Should plumbing be completely buried before concrete?

cowboycasey

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@Dirk That would be great, if the pool maker knew it was being installed wrong they would be liable and OP, That is where you have them... in writing say, you will hold the manufacture liable for all the mistakes this installer has made and you will require them to come back and fix them if anything ever happens...

I would first contact them and ask if they could send someone to inspect the pool... :)
 
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Obi Uno

Member
May 11, 2020
14
Austin, Texas
In the pic you can actually see a big pile of stone they knocked in when trying to get the pool into the hole. The hole also looks very tight to try to get that pool in an leveled.



I do not see any sign of gravel around the edges of the pool. I assume he just ordered X amount of gravel then used common fill when he did not have enough to finish the backfill?

Did he use a excavator to re-dig the side or did he do it by hand?




I am not sure it would be acceptable to maintain any kind of warranty on the pool shell.
How far out of level is the pool?
I witnessed the original backfill and gravel was used and tamped down pretty extensively. Then a few inches of roadbase were placed on top (this is why none is visible). The trench was then dug out by hand. I suspect they ended up using common fill for a part of the re-fill here (again, I didn't get to witness this step).

Pool appears level (for now) - measuring to the waterline we are completely level on the width of the pool and about a half a cm out of level on the length (7.0 cm vs 6.5 cm from the lip to the waterline).

I'm going to reach out to the Pool Manufacturer and see if they will get involved. I'll also be making some inquiries with the city (we are in the ETJ of Pflugerville, Tx) to see if we can use their inspection services. Good ideas here.

Unfortunately, I have lost almost all confidence in this crew to do things correctly. The other fairly major question I had (I really should have made a build thread!) was: how to handle decking (concrete with 3 cm Travertine stone) going directly up to the house. Is it as simple as running a micro drain and an expansion joint between the deck and the home's foundation? Any resources/engineering standards I should be aware of?
 
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wilkj1

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Nov 27, 2017
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okc/okla
@cowboycasey is right do not let them pour the concrete deck as is 1 do not pour on ground with grass growing big no no. 2 separate coping from deck with expansion material and the backfill needs to be very good or well i think you already know good luck .......... watching/ jimmie
 
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Obi Uno

Member
May 11, 2020
14
Austin, Texas
@cowboycasey is right do not let them pour the concrete deck as is 1 do not pour on ground with grass growing big no no. 2 separate coping from deck with expansion material and the backfill needs to be very good or well i think you already know good luck .......... watching/ jimmie
Agreed. They will not be pouring as-is. I've contacted the nearest city as well as the Pool Manufacturer to ask for on-site inspections (responses pending from both).

At a minimum, I am going to require that they
1) Remove the re-bar
2) Trench and cover the existing flex tubing
3) Prep the decking area per the manufacturer's requirements (photo below). They really are not even close to this design as it stands.
4) Re-install re-bar and bonding
5) Complete an inspection by (hopefully) the city and/or pool manufacturer

Engineering Design.jpg

I'm still going to need to do some research on their plans for how the decking will attach to the home's foundation (see below) as well as what typical "best practices" are for design.

Side.jpg
 

vermaraj

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2015
97
Long Island City, NY
Call the local building inspector or the town engineer. Ask them for recommendation for a Professional Engineer or an inspector with soils experience. Either one can give you a professional opinion on the situation and the any appropriate remediation.
 
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Obi Uno

Member
May 11, 2020
14
Austin, Texas
The plot thickens. After contacting the city to inquire about hiring out their inspection services, I've found that the city actually has a "development agreement" with our subdivision (even though we are outside of the city limits in an "ETJ") and a Pool Permit is required.

This was never applied for by the PB (and I take fault for not double checking).

It looks like the permit is fairly "bare bones"

1597680097271.png
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
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Central California
Well, if there's good news... it's that you caught this just in time. No telling how the money will play out, of course, but at least there's nothing that can't be undone/redone.

Consider this your build thread. Don't start another. If the Mods want to move it, they will, but better to keep all this history in one place. Now that you're on TFP's radar, we'll all pitch in and get you back on track. For example: does your pool have auto-fill/auto-overflow? Now's the time to think of all the other things the PB might have neglected. Planning for garden lights, drip irrigation, deck drainage, efficient plumbing schematic, etc (and other things that need to be considered before the deck goes down).

When you first wrote "Pflugerville" I thought that was a typo! Hopefully with the city's involvement you'll end up with a pfine pool and eventually will be having lots of pfun in it!
 
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BowserB

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Jul 29, 2018
363
Katy, Texas
Good that you contacted the city. My understanding of ETJ's is that the city building codes apply, but I'm not sure about inspections although it stands to reason that you need permits and inspections in order to enforce codes. I'm in Katy, a Houston suburban city with a population about a fourth of Pflugerville, and I'll tell you, permits and inspections are all Katy is about. My pool file has both sides of an 8.5x11 sheet covered with inspection stickers, plus a few more loose in the folder. They include PASSED, Passed subject-to, and Failed inspections. I came to know some of the inspectors pretty well, as a couple even stopped by when they weren't inspecting anything, just to chat or one to show me what he had just picked up from the taxidermist. I was able to learn what they were looking for in their inspections and why. A couple I already know from the water softener inspections (two--plumbing and electrical) and the standby generator inspections (at least three, maybe four...I lost track.) Most inspectors here are retired from City of Houston. There are two pool companies located in the City of Katy. One of them does not build pools in Katy.

It sounds like your PB may be in big trouble. Does he already have all your money?
 
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BowserB

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Jul 29, 2018
363
Katy, Texas
One more thing. If your PB didn't get a permit, did either of you address your HOA rules? Mine required advance approval of plans.

I see at least you have a variable speed pump. That can save you a fortune. At 1/2 speed, it uses 1/8 the power, so even if you ran it twice as long at 1/2 speed, you still use only 1/4 the power. At lower speeds the pump is also MUCH quieter.
 

Obi Uno

Member
May 11, 2020
14
Austin, Texas
Thanks Dirk. This site and the users have been invaluable.

I'll consider this my build thread going forward. If the mods want to move it, I'm all for it.

Auto-Fill:
Not currently in scope. Hosebibs are ~50 feet away in each direction. PB never brought it up and I hadn't planned on pursuing it (one more thing to break). That said, after having the pool filled during a 105+ degree Central Texas summer, I'm certainly seeing some of the value in an ATO.

Garden Lights/Drip Irrigation:
No need given our relatively small yard. We wanted to keep the majority of the rest of the yard green to allow future kiddos plenty of space to run.

Deck Drainage:
No drawn plans from the Pool Builder. It appears they intend to place a deck trench drain around the perimeter of the deck immediately against the slab. I'm also getting gutters installed around the back of the home to help with drainage. Not sure if this is the best solution, or if a drain is really needed in this area (vs. just having the water fall away towards the camera into the yard).
Side.jpg

Plumbing Schematic:
No drawn plans here, either. I can snap some photos of the equipment pad as well as the pool returns to help illustrate things a bit more.

Pflugerville
We "pfully" embrace the relatively silly name. "Pfood, Pfun and Pfamily" banners periodically appear around town. We hold an annual Chili "Pfest" and the high school football stadium is officially known as "The Pfield."
1597683372142.png

@BowserB
We did get HOA approval, so that is a plus!

Unfortunately, the PB has all of their money. They required the balance of their funds be paid before the pool was set. So not much leverage.

The remainder of the money goes directly to the concrete contractor.
The concrete contractor works closely with the PB, and his crew actually has done most of the work setting the pool and doing all the equipment/plumbing. But for concrete work, technically this contractor has a 100% separate contract/warranty from the PB, and the contract/warranty is directly with us. I assume this lets the PB get out of a lot of hassle when things go wrong on the concrete/decking side. I have no idea if this is a typical arrangement.
 

vermaraj

Well-known member
Jul 6, 2015
97
Long Island City, NY
Keep in mind town building inspectors are looking for code violations specifically and workmanship to a lesser extent. The issue you are faced with may not be noticed by the inspector. Even if it is, the inspector may not have the knowledge to evaluate.

If you are truly concerned about a structural issue a Professional Engineer is your best bet.
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
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Central California
Whatever typical is... sorry to hear that he grabbed all the funds. That speaks to his ethics, for sure. I hope that he doesn't bolt (for your sake). And I hope he does (for your pool's). If you know what I mean. Tough spot. Does TX have a contractor's license board? We'll come back to that if things go south (south-er).

I wouldn't own a pool without auto-fill/drain, though that preference is somewhat location-centric. My PoolMiser keeps my water perfectly level, rain or shine, never have to think about it. We have a thread here where folks describe their pool faux pas. The majority of the posts are all about leaving the hose on! I certainly would (HAVE!). I expect topping off a pool, at least in some areas of TX, would be a daily chore. I lose up to an inch a day. Who's going to do that when you're gone for a few days?

Drainage is important. As is a proper slope away from pool. Downspouts should all tie in. Don't dump gutter water onto your deck. And the runoff from roof and deck should all be directed appropriately, not just left to run into your landscaping. That needs a plan.

