New Pool Build - Not sure where to start

brittneys

Member
Feb 8, 2021
5
florida
Hi!

We're in the planning process and have received a few proposals. I've been browsing the forum a few days and every time I do I feel more and more overwhelmed with all the choices I need to make and consider. I need help! We're in Miami and are still between a 18x18 or 12x24 size. We're on a corner lot so setbacks have been an issue, but we've recently found that were on a zero lot line which helps.

-What are the major considerations I should be thinking about? What are must haves in terms of functionality/maintenance?

-How does the filtration work? Is it automated? One quote included a price for Jandy PS6 Automation and the others dont mention automation at all. Is this a necessity?

-One proposal includes the following in terms of electrical:

Pool Bond: Continuous Single # 8 Cooper bonded in four points and 360 around pool.
Electrical Subpanel: Intermatic T40000 with transformers, pool equipment breakers, electrical timer and lights
controllers.

The others say 2 speed automatic time clock and Standard electric hookup to include 30’conduit Is the extra subpanel needed or is existing service ok?

Honestly if someone could just point me to some literature or something, I would be so appreciatve. I feel like I don't know what I'm looking at or where to start and I don't want to make uninformed choices for such a large investment.
 

gingrbredman

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
236
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I would also read as many of the "under construction" threads as possible. Lots of new pool builds goin on, and lots of questions and answers. You will really find you learn a lot just by following along. The best pool building literature you could ask for.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,244
Bedford, TX
B,

If you have not already done so, have your pool "salesman" take you out for several visits to pools that his company has built. My pool builder was glad to show off this work.. Gave us a better idea as to what we wanted. Most home owners are happy to show off their new pools. Talk to the pool owners and ask them when like and dislike.

Automation is not required on most simple pools without spas.. That said, cars don't require key fobs or power windows, but who buys a car without them?? :mrgreen:

If you post your bids, we will be glad to provide some feedback.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

OrlandoBull

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2015
106
Winter Garden , FL
A quick "where to start opinion"...

- Sounds like you have some concerns about setbacks and don't know fully how to verify it... I would suggest reviewing your plat to make sure there are no easements in your yard... often times there is a 10' easement adjacent to the sidewalk that could squeeze you on the corner side. When you say zero lot line, that may mean principal structure only. Pools are generally classified as "accessory" structures and have a whole separate setback requirement. If all else fails, reach out to your zoning department and ask for a zoning verification on your setbacks for a pool. They should be able to do that, maybe for a nominal fee, but I wouldn't embark too far on a design until you are certain that you know how much space you have.

- Depending on your design, automation may or may not be necessary. A simple pool with no water features just needs a timer really and some way to turn the lights on. If you have more complicated items that you want to control independently, automation is nice. For this, tell all of the builders exactly how you want to control things and ask them for advice on how to accomplish it, then bring that info here and people can chime in to help.

- Get a list of all of the equipment with your bids. For instance, how many lights, what type of pump (looks like you're getting bids for a 2-speed, variable speed is probably a better option). What kind of chlorination (95% here recommend salt pools for very good reasons), what type and size of filter. Will you screen it in?

Definitely do your research here, there is a lot of great information. To me, your first priority is figuring out your allowable envelope for your pool/deck and then work from there. You can also post the entire bids you're getting (with personal info for you and builder redacted) and let people here take a look and help with any questions you should ask of the builders. Good luck!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
22,113
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60

brittneys

Member
Feb 8, 2021
5
florida
Thank you all for the responses. I think WE've mostly figured out the setback info thanks to a speedy response for the county zoning.

It's true, some of them are very vague and I've had to followup up for more information and even then I dont know if I'm asking enough! ;)

Here are a few of the proposals I've received. I've done my best to setup a chart to compare apples to apples...
 

