Pool Build (League City, TX)

texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
Uh yeah this helps! Definitely didn't think this thread would take a turn like this, but boy am I glad it did. I'll reach out to the PB and see if we can agree on new terms using the items you listed or at least some terms that are a more favorable for me. If not, back to the drawing board. A lot of folks in my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods have used him and made positive comments/reviews on social media. I haven't found one PB that didn't sub out the work to contractors. I'm not sure if I can get around this. Can't thank you enough for opening my eyes to this.
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
4,226
Palm City/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Tex,

Just got back and had more time to look at the quote. Everything I had stated is at issue except the warranty. The warranty description at the end is actually OK. But all the other items I mention would be deal breakers for me. Not hard to fix if he's really a good builder. Call him and discuss openly. Go at this with an attitude of "let's work together to fix this". But don't give up where the agreement is blatantly one-way and unfair.

Chris
 

setsailsoon

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TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
4,226
Palm City/FL
Pool Size
12800
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Chlorine
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Also, sub-contracting parts of the work is normal. PB job is often to manage the interfaces between the different subs. What's not so normal is the ability to subcontract the entire job to another PB without your prior consent. Theoretically, there are reasons you chose this builder and he should not be able to just choose another builder for you that you may not want.

Chris
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,552
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
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Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
A lot of folks in my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods have used him and made positive comments/reviews on social media.
If he is a good and well known PB, then try to contact these neighbors and ask about certain terms of the contract if they negotiated any movement. I would be strategic and pick the most important ones to discuss. If you hit with 15 things at once, most likely the PB will get defensive. There has been others on this forum that were successful, especially on payment terms. That is one where you really need to focus to have 5-10% upon completion of the pool to your satisfaction. Explain that it is mutually beneficial and good business to meet at the end to discuss the job as to what was great, what he did to fix issues as they arose during the build process and how you can faithfully recommend him to others. The PB concern is that the buyer will simply not pay that last retention sum and the PB cannot simply take back the pool for non-payment. So you have to provide some assurance that you will pay and that may be by establishing a criteria as to what is acceptable. Some ideas would be, successful pressure test of all plumbing, operation of pool equipment meets factory guidelines, fence or lawn reinstalled properly in place, coping and deck completed, all inspections by county or other regulators passed, all warranties for equipment and plaster and his workmanship has been provided to you. Agree to make that list a part of the contract and associated to the final payment. This provides established goals for him to meet and can hold you accountable to.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
4,226
Palm City/FL
Pool Size
12800
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Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Some ideas would be, successful pressure test of all plumbing, operation of pool equipment meets factory guidelines, fence or lawn reinstalled properly in place, coping and deck completed, all inspections by county or other regulators passed, all warranties for equipment and plaster and his workmanship has been provided to you. Agree to make that list a part of the contract and associated to the final payment. This provides established goals for him to meet and can hold you accountable to.
These are great ideas for a performance test. Think simple, clear and easy to measure. I'd also add pool holds water. You don't want to bog the work down with bureaucracy so keep it reasonable. 5 or 6 items that are obvious to demonstrate construction has been to an acceptable standard is all it takes. Stay away from the more subjective stuff. For example, prove color selections from the color number on the container. This doesn't cover absolutely everything because that's not practical.

Also for the make sure the other parts of pool construction are covered. What happens if the contractor finds unexpected hidden conditions such as an abandoned pipe or huge boulder when he's digging? This can and does happen. You should know how it's going to be handled. The builder should also. There are several ways but for me demonstrated cost is reasonable. But cost not cost plus markup. When I do construction contracts I have a table for extra work due to things just like this. For pool construction the only major hidden condition that needs to be accounted for is hidden obstructions. So the contractor should identify X $/Hr for additional excavation. I can't hold the contractor responsible for things he can't possibly see but also if we run into a bit of bad luck he shouldn't make money off of it. This is what I mean when I say be fair to both parties.

Chris
 

texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
Good to hear about the warranty being ok. I've contacted the PB about the terms, and he is willing to work with us. I mentioned to him that I understand he has to look out for himself, but at the same time, I need to make sure I don't put myself in a bind. I already had a meeting set for tomorrow with the PB, so I'll use the beginning of the meeting to discuss terms and move on from there. I'll put together a list of items that I want to include based on the feedback from you guys! Feel free to let me know if I need to add anything or adjust something.

@HermanTX Thanks for chiming in!

I agree that subbing it out to subcontractors is normal, but not subbing out the entire project to another PB!

Here is what I plan on discussing...

Proposed changes to the contract:
  • Payment terms are to be paid after each phase of the project, and both parties agree on completion.
  • Final payment (10%) will be issued when the following items have been successfully completed and agreed up by both parties:
    • Successful pressure test of all plumbing.
    • All equipment and controls must meet factory guidelines and be tested and demonstrated in the presence of the owner.
    • The fence and lawn properly re-installed.
    • The coping and deck completed.
    • Inspections passed.
    • All warranties for equipment, plaster, and workmanship have been provided.
    • The pool holds water.
  • Pool finishes must be correct as specified with no indications of improper adhesion.
  • If the need to subcontract the entire contract to another PB, prior consent from the owner is required.
Some of these tests may be part of the startup, so we’ll see what he says. I’ll also ask for the past four builds as references.

Other items to note:
  • What is the action plan if foreign objects (abandoned pipes, boulder, etc..) are found during excavation? What are the costs associated with resolving the issue?
  • What are the model numbers for the equipment?
-----------------------------------------------------
I'm going to be as transparent as possible with this forum as I move along this process, so hopefully, someone else will find value from this experience. To start, I did have a side conversation with Chris about the contract because I already signed the contract! So I was a bit freaked out. Thankfully, the PB allowed me to void the contract until we discuss terms. I'm posting the PM's below. Some of the points Chris touched on in the thread, but here you go:

PM from me to Chris:
Hi Chris - yes, your review of the contract helped tremendously. Now I'm terrified. Before I respond back to thread, I wanted to see if we can exchange some PM's. I signed the contract, :eek:, yes, I know... on Thursday night. The contract states I can cancel the contract as long as it's done before midnight on the third business day. So that's Monday.

I am putting together an email to the PB based on your feedback, stating I need to cancel the contract until we can agree on terms, but I need some clarification beforehand. I'm trying to understand what you mean by:
  • no retention
  • warranty remedies are not defined.
I have not found one PB in my area that doesn't sub out the work, so I am not sure what to say about this. Also, I'm not sure how to phrase the comment: "Don't try to compare structural requirements such as rebar schedule and specs".

PM from Chris to Me:
Tex,
First, let me say I'm not a lawyer just managed a lot of construction for the past 40 years mostly large industrial projects but also a lot of small stuff similar to pools. I think your approach is good but you should try to call him. When I went back to look at the warranty it is actually not too bad. Sorry, I was in a hurry on the way out the door. The more important items are the others. Deal-breakers to me.

Retention is a term that means a portion of the total cost reserved until the pool is completed and a performance test is complete. This way you have some leverage for final repairs. 10% would be my target and in no case less than 5%. There also needs to be a description of what quality the work must meet for payment of each progress payment. The way the contract is written his obligation to perform "good workmanship" is not a requirement for payment. All he has to do is complete the work regardless of quality. For example, we've seen instances of form failure during concrete pour that must be completely redone. You shouldn't have to pay if this is the case.

Performance test should be simple and measurable. I would state something like:
Pool structure must hold water. Conduct a bucket test if needed to verify.
All equipment and controls must be tested and demonstrated in presence of the owner
Pool finishes must be correct as specified with no indications of improper adhesion (this is for the plaster).

I'll correct my post about the warranty issue and I hope you can clear up the rest of this with the builder. Ask him if he really wants you to pay for events like I described. If he says he wouldn't invoice for that tell him that's fine and just to put it in writing. You don't want to be unreasonable but you can't rely on verbal promises. Things will go wrong, hopefully minor. And you should work together to get past them. But you also have to have words in the agreement that require both of you be fair. The words in this agreement are not fair to you on the points I made above. There are a few other points that may have been made on other comments but definitely get model numbers for all the equipment. Also, make sure any decisions you need to make but a certain date are clearly defined. Usually this is around color choices etc.

One more point. Positive information on social media is good but it's not a substitute for checking references with a conversation. This is a pain but worth the effort. You'll either feel way better about the builder or way worse. Either way you need to know, pools are too much money to ignore this step.

