New build starting in NJ - pic heavy

glenpod

Active member
Jun 7, 2019
35
NJ
Compacting in lift means they should have installed one foot of material then compacted it with a heavy compactor (preferably a sheep's foot compactor for clay) then they would install the next one foot lift and compact that. so if you had 4 ft to fill they should have compacted four times.

dumping loose material in a 4-ft fill and then letting it sit for the winter does not achieve the proper compaction.

Does this concrete guy work for the pool builder? If not ask him about placing his concrete on 4 ft of uncompacted material.

Unfortunately, improper compaction seems to be the standard operating procedure of most pool builders. It usually takes years to settle and move your patio and by then they are long gone.
thank you for the insight, (they did not do the lift compacting for sure). I'll be going back to my contract to review warranties, etc. on this. While the concrete company is their own they do pretty much of the PB's pools. Any advice on steps that can be taken at this stage to minimize risk? If not, it sounds like I'll be fixing decking in a few years.....smh
 

glenpod

Active member
Jun 7, 2019
35
NJ
Compacting in lift means they should have installed one foot of material then compacted it with a heavy compactor (preferably a sheep's foot compactor for clay) then they would install the next one foot lift and compact that. so if you had 4 ft to fill they should have compacted four times.

dumping loose material in a 4-ft fill and then letting it sit for the winter does not achieve the proper compaction.

Does this concrete guy work for the pool builder? If not ask him about placing his concrete on 4 ft of uncompacted material.

Unfortunately, improper compaction seems to be the standard operating procedure of most pool builders. It usually takes years to settle and move your patio and by then they are long gone.
Thank you for the insight, they definitely did not do the lift compact. That is disappointing. While he has his own operation he does all of the PB's decking so I am sure he won't give me his honest opinion. I am meeting him next week and will discuss this. Any advice on steps I can take now to mitigate some of the risks? At this point, I guess it is a given that I'll be repairing the decking in a few years....smh
 

jimmythegreek

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Aug 10, 2017
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Morris Cnty NJ
Have the guy come back with a mini excavator and dig it back out and compact it right. The winter settling will help but it will still keep settling. That's why you always fill with clean stone ita good to go right out of the bucket. Even if he took 2 feet out and jumping jacked it than did lifts from there it would help. Your contract wont say anything no PB cares enough to point it out and charge you for it
 
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Rich D

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Aug 3, 2018
574
MA
Have the guy come back with a mini excavator and dig it back out and compact it right. The winter settling will help but it will still keep settling. That's why you always fill with clean stone ita good to go right out of the bucket. Even if he took 2 feet out and jumping jacked it than did lifts from there it would help. Your contract wont say anything no PB cares enough to point it out and charge you for it
I agree with Jimmy. It is a industry standard in the building industry that concrete be placed on material compacted to 95%. This can not be achieved with "We will let it settle over the winter." Whatever excuses or explanations they give for not properly compacting will either be just plain lies or there own ignorance of the importance of proper compaction under any structural component. It might have added 2-3 hrs (that is being very generous) to the backfill process to do it correctly. Is that really worth the risk of having to completely rip out and re-pour your concrete in 2-10 years?
 
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glenpod

Active member
Jun 7, 2019
35
NJ
I agree with Jimmy. It is a industry standard in the building industry that concrete be placed on material compacted to 95%. This can not be achieved with "We will let it settle over the winter." Whatever excuses or explanations they give for not properly compacting will either be just plain lies or there own ignorance of the importance of proper compaction under any structural component. It might have added 2-3 hrs (that is being very generous) to the backfill process to do it correctly. Is that really worth the risk of having to completely rip out and re-pour your concrete in 2-10 years?
thanks guys, I am not too hopeful as it is not in the contract and I am sure they would overcharge me to do like you guys state at this point since I am sure they do not want to do it and would only cave if I insist (but make me pay/overpay for it) Since yesterday I've reached out to a few guys in my area who all had pools done (by them and others) and they all had an improper backfill done (they weren't aware until I asked about it - I explained the lift compacting step as explained to me here). Some are fine years later and some have plenty of cracks a few years later. No major separation or anything but cracks. I am meeting with the concrete guy next week and see if he offer any advice or steps he can take to minimize it.
 

glenpod

Active member
Jun 7, 2019
35
NJ
Thanks all, the PB and I discussed. The reason they didn’t do the lift compacting is there are 20+ pvc runs due to the infloor cleaning system and all of the vibrations a few feet above could affect it. Since it’s a concrete walled pool they only over excavate approx 2ft, up to 3ft in some areas. He said they also connect the decking right into the pool walls with rebar. With that said, he told me to discuss with concrete guy next week and have them remove some of the dirt and they’ll backfill stone below the decking. He also said to continue to water it as much as possible. What depth do you recommend of compacted stone? Thanks again for the advice
 

RoyR

Bronze Supporter
Jul 31, 2018
239
Escondido/CA
If your plumbing joints can’t deal with compacting, you should know that now. All the plumbing is pressurized, and if a joint fails during compacting (weak joint), you’d see it immediately.

