Pool Build (League City, TX)

texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
21
League City, TX
We have a build that we are planning for that should be ready to break ground late March/early April. We've interviewed about five different PB's and finally settled on one. Now it's time to get in the weeds. We have a 14 ft easement we are up against, so the pool will be bit narrow. I've attached the design, but we still need to pick out the coping, tile, and decking. Since we have a few months ahead of us, we have time to settle on choices, then change our minds, then settle again!

After browsing this forum, I've concluded that we want to go with a saltwater pool. I told the PB that I wanted IntelliCenter to control it, but for some reason they quoted "Intellicenter 8 With Ez Touch - SCG Bundle (salt cell generator)". I'm not sure how Ez Touch fits into the IntelliCenter system. Looking for some feedback from the folks here to help steer me in the right direction.

I'll be sure to track the build on here as we start breaking ground.

Here is the list of items that was included in the quote. Anything we should add or change, please let me know.

Swimming Pool Specifications
Perimeter: 115'
Max Width: 14.5'
Depth: 3.5/5/4
Area: 478'
Max Length: 46'
Volume: 12.5k gallons

STEEL REINFORCING :
Beam – four bar box beam #4 steel
Floor and walls - #3 steel 10” on center

POOL/SPA PLUMBING :
ALL POOL/SPA PIPING INCLUDED:
MAIN PUMP: 3HP Variable Speed Pentair
MAIN DRAIN: Pebble Top A&A
RETURNS: N/A Use Infloor
FILL LINE: Auto Fill
FILTER: 420 Clean & Clear Cartridge
SKIMMER: (2) Ultra Skim A&A
CLEANER: Infloor Cleaning System ( full )
HEATER: A 400K BTU MasterTemp Pentair
ADDITIONAL SPECS INCLUDED AS FOLLOWS:
All Dedicated Suction
(2) Common Returns For Spa Spillway
1.5 HP WhisperFlow WF Pump For Bubbler & Sheer Decents
(2) 1' Sheer Decents On Columns
(1) Bubbler On Tanning Ledge
Spa W/ 6 Hydro Theraphy Spa Jets and (4) Air only foot jets (1.5")

GUNITE SHELL:
PNEUMATICALLY APPLIED GUNITE PER CODE
OWNER TO WATER CURE TWICE A DAY FOR SEVEN DAYS
ONE SET OF CUSTOM STEPS IN SHALLOW END
BENCH(S) ____1_____ QTY _____18’______ SIZE(S)
TANNING LEDGE: Yes
RAISED WALLS: Yes
HEIGHT AND LENGTH OF ALL RAISED WALLS :
(2) Columns Per Plan Raised 18" (2'x2')
28.5' of 6" Raised Wall Per Plan
10' of 12" Raised Wall Per Plan
ADDITIONAL SPECS INCLUDED AS FOLLOWS:
7x7 Inside Spa With 7' Open Tile Spillway Raised 6"

ADDITIONAL SPECIFICATIONS INCLUDED AS FOLLOWS:
(4) MicroBrite Color LED Lights 12V In Pool
(1) MicroBrite Color LED Light 12V In Spa
(2) 100 Watt Transformers - Spa Light to be on separate relay from pool lights
Pre Wire GFI Light Above EQ PAD for Client to supply bulb
Intellicenter 8 With Ez Touch - SCG Bundle ( salt cell generator )
4' rectangle fire pit (PB stated they would not automate???)
Standard Maintenance Kit pole, brush, net, test strips, 5 lbs. 3" tabs 4 lbs. stabilizer
Startup And initial Chems
Pool School
30 Days of Maintenance Included
 

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cowboycasey

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
6,685
Southern OK
Welcome to TFP :)

I can say the pump and filter are a great start.. Get rid of the infloor cleaning system at all cost and get at least 2 preferably 4 returns, it will serve you better in the long run (think after 15 after years).. Get yourself a robot from marina pool and spa in and call it a day , when the robot dies you just get a new one, when the in floor dies it costs major money to get it fixed or replaced ( and with no returns your pool turns green while it is broke)... Maytronics Dolphin S200 Robotic Pool Cleaner - Minimum Advertised MAP pricing for this item is $849

Think about how you will use the spa, in ground spa's look great but when you want to use them in the winter they are not so great.... Are you going to close the pool in the winter? If so you will also be closing the spa and can not use your 15,000 dollar spa... you can buy 2 stand alone spa's for that price and use them in the winter while the pool is closed for the next 30 years... :)
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
21,693
Bedford, TX
I told the PB that I wanted IntelliCenter to control it, but for some reason they quoted "Intellicenter 8 With Ez Touch - SCG Bundle (salt cell generator)". I'm not sure how Ez Touch fits into the IntelliCenter system.

TT,

The EasyTouch is completely different than the new IntelliCenter... You want this... Pentair IntelliCenter i8PSIC40 Kit - Pool and Spa with Load Center and IC40

Makes sure you get this P/N and not just a "name of the system"..

I would rethink the in floor cleaning system (IFCS) unless you still use an old black rotary dial phone.. :mrgreen: If you just must have 1970 technology to clean your pool than have them plumb the In-floor system so that you can turn it on and off with Jandy valve that selects between the IFCS and normal wall returns.. I promise that one day you will thank me for that decision.. Wall returns are what makes the pool water swirl like a flushing toilet bowl, but obviously much, much slower. This is allows the skimmers to work better.. I can't think of any reason to have an IFCS, but it is your pool and you should get what you want, but with an eye on what you are going to do when the IFCS fails or does not clean the pool the way your want.. There is a reason most of them have a "Lifetime" warranty, and why pool builders push them, and it has nothing to do with what is best for you.. :(

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
21
League City, TX
Thanks for the feedback guys! Definitely have me on the fence now for the IFCS. Hmmm :unsure:... If we do decide to take a time machine to the 1970's, we'll be sure to put in a bypass and upgrade the valves. I talked to a guy I know and he says he absolutely loves his IFCS, but at the same time, he's only had it for a couple of years.

I live on the coast southeast of Houston, near Galveston. Unless I am missing something here, I will probably not close the pool in the winter. Folks around here with integrated spas have no issues during the winter months (days where I'm at!) It was in the 70's yesterday and supposed to be in 60's and 70's throughout next couple of weeks. It does dip down into the 30's from time to time though.

I knew something didn't sound right about the combination of the IntelliCenter and EasyTouch. Appreciate you sharing the link to the right equipment!

Few items I'm debating on:
Depth of the tanning ledge. I think it's 8-9" currently. Wondering if I should have it 12". I do have a 20 month that would enjoy the ledge with the bubbler.
Automating the rectangle fire pit in wall (PB is recommending against it)
Running conduit to the columns for future magic bowls.
Using travertine for the decking instead of spray deck.
Additional jets for spa (PB mentioned I will need a booster pump since the equipment pad will be on the other side of the house)
 

gingrbredman

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
281
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Just to follow up on what Jim said, if you want the Intellicenter, the link he posted is the right one.

There is no " Intellicenter 8 With Ez Touch - SCG Bundle" in the Pentair lineup. Maybe the PB just heard what you were asking for wrong, or just quoted it wrong, but seems they are intermingling systems and showing something that does not exist.

There is the older Easy Touch 8, a tried and true workhorse automation system many PBs install, and adding "screen logic" to this, gets you automation and the ability to control everything from a smart device. A lot of PBs like these as they know them, understand them, and can work with them very easy.

Then there is the newest Intellicenter which already includes the smart app capability. The one posted by Jim shows exactly what you would want for a more modern automation system.

With the Intellicenter 8 and the valves, you can control your water features remotely, Microbrites, pumps etc, . I know you can also tie in landscape lighting, but not sure yet how you would even tie in automation for the fire box. It looks like the PB isn't interested in that, but that really wont change your choice on going with the Intellicenter.

Really like how you took advantage of the limitations of the yard (easements, etc.) and came up with this design. Looks like this would be a nice addition to the yard.
 
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pjt

Gold Supporter
Jan 7, 2012
330
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I will echo the recommendation to delete the IFCS. A robot will clean much better and more efficiently. Get the exact model of SWG, and size it for at least 2x your pool volume. I would consider increasing the shallow end from 3.5' to 4'. Also consider upgrading to a CCP520 filter (bigger is better). We have a 12" depth on our ledge and love it. Run conduit for future growth and flexibility. I really like travertine since it's more elegant than a spray deck and think it's worth the extra money. Good luck!
 
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texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
21
League City, TX
Just to follow up on what Jim said, if you want the Intellicenter, the link he posted is the right one...

I think you're right. I actually had the benefit to sit down with the PB as he went through his build spreadsheet. He didn't have an option in there for the IntelliCenter. Thanks for the compliment on the design. We still might tweak it a bit. In the future we would like to have travertine laid behind the fire pit for additional seating. We just don't want to eat up that yard space right now because it gives the kiddo some space to play.

I will echo the recommendation to delete the IFCS. A robot will clean much better and more efficiently. Get the exact model of SWG, and size it for at least 2x your pool volume....

Thanks for the comment about the upgraded filter. I'll discuss this with the PB. I think I' sold on the 12" tanning ledge! As for the travertine, my only concern is the slipperiness of it when it's wet. I'm afraid my 20 month old won't fare very well on it.

I’d highly recommend looking into a Chiller here in Houston unless u like swimming in bath water from July-Nov...

We have considered a chiller, but have yet to find anyone that has one! I would think more people in our area would have one, but guess not... Do you have one and how's it working out if so?
 

Bvacchiano

Silver Supporter
Apr 6, 2018
330
Sugar Land, Texas
I think you're right. I actually had the benefit to sit down with the PB as he went through his build spreadsheet. He didn't have an option in there for the IntelliCenter. Thanks for the compliment on the design. We still might tweak it a bit. In the future we would like to have travertine laid behind the fire pit for additional seating. We just don't want to eat up that yard space right now because it gives the kiddo some space to play.



Thanks for the comment about the upgraded filter. I'll discuss this with the PB. I think I' sold on the 12" tanning ledge! As for the travertine, my only concern is the slipperiness of it when it's wet. I'm afraid my 20 month old won't fare very well on it.



We have considered a chiller, but have yet to find anyone that has one! I would think more people in our area would have one, but guess not... Do you have one and how's it working out if so?
It’s fantastic. It’s a Glacier Chiller. Had it almost 3 years. Zero issues. Keeps my water around 83 deg. I could get a little lower but that’s good enough. It extremely cheap to run. I’ve never even noticed a increase on my electric bill.
It’s also tied into into my East Touch so I can set it in a schedule and control from my phone. Definitely makes swimming in Houston summers much more enjoyable. I personally would be miserable without it. Last thing I want is to be hot from 100 deg weather and jump into 95 deg water...
 

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Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
547
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
What Jim said. I ended up reworking quite a bit of my brand new pool plumbing because I didn't know to ask for things. One of which was the bypass around my IFCS. The other was I should have pushed a little harder on the way my water features were plumbed. I think my builder was not up to speed on the Intellicenter's capabilities and thought I was limited at 4 actuators. I now have 7 actuators (would be 6 if Pentair would make the Intellivalve actuator do what they say they are going to).

--Jeff
 
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texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
21
League City, TX
I asked the PB to send me details about adding a chiller. He mentioned he finds Aqua Cal chillers to be the best on the market, but they don't tie into the Pentair automation system. He also stated that Pentair has a chiller that's actually manufactured by Aqua Cal that does tie into automation (waiting for a price on this). Another option would be to have the PB leave extra space on the pad for a Glacier that I can add later and integrate it into IntelliCenter.

I've sent the Pentair IntelliCenter i8PSIC40 Kit - Pool and Spa with Load Center and IC40 info to the PB. Now I'm waiting for a response from the guy that orders the equipment for the PB. I had a conversation with this guy yesterday about it, and he kept bringing up IntelliTouch. So we shall see what he comes back with. Either way, I let them know the part number I wanted. Hopefully this doesn't bring up concerns with the install considering it's a bit of a hassle to get them to understand.

The PB did mention that he will not install LED bubblers due to reliability issues but instead installs a microbrite on the wall of the tanning ledge that lights up the bubbler. The wife is happy with this, so no concerns there!

I went ahead and upgraded the filter to CCP520, which wasn't that more expensive.

@Turbo1Ton If you were to build a pool again knowing what you know now, would you still go for the IFCS?

Anyone have any feedback on the slipperiness of travertine vs spray deck?
 

Nikilyn

Bronze Supporter
Sep 3, 2018
888
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
17000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I think travertine is slippery but others don't. I'm wondering if it's what kind is used and the pools I've been at with it have the slippery kind 🤷🏻‍♀️.
 
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Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
547
NE Oklahoma
Pool Size
14500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I would, but I'm afraid I'm not any better than the other guy you've talked to. I've had mine for 1 year. I love it. I never have to remember to throw the robot in the pool. I do get little areas where there will be a small buildup of larger sand/debris in the pool, and I either brush those down to the drain or vac them up occasionally. Is it more costly than running a robot, certainly. But the fact that it is one more thing that I don't have to remember to do, at this point in my life with pre-teen children and all that goes on with them, it has been great. My wife likes the fact that she never looks out at the pool and sees a robot and a cord draped around. She mentioned to me how she sees pics on our PB's facebook page and she sees the robots in there and they just distract from the beauty of the pool.

It is nice when I heat the pool also, as the water gets circulated from the bottom up. But you can get that from installing returns lower in the pool. So not necessarily a pro for IFCS.

I will finish this up by saying I have thought about adding a robot this year, solely for the ability to throw that in and not worry about brushing. But not necessarily to keep the pool clean. It will get those random heavy spots of debris, yes, but let's be clear that isn't my objective. It's so I can be lazy about brushing. :laughblue:

That's my $0.02 on it.

--Jeff
 
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Nikilyn

Bronze Supporter
Sep 3, 2018
888
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
17000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If cost hadn’t been an issue we probably would have gotten an IFCS again but it was an easy place to save money.
 
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gingrbredman

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
281
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I had a conversation with this guy yesterday about it, and he kept bringing up IntelliTouch.
Whatever you decide on, please do not let them push the IntelliTouch. It is probably a downgrade from even the EasyTouch.

Some builders just love their tried and true EasyTouch with ScreenLogic. Some PBs just know them so well, they will either quote something else so high you wont consider it, or quote something else so crazy like Intellitouch, you stick with the Easy Touch. If the PB is so set on the EasyTouch, it is not a terrible system. Paired with the ScreenLogic, it is still a nice automation package and as a pool owner, you can do a lot with. But if given a choice, I would say Intellicenter is the way to go, conceding to an Easy Touch would be second, and no way you go for IntelliTouch.

The PB did mention that he will not install LED bubblers due to reliability issues but instead installs a microbrite on the wall of the tanning ledge that lights up the bubbler.

Not a bad thing at all. Not only are the LED bubblers crazy expensive, when you need to replace it, it could be a big pain. Replacing a microbrite, or other 1.5" compatible light will be much easier, and still give you a cool effect on the ledge.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,904
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Texan,

If you're comfortable sharing the terms in your contract these can be as important as the pool itself. Especially important are things like:
  • Warranty
  • Your obligations
  • PB obligations or lack thereof
  • Payment terms including retention and final payment
  • Release of lien provisions
  • Any fine print or terminology you don't fully understand
Please do black out any personal/confidential information before you post it. Sadly, many times we get owners asking for advice on how to deal with build problems and there's nothing that can be done because the owner signed a very one-way agreement. If you don't have the builder's contract template you should see it before you select the builder. The contract terms can be as important as all the other items you are using to select. If you do post the contract please block out any personal/confidential information first.

I hope this is helpful.

Chris

I hope this helps.
 

texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
21
League City, TX
Thanks Turbo for the detailed response and your 2 cents :cool:. I'm taking everyone's feedback on here into consideration and voiced my concerns and those of others to A&A to see what kind of response I get understanding it will be biased. I was able to negotiate a reasonable price for the system, but if I couldn't, then the decision would be easy. So for this item, the decision is TBD...

I still haven't heard back from the PB about the IntelliCenter. If all else fails, I'll default back to the EasyTouch 8 with screen logic and not touch... IntilliTouch. Good to hear about LED bubbler, and yes, they are quite expensive.

Chris, not at all; I don't mind sharing the contract. Give me a few minutes while I try to keep my toddler at bay and pull up adobe pro and remove all the confidential info. I'll attach it to a new reply.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,904
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
@setsailsoon Attached is the sanitized version of the contract. Please let me know what you think!
Texan,

Unacceptable to me. I'll make more comments later but here's the main points not necessarily in order of importance:
  • No objective quality standard for much of the work
  • No performance test
  • Payment required upon completion of each phase regardless of quality or amount of repairs that may not even have been started
  • No retention
  • No requirement he even does the work. He has the right to sub the entire job to another PB without your prior approval
  • Warranty remedies are not defined
  • Don't try to compare structural requirements such as rebar schedule and specs. There are many different ways to do the structure and they all work so long as a registered structural engineer stamped the design and the builder builds to it with no exceptions unless revised and agreed to by the engineer of record.
So what does this mean? It could go great if everything goes perfectly. This rarely happens, pool construction is complex. If anything goes wrong you have no recourse and if you stop paying he stops work. The payment plan is such that he will always be ahead of his cost to date so he's got a very healthy profit and can easily wait you out... I'd never sign this. With a proposal like this definitely get concessions to reasonable fair provisions and get references and check them. Ask for the last 4 pools he built not just select customers.

Wish I had better news but at least you know now when it's not too late. Search the previous threads on this and you'll find many that wish they could go back in time. The contract should not be too one-sided in your favor either. Getting a pool built in times of high demand doesn't mean you should accept a terrible contract. It means you pay more and the schedule can be longer of course. But that's it.

I hope this helps and please ask any PB you talk to for their contract. They are all at least slightly one-way to the builder because his lawyer drafts it. But you should be able to get concessions to result in a fair two-way agreement with a good quality builder.

I hope this helps.

Chris
 

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