*UNDER CONSTRUCTION 1/11/2020 *

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Yes, anything a pool contractor has a hand in will be expensive. Still better than doing it later. I would work with the contractor and run all that myself, but that might wrinkle feathers. Gates: National code, right, thanks.

If you really want to get into it (like I just did), I ran a separate wire for not only each outlet I just installed around my yard, but for each plug (top and bottom) of each receptacle. I ran each back to the junction box, so that I could control each plug independently. I do so with home automation gear, but even for regular switches this trick could be handy. So I then plugged in: garden lights, fountain, bug zapper, citrus tree warmer, etc, and can control each independently, from the comfort of, well, anywhere. I followed my own advice and ran two extra independent circuits, just for good measure. It was not easy pulling that wire, and if I want to add something later (bistro lights, maybe), I won't have to re-pull all that wire, I'll have a "fresh" circuit good-to-go.

A tale: when I first took over my house from the previous owners, I found a very nice fountain all but buried behind some bushes. It had a cord that ran to an outlet that was part of the pool wiring. They would have had to walk across the yard and fumble in the bushes to stoop over to plug in the fountain, each time they wanted to use it. And of course keep it filled with water every few days, which would have meant dragging the hose clear across the yard each time. I imagine they used that fountain about twice. So I moved it closer to the house, wired it to my HA system and ran a length of drip hose from a hose bib by my back door to just over the fountain bowl. To fill it, I just turn on the hose bib. To turn it on, I just flip a switch, from inside the house. Now it gets used all the time and it's a great addition to my yard's ambiance.

Point being: with just the tiniest bit of forethought, the PB could have easily extended the auto fill water supply to a hose bib near the back fence, where the fountain was, and pulled an extra strand of wire in the pool light conduit to allow the previous owners to connect that fountain to the pool automation controller. Maybe $15 in materials? So plan for the things you know you'll want, and for things you've yet to know you'll want. It doesn't take much to add a little convenience while everything is open and trenched and before landscaping. I can tell you that running that electrical conduit now, after all my landscaping has matured, was no fun at all. Luckily, my yard is big enough that my neighbors probably missed most of the cussing! :rant:
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
Have you measured it yet?
Not yet. They are done digging and I will measure it tomorrow morning.

I hope it is right because I lined out the pool according to plans weeks before they arrived. I sent my marks to the PB and he was impressed. When the dig crew arrived they saw my marks and thought great! They measured according to the plans and were looking at me like WTH? Who is this guy??? I will double check the depths.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dirk

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
2,060
Stuart/FL
I couldn't agree more with Kim's comment. Establish and maintain a good dialog with your builder and his foreman or supervisor. When we had our blue-water sailboat fabricated I got to know the foreman. I was able to work with him to buy lunch for the crew as a "reward" for the crew's mini-accomplishments. Sometimes it was a schedule milestone, sometimes a quality milestone for a particularly difficult part. The final was a big celebration for successful completion of the sea trials. Usually it was simply buying a few pizza's and soft drinks. In the process I personally met every single person that did any work on the boat. Based on discussions with other owners of boats built by them and follow up with the foreman I'm quite certain we got the best quality boat of anybody. We sailed her for 25,000 miles and she never let us down. You can do the same thing with a pool. Make sure to work though the foreman to do this otherwise you can be disruptive to his plans and make it difficult for him to meet his accountabilities. But when you can work together it is really fabulous. You'll learn more than you can imagine about pool construction plus you'll meet some neat people and have a lot of fun!

I hope this helps.

Chris
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,890
NY
I couldn't agree more with Kim's comment. Establish and maintain a good dialog with your builder and his foreman or supervisor. When we had our blue-water sailboat fabricated I got to know the foreman. I was able to work with him to buy lunch for the crew as a "reward" for the crew's mini-accomplishments
this. I meet a lot of customers. Everybody always is quick to point out the ‘bad’. But very few point out the good. I’ll remember those people even years later and be twice as happy to try and help again.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
All excellent advice. Keep a close eye on the minutia, subtly letting the crew know you are, and that you know what you're looking at, and positive feedback are all excellent ways to ensure you end up with a great pool. Those that blindly trust the PB, and hope for the best, can end up with less...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Timujin

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
567
Corona de Tucson, AZ
By the way, another way of doing lighting with much less digging requirements is to go 12V... or even solar (which works in AZ and CA, but not many other places). I might do that but I tend to be a perfectionist...