Attachments

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
22,113
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Let's look at the proposals you posted:

First one...
  • SQ ft, surface area, perimeter - see they match what you want
  • 3'-5' deep structure - that water depth from middle of skimmer or depth from top of bond beam? You will probably end up with a water depth of 2'6' - 4'6". Minimum water depth should be 3'5" or even better at 4'.
  • Wall thickness, #3 steel, etc. all pools should have the same basic structure specifications
  • Owner to remove existing deck - you okay with that extra cost to you? Identify all those places where the builder is pushing costs back to you.
  • Engineered plans and permits should be standard
  • Dual anti entrapment drains are required by law
  • Dedicated vacuum line - pool vacuum is old technology and the worst way to clean a pool. Skip the vacuum line and consider separately buying a pool cleaner robot. You need a 120V outlet installed near the pool to plug in the robot cleaner.
  • Skimmer - get 2 skimmers not 1
  • 3 sidewall returns - good
  • Jandy 2 speed pump - ok - what model pump? How will the speeds be controlled? Consider upgrading to a VS pump.
  • Jandy 100 sq ft filer oversized to filter longer - HaHaha - that filter is undersized. Get at least a 300-400 sq ft filter.
  • LED lights - what model? How many? How will color changing be controlled?
  • Exposed aggregate finish - what brands? You want a rough aggregate finish or a smooth quartz finish?
  • 6" waterline tile, 12" travertine coping - pretty standard sizes
  • 2 speed automatic time clock and standard electrical hookup - cheapest electrical install they can give you
  • Complete water balancing - worthless
  • Spa - 4 jets enough for you? I doubt you need a 2 HP blower. How will you control your spa and change from POOL to SPA?
  • How will you control blower? Pool and spa lights? Turn spa jets on or off?
  • Jandy salt chlorine generator - what model? what size cell? We recommend SWG be at least 2X pool volume
  • Jandy PS6 automation - AhHa! - that's the way things will be controlled. With this you don't need the 2 speed automatic time clock and standard electrical hookup. This is where they put redundant and confusing things in the proposal.
  • Hayward Heat Pump - how many BTUs? Why a Hayward HP with a Jandy Aqualink automation and all other Jandy equipment?

Second proposal...
  • Contract specifications - standard boiler plate with no specifics. All it says is they will build you a pool.
  • Pool size different then first proposal so you can't compare apples to apples
  • Depths - water depth or structure depth?
  • Wall thickness etc - standard gunite construction specs you should see in all proposals
  • Pump - model number?
  • Filter - 150 sq ft better then first proposal but get larger 300-400 sq ft
  • Pool lights - they specify 3 - probably good - what model lights?
  • SWG - 20K SWG for 10K pool is good. What model?
  • Intellibrite light controller - ok
  • Electric pool heater - 125K BTU - they mean electric Heat Pump? ok - what model?
  • No spa in this proposal?
  • 6 jets in pool - ok but more then you really need - 3 to 4 is plenty
  • 1 main drain - ok
  • 1 skimmer - you want 2 skimmers so if you have a problem with a skimmer you can shut it down until repaired and still use the pool
  • Pool Bond - standard requried by code
  • Electrical subpanel - minimum requirements
  • Water line tile - the fact they say glass tile doesn't matter since you are limited by the allowance without spending more. Will the allowance meet your needs?
  • Coping - same issue with the allowance
  • Pool finish - warranty by manufacturer is pretty much worthless. Read it. They only provide new materials if their materials are defective. 80% of plaster cost is in the labor.
Third proposal...
  • Different pool size
  • Depth - water depth or structure depth?
  • Vacuum line - see comments above
  • Coping & Tiles - standard - what is your allowance? what are your choices within quoted price?
  • Interior Finish - ok
  • Pool structure - standard specs
  • Skimmer - you want 2 skimmers so if you have a problem with a skimmer you can shut it down until repaired and still use the pool
  • Filter - 200 sq ft the largest of the proposals - still you want 300-400 sq ft
  • Lights - 2 Savi nicheless - good lights
  • Pump - Jandy 2 speed - model number?
  • Clock timer & electrical - minimum necessary
  • Disposal of pool water - what are you other options?
  • Spa - size good for you? 6 jets? How will you control the spa and equipment?
  • Salt system - what system? What size?
  • Heat Pump - what model?
  • 2 deck jets - how will you control them on and off?
  • Plumbing, drawings, engineering, permits all included - ok
  • No child safety barrier or fencing included - only proposal to mention this - what are your intentions?
  • Cleaning of construction debris and equipment - I hope so
  • Balancing and servicing of pool for first month - we find few pool builder do this according to TFP standards and usually turn over a mess that we then need to help folks figure out how to go forward. Better you control EVERYTHING that gets put into your pool water from the first day.
  • Training and walk through of equipment - good and only proposal to offer it.
 
