10 Points to Consider When Building Your Swimming Pool

10 Points to Consider When Building Your Swimming Pool

Some tips when building your swimming pool

Following these tips will help you have a fun and successful swimming pool project.  Before you sign that contract to build your pool there are at least 10 things that you should consider.

building pool

  • Seek out at least 3 to 4 bids from swimming pool contractors.  In most areas, swimming pool construction is a specialty handled by general contractors and swimming pool contractors.  Make sure that your contractor has experience building swimming pools especially the type of swimming pool that you are interested in installing.  When you get your bids, look carefully at each swimming pool estimates to assure that you accurately compare one estimate with the next.  It is easy to miss details when comparing estimates.  You may even want to create a swimming pool estimate chart so that you can easily compare one pool estimate to other pool estimates.  Pay special attention to the types of materials that the contractor will use to construct the pool; project extras such as water features, patio/decking; warranties on the swimming pool and equipment;  project timelines and the types of pool equipment that the pool contractor will use such as pool filter, the pool pump, swimming pool vacuums, etc.
  • Hire only licensed contractors. Most states require licensing, so don’t be afraid to ask contractors for their contractor license information. Check your state’s website for licensing requirements.  Many states also have pages on their websites where you can search the swimming pool and other types of contractors by name, license number, etc.  Many of these sites will also have information about any complaints against the contractor and if the complaints have been resolved.  Please note that most states have contractor license exceptions for small jobs (typically under $400) or jobs that are primarily equipment as opposed to service.
  • Ask for and get at least 3 references to help you accurately assess the pool builder’s workmanship and customer service.  Ask the references about how and why they picked this contractor and about their experience work with the contractor.  Find out if any issues came up during the project and how they handled the issues.   Ask if they would have done anything differently in hindsight.  If you cannot see the finished swimming pool project first hand, ask the pool contractor for pictures. The nature of references is that almost every reference will be positive.   Do not depend on references to be a critical analysis of the pool contractor.  The reference should give you an idea of how the contractor works on the project and how specific projects and issues were handled.
  • Many state laws may set the maximum percentage or amount of down payments allowable on in-ground swimming pool projects. Find out what your state’s maximum is and only give that amount.  Be suspicious about any contractor that requires or requests more than the state maximum.
    building a pool
  • Plan your payment schedule early and follow the agreed-upon payment schedule. Most projects involve subcontractors, employees, equipment suppliers and others that are paid as a project proceeds or as needs arise.  A delay in payment may slow down or even stop aspects of your project mid-stream.  A slowed or stalled swimming pool project almost always increases the overall cost of the pool project.  If you anticipate issues with the payment schedule, speak up early as the contractor may be able to move the project schedule around to protect you and your pool project.
  • While you should not wrongly hold back payments, don’t make your final payment until your swimming pool is completed. Your previous payments during the project should ensure that construction and equipment, decking or fencing by the contract has been completed.  Your final payment is your strongest insurance that your pool project will be completed as agreed.  If you must make your last payment early, make sure that you get in writing a list of what still needs to be completed and the timeline for the remaining tasks.
  • Generally, do not pay cash in a lump sum for your swimming pool or any major improvement for that matter.  Most contractors expect to receive money at stages during the project.  BE SUSPICIOUS of contractors that request you to pay for the entire project in cash upfront.  If you must pay for the project upfront, consider paying with a credit card – it might be easier to get a refund through your credit card company if the contractor fails to complete your pool project.
  • Keep accurate records of all papers relating to your swimming pool.  This information will help you maintain and take long term care of your pool.  Many of the questions that might come up over time about your pool will probably be answered in the papers that you received during the pool construction.  As papers will get damaged in the elements, store documents indoors.  Also, check online resources such as manufacturer’s websites and resources like www.swimmingpoolmagazine.com.
  • Communication with your builder should be ongoing. Find out who will be responsible for supervising the work on your pool and keep in touch with them.  Find out their full name, office, and cell phone and email if available.  Do not assume that the contractor will know what you are thinking about the progress of the project.  If concerns, questions or comments come up, you must let the builder know firsthand.  Do not keep quiet or delay telling the builder.  Silence and delays will only increase the cost of correcting the problem.
  • Make sure that you understand how to work, clean and maintain your pool.  Make sure you understand warranties and how to handle problems when they come up.
  •  Bonus – Make sure that you are ALWAYS SAFE around your pool.  While pools are awesome for family fun, they can also be dangerous.  Make sure that you set and enforce rules for behavior around the pool, research and have on hand the appropriate safety equipment and consider taking a water safety, CPR and related training course through the Red Cross or another organization.

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