New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

Hoots711

Silver Supporter
May 21, 2018
53
Souderton
#61
PA weather has been horrible since March! Snow all March and Into April, then constant rain. All the builders are backed up so don’t feel bad. I feel your pain though.
This... Our dig was pushed back over and over. These guys are all only as good as their subs. We would be in line and someone would hit rock and push the queue a day or 2, then it would rain, then a sub had a prior commitment (wasnt I a prior commitment?)... and on and on.

I wanted to be home for the dig and would be able to work from home with some notice. However, i was told 'tomorrow' over and over again and then would get a ~4am txt that it was postponed...

Sorry to hear you are starting over. No idea how you could judge a PB's sub at contract time. No idea if a national builder has better access to or more reliable subs?

Good luck.
 
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jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
1,803
NE/Pa
#62
my builder is feeling the stress now cause of the weather here in nepa. he has to be weeks behind on builds. i know he has a hole and rebar dug in and then the 4 inches of rain hit last week and he was sweating it. lol still no gunite cause ya like you guys said. others waiting. they r backed up. so more and more delay. it's a bad year. i have been sitting on 8000 brick in my yard for 2 weeks now. rain again today so that means my buddy is not working and therefore backed up for tomorrow. if they start me by next week i'll be happy at this point.
 

kristmas

Silver Supporter
Oct 5, 2017
289
Mt. Airy, Maryland
#63
I agree it has been bad weather-wise but one thing that does irk me a bit is that nobody seems to want to try and catch up on weekends. Pretty sure the guys that do the work aren't getting paid on the days they get rained out. Why wouldn't a sub want to put them to work when the weather is good? Frustrating.
 

Hoots711

Silver Supporter
May 21, 2018
53
Souderton
#64
I agree it has been bad weather-wise but one thing that does irk me a bit is that nobody seems to want to try and catch up on weekends. Pretty sure the guys that do the work aren't getting paid on the days they get rained out. Why wouldn't a sub want to put them to work when the weather is good? Frustrating.
My wife and I just gave up on it... The frustration just isnt worth it. It was driving us (2 successful PMs) nuts.

As I said above, the thing we are taking away from this is that the PB, at least in our case, has little control over the subs. He is in the same boat as us with being at their mercy..

No matter how much information we provided, no matter how many questions we asked, it comes down to a sub and his laborers showing up.

We made peace with the concept that getting upset with our PB was accomplishing nothing and making us miserable. (Tough pill to swallow for people in project management..)

At the end of the day, we still have a lot of work to be done and years of warranty coverage and issues to navigate. We feel we need to continue to manage the relationship as we arnt willing to start over as the OP is.

It sucks for sure.
 

Gorilla83

Silver Supporter
Jul 2, 2017
308
Thornton, PA
#65
Well, we've got a draft contract with a new PB and things may be looking up. That certainly moved more quickly than I expected, haha. Hopefully we aren't doing a complete start over with the township and engineering work from here - with any luck we can be back moving along soon. :) At the very least the sales guy said they can re-use some of the drawings that were done and we're not being charged for engineering work again even if they have to re-do some of it and stamp it themselves.

We didn't make too many changes from the original plan other than the following:
-Change decking to pavers vs. stamped concrete
-Added 2 GFI outlets by pad
-Add autofill into contract (They threw this in along with the water line!)
-Moving to paver coping (still considering natural stone here, TBD)
-Changed depth in the deep end to 7' as we don't be doing much diving and this will give us more 'play' area
-Changed heater to Raypak NG (rest of equipment is Pentair - VS pumps X 2, 60sq ft DE filter, ET8 w/ screenlogic)
-Upgraded bubblers to the 'hydraulic/action' type

Let's hope this goes a little better than before, sigh. :cool:
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
35,961
Tallahassee, FL
#66
SWEET! So how did you pick this one? How did they react to knowing what you had gone through before?

Talk to me about the "hydraulic/action" type of bubblers........Sounds neat!

Kim:kim:
 

Gorilla83

Silver Supporter
Jul 2, 2017
308
Thornton, PA
#67
SWEET! So how did you pick this one? How did they react to knowing what you had gone through before?