Last edited:

TexasEd

Member
Sep 11, 2020
20
Austin, TX
People have gotten along without automation for ages. That said I'm pretty excited we are getting it.

I have a friend that gets in his attached spa daily at 9pm and he has a timer on his heater and spa pump to heat up the spa to the right temperature by 9. No digital automation, just timers.
The other way to think of automation is it may be a lot more expensive to fix if it breaks.

The pros with digital automation you can turn on water features, lights, spa, etc all from a cell phone app or remote control pad from inside the house. You won't have to walk to the equipment pad and flip switches. Is that worth the extra cost?

For the general pool: You have to break it into steps. I would settle on basic features you want first, then design, and then any additional features that compliment that design. 1) Our basic feature requirements included modern design (not free form), tanning ledge, 6' deep end, and spa. 2) Then we got some basic designs/layouts and 3) finally determined we wanted a raised wall with a sheer on one end, to move the spa to one side a little more, and add a submerged bench along one side. We also repositioned the pool and decking at this stage. 4) Save color selections on tile, coping, etc until after those steps..

It could be an iterative processes unless you are going with a basic rectangle. We have friends that recently did the biggest rectangle they could fit with no frills and they love it.
 

brittneys

Member
Feb 8, 2021
5
florida
Let's look at the proposals you posted:

First one...
  • SQ ft, surface are, perimeter - see they match what you want
  • 3'-5' deep structure - that water depth from middle of skimmer or depth from top of bond beam? You will probably end up with a water depth of 2'6' - 4'6". Minimum water depth should be 3'5" or even better at 4'.
  • Wall thickness, #3 steel, etc. all pools should have the same basic structure specifications
  • Owner to remove existing deck - you okay with that extra cost to you? Identify all those places where the builder is pushing costs back to you.
  • Engineered plans and permits should be standard
  • Dual anti entrapment drains are required by law
  • Dedicated vacuum line - pool vacuum is old technology and the worst way to clean a pool. Skip the vacuum line and consider separately buying a pool cleaner robot. You need a 120V outlet installed near the pool to plug in the robot cleaner.
  • Skimmer - get 2 skimmers not 1
  • 3 sidewall returns - good
  • Jandy 2 speed pump - ok - what model pump? How will the speeds be controlled? Consider upgrading to a VS pump.
  • Jandy 100 sq ft filer oversized to filter longer - HaHaha - that filter is undersized. Get at least a 300-400 sq ft filter.
  • LED lights - what model? How many? How will color changing be controlled?
  • Exposed aggregate finish - what brands? You want a rough aggregate finish or a smooth quartz finish?
  • 6" waterline tile, 12" travertine coping - pretty standard sizes
  • 2 speed automatic time clock and standard electrical hookup - cheapest electrical install they can give you
  • Complete water balancing - worthless
  • Spa - 4 jets enough for you? I doubt you need a 2 HP blower. How will you control your spa and change from POOL to SPA?
  • How will you control blower? Pool and spa lights? Turn spa jets on or off?
  • Jandy salt chlorine generator - what model? what size cell? We recommend SWG be at least 2X pool volume
  • Jandy PS6 automation - AhHa! - that's the way things will be controlled. With this you don't need the 2 speed automatic time clock and standard electrical hookup. This is where they put redundant and confusing things in the proposal.
  • Hayward Heat Pump - how many BTUs? Why a Hayward HP with a Jandy Aqualink automation and all other Jandy equipment?