I measured my odd shaped pool which is difficult but the circumference came out about 15" longer than the plans, so I thought, "good enough".

As for the pool contractor himself, his job is to take the Crud from both sides. That is why he is the "manager" of the project. Who you want to be nice to is the actual workers and craftsmen themselves. I don't feel super sorry for the PB because a cheap pool build is more expensive than a new BMW and much more permanent, so if I were in that job I would expect a bit of gruff if stuff isn't perfect.

Honestly, my PB can take it as a tremendous compliment that I say it all turned out good in the end. But the real reason was the quality of the subs who were quite good in our case.

I can give you an example... I still have their advertising sign sitting flat in my yard... and it's been about 4 months since completion and start up and I've asked them three times to remove it. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Timujin

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
First of all, thanks for the comments. I really appreciate it. This is very a very stressful process.

Pool equipment arrived. I need to update my signature.

The plumber (1 guy) is laying pipe for water and gas. He was going to source water for the auto-fill from a house bib coming out of the stucco on my house vs. using a source from existing irrigation. Added $400 to cost of build to trench 150' to water source. Stucco was slightly damaged. This is the worst part of the build so far. Not bad IMO.

I started measurements are bigger than the final pool size. Most areas are about 8"-1' larger. PB confirmed again what final size will be.

Steel guys are done.

Updates are happening faster than I can post. 1579133284957.JPG
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
Have you measured it yet?
Measurements came out larger than the final size in all areas. The plumber confirmed what the steel guys were going to do as far as spacing and that materialized. The owner of the company confirmed the finished measurements. The owner of the company and I will meet in a day and go over things. He will also check the plumbing and steel work.
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
You have established you know what is what and KNOWS how things should be done. I would even go as far as texting or emailing the PB "I wanted to let you know the pool measured out purrfect. Tell the crew good job!"
No compliments yet. J/K. The dig crew, plumber and steel guys have been great. We have fed and thanked them all. The plumber wants a Christmas card this year. We will send him one.
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
Yes, anything a pool contractor has a hand in will be expensive. Still better than doing it later. I would work with the contractor and run all that myself, but that might wrinkle feathers. Gates: National code, right, thanks.

If you really want to get into it (like I just did), I ran a separate wire for not only each outlet I just installed around my yard, but for each plug (top and bottom) of each receptacle. I ran each back to the junction box, so that I could control each plug independently. I do so with home automation gear, but even for regular switches this trick could be handy. So I then plugged in: garden lights, fountain, bug zapper, citrus tree warmer, etc, and can control each independently, from the comfort of, well, anywhere. I followed my own advice and ran two extra independent circuits, just for good measure. It was not easy pulling that wire, and if I want to add something later (bistro lights, maybe), I won't have to re-pull all that wire, I'll have a "fresh" circuit good-to-go.

A tale: when I first took over my house from the previous owners, I found a very nice fountain all but buried behind some bushes. It had a cord that ran to an outlet that was part of the pool wiring. They would have had to walk across the yard and fumble in the bushes to stoop over to plug in the fountain, each time they wanted to use it. And of course keep it filled with water every few days, which would have meant dragging the hose clear across the yard each time. I imagine they used that fountain about twice. So I moved it closer to the house, wired it to my HA system and ran a length of drip hose from a hose bib by my back door to just over the fountain bowl. To fill it, I just turn on the hose bib. To turn it on, I just flip a switch, from inside the house. Now it gets used all the time and it's a great addition to my yard's ambiance.

