Sugar Land Pool Bid (Houston, Texas)

hou.TX

New member
Jun 30, 2020
2
Sugar Land, Texas
Hi! Newbie here! We've shopped around for pool builders and would like some input on this particular bid. I just found this forum and wanted to do some homework before we signed the contract. Although I've never built a pool, the bid seems a bit pricey, but we absolutely love the design. We've met with at least 2 other builders and I wasn't impressed. Due to Covid-19, seems pool builders are busier than ever! Let me know your thoughts! TIA!!!

99K
Geometric Pool
34'X16' pool w/ 11'X4.5' spa
4' - 5' - 4'
pebble sheen
sunshelf 16' x 8'
corner bench
Spa w/ vanishing edge - glass tile
1.0 hp WhisperFlo
water feature - 4 scuppers
automatic fill line
Pentair Intelliflo VSF
Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Cartridge Filter
Pentair Mastertemp
Paramount PV3 - 24 heads
spray deck 460 sf + cap patio 180 sf
turf inlay
18" raised wall (Travertine)
Travertine coping
3 MicroBrite color LED light
Limestone firepit
stepping pads w/ black star chip
Easy touch 4 w/ Logic
+gas, electrical, plumbing, drain lines, irrigation/sod and horizontal privacy fence

We excluded the outdoor shower and landscaping behind the pool.

(note - 14' easement)
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,345
Tallahassee, FL
LOVE the design! Looks like you have put a lot of time in reading with your depths. I do have to ask if you realize the 5' area is one where almost no one will be able to stand and it is a little shallow for cannon balls and such. Are you going to play volley ball and such in the pool?

For the equipment get the model numbers of everything and post them up here so I can have @Jimrahbe look it over.

Some things to add to the pool will be making sure there is an over flow pipe. You know how heavy your rain can fall. You sure do not want to have to run out in the mess to open up a valve to let some water out.

Also make sure there is a light over the equipment pad. You will thank me the first time you have to go out there at dark time.

Pricing-it is SO different even in the same town. As you know in your area the "inside the circle" and outside of it are like whole different worlds! Try to see if you can get at least two more builders out there to chat with.

Kim:kim:
 
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Texas Splash

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Welcome to TFP! :wave: Well, $99K is one of the more pricier quotes I've seen in a while I'll give you that, but you are having some other "extras" done other than just the pool. But about the pool:
- You listed both the Intelliflo and Whisperflo. Can you confirm why? I'm guessing one is for the in-floor cleaning system? Different opinions on those in-floor systems. Sounds nice in concept but besides cost, can lead to future maintenance issues. Just a thought, you could remove that requirement and substitute it with a good robot cleaner? But to be fair, some owners do like their in-floor, so .......
- How are you sanitizing? Adding chlorine manually (liquid), adding it via an automated pump, salt water generator? That's a big one to know now.
- Will there be a light in the spa? Or do you care to have one?

Those are some things that jumped-out to me. Best of luck on the build.
 
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Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
18,765
Bedford, TX
Hou,

Who's idea was the in floor cleaning system? My guess it was the pool builder's idea.. An IFCS is one of the best ways to transfer money from your pocket into your pool builder's pocket. If I were looking for a house with a pool, and the pool had an IFCS, it would be a no go for me. It is kind of like using an Old Black Rotary phone, instead of using today's cell phones. Once it is in place you can't removed it, and you can't turn it off... You are stuck with it.. Simple is almost always better, when it comes to pool plumbing.

I suggest dumping the IFCS and going with a Robot.. Something like this..

The EasyTouch 4 with ScreenLogic will work fine as long as it is a real EasyTouch and not a "lite" version of the EasyTouch.. The lite version tastes just like lite salad dressing, and has no load center for your circuit breakers, and a very limited set of functions and programs.

You definitely need an overflow line..

The pump and filter are good.. Just make sure the filter is a 320 or above.. The bigger the filter the longer you can go between cleanings.

Do you intend to maintain the pool yourself or use a service?

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jul 7, 2014
18,765
Bedford, TX
Switch to IntelliCenter. It’s Pentair’s newest automation panel. No reason to go with their old tech, EasyTouch.
Jim, @jimbethesda

Glad you chimed in... I used to always push people to the new IntelliCenter, but I keep reading about the constant server issues that Pentair has been having, so I put my recommendation for the IntelliCenter on the back burner..

There is no doubt the IntelliCenter is a much better system, but not really sure how the Server issue impacts the user.. I'd hate to recommend something that has serious issues..

