O/B in Peoria AZ

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
617
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Okay.. sorry.. I was pretty busy this week (and still am) so as I eat my Banana at lunch, I will let you know what I think.

I am in Tucson. I only have one experience with a big Phoenix pool builder and it was the worst of the bunch during bids. They are the guys who make most of their equipment themselves in China but do use Pentair for the important stuff. They are cheap if you want cookie cutter. Add anything and it's exponential.

Otherwise, my builder knowledge is in Tucson. They won't come up to Phoenix, so I am not that useful for that.

The builders here either have been doing it forever or are former employee's of the guys who have been doing it forever. There are a limited amount of subs here anyway, and in most cases one is the preferred one of the two.. so the "pool builder" is like a general contractor in that they hire the subs for most of the work. I think our PB did landscaping and the pavers were their own guys. That is also what they screwed up and had to redo because they used an inadequate base for the monsoons, and lost them money on our job.

In Tucson, the shell of the pool is guaranteed by the shotcrete company, and I have to say, they were really good. The excavators were really good. The plasterers could have been better and the start up guy was only okay. But it was the start up guy who told me the whole story about the subs, and I have since verified that.

In Phoenix, I would guess you have many more choices, even for the subs.

In Arizona, stuff moves at Manana time, especially in Tucson. Be ready for that, and try not to get upset.

Build the SMALLEST pool you can with the least amount of frills (a SWCG is a good toy since the OP understands that, but adding it yourself later is 1/3 the price, too...). ESPECIALLY if you don't want it and your wife does, and you want to lose as little money as possible when you sell the house later on. You still will only get $20-30K out of the pool so if you can get away with a 40K pool and get 20K later it's a better decision than a 80k pool which will get you 30K later. Smaller is easier to take care of (assuming you are 10K gallons still or more) and uses less chemicals. Our pool is 13K gallons and is just about right. Don't go too shalllow on the shallow end or do large sun areas as they kill the bang for the buck ratio severely.

Adding heat is expensive because the gas line run is for some reason 4x the cost of a water line run... and those who have heated their pools do it only once. They get the $400 gas bill and that's that-- then they use it for their spa which is still more costly to run than my "portable" one is and takes longer to heat up. So in my case, I did a detached heated tub and no heat on the pool. I am going to probably rig a couple of solar panels up to extend out the season a couple of weeks, but maybe I won't. I am using the electrically heated hot tub at present. My physical setup and orientation is that I will need to do it at the opposite end of the pool than the equipment so I will need a small pump just for that. I want to try to run that with a solar panel itself too so it will be a science experiment if I even do it.

Attached spas are 2-3x more expensive than "portable" ones like I have and are less comfortable but are a LOT better if your goal is entertaining. In my case: Go away! is my front door mat, so I am good.

I think that is about it. It's better than mowing the grass in the Midwest, but if my wife doesn't use it a lot this spring then there is going to be a lot of sarcasm and maybe screaming.... :)

Oh the water quality sucks in AZ, so maybe see if you can rig the autofill to run off the soft line. I couldn't do it without a major replumb of the house, so if it's a problem I will probably put a cheap softener in a shed outside of the house...
 
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mslaman

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2018
72
Peoria AZ
Happy Day!!!
It's a wonderfully sunny day here in Peoria AZ. Sunny and 78!!!

The Overlord and I received the first bid back. A few highlights: $50,000...…...Unbelievable how much they try to charge people for a hole with water....Big mark up on equipment? You seriously want to charge me an extra $2000 to bring in a smaller machine to dig? I asked what the difference was in size of the bucket of a "regular sized Excavator VS a mini Excavator. Sales guy didn't know. Follow up question was, then how can you substantiate the difference in cost? Each scoop of dirt would be X amount of dirt out of the hole compared to X amount of dirt with a mini ex. Which would then be equal to how many extra scoops it would take in my mind. You could easily factor how much more time a scoop would take and then have back up to the upcharge. This doesn't make sense to me. I guess I have watched to many "mini-excavators" dig.
$4000 to stack some rocks and call it a waterfall seems high as well.....

Maybe I have sticker shock.....Maybe I have been working to much...Maybe this dang diet the Overlord has put me on is causing me to not think clearly. What exactly is Kale made out of anyway???? Because it certainly is not a Cow!!! I would gladly pay $50,000 for a cheeseburger right now if anyone is in the neighborhood!!!!!

Anywho, waiting for other bids. I am pretty sure the Owner Builder route is in our future. Attached is the bid. Take a look, tell me if I am crazy. Which I could be
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
43,377
Tallahassee, FL
He has met his match in you! LOL

This line alone would have me running from them:
"10% Prior to interior finish plus all remaining sums due."
Notice the word PRIOR............they want you to pay IN FULL BEFORE they are done!!! NOPE, OH ADULT word NOPE!!

