Our New Pool Build and The FUN (i.e. Stress) that Goes Along with it!

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
We're just beyond the tile/coping stage and we still have decking, electrical and plaster to do.
One of the subs was here today doing something and asked me about the return jet pipes being cut off already (so they're open/not capped any more).
This sub's company is the one that does the pool framing, plumbing, and paver decking... So they installed the return pipes.

I told him the tile/coping crew cut off the pipes when they did their work the weekend before last. I didn't think anything of it; I don't know the difference and thought that's what they do. Our PM has seen it since and didn't say or think anything of it, seemingly. This coping crew that cut the pipe caps off happens to be the same crew that cut through our ground wire in 10+ places when they did our coping- and denied it. Causing us headaches with our PM and me calling for an inspection to ensure proper repair was done.

Anywho.... The sub I spoke with today said he likes to keep the caps on the return pipes until after decking. And since the caps have been off, he seems concerned about system pressure and the possibility of a leak. He doesn't want to do decking until they cap the pipes back up and verify system pressure, but he has to talk to my project manager still, so I don't know if they will cap them off again and check pressure or not. Who knows if my PM will again say "no big deal, nothing's wrong".
I sent him messages this evening to tell him of my conversation with the sub and his concern (I was very nice.. just informing... 😁)
I have ring doorbell video of my conversation with the sub where he explains it all to me, and his concern, so if it ever comes up or turns into a problem.. I have that.

Question is... What does cutting off the pipe caps that early, really do? IS it a bad thing?

I swear.. I do so much research and try to hire the best and still have issues. These issues started when our PB had a tile/coping crew they don't normally use come down here to help get them caught up. Supposedly the same subcontractor, but different individuals. When my PM said they were doing that (a while back) I told him about a situation with our home builder using a drywall and roofing crew they normally didn't and we have issues, and in the end cost them more due to repairs. So, same happened with building our house. Unusual crew.... Problems. Frustrating.
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
41,276
Tallahassee, FL
I would push for a recap and pressured up to be on the safe side. Better safe than sorry to the max as it is MUCH easier to fix NOW than if a problem is found AFTER the work is done. That is a smart sub.
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
I spoke with the sub more to understand better.
He said it's not a big deal they've been uncovered, but he won't do the pavers until he knows the pressure is good/no leaks.
His plumber will be capping and checking pressure.
He's a good sub and I'm thankful he is making sure it's done right.
Some wouldn't care.... Like our tile and coping crew seemingly didn't. 🙄
 
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NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
248
Brentwood, CA
It is a best practice approach to construction by many different crews

it is an easy way to make sure the decking work didn't cause plumbing problems

If pressure is still good when they finish it means they didnt harm the plumbing

that also means you cant blame them if plumbing has issues later (not a bad thing but a reason they want it done)

these are random observations from my build because i asked the same questions
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
They came to cap them today, and I noticed they were around the skimmer for a bit, on the phone. After they left I went to look at the skimmer and this is what I found.
Dead frog and concrete debris.
Not sure if that's normal... And then hanging around looking at it made me wonder. There might be another post about this after I search the forums, if I don't find an answer in other posts!
 

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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
Hey there...
Another "I don't know if this is normal" post!

We're just past tile and coping, and hit a delay in decking because of the sub that did the tile and coping.

We've run into some hiccups due to a sub our PB had come down to "get them caught up" and has messed up a couple of things costing us time and frustration.

Today, the other sub (who I've had great experiences with thus far) came to cap the returns back up and test pump pressure, because the coping crew cut them off weeks ago and they didn't like that.

While they were here today, I noticed they were hanging out by the skimmer and seemed to be looking intently, and on the phone with who I think may have been their boss.. so it got me wondering!

I went out and looked and the skimmer pipe is full of water, a dead lizard (r.i.p. ☹) and a bunch of concrete debris. I know when they did gunite it was just covered with plastic and tape, and had a little opening so I know some debris got in there from that. And more most likely did when they did tile and coping. Maybe there is a basket in there and I just can't tell. I am COMPLETELY clueless about pools....................

One of the drains also seems caked up with dirt, acorns and leaves. When they tested the system pressure today it pushed water and the other drain is now full of water, too... but one is bone dry??

Is that normal... Or is this line already clogged before it is even ready to be used??
I was thinking about trying to get what I can out of it with my little strainer from my kitchen.

I'm new to all this and just don't know.. I searched the forum and didn't really see anything that answered my question.
 

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kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
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Tallahassee, FL
GURRRRRRRRRR that is not good. Okay I would NOT do anything! You do not want to take a chance of them being able to say YOU pushed the pieces down and caused more problems! Save these pics in a very safe place. Send them to the PB with your MAJOR concerns outlined......"How will this be cleaned out? and when?" kind of thing. You want a paper trail for this one.
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
GURRRRRRRRRR that is not good. Okay I would NOT do anything! You do not want to take a chance of them being able to say YOU pushed the pieces down and caused more problems! Save these pics in a very safe place. Send them to the PB with your MAJOR concerns outlined......"How will this be cleaned out? and when?" kind of thing. You want a paper trail for this one.
Thanks! I did just that.
We will see what the response is.
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
I just realized you said to send these pics to the PB. I sent to my PM (project manager). Should I send to someone at the PB office/owner??

PM told me both drains would be cleaned out prior to plaster, and same for the skimmer. But said there is a plug/cap at the bottom of the skimmer. I sent these pics, because it does not look capped to me. It's an open hole.

Edit to add:
PM says the skimmer hole will be plugged at plaster then removed after plaster.

My question is....
Why wouldn't it have already been plugged? It's been vulnerable since the coping subs cut the pipe. So the whole time they were doing their work, stuff possibly was filtering into the hole.

These tile/coping subs have seemingly caused 3 issues thus far. 😡
 

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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
Response is that all that is in it, will get sucked into the filter basket and will clear out when water is pushed through.... Just like the leaves were going to have in the pool pool due to our trees....
 
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kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
41,276
Tallahassee, FL
WHAT??? NOPE, NOPE, NOPE! If ANY of that stuff finds a way past the basket guess where it goes................right into your brand new pump!! That is IF it does not get plugged up in the pipes on the way!! The ONLY way I would let is stay and try to move through the pipe is if the pump is disconnected so that stuff can have half a chance of making it out to day light. My fear is some of it will get caught in the bends of the pipe. That hole should have been plugged as soon as the pipes were done.

I would tell everyone you can about this to be on the safe side......no can say "I had no idea" that way.
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
Thanks.
I told PM it needs to be cleared out properly, that I'm worried it'll get stuck in the pipes, bends, pump.... And that it should have been avoided to begin with.

I have pictures, screen shots of all messages and recordings of voicemail.
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
Oh... Clarification (if it matters)...
With water in it... When the pump gets turned on, it'll be pushed through and into the strainer basket of the pump.

Does that change anything....?

(Likely not because that doesn't help the stuff not get stuck in the pipes or bends).
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
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Jul 10, 2012
41,276
Tallahassee, FL
I also have a basket just like that stuff can and does get through/over/around/???? it to the pump :( Just NOT worth the chance unless the PB will cover the cost of a new motor if this one gets messed up due to THEIR sub's sloppiness!
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
I am trying to press it.... PM probably thinks I am an unreasonable person because I press things like this. He also hasn't SEEN what I mean. There are chunks that are too big to fit through the hole.. So I can probably get those out with my hand easily. I really think it should be suction cleaned in the least. I guess I do see how the small pieces that are sitting in water so they're not fully hardened/cured perhaps, could go through the pump system and likely go through the pump basket, getting stuck in the pump/motor/parts.. whatever it passes through and causing build up. Maybe that's an unlikely scenario..

I am paying a lot of $ for this, and I can't help but feel I am being told to accept the possibilities of future problems/actual problems because they *might* be okay even if it's not NORMAL and they are because of sloppy subs and/or lack of oversight.

I have a camera that notifies me when people are here, and I also know when they don't. show up. I hope PM remembers that when when I point out his subs being sloppy. I was clued in to look at the skimmer closer because on one of our videos, I saw the sub crew (of the company/sub that actually seems to care, not the sloppy one!) standing around the skimmer - 3 people - and seeming concerned by the way they were staring at it, talking, going back and forth and on the phone. I also have audio but it's not very clear and in spanish, so I don't know what they are saying. This crew was here that day because they came back to re-cap the pipes and test the pressure because they wanted to make sure things were RIGHT.

PM doesn't know I saw them do that... so when that sub comes back to do the decking I will talk with them. Hopefully it will be the same guy from that company that told me about the pipes being cut too early. HE wants things done right and doesn't seem to care if it means he has to send people back here to fix it. He doesn't just placate and say "it's nothing to worry about." like my PM, when everyone else tells me IT IS!
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
Do you recommend any specific brush type vacuums? I just started thinking about this. We're not at plaster stage yet but should be soon.
We don't have a booster pump or in-wall vacuum setup, so we'd have to use the skimmer line.

We have a lot of acorns and leaves falling so we got a screen cover to go over it once they plaster, and we will pull it up (yes.. twice a day!) to brush the plaster. I was just thinking about what to do with excess plaster dust because I know the skimmer can only do so much and I read something that said DO NOT let dust settle on fresh plaster. We cannot use our robot vacuum for 30 days, so I figure we need to vacuum somehow to avoid the dust settling on the plaster.. but I am worried about damaging the plaster with a vacuum.......... 🤷‍♀️
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
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Jul 10, 2012
41,276
Tallahassee, FL
You should get a "butterfly" vacuum head (Wal-Mart or Lowe's) and a hose big enough to reach all of your pool. These vacuum heads have bristles on them so are safe for your new plaster.

Gurrrrr on being told "it is nothing" about things anyone can see ARE a big deal in the long run. Once they get that last check they don't have to worry about anything that happens .
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
You should get a "butterfly" vacuum head (Wal-Mart or Lowe's) and a hose big enough to reach all of your pool. These vacuum heads have bristles on them so are safe for your new plaster.
Thank you! I will look into that type of vacuum. Can I connect a hose to the skimmer for it to work, or does it have to be long enough to connect to the pump somehow?
My pool will be 18' x 35' max (including sun shelf) and skimmer is in the middle.
Speaking of skimmer... The PM talked us into only one skimmer when we had originally fought for 2 with our designer who did our initial quotes. Now I wish we had 2 because I am concerned the one is going to have issues!

Gurrrrr on being told "it is nothing" about things anyone can see ARE a big deal in the long run. Once they get that last check they don't have to worry about anything that happens .
YUP.. They warrant "craftsmanship" for 1 year.. the specifics elude me as they're fine print in the contract. But I have lots of documentation on this. Videos, voicemails, text messages... doesn't mean they will fix it for me if it breaks down in that year, more than likely. But at least I have something to try and compel them to. I have no fear in reaching out to owners, BBB, a LAWYER if it came down to it.

I am sure he can't wait to be done with us. I am not super easy to deal with at times because I question LOTS of things. At first he was easy-breezy and receptive/understanding to my inquiries. But once that sloppy sub cause problems it's been seemingly on a downhill slope. Sometimes it's nothing, but even when it is something I am told it isn't! :mad:
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
41,276
Tallahassee, FL
This kind of vacuum is made to connect to the skimmer. Some use this kind of "plate" Amazon.com : Hayward SP11041 Skim Vac Above-Ground Pool Skimmer : Faucet Parts And Attachments : Garden & Outdoor The hardest part is making sure the hose is full of water THEN connecting it to the skimmer. You may have to try it a couple/few times to get it. Shhhhhhhh but I just stick my hose in down inside the hole in my skimmer. Always seemed to suck air when trying to use the plate.

Their backs are up as they KNOW hiring those subs has caused YOU many problems so they are defensive "oh it is no big deal"............ummmmm YEAH IT IS! gurrrrrrr
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
150
FL
Ohh thank you!
I found these items, and I'll look into the item you linked. I need the skimvac adapter for Hayward sp1071. The vac head I have here is larger and rounded so I think that'll work better for me.

I'm very confused as to how any of this works (I'm such a noob!) So I don't even know how that would connect in. I'll have to watch some videos.

I was JUST thinking today... When they do plaster, we will likely still have acorns falling from the tree above 😬 we plan to use a net over the pool, but we can't do that while they're doing the plaster. I'm wondering if we could rig up a shade sail or something somehow.
Are the acorns likely an issue during the plaster process? Man that tree is having a record year dropping those things... Of course it's the year we are putting in a pool... 😂
 

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