They are back - drains, tamping, plumbing, conduits

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
After over a month with our pool at a standstill, the builder finally got the contractors over to check the skimmer. They said it was 3/4" lower than the other and would work perfectly fine, packed up their stuff and drove out of here talking on their phone. While that was going on I was texting and calling my builder letting him know what they said. Bottom line, I told him while it may work correctly, it looked bad and I wanted it fixed. He says they will take care of it but no ones been back. I have also sent an email and copy by mail listing all the issues we've had, including lack of supervision and inspection, lack of meeting quoted timelines, communication issues, and quality of workmanship. No response to my email, which I fully expected, and he should have the letter in mail by today at the latest. Will see if anything changes.
 

BritDan

Silver Supporter
Jun 11, 2021
54
Atlanta, GA
Pool Size
19000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Hi there, your pool looks very similar to mine in terms of shape and even skimmer placement. I'm in Roswell, GA so just west of you. You're not using a Roswell-based builder are you?

I would think that so long as the entries to the skimmers - the entries right at the water line tile - are level so that water would pour over the tile lip and down the slopes into the mouths of the skimmers, then the skimmers would both operate just fine and you wouldn't have one run dry before the other. You would want the top of the skimmer inspection tubes level so that your decking ends up level with the removable skimmer inspection caps - that would be my concern.

As far as pool progress - yeah it's slow. We get random sub contractors showing up from time to time but we accommodate all of them just so that we have progress. We had an electrician show up last week and did the bond, lighting, and main trench all the way to about 6ft short of our electrical box on the side of our home. Haven't seen him since. It just so happened to coincide with a nice-sized invoice from my PB so I've withheld payment until them come back to get that finished.

Communication with the PB is poor - VMs, texts, and emails all mostly unanswered or super delayed so holding back this next payment feels justified. It's certainly been the quietest way I've spent over $100k!!

Thanks, Daniel.
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
I can't tell you how many times I've accepted substandard work and let it be my problem when it should have been theirs. For me, this is a one-time splurge and will end up costing quite a bit of money after the retaining walls, extra decking, pool house, and whatever landscaping I have.

The workers used a laser beginning with excavation to insure that everything was level. But I kept seeing them fiddling with this particular skimmer during the plumbing and steel phase because they knew it wasn't level. After they did the tile, it really became noticeable with a drastic slope on that one compared to the other. If it were windows installed in a home and one was 3/4" (it's actually 7/8") lower than the other it would look bad, yet still function.

So while would rather not be having any kind of issues with the construction or builder, it looks bad and I would rather it be their problem then me having to look at it from now on. I do my part, I write them checks for the correct amount and at the correct time. I actually do more than my part. I have been put into a position of notifying the builder of workmanship issues like this one. I have others!

My 'builder' is near the Athens area. As far as I know, he owns no equip nor has any employees. He schedules and pays the contractors with my money.

Daniel, I have a great aunt that lives in Alpharetta. Her backyard is almost in Roswell. We were out there a few weeks ago. Good luck with your pool!
 

stack24

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2016
189
Sugar Land, TX
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
They said it was 3/4" lower than the other and would work perfectly fine,

I had some concerns with my skimmer as well and making sure it was level, and I was right about 3/4" out of level as well which the gunite crew as well as pool builders said that is within tolerance. Hoping everything is okay since we are at plaster at this point.
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
Skimmer Update: The workers came back last week, removed and replaced the skimmer to the proper level. The cosmetic workmanship such as keeping the tile lined up could be improved but overall, I am much more satisfied than before.

Prior to their returning to fix the skimmer that was placed too low, I contacted Pentair/Starite to get their recommendations on proper skimmer installation. What they said was that the skimmers should be placed at the same level with at least 2 inches of water depth at the opening. I asked if there could be performance issues with the skimmers not being at the same level and their first concern was if the water level was low and one skimmer was sucking in air that it could burn up the pump. The other issue was that it may not do it's job of 'skimming'. For me, the cosmetic issue alone was enough to push the issue.

I set up my laser and they are reasonably level with each other. A couple of photos of the each skimmer and one photo of their sloppy finish work. Seems like after having to replace the skimmer due to poor workmanship that they would have been extra careful to make sure it was just right. As you can see from the last photo, they didn't get the tiles flush with each other. But I guess they were proud because I saw them taking lots of photos to show their boss the great job they did:)

But I'm OK, at least the skimmers are close to level now.

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klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
I just got stood up by the concrete man who the builder said was coming by to see what would need to be done on my project. But this time I was ready for them, mentally speaking, because I didn't think they'd show up anyway.

In the meantime, I wanted to see if anyone wanted to offer their inputs on my layout? I am on a hill so the pool deck on the front side will be set 28" down from the grade level at the highest point. I will transition from the walkway into the house with a curved set of concrete steps. On the backside, I will deal part of the drop in grade by building a pool house with a poured basement. The retaining walls will tie into the sides of the poured foundation on the pool house and back to the basement foundation on our house. My biggest concern aesthetically is on the front side of the pool where we currently have a circular turnaround parking area. On the attached layout drawing, I drew the retaining wall straight which is doable but does not look good where it will attach to the existing walkway up to the house. I'm thinking of curving the wall where it meets the existing walkway curbing and just doing a 90 degree on the far end across the front. The existing paver walkway will be replaced with a pigmented concrete in the same semi-circular fashion with steps following the same curvature down to the pool deck. I will attach pics of my sketch along with some photos to give a actual perspective of what it looks like now. Also, the current river pebble drive will eventually be replaced with pigmented concrete as well.