Talk to me about the "hydraulic/action" type of bubblers........Sounds neat!

Kim:kim:
This builder was on our initial list and was a 2nd or 3rd choice originally. There was one other we were considering but we emailed them last Thursday and they still have not written back to us - not a good sign. There are lots of PB options around here but unfortunately not many great choices - it's like you have to pick the least worst. :( When I mentioned our "situation" he was a little surprised saying he doesn't see this happen all that often but he does take over work from time to time. I'm sure we'll have our challenges with this PB as well but hopefully things keep moving and pricing was a bit more competitive at least this time around.

The PB said with our sunshelf water depth of 14" we'd need a little more than just plumbing into a nozzle to see a decent fountain/movement of water. He recommended we use a bubbler that has a piston of some type in there (he called them action type/splashdowns) to increase the force of the water feature.
 

Gorilla83

Silver Supporter
Jul 2, 2017
308
Thornton, PA
#70
Forgot a few other changes we made - would like some input here:

-We removed the pressure side cleaning from the PB proposal and they don't sell robots through the contact so I'll be looking to purchase on our own. Originally we were looking at either the Dophin S300i or the M400, don't see a huge difference, any good feedback here? I will search as well. The PB mentioned he could get us a decent discount at their retail store (A&S) so we can check there as well.
-We removed the fencing from the contract as we can likely find better rates on our own. Same for the cover
-We're still considering upgrading the coping from paver bullnose to natural stone. Depending on what we pick this could be a 3000-5500 upgrade. Worth it? My wife and I LOVE the look of the natural stone but feel like we may be adding too many things
 

jillp913

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2018
49
Philly Pa
#71
Hi, I got the S300i last year, it's decent, so much better than dealing with a pressure polaris!!! The polaris is the worst, so good choice there. Especially if you have dogs, forget it, they constantly poke holes in it and replacing the hose is ridiculous. The cold cracks them too, that product infuriated me, haha

Anyway the Dolphin misses some spots but the remote comes in handy. It's not the easiest remote, but it works. The caddy it comes with is nice to store it on. We just roll it into a shady spot of our patio when not in use. When it's not sunny i just throw it on the side of the pool and don't bother with putting it in the shade. It doesn't do well close to the steps so basically I have to brush junk away from next to the steps into the middle of the pool. That was where the polaris excelled, but oh well, not worth the downsides of the polaris.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
35,961
Tallahassee, FL
#72
I say get what you WANT as well as need NOW! When you use LOVE saying BOTH of you love it then I say get it! This is something that will be MUCH harder to redo down the road.

Cleaner-good move on going to a robot! There are several threads about them. Do some poking around and see what you find. Don't forget about these discounts for being a TFP supporter:

-$15 off any $100 purchase at INYOPools.com

-​15% discount off all Maytronics replacement parts Or 10% off $50 purchase (Maytronic Cleaners Excluded) at Home | Marina Pool Spa & Patio

Kim:kim:
 

Gorilla83

Silver Supporter
Jul 2, 2017
308
Thornton, PA
#73
Thanks for the link Kim! I knew there was a good source on here to buy the robots, I will check that out again.

I know the PB mentioned that we couldn't use the robot for the first few weeks with the plaster curing. Without pressure side cleaning, how are you supposed to clean the pool?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
35,961
Tallahassee, FL
#75

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,718
Connecticut
#76
Forgot a few other changes we made - would like some input here:

-We removed the pressure side cleaning from the PB proposal and they don't sell robots through the contact so I'll be looking to purchase on our own. Originally we were looking at either the Dophin S300i or the M400, don't see a huge difference, any good feedback here? I will search as well. The PB mentioned he could get us a decent discount at their retail store (A&S) so we can check there as well.
-We removed the fencing from the contract as we can likely find better rates on our own. Same for the cover
-We're still considering upgrading the coping from paver bullnose to natural stone. Depending on what we pick this could be a 3000-5500 upgrade. Worth it? My wife and I LOVE the look of the natural stone but feel like we may be adding too many things
With fencing removed from contract, buyer is responsible for closing the permit with building Dept.... just saying
 

Gorilla83

Silver Supporter
Jul 2, 2017
308
Thornton, PA
#77
A good, old fashioned manual vacuum! I think every pool should have one for spot cleaning and such. Here is the vacuum head I have: https://www.amazon.com/HydroTools-S...pID=41lfwveFpBL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch It has bristles on the bottom so it like brushing the pool! When you buy the hose make sure it has a swivel end to help keep it from getting tangled.

Kim:kim:
Ah, so even with the "pressure side" cleaner removed I can still use a manual vac through the skimmer port I assume?

With fencing removed from contract, buyer is responsible for closing the permit with building Dept.... just saying
In our township the PB does the entire application and closure from end to end, they apply for the final CO as well. I have no issue arranging the fencing though, plenty of fence contractors in this area.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,082
Evans, Georgia
#78
Use a skimmer plate cover to allow the debris to be collected in the skimmer basket rather than risk plugging the line up with solids. It covers the skimmer basket and allows for suction. Easily found.

Maddie :flower:
 

Hoots711

Silver Supporter
May 21, 2018
53
Souderton
#79
In our township the PB does the entire application and closure from end to end, they apply for the final CO as well. I have no issue arranging the fencing though, plenty of fence contractors in this area.
Keep in mind that it could be very tricky to coordinate the fencing when it is time.

In my case, they can't finish (pebble tec) until they know they can fill within a few days. They can't fill until the fence is up. The fence cant go up until they are done with all the patio/grading/etc. At least this is what Im being told.

Add in the floating schedule that it seems all of us in PA are seeing and its becoming another big headache.

Maybe it will be better near the end of the season, but fence companies are mostly booked and if you miss your window it may be a while before they can do the install.

Just something to keep in mind as we are managing that situation currently.
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
1,803
NE/Pa
#80
Forgot a few other changes we made - would like some input here:

-We removed the pressure side cleaning from the PB proposal and they don't sell robots through the contact so I'll be looking to purchase on our own. Originally we were looking at either the Dophin S300i or the M400, don't see a huge difference, any good feedback here? I will search as well. The PB mentioned he could get us a decent discount at their retail store (A&S) so we can check there as well.
-We removed the fencing from the contract as we can likely find better rates on our own. Same for the cover
-We're still considering upgrading the coping from paver bullnose to natural stone. Depending on what we pick this could be a 3000-5500 upgrade. Worth it? My wife and I LOVE the look of the natural stone but feel like we may be adding too many things
there is a pretty large diff between the S series and M series across the board. they use 2 totally diff technology for climbing to start with. THe S uses the newest tech with the jets that blow water in and out of them to move it in the direction needed either being L/R up/down for climbing. the M series uses floats for climbing.

- - - Updated - - -

Ah, so even with the "pressure side" cleaner removed I can still use a manual vac through the skimmer port I assume?



In our township the PB does the entire application and closure from end to end, they apply for the final CO as well. I have no issue arranging the fencing though, plenty of fence contractors in this area.
keep the pressure side suction for manual vac. it's pennies to keep and makes it alot easier for manual vac. open up the valve and close down some of the others to get good suction and go. i personally don't like the skimmer lid ones. i haven't used my manual vac since o got my s300i though. he is the best. does a bang up job. i brush off my ledges and steps and he does the rest. i push dirt out of the corners for him also.

jim

- - - Updated - - -

i was able to fill with a temp construction fence which needs to be posted every so many feet which i'm still using a year later cause my pool house is one of the walls for the fence and it isn't done yet. just can't get my occupancy permit i was told which means you can't "swim in the pool" so we haven't been swimming in it. . . . . . . . . cough cough

i know when i was considering AS&S's they wouldn't plaster till permenant one was in, but the other 3 builders including mine didn't care.


Keep in mind that it could be very tricky to coordinate the fencing when it is time.

In my case, they can't finish (pebble tec) until they know they can fill within a few days. They can't fill until the fence is up. The fence cant go up until they are done with all the patio/grading/etc. At least this is what Im being told.

Add in the floating schedule that it seems all of us in PA are seeing and its becoming another big headache.

Maybe it will be better near the end of the season, but fence companies are mostly booked and if you miss your window it may be a while before they can do the install.

Just something to keep in mind as we are managing that situation currently.