Regarding the other items, I was just encouraging you to think about what needs to run under the deck, before it gets poured. Whether that's drip irrigation or an extra circuit for lighting, a gas line, whatever. Might be nothing at all. Just give it some imagination. You can't add things later.
 
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jimmythegreek

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Aug 10, 2017
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Morris Cnty NJ
How did they dig the pool by hand or excavator? The machine should have at the least been on site to set the pool. Theres so much wrong with sliding a pool into the hole I cant even type it all. The sub base isnt prepared theres organics, I see grass, it will leave voids. The pool needs a collar first and that ties the shell like a locking collar. Then a separate slab is done for the deck. Can be same pour if properly done with expansion joints. The drain against house needs a trough application where the house side of drain comes back up to make a valley. Cant use the house as a water bumper with pitch right to the foundation it will overshoot drain in heavy rains. I wouldnt use micro channel either it will clog and no access to clean. Use a channel drain with accessible lid. That plumbing needs to get sunk and the sib base compacted and cleaned up. Dont forget chairs for the rebar and wire ties
 
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Obi Uno

Member
May 11, 2020
14
Austin, Texas
Permitting
City Pool Permit is in hand!
City will need to perform a PVC inspection, bonding inspection, and pre-pour concrete/bonding inspection.

It sounds like all of the rebar is going to be removed, and plumbing will be exposed for the PVC inspection.
I've gotten commitment that the PB will be trenching and burying all of the piping (they need to expose it for the inspection anyways).

While the rebar is out, they will be re-prepping the site for concrete - digging deeper and adding additional base material.
They will also be removing the mixed backfill seen on other photos and replacing with clean gravel.

Drainage
Gutter install began today (after a 2+ month backlog). Below are photos of the downspout in the pool area.
Any recommendations on the best way to direct the water from the downspout? I assumed that directing the water as far away from the pool is preferable, but I imagine there are more elegant solutions than a 3' downspout. Perhaps tying into PVC underground with a pop up drain, or am I over-complicating it?

IMG_1232.jpg


IMG_1231.jpg
 
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Turbo1Ton

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Dec 26, 2019
323
NE Oklahoma
I would probably have that downspout go underground in PVC and hit a pop up right next to your fence. The way it is, it will just wind up washing out the corner of your patio. Plus will help get the water further away from the foundation.

--Jeff
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
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Central California
I like this stuff, cheap, easy to use. Snaps together, no gluing. Run it way away from where it is now. Not sure what the heck we're looking at in your pics, with that weird length and angle? It shouldn't dump out that close to house or deck. Yah, popup down by the fence. Have your PB dig you a trench when he's digging the others. For FREE: part of the restitution for your troubles. Then hide the connection in a bush, like I did (bush still has to grow a bit more for full effect!).

Nice job on the permit and the new plan!

drainage.jpg
 
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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
959
MA
I like this stuff, cheap, easy to use. Snaps together, no gluing.
You should not 'cheap out' on your drainage pipe. That pipe in the pic appears to be the smooth inside wall version which is far better than the coil version that has a corrugated inside. However the pipe is flexible which leads to sags and pockets of water remaining in pipes and all the southern folks usually will use pop up drains so there is always water in the pipes. Those snap fittings promote root intrusion and failure. You want a good quality smooth walled ridged pipe with solvent weld or gasketed fittings, with a 4" min diameter. If you have at least 1' of cover then sdr35 is the minimum I would use in areas with no traffic or heavy loads. In almost all cases the extra money to use scdl 40 is well worth it for the peace of mind you have a bullet proof pipe that will never fail.

I agree with a pop up at fence line for the gutter drain and strip drain Jimmy mentioned. It appears you have a drainage swale in the back yard. You might want to put the pop up half way down that slope along the fence line too avoid potentially putting water on your neighbors lawn. This also gives a bit more head pressure to open the pop up.
 
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Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
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You should not 'cheap out' on your drainage pipe. That pipe in the pic appears to be the smooth inside wall version which is far better than the coil version that has a corrugated inside.
It's not the good stuff. Thanks for pointing that out. None of the stuff I installed would be hard to replace, if I get the roots. But the original owner/builder did put that same stuff under some of my slabs. I'll have to keep my fingers crossed. So to the OP, yah, better do it right.
 

BowserB

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Jul 29, 2018
363
Katy, Texas
FWIW, I have two downspouts in back of the house. The PB channeled them into the same drain pipe used for the decking and pool overflow. That drain runs underground out to a popup by the curb and then, of course, into the storm drains. There are two drain grates on the deck and a third in the grass next to the decking. Three places to run a roto rooter, should it be necessary. Texas Surface Water Act Sec. 11.086 requires that you not alter your drainage so that it runs from your property to another's property.