Any thoughts from a design perspective?pool structure layout.png

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klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
I was awakened this morning by unannounced concrete workers at my gate. It has been and is still raining but they are out there digging away for the retaining walls and pool house basement. I had emailed the builder a sketch of what I wanted and the contractor has it despite the builder telling me he can't get email.

I have kept records of the majority of phone calls, text and emails since this started along with audio recordings of our conversations in case things went south. I recently got back on a regular routine of text, phone calls and emails to see if I could get work to resume after a long standstill. I'm a reasonable person but things were not being done in the time frame as he led me to believe it would be done and communication was poor to non-existent.

But I am once again seeing some progress being made.IMG_20210921_074321214.jpgIMG_20210921_074317252_HDR.jpg
 

tommelton

Active member
Jun 23, 2021
35
Suburb of Atlanta, GA
We added two driveway alarms that cover both sides of the house. We had specified NO build traffic on one side of the house (yard side) and that all entry was down the side driveway. It is nice to know when pool related workers are here - as we too get no notice so far. We did get notice for dig day and for shotcrete day, but not for initial plumbing/rebar day or subsequent rebar remediation day. We got shotcrete last Saturday just before the rains started Sunday night/Monday.

Our current status is attached.

-Tom
 

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klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
Yours and ours are at almost the same stage except ours has the tile but if I recall correctly, you started your's much later than we did. And like you, I think for dig and shotcrete day were the only times we've been notified in advance. For the retaining walls and foundation I requested notice so I could make sure I was here since I'm the only one who knew what I wanted. But as usual, no notice.

I gave our builder the code to the gate operator but they showed up a while back to do work, no one here, and the builder called me later on to see how they could get in. I checked the video when I got home and found the workers opening up the electronics cabinet to the gate I guess trying to figure out how to bypass it before calling someone.

I was very surprised that they came in the rain. They will work a while then get under cover a while between the rain. But, I'm looking forward to having some progress and getting this behind.IMG_20210921_092431799.jpg
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
It's been a long day. Made three trips out to get PVC fittings and pipe that was cut or had to be moved. Got most of the forms up for the retaining walls. Also dug out for the poolhouse basement. Since June 1, they have worked a total of 6 days to get to this point. You don't see them often but when they do come, it's amazing how much they get done. There will have to be some re-routing of water lines, the septic line from the house and a conduit because of the basement grade where the pool house will sit.
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klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
I was in the process of getting a building permit for the pool house and found out that I will have to get a second Environmental Health authorization before a building permit can be issued. When the builder requested the Environmental Health authorization, he only mentioned the pool. When the request was made the first time, it was over a month for approval and the day they came for inspection, they were afraid of our dog and called the builder to ask where the septic tank was located and just took his word for it without looking. Now I have to pay them again and this time wait about 2 weeks for them to come out and authorize before I can get the building permit. And I will have to show them where the tank is at since our county has no records when it was installed.
 
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klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
Been over a month since the concrete contractor came out and prepped the area for retaining walls. He said when he left he had some other jobs to complete and did not know when he would return. Three weeks ago the builder said next week, then two weeks ago he said next week and this week he says next week. The work they have done was not part of the fixed cost of the contract and draws so they haven't gotten any money from me for the work they have done. There is also a big pile of rebar laying here for the footings so I expect them to be back,.....one of these days. I'm just glad I'm a patient man :)
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
581
Tampa, FL
Been over a month since the concrete contractor came out and prepped the area for retaining walls. He said when he left he had some other jobs to complete and did not know when he would return. Three weeks ago the builder said next week, then two weeks ago he said next week and this week he says next week. The work they have done was not part of the fixed cost of the contract and draws so they haven't gotten any money from me for the work they have done. There is also a big pile of rebar laying here for the footings so I expect them to be back,.....one of these days. I'm just glad I'm a patient man :)
Sounds like when I was waiting on plaster...for like 6 weeks they kept telling me "next week." I was patient until I was coming up on the 6-month mark, then my patience ran out! But it's good that you haven't paid them for that yet!
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
I've had a few flare ups but after I accepted that they weren't going to have it finished before the season was out, I have calmed down, at least for now. If it doesn't get going again soon I will start back becoming an irritant to the builder. I need time after they finish to get the pool house built before next spring. I don't recall where I read it but someone here posted that their builder was old and they were concerned about the possibility of something happening to him before the pool was finished. My builder is old and I had the same concerns wanting him to get it done before something might happen to him. But in hindsight, my builder wasn't worth the worry.
 
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klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
The saga continues. For the past 4 weeks, the builder said the concrete man was coming the following week to resume work on the walls. This morning, I texted the builder to see if the contractor was coming. His response, "he says he is". That doesn't sound like a confident reply so I texted the contractor (I happened to have his cell #) and asked what day he was coming this week? He replied that the builder was mistaken and he would not be coming this week. So, I texted the builder and asked him to get with the contractor and work things out, that I'd like to get things wrapped up. He says, the concrete man "is working on it".

I like the contractor. He listens, offers suggestions and gets things done when he comes. So I can't hold him responsible for the issues. It's the responsibility of the builder I hired and pay to get things moving.

Now in week 34 of my 12 week build.
 

klanel

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2021
285
Athens, GA
It's week 35 of our 12 week build and today the concrete contractor came to resume work on the retaining walls and dig the foundation for the pool house basement. Tomorrow they are coming back to shoot 2 sides of the retaining walls and shoot a skim coat on the back side to hold it until they can come back next week. Also, the builder says they are delivering the flagstone and mortar for the coping and spa. It's nice to see some progress being made again after waiting so long.IMG_20211108_150939259.jpgIMG_20211108_164537367.jpgIMG_20211108_074725936.jpgIMG_20211108_084402130.jpgIMG_20211108_100549567.jpgIMG_20211108_095858321.jpg
 

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