Ask him what is going to crack first when that decking expands / contracts when it’s connected to the pool wall with rebar?
 
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glenpod

Active member
Jun 7, 2019
35
NJ
Ask him what is going to crack first when that decking expands / contracts when it’s connected to the pool wall with rebar?
I will mention that for sure, when I checked references on their pools I didn’t get any construction complaints (some other complaints yes, but not on how construction is holding up) This is how they do them all. It seems like this could be an issue based on what your saying. Is this not the norm? There is a lifetime warranty on the actual concrete walls. The references weren’t just the one’s they provided either but one’s I located on my own. I appreciate the insight you guys are providing.
 

jimmythegreek

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Its 300 dollars worth of stone to backfill only with stone and not dirt and then you dont have to compact at all. That's change compared to repairing down the road. He should have gave you the option. They count on the concrete deck spanning the voids as it settles. Depending on the type of dirt you have it may settle with watering quite a bit but you have to flood it very well
 

glenpod

Active member
Jun 7, 2019
35
NJ
Its 300 dollars worth of stone to backfill only with stone and not dirt and then you dont have to compact at all. That's change compared to repairing down the road. He should have gave you the option. They count on the concrete deck spanning the voids as it settles. Depending on the type of dirt you have it may settle with watering quite a bit but you have to flood it very well
Thank you, I’ve been drowning it daily and got lucky with the 1+ inch of rain the day after. At this point I was thinking of having it excavated it 2’ and fill with stone before decking goes in. Does 2’ sound like a good depth?
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
574
MA
The reason they didn’t do the lift compacting is there are 20+ pvc runs due to the infloor cleaning system and all of the vibrations a few feet above could affect it.
:scratch: - I am fairly certain a pool pump gives off a constant vibration..
As mentioned above the only reason vibrations would cause a leak is if it is a weak joint to begin with. A proper solvent weld joint on scdl 40 pvc should be stronger than the pipe. We compact over pipes with lower ratings than scdl 40 all the time and compaction has never caused a leak. It does not look like they bedded the pipes in sand so I would be worried more about large chunks of clay or rocks being dumped from 5' above the pipes causing a leak than I would be worried about the accepted practice of compaction.
While we are on this topic... It is clear in the pics that the pool equipment was plumbed before the backfill was complete. When and how long did they pressure test all those pipes? I think it would have been wise to leave the pressure test going until the backfill was complete. You might want to ask the PB how they pressure test the pipes to make sure nothing got damaged in the backfill operation.



Since it’s a concrete walled pool they only over excavate approx 2ft, up to 3ft in some areas. He said they also connect the decking right into the pool walls with rebar.
As Jimmy said they are relying on the concrete to span the void. Which might work if it were only 2-3' but the pics clearly show there is more than that in some areas. Attaching the deck to the walls is not standard practice in my opinion.the deck will move with the frost and the walls will not. I think you would be hard pressed to find a engineer that would want them attached. There should be expansion joint between the wall and deck.

With that said, he told me to discuss with concrete guy next week and have them remove some of the dirt and they’ll backfill stone below the decking
I do not believe stone is a good idea at this point. In soils with poor drainage the stone will hold the water and saturate the surrounding material. This would work well to get things to settle if it were installed now and let sit over the winter, However it can also work against you after the pour if water finds its way into the stone. If you do add stone I would put in some drainage pipe out to daylight so the bottom of the stone bed can drain. The material that will most likely settle is lowest loose material so having stone on top will not help. It will just sink with the rest of the material.
I would recommend using the money you would spend on the stone to pay for removal and proper compaction of the original dig.

If you end up just trying to flood settle you should at least dig a small moat around the pool. Take the dirt you dig out and make a berm to contain the water in the entire dig area making sure of course the top of berm is well bellow the top of concrete so you do not flood the pool. If possible run some 4" flex drain pipe from your gutters into the moat. This will add a tremendous amount of water in a storm event and give it a proper flood settle.
 

duraleigh

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Does 2’ sound like a good depth?
Probably helpful but ALL the disturbed soil should be removed and then rock backfill right down to virgin dirt.

BTW, that's a nice looking pool and setting.
 
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