Saying that I will tell you it is quite common for them to charge more for a smaller bobcat. Just so you know it is common. Does not make it right but.......

Kim:kim:
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,433
Evans, Georgia
WARNING- STRONG personal opinion to follow.
$4,000???? Feh. Everyone is doing these fake (or real) waterfalls. They're starting to look Disney-esque to me. Where earlier they appeared "outre", now .....not so much.Save the cash.

Love the fire pit being done at the same time.

Were you going to buy your own suction side cleaner? Yet he's charging you $300+ to do so???

Water Cooling Aerator?! I think they mean a PVC fountain. A lot of folks make them out of spare cuts of PVC. Not the same thing as a pool chiller either.

I am still concerned over that 3' entry depth. I worry you will regret that down the road. Please go find a kiddy pool and grab your tape measure to see if that's really where you want it?

Maddie :flower:
 

mslaman

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2018
72
Peoria AZ
I copy on the paid In full before interior finish. Not an ice cubes chance in Phoenix in June would I agree to that.

‘I also let them know I wanted a 4’-5’-4’ depth. Not sure how 4’ became 3‘. I want a small waterfall. Those of us in AZ think they all look real because we’ve never seen a waterfall before. but I get your point.

he had a really nice presentation but I am very used to looking at 3D models at work. I can see more in a regular blue print then a model. But they are pretty effective sales tools for some.

My bride is back to homework. This is a great time to go sneak a bite of ice cream that I hid in A broccoli bag in the freezer.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,433
Evans, Georgia
What about a nice scupper type water feature built into a raised bond beam? Sort of Spa-like calm....easy on the eye lines, pretty tile?

Maddie :flower: <--pushy, opinionated, Italian know it all chick. :mrgreen:
 

Arizonarob

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
TFP Guide
Mar 25, 2018
3,206
Chandler Arizona
Water Cooling Aerator?
They have those here in AZ on most pools. I have one on mine. It works.....ok at best.
In the pic you can see mine running in front of the lounge chairs.
1A387401-AAAB-42B2-81A9-ED382A6CB9A8.jpeg
I want a small waterfall.
In all honesty, I have one, barely use it, it drives your PH up. You’ll be adding acid all the time to push your PH back down.
If you’re set on getting something, get yourself a fountain that you can stand under, they use them in Spa pools.
 

ajonesaz

Member
Sep 12, 2019
16
Gilbert AZ
Shasta Pools was one of our most expensive bids, you are paying for the name more than anything. The worst thing on this is the $200 for a 'door alarm' that cost $10 on Amazon. Even of that is code, most people take them off after inspection.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
617
Corona de Tucson, AZ
He has met his match in you! LOL

This line alone would have me running from them:
"10% Prior to interior finish plus all remaining sums due."
Notice the word PRIOR............they want you to pay IN FULL BEFORE they are done!!! NOPE, OH ADULT word NOPE!!

Saying that I will tell you it is quite common for them to charge more for a smaller bobcat. Just so you know it is common. Does not make it right but.......

Kim:kim:
Unfortunately, Kim, Arizona sets the payment schedule for the pool builders and it can NOT be changed, even if both sides agree to it. I was worried about that clause as well, but let it go. The suggestion is to buy a escrow bond to guarantee completion for any part of the schedule is suggested but it isn't cheap to do. I suspect it was a well meaning attempt to protect the consumer that got lobbied to protect the builders instead which seems to be a real problem here in Arizona.

Here is an overview of the law as it stands: Pool Change: Arizona Legislature Tweaks Mandatory Provisions For Swimming Pool Construction Contracts – ARIZONA CONSTRUCTION and the LAW

As for the quote: That is $10K more than I paid for the same sized pool last year bid in the April 2019 timeframe. However it is in line with what I would expect.

We did a in floor system mainly because we would have been only one of two houses in the entire subdivision who didn't have one, and the general opinion from my real estate agent is that it would make the property harder to sell. I understand completely the opposition to them here on TFP. In the case of Arizona, if you didn't have a lot of non-native landscaping then the system works really quite well. I can see how grass, leaves, etc. would be much better with a robot. It's been super nice this winter with the solar cover on, I've only had to brush down the pool a couple of times (yeah I should do it more, and will do a VERY thorough job in about 6 weeks when we "open" the pool). A suction side or Robot would have needed a lot more work in the "closed" season. That was about $5K of the cost.