Point being: with just the tiniest bit of forethought, the PB could have easily extended the auto fill water supply to a hose bib near the back fence, where the fountain was, and pulled an extra strand of wire in the pool light conduit to allow the previous owners to connect that fountain to the pool automation controller. Maybe $15 in materials? So plan for the things you know you'll want, and for things you've yet to know you'll want. It doesn't take much to add a little convenience while everything is open and trenched and before landscaping. I can tell you that running that electrical conduit now, after all my landscaping has matured, was no fun at all. Luckily, my yard is big enough that my neighbors probably missed most of the cussing! :rant:
The plumber ended up sourcing water from the front yard for the auto fill. The home builder extended the irrigation manifold under a block wall to the backyard and capped it off. The home builder didn't explain this to me when we took ownership. The plumber "found" this stub with the scoop on his excavator. It was a small leak as he shut the water off quickly. He dug a 100' trench and stubbed up in a two places for future irrigation expansion. He also added a hose bib opposite of my existing hose bib on the house. he left the trenches open for any other things to stuff in.
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
They're hee-arrr! Congrats!!

Is that a vinyl gate? I hate mine. It expands and contracts so much in the sun that it seems there's only a few minutes a day that it closes and latches easily. I mention that because in CA (or maybe it's county-wide?), a gate to a pool must open out (away from the pool), close on its own (spring or whatever), and latch on its own. And be no higher than 2" off the ground. There are likely some other requirements, too. Check with local and state building codes before you rebuild that fence and gate. I'm thinking about ditching my vinyl fence for a good ol' fashioned wooden one, so I can close it easily, and also bring it up to code, pool-wise... Maybe with your block fence you won't have the expansion issue, but the other requirements still stand.
Yes no issues with the vinyl gate. We plan on replacing it with another vinyl that opens away from pool, has an auto close spring and self latches. Thank you for the heads up.
 

Timujin

Silver Supporter
Nov 25, 2019
56
Riverside, CA
Well, I've been there with the torn down gate, all right. (Scary thing is they had it down before I cold get my shoes on and get out there! The metal gate they put in to replace it is probably harder to get down than the block fence was!). You seem lucky in that they could bring in larger machinery than they did with my pool.

Sounds like fun. Unlike me, when it is done it will be at the BEGINNING of the season, not the end! :) Pool gates opening out, having a spring, etc. are national code, by the way. As for taking pictures to have an idea where the pipes are, etc. yes. That is a good idea. But make sure they also run tracer wires on the pipes that come out of the shell of the pool (anything that runs outside the shell if you are like me with a paver deck or the deck if you are using concrete.. the rebar blocks the signal so anything in the pool or under a concrete deck is moot).

I agree with dirk about the electrical (not as much the plumbing hose bib runs in my case because I have it close to the pool just out of dumb luck anyway) runs, but if your PB was like mine it was MUCH more expensive to have them do all of that than renting a trencher for a day, even leaving it all empty.. but yes, you will miss having wiring for lighting around the pool and receptacles. That's going to be my torture this spring is running some of that...

Did your permits require any reinforcement of the retaining wall at the back of your lot? I assume it is okay, but I would verify that.
So far everyone has been happy they have space to work around the pool!

The tracer wires appear to be in place. I am trying to think of what additional wires should be ran while these trenches are open.

There were no permit issues for the slope behind my house. It specifically stated in the permit we were not allowed to put any reinforcements in the ground at the back of the lot. I will have a fear of the pool sliding down the slope even though it will stay in place.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
The plumber ended up sourcing water from the front yard for the auto fill. The home builder extended the irrigation manifold under a block wall to the backyard and capped it off. The home builder didn't explain this to me when we took ownership. The plumber "found" this stub with the scoop on his excavator. It was a small leak as he shut the water off quickly. He dug a 100' trench and stubbed up in a two places for future irrigation expansion. He also added a hose bib opposite of my existing hose bib on the house. he left the trenches open for any other things to stuff in.
All good. You mentioned you weren't sure what else to run. I gave you a list. But you can also lay in some empty pipe: a few electrical conduits, and some PVC, and/or some drip lines. They don't have to go to anything. Just stub them out like the one your plumber found. Connect them up when the need arises. Or pull wire through them later (speaker wire, 120V, low voltage, whatever). There will be codes as to what you can and cannot run together, which is why you'd want several of these empty lines, to keep separate what's supposed to be separate (generally you don't want to run low voltage stuff with 120).