Since you have the new IntelliCenter, tell us what impact the Server problems have had on how your system works..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Tatino80

Active member
Apr 1, 2020
26
Dallas, Texas
The pricing seems to be in-line with what we are seeing here in Dallas. Builders appear to be very busy and in just my neighborhood, I’m seeing a builders sign going up every few days. For anything more than just a hole in the ground you were looking at $95 to $115k.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
370
Central Texas
Pricing seems in line with what I'm seeing here in the Austin area. We're getting a freeform pool, No spa, limited decking, no firepit, etc ...

Here's my build thread, where you can see the various quotes I've received.

Here's the one we decided to go with, and it's $67k.

1593612547383.png

Glad you chimed in... I used to always push people to the new IntelliCenter, but I keep reading about the constant server issues that Pentair has been having, so I put my recommendation for the IntelliCenter on the back burner..
Not only that, but here in Central Texas, the local Pentair rep (as well as my PB) don't want to sell the IntelliCenter due to the support issues they're having with it. I actually called Pentair to ask about IntelliCenter vs. EasyTouch, and of course, they said IntelliCenter would be best for me ... so I asked about my local PB and their Pentair rep mandating I pay $700 for ScreenLogic, plus another $550 for the 2 actuators, as well as the cost of the IntelliCenter unit itself ... They of course told me I don't need ScreenLogic, and the IntelliCenter would come with 2 actuators (I only need one) .... That phone call ended up causing a bunch of heat for my sales guy ... he apparently got a call from both his CEO and the local Pentair rep, which resulted in both saying they would no longer consider selling me the IntelliCenter at all, even at the inflated pricing.

So it seems the folks in the field (ie: Pentail local reps) and some PBs, just don't want to mess with IntelliCenter in its current state ... Being in the tech field myself, I honestly can't blame them. Especially if it's causing a bunch of support calls and dissatisfied customers.
 
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Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
504
Martinez, CA
Make sure it has:
1. Automatic Water fill To replenish evaportion and splash out
2. High level overflow to drain so not manually draining in winter
3. Robotic cleaner
4. Salt system
5. Water cooling capability

as said above, the in floor systems are old technology that can become problematic as they age. A robot will do a better job at lower cost and maintence. As to pool cooling, it’s not uncommon for pools to be in mid 90s in the summer in Houston if in full Sun. Some don’t mind but it doesn’t become very refreshing at a point. If higher temps don’t bother you no problem but if you like a pool that is cooler, youkll need to have a plan in place to cool it overnight. Some use solar water collectors, some evaporation cooling. If you have shade and trees, I think youkll be fine without.
 
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gregr

New member
May 9, 2012
3
We're in Missouri City (near by town) in midst of our build and can also confirm the price is inline with what we saw (6 bids). Been told by a couple builders that they can't even quote new customers right now they are so backed up. Said new inquiries initial meetings getting pushed a month or more out.
 
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jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
435
Austin, TX
Jim, @jimbethesda

Glad you chimed in... I used to always push people to the new IntelliCenter, but I keep reading about the constant server issues that Pentair has been having, so I put my recommendation for the IntelliCenter on the back burner..

There is no doubt the IntelliCenter is a much better system, but not really sure how the Server issue impacts the user.. I'd hate to recommend something that has serious issues..

Since you have the new IntelliCenter, tell us what impact the Server problems have had on how your system works..

Thanks,

Jim R.
None. I'm almost always home when I use the app and therefore connect directly to IntelliCenter, bypassing their servers.

A also have Ecobee thermostats. I love them when they work, but their servers are also down a lot. The problem with Ecobee is there is no connect locally option, so even though I'm home, I can't control my thermostats.

Connecting directly to IntelliCenter is a great feature. @MyAZPool prefers the web app, which I think you can only connect via their servers. While I have used the web app a few times, the IOS app (on my iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch) works great...and again I connect locally. Maybe he can chime if there are things he feels like he can't do on the IOS app.

So...for me, the server issue has had no effect on me.
 
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jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
435
Austin, TX
Not only that, but here in Central Texas, the local Pentair rep (as well as my PB) don't want to sell the IntelliCenter due to the support issues they're having with it. I actually called Pentair to ask about IntelliCenter vs. EasyTouch, and of course, they said IntelliCenter would be best for me ... so I asked about my local PB and their Pentair rep mandating I pay $700 for ScreenLogic, plus another $550 for the 2 actuators, as well as the cost of the IntelliCenter unit itself ... They of course told me I don't need ScreenLogic, and the IntelliCenter would come with 2 actuators (I only need one) .... That phone call ended up causing a bunch of heat for my sales guy ... he apparently got a call from both his CEO and the local Pentair rep, which resulted in both saying they would no longer consider selling me the IntelliCenter at all, even at the inflated pricing.

