Posts Tagged ‘pool construction’

NJ Swimming Pool Construction – How Long Is The Process?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

NJ Swimming Pool Construction – How Long Is The Process?

What’s Involved and How Long is the Swimming Pool Construction Process? Outlined by NJ Pool Builder Cipriano Landscape Design

Luxury pool construction often takes a backseat to suggestions about pool design ideas and amazing pool features, but knowing what to expect during the  pool building process can be very helpful when it comes to feeling comfortable about your swimming pool investment. In this blog, I would like to outline how our staff here takes our detailed pool designs and makes them a reality. Swimming pools, especially concrete inground pools, involve efficiency, consistency, skill, and precision. Understanding the swimming pool building process can help you make the right decision about whom you will choose to build your pool. Let’s begin:

Mark Out

First, we locate and map out utility lines to avoid damaging them during construction of the swimming pool. Once all of the utilities are flagged, we draw the outline of the pool layout where it will be located in the landscape design. If the pool is near any setbacks, we will have the surveyor install offsets to ensure we are within the building envelope.

Excavate

Next, it takes about a day to excavate the swimming pool. Our machines and our crew will dig the pool to proper specifications outlined by the design and the engineering layout. While the pool is dug, we have our soils engineer visit the site and inspect the structural integrity of the soil beneath the swimming pool. Meanwhile, the crew sets up the distinct shape with form boards. In the end, the distinct shape and contours of the pool will be created.

Inner Workings

The inner workings of the pool structure, steel, plumbing, and rough electric, come after excavation. Steel rebar will provide strength to the concrete, and plumbing will efficiently recirculate pool water. Expect 3 inspections at this point. The plumbing inspector will review the main drains; the electrical inspector will inspect the light niches and the pool grounding wire; the building inspector will review the steel reinforcement.

Gunite

The gunite process is crucial for building a solid pool structure. This is where the concrete is pneumatically applied, or shot, to create the actual pool. For more details about gunite, view a recent blog about the advantages of gunite swimming pools or an old swimming pool contractors blog.

Electrical

Now the electrical work can be completed for the pool equipment. A licensed NJ electrician is required to complete all of the wiring work for an inground pool project. The electrical includes complex lighting features, communications, and any additional components.

Coping & Tile

Waterline tile and coping completes the area between the pool water and the patio. These two elements offer a durable surface that looks great and meets the style of the swimming pool. Experience with masonry and patios will benefit the coping and tile work. Waterline tiles can be glass tile for a long lasting, luxury finish or a more affordable ceramic tile.

Patios

Surrounding pool patios are among the finishing touches for inground pools. Pool designs may feature many different types of pool patios. We often install natural stone patios around the swimming pool. Other possible materials include brick, pavers, or decorative stamped concrete. Prior to pouring concrete or installing pavers there will be an inspection for the equipotential bonding.

Finish

Finally, you can finish the pool with plasters that will complete the pool structure with a look that lasts anywhere from 5 to 25+ years. They can be smooth or pebbly, and they come in a wide range of colors. A long lasting alternative to plaster is glass tile that looks stunning and lasts up to 50 years if installed and maintained properly. View our glass tile pool designs for a closer look. Expect a light inspection prior to plastering the pool and a final plumbing, building, electrical and fire inspection prior to swimming.

That’s a general outline of the pool building process. Under normal conditions, you can expect a 6 to 12 week construction time, depending on pool complexity and material choices. Pool construction relies heavily on a good design, extensive experience, and solid leadership. Our landscape architecture services, pool and landscaping services, and experienced masons help to ensure each of these elements. For more information about our luxury pool construction process and to learn about some of our more unique and challenging projects, please give us a call!

NJ Swimming Pool Architecture-How Landscape Architects Can Kill Your Pool

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Let me start by saying I have a tremendous respect for landscape architects and their dedication and valuable contributions to the swimming pool industry. My goal here is to bring attention to companies that advertise as swimming pool architects who overlook best management practices that can compromise swimming pool structures.

Yes, it’s very important for a landscape architect to know municipal ordinances and where the sun rises and sets when designing a swimming pool.  It’s also important to know where the swim-out and the dive rock should be placed. But shouldn’t you expect more from your landscape architect or pool designer? What about safety, proper equipment function, and construction techniques? Just because a landscape architecture firm has designed a lot of properties that included a swimming pool doesn’t necessarily make them experts who can manage or build your luxury swimming pool.

This 20K Pebble Tec Plaster Upgrade is Ruined After Only 5 Years

There are some NJ landscape architecture firms who claim that they can save clients money by managing their swimming pool project. They tell the client that they can send the job out to bid, get them the best price, and manage the construction for a percentage of the swimming pool construction costs. In many instances, the low bid pool builders (who will give the landscape architect that “best price”) sub contracts most of the construction out to smaller companies. So that means the sub contractor of the low bidder is being managed by a landscape architect who more than likely has no construction experience. Does anyone else see the problem with this?

If you’re going to spend fifty thousand dollars on a swimming pool and then add a fifteen thousand dollar waterfall or a twenty thousand dollar vanishing edge, I’m sure you want to enjoy it for many years to come. That’s questionable at best, given this scenario, As the degree of difficulty in luxury pool building continues to rise and the economy continues to remain weak, it has created the perfect storm in the luxury swimming pool market. Low and mid-market pool builders now claim to be high-end builders. They are running to the luxury pool market (because it’s the only pool market left) despite lacking the necessary skills to build these extremely involved structures! In addition to that there are certain landscape architects who claim to have experience managing swimming pool construction. It’s become confusing for the consumer, and unfortunately the end result is a lot of failing pools.

Swimming pools have been the dominant feature in back yard designs for many years. Over the last ten years we have built some of the most intricate structures garnished with some of the most lavish finishes. Unfortunately, we have also seen a larger number of failures in structures and finishes due to poor construction techniques. Here are five of the thirty issues that will ruin your swimming pool which most landscape architects fail to address in their design specifications:

Soil Stability – The failure of many pools and patios stems from the soil on which the structures are built. On all the landscape architecture plans we have bid on in the last ten years, I have yet to see one plan with any specifications regarding poor soil conditions.

Rebound – What is rebound and why will it destroy your pool?  During the gunite installation material is pneumatically applied to create the pool shell. During the application, material that does not bond accumulates on the floor of the pool. This material is called rebound. Rebound should be discarded because it no longer contains structural qualities, but many pool companies don’t discard this material. They simply shovel the loose material into the walls and “flash” over it with fresh gunite. Once the material hardens it forms weak nonstructural pockets which can compromise the structural integrity of the pool vessel. This practice is against best management practices, but it is still a widespread problem in the industry.

This Vanishing Edge Swimming Pool Has Sever Structural Damage

Groundwater – How can groundwater compromise the inground swimming pool vessel?  Gunite needs 28 days to properly cure, but the first 48 hours are the most crucial. Fresh gunite that is exposed to groundwater can be structurally compromised. As the water infiltrates the newly applied gunite, it basically washes out the concrete and leaves the weakened aggregate behind. The problem with this usually becomes apparent several years down the road when the homeowner decides to upgrade the pool plaster and drains the pool. Once the pool is drained, the pressure relief plugs which normally allow the groundwater to enter the pool vessel and reduce the pressure on the pool shell are rendered useless. If the groundwater reaches weakened gunite before the pressure relief plugs, the pool will crack under pressure where the groundwater compromised the gunite during installation. In other words, a cosmetic upgrade becomes a difficult structural repair.

Improper Sealing- Most companies don’t properly seal their pools, and some don’t seal at all. Some use generic sealers that only deal with positive water flow but fail to address the negative flow of water through the gunite shell. This can lead to plaster or tile damage or, even worse, the structural failure of the gunite.

Pump Size and Function – Undersized pumps in a spa will ruin the whole experience. What’s the right size pool pump for your spa? Spas are getting larger and more elaborate, and there isn’t much worse than getting in your spa and having weak jets. Ok, a cold spa would definitely be worse, but you can easily fix a heater. For pumps, it’s very expensive to have to redo the plumbing if the pump and piping is undersized.

The economy is still hurting and the mid and low swimming pool markets have been annihilated, so everyone wants to build luxury pools. Meanwhile these luxury swimming pools are getting more intricate and harder to build, and your everyday pool company is not capable of building these extravagant structures. Given the climate of this perfect storm, it’s extremely dangerous to let landscape architects who don’t have the proper build experience manage your swimming pool construction. While having a landscape architect is so very important (that’s why we have one on-staff), someone with the proper pool building experience must oversee construction to ensure the safety, durability and reliability of the pool. In my years in the pool industry I have never seen specifications come out of a landscape architecture office that address essential best management practices. Without these specifications, it’s easy for swimming pool contractors and subcontractors to make mistakes or drop their price, earn a bid, and do a half-hearted, poor job without the landscape architect ever realizing what’s going on. It’s a scary situation, and these 5 issues are just the tip of the iceberg. To find out the solutions to these 5 issues and the 25 other critical specifications not addressed by most landscape architects, email me at chris@plantnj.com.

NJ Swimming Pool Builder, Bankrupt Pool Contractor Abandons Pool Construction in Mahwah New Jersey

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Deceitful and Inexperienced Pool Contractors Can Turn Residential and Commercial Swimming Pool Projects into Expensive, Time-Consuming Construction Nightmares

Last week, we inherited an abandoned swimming pool project at the Marriott Hotel in Mahwah, NJ. The defunct indoor pool and spa was in complete disrepair and not even close to meeting standards required by the board of health. While we were grateful to consult with engineers, the Mahwah health department, and the property owner regarding repair options, and equally grateful we were eventually awarded the bid, we feel that a valuable lesson can be learned from the abandoned Marriott Hotel project.

What was wrong with the pool? It was all-around poorly constructed. The engineering plan and the actual pool construction had serious inconsistencies. (Whether this was intentionally done to cut corners or unintentionally done out of simple ineptness, we do not know. Both issues of honesty and experience seem serious enough to question either way.) First of all, the swimming pool slope into the deep end was too drastic and didn’t match the plans. The spa plumbing and construction was not up to code and condemned. It was so hopeless that the safest and cheapest solution would be to demolish it and start from scratch. The equipment room included three pumps, but instead of the pumps specified in the plans, the previous contractor used smaller substitutions. The two heaters on the project also failed to meet code and had to be removed and replaced. Lastly, the saltwater chlorination system was  removed because it can’t be the sole chlorination system for a commercial grade pool. Imagine, for a second, that the project was not abandoned. Since the pool and spa were not up to code, the spa and the swimming pool would have required complete demolition after the final health department inspection.

What are the odds that the dishonest contractor who cut corners is going to have enough integrity to go back and responsibly fix everything? More often than not, it is easier for a contractor to claim bankruptcy than to fix a non-compliant swimming pool. Abandoned or not, the inexperienced pool contractor dug a very deep hole for the property owner, literally and financially.

But how might homeowners and property owners see these major shortcomings before awarding a bid to a pool contractor? It does seem slightly unreasonable to think that these disreputable pool companies would represent themselves honestly from the start. The same company that started the Marriot project also abandoned a residential swimming pool in Haworth, New Jersey this past year. This pool company was infamous for taking pictures off association websites and posting them on his own. Believe it or not the owner went as far as to take a photograph of a pool built by a Long Island company, mirror it in Photoshop, and use it in a full page advertisement in 201 Magazine.  This is by no means an isolated incident. Another local pool contractor currently advertises as “The Leading Swimming Pool Design & Construction Company” and claims to be a full-service pool and landscape company; not surprisingly, this firm just removed another company’s landscaping pictures from their website. The problem is that these companies often pay big money to marketing firms in order to create an aura of expertise with bogus testimonials and quotes taken out of context and other dishonest tactics. Unfortunately it’s so easy for an unsuspecting consumer to fall into these traps!

What can you do to assure yourself of a company’s credibility? On our website: PlantNJ.com, we offer a contractor disclosure form that homeowners and property owners can use to review pool contractors based on ethical advertising practices, general business standing, professional licensing, and overall experience. The contractor disclosure will hopefully weed out fraudulent and inexperienced bidders on your job. The disclosure agreement also leaves a place for the contractor to sign off on the information provided in the checklist, acknowledging that any misrepresentations are in violation of the NJ Consumer Fraud Act. In general, the Marriott Hotel project demonstrates that contractor credibility, experience, and dedication are invaluable. A contractor disclosure checklist may be a good way to find out which NJ inground pool builders really possess all those qualities in order to keep this nightmare from happening to you.