Plumbing is impressive. They're using some sweep 90s, which I like. Others here aren't convinced they reduce head enough to warrant them, but I figure they can't hurt, so why not? No ball valves, good. Also, that brass valve with the black cap? Is that for the auto fill? If so, that's your backflow preventer, and appears to be the correct type. A lot of builders skimp on that component, and inspectors often miss that. So kudos to your plumber!

Nice view, by the way!
 
Last edited:

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
Hey, you might check on something, and at least understand what it might mean to you. Is your main drain line plumbed to the skimmer (which is how it looks in the pic), or is it plumbed back to the pad, on its own line? Personally, I wouldn't have main drains, but that's for some other post. Before I removed my drains, they were plumbed to the skimmer, and then only one line from there back to the pad. So to balance the flow from skimmer or drain, I would have had to monkey with a diverter plate buried under the basket in my skimmer (on my knees, elbow deep in the water). But, of course, there was no diverter plate (lost by the previous owner, or maybe never supplied by the PB), so actually I had no control over that balance at all. Had the main drain line been plumbed back to the pad, on its own line, with a second, dedicated line for the skimmer, balancing those two suction sources would have been done via three-way valve, above ground, and so much easier and convenient. You might have a chat about that with the PB or plumber, and make sure you get it the way you want it.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,758
Central California
The plumber (1 guy) is laying pipe for water and gas. He was going to source water for the auto-fill from a house bib coming out of the stucco on my house vs. using a source from existing irrigation. Added $400 to cost of build to trench 150' to water source. Stucco was slightly damaged. This is the worst part of the build so far. Not bad IMO.
My apologies if I covered this already (I'm in too many threads!). Some things to consider about your fill source.

How's your fill water CH? Have you tested it yet? Mine is 350, which if I use as is will cause CH build up in my pool and necessitate water exchanges to keep CH in range. The previous owners and their knucklehead of a pool guy weren't monitoring that CH, which caused a massive build up of calcium on the plaster and tile, which I inherited with the purchase of the house. Same pool guy tried to acid wash it off for me, and instead destroyed my plaster. Long story. I ended up with new plaster and a determination not to let that build up happen again. To that end, I connected my auto-fill to my water softener and I no longer have CH build up, and no longer have to exchange water for CH reasons. Very nice. I also have it plumbed such that I can go back on hard water, should I ever need to boost CH. High CH can also advance the inevitable build up (of white gunk) at your water line, and on spill ways, etc. It's nasty stuff and doesn't want to come off. Water line tile often has to be bead blasted occasionally to clean it off ($500-$1000 a pop). I had to have mine done to clean up the previous mess. But now I've all but eliminated this issue from my pool by using the soft water. It may still happen over time, but it'll be a loooong time. Two years now and no gunk!

Ah, but there's more.

Because I had a pipe burst one winter, inside, I now like to shut off my house main when I travel. Uh oh, that means my softener, too, which means my pool's auto-fill! Another good reason to have plumbed that alternate fill source (from the always-on irrigation lines, which are independent of the house main). See what I'm getting at? If you're plumbed to a hose bib, that source might be subject to the house shut off. If you're plumbed to your irrigation circuit, that probably doesn't get shut off with the house.

If this is of no concern to you, then you're good-to-go. But if you want to fill your pool with soft water to control CH build up (assuming you even have a softener), with an alternate source from the street, and be able to turn off the house without turning off the pool, then that's something to deal with now, while all the trenches are open...

I'm sure you've got your head filled with all the other stuff going on, and this all might sound trivial. But it's a big deal for me and my pool, so I thought I'd share. It was a lot of work for me to move the few pipes it took, and most of that was the digging.

Doncha just love all us back seat drivers!! 🤪
 
Last edited:

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
43,146
Tallahassee, FL
I think I saw a tiny patch of yard they did not dig up! Man that is a mess right now BUT wait until you are looking at it from inside your pool! It will all be worth it!

Kim:kim: