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HOMEOWNER HAD PROBLEMS WITH POOL BUILDER - TOOK MATTERS INTO THEIR
From Poolandspa.com Online Newsletter
Las Vegas, NV USA
Since first moving into
their home in Canada more than six years ago, Duane and Lisa
Johnson knew that one
day this pristine one-acre property deserved the addition of an
outdoor swimming pool. This past June 2011,
ten months after breaking ground, they finally completed the
backyard transformation and are now enjoying their oasis both
day and night.
However, there were
quite a few problems that they encountered while having the
whole job completed. They ended up firing the original
swimming pool builder, and had to sub-contract out the
rest of the job themselves.
The complete overhaul
included the construction of an inground swimming pool complete
with 4-foot walk-out stair in deep end surrounded by extensive
concrete decking with built-in deck jets. Water feature
complemented by a river rock border. Separate elevated
private spa area including sunk-in 6-person round therapeutic
whirlpool hot tub. Outdoor seating area
complete with built-in gas fireplace. All of the above
complemented with spot and deck lighting.
To further complicate
the job, they wanted to add a covered high-end outdoor
kitchen complete with BBQ/rotisserie/smoker with 2 side
burners, microwave, deep fryer, beverage station, dishwasher,
ice maker and fridge, overhead gas heater, hot dog, popcorn and Slurpee machines all surrounded by slate tile and granite
counter-top. Topped off with a 50-inch flat screen TV.
So here's what ended up happening.....
Lisa Johnson tells the story this way:
"The lack of communication between him (the
pool contractor) and us (the Johnsons) was the beginning of what
was to be a long drawn out battle. We should have known
after he requested a second copy of our property layout, as he
had “spilled his coffee” on the first, that this contractor was
by no means professional. This was the first pool we had
ever built, and understandably were going to have questions at
each step of construction. Whenever we approached him with
a question or suggestion, we were constantly given the response:
“It can’t be done that way…….I know what I’m doing, I’ve been
doing this for 30 years”.
After just the
first 2 weeks of the build we had to constantly hound him to get
things done. There was always an excuse as to why he could not
do things “right now”. These constant excuses caused anger and
delay. We were not only building a pool, but also renovating
the back yard. He knew our backyard overhaul plans right from
the start. We needed to coordinate with our landscaper as well
as the pool contractor as to what was being dug where, removed,
brought in, etc. Our pool contractor seemed to always have an
excuse as to why the trenches could not be dug for the
lines,……or why the pool house floor could not be poured,… or why
the concrete could not be poured in the pool bottom,…….or why
the deck jets would not work……..or why the pump had to go where
he wanted it,….rather than where “we” wanted it…..or why we
would not be able to install a $3400 walk-in stair, rather
than ladder in the deep end. It was so annoying that at
that point my husband started doing things himself to
ensure it would get done, such as dig out an area for
installation of the walk-out stair!
After 6 months of our pool sitting with no
advancement on the project, we finally took over the job
ourselves. We just got tired of fighting with our contractor to
do the job he was contracted to do. Before we let him go we had
other pool companies come in and give us their thoughts on
completion of the project. We were constantly greeted with
shock and told the same thing by each subsequent pool
contractor: “this pool should have been done months ago, why is
it sitting in this state?” We were asked the same questions we
had been asking our contractor as to why things were not getting
done and what is the reason it has been left this way?
"In the end, we hired a few other specific
contractors to pour the pool bottom and decking, but just
finished the remainder of the pool ourselves. Even after firing
our initial contractor, the completion of the project was not
Not a day after the first of a few other pool
contractors came in to quote on finishing the job, our original
pool contractor already knew that we had another company come in
to give us an opinion on our situation.
Beware that they tell you one thing to your
face, and something else to your back. In the end we got what we wanted
- but not
with the help of our original pool contractor."
Some of the things that every
person building a pool should do before hiring a pool
1 - Ensure everything is in writing, I mean
everything. Make sure the contract is itemized with all
inclusions and exclusions. Many contractors will provide a
price to “build a pool”, however, this does not include plumbing
the pool, or hooking up gas and electricity, or prepping the
coping edge of the pool for the deck to be poured around, etc.
2 - Ensure contract has strict payment terms.
3 - Ensure contract details a finish date with
a penalty clause for delay.
4 - Do not pre-pay for anything, only pay when the items on the contract
have been put in place and the work is finished to the point
stated in the contract.
5 - Always ask for references, and actually
speak with those references. Do not just take a look at the
finished pools which contractors state they have built, speak to
the owners to ask how the build went.
6 - Understand how long a pool should take to
7 - If you hear the statement: “Don’t worry I
have been building pools for 30 years” Find someone else!
More Photos From The Job:
Contractors Who Helped Finish The Job:
Parkview Landscaping Ltd
10302 244th Street
Maple Ridge, BC V2W 2G3
Pedron Contracting Ltd.
909 Sherwood Avenue
Special Thanks to Lisa Johnson, who provided the photos
and much of the information above.
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