Second proposal...
  • Contract specifications - standard boiler plate with no specifics. All its says they will build you a pool.
  • Pool size different then first proposal so you can't compare apples to apples
  • Depths - water depth or structure depth?
  • Wall thickness etc - standard gunite construction specs you should see in all proposals
  • Pump - model number?
  • Filter - 150 sq ft better then first proposal but get larger 300-400 sq ft
  • Pool lights - they specify 3 - probably good - what model lights?
  • SWG - 20K SWG for 10K pool is good. What model?
  • Intellibrite light controller - ok
  • Electric pool heater - 125K BTU - they mean electric Heat Pump? ok - what model?
  • No spa in this proposal?
  • 6 jets in pool - ok but more then you really need - 3 to 4 is plenty
  • 1 main drain - ok
  • 1 skimmer - you want 2 skimmers so if you have a problem with a skimmer you can shut it down until repaired and still use the pool
  • Pool Bond - standard requried by code
  • Electrical subpanel - minimum requirements
  • Water line tile - the fact they say glass tile doesn't matter since you are limited by the allowance without spending more. Will the allowance meet your needs?
  • Coping - same issue with the allowance
  • Pool finish - warranty by manufacturer is pretty much worthless. Read it. They only provide new materials if their materials are defective. 80% of plaster cost is in the labor.
Third proposal...
  • Different pool size
  • Depth - water depth or structure depth?
  • Vacuum line - see comments above
  • Coping & Tiles - standard - what is your allowance? what are your choices within quoted price?
  • Interior Finish - ok
  • Pool structure - standard specs
  • Skimmer - you want 2 skimmers so if you have a problem with a skimmer you can shut it down until repaired and still use the pool
  • Filter - 200 sq ft the largest of the propsals - still you want 300-400 sq ft
  • Lights - 2 Savi nichelss - good lights
  • Pump - Jandy 2 speed - model number?
  • Clock timer & electrical - minimum necessary
  • Disposal of pool water - what are you other options?
  • Spa - size good for you? 6 jets? How will you control the spa and equipment?
  • Salt system - what system? What size?
  • Heat Pump - what model?
  • 2 deck jets - how will you control them on and off?
  • Plumbing, drawings, engineering, permits all included - ok
  • No child safety barrier or fencing included - only proposal to mention this - what are your intentions?
  • Cleaning of construction debris and equipment - I hope so
  • Balancing and servicing of pool for first month - we find few pool builder do this according to TFP standards and usually turn over a mess that we then need to help folks figure out how to go forward. Better you control EVERYTHING that gets put into your pool water from the fiday.
  • Training and walk through of equipment - good and only proposal to offer it.
THANK YOU. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this reply is. I didn't understand what half this stuff was and now I feel like I can ask educated questions - in fact Ive already started drafting responses to the 3 builders to address your points.

I think we've come to the conclusion that the spa is going to push us out of our budget, especially considering we still want to build an aluminum pergola, need a baby net and have to demo the concrete. We're opting to hire that out ourselves rather than having the PB demo te concrete because they just wanted to charge an obscene amount. We have a large existing concrete patio (about 450sqft raised patio plus approx 800 sq ft where the grass would be - fully concrete backyard). I got quotes around 3k to demo everything, whereas the PB estimated around 2800 without learing the existing patio. It just made more sense.
 

brittneys

Member
Feb 8, 2021
5
florida
People have gotten along without automation for ages. That said I'm pretty excited we are getting it.

I have a friend that gets in his attached spa daily at 9pm and he has a timer on his heater and spa pump to heat up the spa to the right temperature by 9. No digital automation, just timers.
The other way to think of automation is it may be a lot more expensive to fix if it breaks.

The pros with digital automation you can turn on water features, lights, spa, etc all from a cell phone app or remote control pad from inside the house. You won't have to walk to the equipment pad and flip switches. Is that worth the extra cost?

For the general pool: You have to break it into steps. I would settle on basic features you want first, then design, and then any additional features that compliment that design. 1) Our basic feature requirements included modern design (not free form), tanning ledge, 6' deep end, and spa. 2) Then we got some basic designs/layouts and 3) finally determined we wanted a raised wall with a sheer on one end, to move the spa to one side a little more, and add a submerged bench along one side. We also repositioned the pool and decking at this stage. 4) Save color selections on tile, coping, etc until after those steps..

It could be an iterative processes unless you are going with a basic rectangle. We have friends that recently did the biggest rectangle they could fit with no frills and they love it.
Yeah we like a more modern look, so a basic rectangle is right up our alley :)
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
22,113
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Go another round with the builders and share their responses and your thoughts and questions. Repeat until you are comfortable spending money.