Once the agreement has been signed and the builder has been given the OK to start and a deposit, he should get together with you in your yard and make a decision with you as to where exactly the pool is to go. Keep in mind how you will use the pool, where you expect most of the people to gather, moving into and out of the home – this pool will be in your yard a long time and you should have most of your ideas about this finalized.
When the decision is made as to where it will go, and where the equipment pad will go, your builder will have an outline of the pool drawn in white. It does not need to be exact, as it is there to show No-Cuts where the pool will be so they can look for wires and cables that might be disturbed. They will mark the main power lines, the telephone cable, cable TV lines and gas and water lines.
When the excavator arrives, there will usually be a day or two in digging out the pool and preparing it for the arrival of the shell. At this time some dirt may be removed. If the excavation hits water, the builder will install a sump, as should be mentioned in the agreement, to get the water under control, and sometimes this can take a day or two. Once the excavation is complete, the pool is ready to be put in the excavation, and depending on the access and difficulty getting into the site, you may see a crane or a large forklift at your home. The pool is then put in the hole, and the process of leveling and plumbing begins.
Often much of the plumbing is done before the pool is placed, but once it is level the plumbing is then run to the equipment pad. At about this time, ABLE Pools and Spas will place a large water container in your yard, and begin filling that container with your hose. Contrary to belief, water in most Counties is very inexpensive – about $2.00 per thousand gallons in New Hanover County, but the cost is in the sewer fee charged as the County assumes one gallon in means one gallon of sewerage. We will give you a letter stating that we used X – thousand of gallons to fill a swimming pool and your water bill will be credited the sewer charge.
As the pool is level, and ready for water we will start to return dirt to the hole around the pool, washing it in tightly and tamping it down. At that time we fill the pool from the water we have collected in our water bladder, and the pool is filled very quickly – usually minutes or a couple of hours. Once we have tamped down the soil around the pool, we will place a wire grid around your pool, as required by code, and dig the trenches for the electrical conduit. At that point we will need an inspection.
While we are waiting for the inspection, your plumbing will have been completed, your filter and pump hooked to the system and we will prepare for our electrician. While the electrician is completing his work, we will begin to form for the concrete to be poured around your pool. If we are doing stone coping we will pour a concrete beam around the pool for the stone and get the stone laid, cut and attached to the pool.
Just before the concrete truck arrives, the forms for the cantilevered coping will be attached. Finally the concrete is poured and finished, and the coping forms are removed so the coping can be smoothed. The next day, we return to remove the concrete forms from around the deck, and begin our final cleanup. Any remaining dirt is removed, we level any dirt placed around the pool, trenches are filled in and the pump is energized.
Once we have completed the property cleanup, just before we leave we will do the first cleanup of the pool. There are going to be dust and leaves and pieces of concrete etc., in the pool, and we will get everything out that we can on the first attempt. We usually have a chlorine floater in your pool while we are building, and that keeps the water clear.
The next day, (or two) we will finish cleaning the pool, and finally turn everything over to you. At this time we will spend time instructing you on the pool equipment. By now, we have also taken a sample of the pool water and had it tested in our water lab at our office on Market Street, and we will balance your pool water as needed, add salt for your salt water chlorine generator and ensure everything is working properly.
Because we know there is no way you will remember everything, you will get phone numbers for our office, but also cell phone numbers for after hours contact, in case you have a problem or need something clarified. We make great efforts to be accessible to our customers, especially immediately after pool construction is complete. You will never get a “mailbox is full” message, and if we cannot answer right away we will return your call as soon as we can.
One other very important thing. We have learned over the years, that customers get very upset when they don’t know what is happening. We will stay in constant contact with you. You will be sent an email each Friday while we are working on your pool. If we tell you we will be there at a certain time, we will or we will call to tell you if we will be late. We have been told many times, that our customers greatly appreciate how well we communicate with them about their product, and you should accept nothing less.
As to part B of this question, will you tear up my yard, the answer is “kind of”. Often times I have suggested our customers pull down the shades on the windows overlooking the back yard, and we will let you know when to look again. It can be very stressful, and if we get a number of days with rain, and the yard gets muddy and no work can be done, you will have a difficult time, unless you prepare. One thing we do to prevent damage, is to lay out our construction mats for our heavy equipment to travel over your lawn. This prevents the deep ruts that are so common on pool jobsites, from ruining your lawn.
We recommend you call your landscaper, and have them identify where your sprinkler system is in your yard, and cap the areas to be excavated. That way you will still be able to irrigate your yard, even when our equipment snags a line. If you have favorite plants, shrubs, flowers or flower pots that might be in the way, you should remove them. We will be very careful about your plants, but sometimes trying to fit an excavator through a fence without causing damage can be very distracting and things get trampled, so move whatever you can ahead of time.
If you have a dog, especially if the dog is used to going into the back yard, you should consider another place for the dog to go, or restrain him in a kennel. While we are working there is great risk to animals, but even after we have gone for the day, there could be things that might hurt an animal. Tools and trenches, shovels and wire, simple harmless things to people, can be dangerous to a dog.
We will clean up our jobsite every day before we leave, but you should keep your animals out of the yard. Also, muddy paws across nice carpet, just seems to distress us all. When the excavation is started, we will place a nylon safety fence around the hole to warn children and adults (at night) to be careful, but these are warnings not barriers.
Children especially should never be permitted into the construction area alone. We work very hard to keep your lawn from being damaged. We have specially made mats that we will put on your lawn if we will be going back and forth a lot – especially with a dump truck.
We will discuss many of these things with you before the project starts, and no matter who you choose to do your project you should expect this same level of care and concern.