones, so it matters what is reasonable or time saving for the crew.



Smallest regular excavator
 

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
Thanks, @jalapenopopper. I need to figure out the best access point for my build.

Anyone have any feedback on heater/chiller setup? Any thoughts, recommendations, or users of the equipment below?

Heater: Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Natural Gas
Heater: Pentair Heatpump chiller 140K BTU
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
506
Katy TX
I have the Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Natural Gas. Had it installed recently to replace my previous 18 yr old Mini Max by Pentair. It works well. I use it primarily for the spa (grandkids love the warmer water especially in late spring/early summer). It heats up quickly. I control it with my Jandy PDA. I do not even touch the panel on the heater. I have not tried the chiller.
 

Centex21

Gold Supporter
May 24, 2020
13
Round Rock, TX
Get on the gunite schedule with your gunite company Asap.
I ended up having to finish my build.
Rubber track mini and bobcat is the best option.
Do you have your subs all lined up? Im up in Round Rock, btw
 

jalapenopopper

Active member
Jul 21, 2020
28
Austin, TX
Thanks centex21. I’ve got three excavation contractors I’d be comfortable with lined up. They’ll used what you mentioned, mini excavator but maybe wheel narrows. The rest I’m still narrowing down or trying to find leads.
What parts did you have to work on to finish? I’ll likely be on a similar spot.

for gunite I’m trying to find a decent sub. I’ve spoken with two contractors that do it, but no telling how well. One was through Spanish translation so there was a bit lost. Do you remember who you used for gunite?
 

jalapenopopper

Active member
Jul 21, 2020
28
Austin, TX
I have the Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Natural Gas. Had it installed recently to replace my previous 18 yr old Mini Max by Pentair. It works well. I use it primarily for the spa (grandkids love the warmer water especially in late spring/early summer). It heats up quickly. I control it with my Jandy PDA. I do not even touch the panel on the heater. I have not tried the chiller.
What’s your gas bill like during a month when you heat the pool?
 

jalapenopopper

Active member
Jul 21, 2020
28
Austin, TX
Get on the gunite schedule with your gunite company Asap.
I ended up having to finish my build.
Rubber track mini and bobcat is the best option.
Do you have your subs all lined up? Im up in Round Rock, btw
I didn’t attempt to hijack this thread, thought it was one I started when I replied. Sorry, Chris.
 

UtexasChris

Member
Jun 10, 2020
20
Austin, TX
I didn’t attempt to hijack this thread, thought it was one I started when I replied. Sorry, Chris.
No worries! These are all very applicable topics to me too so we’ll learn at the same time.


Get on the gunite schedule with your gunite company Asap.
I ended up having to finish my build.
Rubber track mini and bobcat is the best option.
Do you have your subs all lined up? Im up in Round Rock, btw
I should have all of my requirements submitted to the subs next week for bids. I’m also waiting on my HOA to approve my plans but don’t expect that should take very long. Thanks for the suggestions on the dig equipment. I’ll do some homework on those specific machines.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
506
Katy TX
What’s your gas bill like during a month when you heat the pool?
I have never done a full pool heater cycle. My friend did and he said it was $350. You could estimate it based on predicted gas usage and using table by Pentair estimating volume and time to increase temp 10 degrees.
 

Centex21

Gold Supporter
May 24, 2020
13
Round Rock, TX
I basically had to run with the gunite shoot, coping/tile, travertine deck (which I was always gonna do), plumbing/electtical, jump rock/slide and set up plaster. Pretty much everything except rough plumb/electrical.
im still trying to come up with a plaster color.