So it seems the folks in the field (ie: Pentail local reps) and some PBs, just don't want to mess with IntelliCenter in its current state ... Being in the tech field myself, I honestly can't blame them. Especially if it's causing a bunch of support calls and dissatisfied customers.
Yes, I had to tell my PB about IntelliCenter too. PBs are construction people, that's it. They also are not going to operate your pool, you are. Same reason they don't like SWG...only potential downsides for them, with no upside. IntelliCenter is still the way to go IMO.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,524
Arizona
hou.TX
Welcome to TFP. In my opinion, you have come to the right place to get your questions answered. :thumleft:
Since the IntelliCenter topic has come up, I'll just throw in my two cents since I have been using the IntelliCenter for my pool automation needs since December 2018 now.

1. The IntelliCenter Server. There were some server problems that occurred over about a 3-week period in May/June of this year. It was very frustrating for many of us and especially for those that were right in the middle of configuring their brand new automation systems. The way the user typically connects remotely to their IntelliCenter involves using a desktop/laptop connected to the internet. The IntelliCenter is also connected to the internet and the Pentair servers and there is where the connection is made and where a user can run into problems. Normally this connectivity scenario works just fine. But, there are advantages TOO!! Firmware updates to the system are fairly seamless, especially compared to other Pentair Automation Systems. Those IntellliCenter updates are called Over-the-Air (OTA) updates. They are downloaded and installed directly from these servers to your control panel at the pad through this internet connection. That is 1000 times easier and a lot less costly than the way that the other two Pentair automation systems get their upgrades which usually requires sending the board in to have it flashed, paying someone to come out and do that or buying a new motherboard. This is important as the IntelliCenter is now considered the flagship of Pentair automation. So efforts to do automation product improvement are going to go to the IntelliCenter and not the other two automation systems.

2. And here is the good news. Although there has been some issues with the IntelliCenter server recently, you can still connect "locally" through your own network via your handheld mobile device such as @jimbethesda was explaining. No server or outside internet service required. Once someone has their system configured, this is usually enough to do whatever the user needs to do and of course if you trip and you and your iPhone go flying in the pool (contrary to popular belief, iPhones are NOT waterproof), then you can always just dry yourself off, throw your iPhone in the garbage can and walk over to your pad and do whatever you need to do from the touchscreen.

3. User Interfaces. Just a small correction to one of the things that @jimbethesda said above. :p Actually, I do NOT prefer the web app (I rather wish is was an application lol..) client. I'm not a fan AT ALL and I have wrote about the disadvantages and pitfalls regarding the IntelliCenter web client ad nauseam, here on TFP. I will say however that in my opinion, I find it a whole lot "user-friendly" performing initial setups and configuration on the web client versus a mobile application such as on an iOS or Android device. But after the initial setup and configs, the mobile applications are just fine and are typically preferred for normal day-to-day operations.

And there are alternatives to the Pentair web client (and the Pentair Mobile apps) that are only now being developed and refined. There are several threads here on TFP that explore these possibilities. These alternatives are for those that will no longer accept the clunky and buggy Pentair solution to a user interface. I am one of those. Just let me ask you.

Would you prefer this (where you are beholden to the whims of both the Internet AND the Pentair servers)?

2020-07-01_16-01-37.jpg

Or this? Which is up and operational 24x7 as long as your local home network is up. The below solution which I use now works in about the same fashion as do the other two Pentair "ScreenLogic" based automation systems.

2020-07-01_20-20-45.jpg 2020-07-01_16-09-04.jpg

2020-07-01_20-39-00.jpg






















3. Macros. Here is the one area that really sets the IntelliCenter apart from the other Pentair automation systems in my opinion. Macros are not necessary for simple pools (although they can still be useful), but they are "game changers", when a users pool is anything more than just a pool (no spa), pump, heater and SWCG. But for any pool that has an associated spa, water features, bubblers, advanced schedules, advanced lighting features, etc., then Macros make automation programs, configurations, scheduling and operations a breeze. One command and lots of things can happen at once.

One of the Pentair automation systems do not feature macros, another one does but it is a real pain IMO to setup and program and the IntelliCenter macros are very easy to setup. To the point that they are fun to setup and very flexible and you can get very "creative".

I hope that I have provided you with some information to help in any decisions that you face regarding your automation needs and requirements.
Stay well.
r...
 

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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
481
Katy TX
The others have addressed the equipment. I like the design. One minor item you may want to include are to add umbrella holder in the sunshelf. These are holes they put in and put a flat top that screws in when not in use. If you have little ones that will play in the shallow water, you will enjoy that you can put some shade over them. You may want to add 2 - rather than just 1 in middle of sunshelf. May want to consider an umbrella holder by the spa as well. Adding this now during construction is better than trying to add them later. I remodeled my 16 year old pool and replastered with pebble & very small glass shards rather than just white gunite. I had it sanded as well which made it nice and smooth and sparkle when the sun hits it.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jul 7, 2014
18,765
Bedford, TX
@jimbethesda And @MyAZPool

With my EasyTouch and ScreenLogic, my PC talks to my local network which talks to my EasyTouch.. No Pentair Servers involved..

So with the IntelliCenter, when you are home, can you use your PC to control the IntelliCenter or does that required a Pentair Server.. ??

How does the iPhone (and I assume Android) communicate with the IntelliCenter when home??

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
435
Austin, TX
@jimbethesda And @MyAZPool

With my EasyTouch and ScreenLogic, my PC talks to my local network which talks to my EasyTouch.. No Pentair Servers involved..

So with the IntelliCenter, when you are home, can you use your PC to control the IntelliCenter or does that required a Pentair Server.. ??

How does the iPhone (and I assume Android) communicate with the IntelliCenter when home??

Thanks,

Jim R.
All of my IOS devices connect directly to IntelliCenter while at home. If I want to connect while off my home network, I need to go through their servers. I’ve only used my PC once...I’m not sure. The IOS apps are great, I haven’t ever found a need to use a PC.
 

hou.TX

New member
Jun 30, 2020
2
Sugar Land, Texas
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions!

I have 3 microbrite lights, 2 in the body of the pool and 1 in the spa w/ 6 jets. @HermanTX I'll definitely put an umbrella sleeve in the sunshelf for shade. The sunshelf works for our us because we have lots of toddlers/kids in the family who come over. The 1HP Whisperflo Pump is for the water feature. The spa will run off of the intelliflo vsf but it also has a 1.5HP air blower for the jets. We do have the overflow drains. @jimbethesda I'm almost certain we have the Easy Touch 4 w/ Logic and not the Lite, but I'm going to look into the Intellicenter @MyAZPool . @Jimrahbe As for the IFCS, my husband was interested in this, and it wasn't the pool builder who pressured us. After doing some TFP reading, I'm trying to convince him otherwise. Guess we'll see! Realistically speaking, we'll probably be getting the pool serviced. Looking into the pool cooler @Rossterman .

In line chlorinator
Mastertemp 400K BTU Heater: 460736
Clean and Clear Plus Filter: 160301
Intelliflo VSF: 011056

@kimkats The PB suggested a depth of 3.5' x 5' x 4'. We have boys (7 and 12, great swimmers) and I figured they'd get more out of the pool (4 x 5 x 4) as they get older. It'll be more of a social pool/sports pool when cousins/friends come over. I'm the shortest in the family @ 5'2... 5'8/6' Thoughts?

Sun shelf depth, suggestions?

So glad I found this forum before we sign and build! :)

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Bvacchiano

Silver Supporter
Apr 6, 2018
272
Sugar Land, Texas
Howdy neighbor!! $99k seems high but reasonable in today’s market considering everybody is extremely busy although for that price I would have expected travertine decking and an SWG. The SWG is an absolute must here. Trust me. I’d rather stab myself in the eye with this fork I’m holding than not have an SWG down here! Also agree on the infloor cleaner. Too steep in my mind for that. I’d sub that out for a robot and a Chiller. Water hit 92 deg today and I turned it on for first time and it’s only July. Like swimming in a bathtub right now! I’d get several quotes if I were you and make the others quote apples to apples.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,345
Tallahassee, FL
Depth-here are my thoughts-if you are not having a cannon ball area (6') I would have the whole thing 4'5" as the in the 5' area almost no one will be able to stand comfortably. Hold a a tape measure up to the next tallest person and see where 5' will hit them. On me at 5'5" it hits me right at the chin/mouth area. NOT fun to try to stand in.

Now for some extra fun look up the watermelon ball game. It is the funnest game out there for a pool!!!