PS, retention should not be paid until passing performance test and release of liens. This is your verification he has paid the subcontractors. If they don't get paid they can place a lien on the pool until they are paid..
-------------------------------------------------
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,552
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I've contacted the PB about the terms, and he is willing to work with us. I mentioned to him that I understand he has to look out for himself, but at the same time, I need to make sure I don't put myself in a bind. I
This is wonderful. It implies he wants your business and willing to listen. As Chris indicated, there will always be a change or an unforeseen issue during construction. Just read all the threads in the forum to see that. So if you have a process to handle that, then discuss that with the PB. It may be as simple as you the owner will put in writing any change (i.e. a change in water tile color) or finding of workmanship to not your liking (i.e. the subcontractor laying the coping did not cut the angles properly) to the PB and your request to have the PB acknowledge that and respond to it.
Also, has the PB indicated if there will be a project manager (PM) on site, everyday, or every week or only when certain processes are being done? This way you and the PB can set expectations on what is needed.
 

Bvacchiano

Silver Supporter
Apr 6, 2018
362
Sugar Land, Texas
I may have missed it here somewhere but I would make sure you/PB has a plan for if you hit groundwater during the dig and how he plans to handle it. This is Houston with water tables varying from 2-7’ in most areas. My pool hit the eater table at 5’. I ended up installing a drainage system and sump pump to handle this. If it’s very bad could be a much more complicated and EXPENSIVE issue.
 

setsailsoon

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TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
4,226
Palm City/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Tex,

This is big progress and bodes well for you and the builder. Starting off by revising his contract is almost always needed just because of the one-way nature when his attorney drafts it. But sadly most don't. They just sign it. As you negotiate to fair terms this can actually establish a respectful and even cordial relationship. Listen to understand his position is a great way to start. He'll quickly realize you care about being fair to him also and respect you for standing firm on being fair to you. There's a fair way to handle every issue I've ever had to face in construction.

Please do let us know how it goes. Fingers crossed!

Chris
 

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texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
Thanks All! @Bvacchiano Just added that to the list! Appreciate the insight.

@HermanTX Yes, there will be a PM there everyday throughout the build and the owner (who I am meeting with tomorrow) will be there weekly.

I'll provide an update after the meeting! Hoping all goes well.
 
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texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
Alright folks. I went to the meeting with my proposed changes in hand, along with a bunch of other items I wanted to discuss. The meeting went well. We went line by line, and he did not have any objections to my proposed changes. He even agreed on the final 10% due after all the items listed above are met. He is sending over an addendum to the contract.

About the other items:
  • Foreign objects - He mentioned that I would need to pay for the disposal of objects he finds. He said he's come across all kinds of stuff, cars, tree stumps, dead...
  • Ground water - If I recall correctly (it was a long meeting), he mentioned that if he comes across groundwater, he will dig a hole next to the pool to drain it until gunite is visible or something along those lines. Based on B's experience above, I may need to get more clarification on this. He stated no additional cost to me.
He also shared his detailed Construction Guide (similar to what's on TFP) for all the phases and what to expect, which was nice.

He appreciated that we went through all my concerns at this early stage of the process and said I was the most thorough customer he's had!
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,552
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
The meeting went well. We went line by line, and he did not have any objections to my proposed changes. He even agreed on the final 10% due after all the items listed above are met. He is sending over an addendum to the contract.
Great work. Clearly demonstrates what a open and clear dialogue can do to make the pool building process easier.
 
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Jbrillo

Gold Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
388
League City, Texas
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Texantoasted,

Hey there neighbor, congrats on getting a pool soon. I want to mention something that was said earlier but I think you already know......we don’t close pools in League City! It doesn’t get that cold here. You will or at least can use your pool/hot tub year round. Heating is relatively cheap here too. Also, I will echo others and say get the robot. So much easier and it scrubs the walls too!!!! You won’t regret the SWG. it will make your life so much easier.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,552
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
@texantoasted Can you post the model numbers of your pool equipment list? Just want to have for future consideration. Thanks.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
4,226
Palm City/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Alright folks. I went to the meeting with my proposed changes in hand, along with a bunch of other items I wanted to discuss. The meeting went well. We went line by line, and he did not have any objections to my proposed changes. He even agreed on the final 10% due after all the items listed above are met. He is sending over an addendum to the contract.

About the other items:
  • Foreign objects - He mentioned that I would need to pay for the disposal of objects he finds. He said he's come across all kinds of stuff, cars, tree stumps, dead...
  • Ground water - If I recall correctly (it was a long meeting), he mentioned that if he comes across groundwater, he will dig a hole next to the pool to drain it until gunite is visible or something along those lines. Based on B's experience above, I may need to get more clarification on this. He stated no additional cost to me.
He also shared his detailed Construction Guide (similar to what's on TFP) for all the phases and what to expect, which was nice.