You also are doing a fire pit which is nice... and the price is actually really good for that. The "extra electric run" is a bit pricey, but it could be legit depending on the situation. What is really killing you is the "Real Rock Waterfall" and the freaking Travertine (I hate the stuff and it's really expensive.) The problem here in Arizona with the "Real Rock" anything is that you can't help but get scale here no matter how good your CSI is. And on "real rock" you aren't using a pumice stone to get it off, you are using a sandblaster. That might not be an issue for you, but after seeing several we decided "no way" on that. I mean it gets ugly in less than a year.

And Travertine.. if it's your thing, I suppose it's okay. But every pool that has it here, it raised the price by $10-20K.

$981 for the salt cell isn't terrible. It's a $600-700 DIY job for a 13K gallon pool if you would rather. Since the equipment is all Sta-Rite branded Pentair, you might want the more expensive Pentair cell in case you will do automation later with Pentair equipment. VERIFY THAT IT'S RATED FOR AT LEAST 26K gallons, and a 40K gallon cell would be even better. If it's rated for 25K then it will be running at nearly 100% capacity and then it's not a great deal after all.

I am debating adding the cell, but so far the liquid chlorine has been easier than I anticipated, so there is no rush, honestly.

Expansive soil. Now if that is true, you are lucky to have found a builder to even build the pool. Expansive soils in Arizona are a money loser for the pool shell companies because they are the majority of the warranty claims, and the costly ones at that. I am not following the bid but it might actually be they dig out a greater area than the pool and then backfill the soils to compensate. Thankfully I was in a "normal" soil area and didn't have to deal with that.

The smaller backhoe: There are three issues with this. #1 is that it honestly takes them longer to dig, and time is money. #2 The risk of hitting a boulder that they will have to jackhammer out is larger as well, th ebigger machines can remove larger rock as well. #3 the fences here are usually tighter if they need a smaller backhoe and it's much more likely that they will damage and have to repair a block fence. That isn't unreasonable for that, honestly.

Do yourself a favor and look at a couple of year old neighbor's pool with a "real rock" feature and decide if it is for you. The pool tile can be cleaned with a pumice stone, but not those jagged rocks.

And by all means, go 6' deep in the deep end and not 5, even if that means drawing in the size of the pool a little. You are welcome in advance for that advice. the 3' deep shallow end should be a little deeper unless you have small kids...

and man.. that permit cost.... I would have figured Pima county would have been worse, but not so much....
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
617
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Shasta Pools was one of our most expensive bids, you are paying for the name more than anything. The worst thing on this is the $200 for a 'door alarm' that cost $10 on Amazon. Even of that is code, most people take them off after inspection.
Don't take them off.... pull the 9V battery. That way if you do have little kids visiting you can re-enable the alarm... Pro tip. :)
 

mslaman

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2018
72
Peoria AZ
Thanks Rattus suffocates.
ive been going back and forth on the travertine vs stamped concrete. Hmmmm decisions decisions. Going to have to consult the wifey on this one.

We have a 8‘ wide RV gate. My bride and I built it About a year ago. The distance between the wall and the HVAC condensers is 6’. That is the reason for a mini ex. I measured a few mini excavators at work today. There is a broad definition of what Mini Excavator really is.....according to my dirt guy....

still waiting on the other bids. Not sure what the delay is.

On another note. Heading to the bank tomorrow to double check my math on our HELOC. Want to make sure they are not going to make us add PMI. To be continued.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
617
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Yup, we put in a 7.5' gate (we couldn't quite squeak in a 8 foot one and have it look right for the HOA) and we had about 6' for the HVAC. They had to replace about 4 blocks in our wall due to holes and scrapes. After watching them, I had the admit they were good. Literally about 3" total to clear, and it was probably hundreds of times they went back and forth... There are probably some pictures of that in my build thread. I'll have to find it and post it.

Travertine is fine if you like it. To me it looks like the limestone we had in the Midwest, and that is why I hate it, honestly. And it's soooooo expensive for what it is. Poured concrete here is expensive compared to the Midwest as well, so what we did was concrete pavers because those were god awful expensive for most of our lives and were pretty reasonable here. For usability it's hard to beat the poured concrete.. it would have been a bit cheaper and taken about three weeks off of the build but we were happy with the end result. I have pools in my neighborhood that more than half the cost was the Travertine decking and I am too practical for that!

I'll have to find the build threads. I did a very detailed documentation of what transpired. Its was all okay, honestly but I was seriously freaked out about a month delay after the dig happened because I was convinced that we would collapse in the Monsoons. It rains quite a bit more here than in Phoenix and it was a wet monsoon. It was okay. It cost them a bit of concrete but we ended up getting thicker walls out of the deal, honestly.

That "water cooling aerator" fountain thing that Arizonarob has is interesting. I have not seen a pool in Tucson that had something like that. I wonder if it is because of the fact that most of the pools here have floor systems so the returns aren't usually on in the normal operation of the pools?