He appreciated that we went through all my concerns at this early stage of the process and said I was the most thorough customer he's had!
You did great, congrats. His response on both bullet items above is pretty reasonable and common. In Florida they dig a hole and suck the water out on every pool I've seen. On the hidden subsurface if you can use the term "demonstrated costs" that's good. It means you pay his cost and no profit on it if defined in normal contract language. If you can't get any more movement you've done well anyway. I sure wish there were more people that would take your approach. As you found it's not really that hard and very beneficial.

Chris
 

texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
@Jbrillo Hey neighbor! Thanks for stopping by! I didn't think I would need to close the pool, but didn't know for sure since it's my first pool. But you just confirmed it! I'm definitely getting into the weeds of the IFCS. If, and I just might, go that route, I want to make sure that I'm prepared when something fails. Apparently, I like to take unnecessary risks in life...

@HermanTX This has been requested. Hoping to have the list Friday or before.

@setsailsoon Couldn't have done it without the help of this community. I didn't realize the breadth of knowledge folks have here, and glad I found this website three months before my build. I'll see if I can slide that additional language into the contract.

The plan is to meet with the PB again this Friday to over selections for tiles, finalize the design, decking (more than likely will be travertine) and, discuss equipment a bit more. Exciting but stressful time!
 
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texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
Wow, it's been two months since I gave an update! We are about a month and a half away from the pool build (and closing on our house). We still need to decide on a few things, such as the type of travertine, plaster, waterline, stacked stone for the wall, and spa. etc... We are mainly waiting to decide on most of these once we have the brick for our new home installed. Because of the lack of material, building a home right now is insane! Luckily, we are in the final stretches of the home building process.

I made a choice that's not a popular choice with many folks on this forum, and we decided to do the IFCS :oops:. I listened to the advice on here, and the PB will install four returns controlled by an actuator tied into IntelliCenter to bypass the IFCS when needed.

I'm also adding floor jets in the spa and asked the PB to have them be turned on and off separately from the back jets.

Here is the updated list of items that are included in the build:
  • i10PSIC40
    • Dedicated CAT6 run to home network.
  • IntelliFloXF
  • 1.5 HP WhisperFlow WF Pump For Bubbler & Sheer Decents
  • 520 Clean & Clear Catridge
  • 4 microbrite LED's
  • Full A&A IFCS
    • Ability to bypass with 4 returns
  • 400k BTU MasterTemp
  • (1) Bubbler On Tanning Ledge
  • 7x7 Inside Spa With 7' Open Tile Spillway Raised 12" raised spa.
    • Spa W/ 6 Hydro Therapy Spa Jets and (4) in floor foot jets (1.5") eyeballs via actuator.
  • Travertine decking (On sand base)
    • Additional decking behind the pool
      • Veneer Back Side of Columns and Fire Pit Wall
  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • 4' firepit in backwall
  • Light above equipment pad
  • All dedicated suction
  • (2) Common Returns For Spa Spillway
  • (2) 1' Sheer Decents On Columns

I am attaching the plumbing details along with some other info about the build. Please let me know how it looks and if I should change anything (besides removing the IFCS! :mrgreen:).

Pic1.jpgPic2.jpg
 

Attachments

  • LayoutPlan.pdf
    1.1 MB · Views: 29

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,552
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
@texantoasted This looks very nice. So happy that you provided an update for all.
It appears you covered all the bases and as you said, you have sufficient valves to allow independent control of key features.
I like that you have a separate pump for suction and circulation to your sheer decents and gusher which allows you to have this active in either Spa Mode or Pool Mode.
Will your (6) Hydro jets be separately controlled from the (4) floor jets in the Spa or are they either all on/all off? Just curious how you plan to set that up as it looks like you have separate lines for each group but all powered by the single VS pump.
Good Luck.
 

texantoasted

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2020
32
League City, TX
Appreciate the feedback! Great question about the spa jets. Yes, the hydro jets are supposed to be controlled separately from the floor jets. I can have either turned on/off independently. To do this, the PB said he'll add an actuator. Here's what the contract states:

1.5 HP Silncer Air Blower For Spa Jets (with Acutator for foot jets run (2) air lines )

Does this sound right?

Edited: updated typo of 5 HP to 1.5.
 
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