Can I build my own pool? Yes you can! Subcontracting the build of your own swimming pool is not rocket science. At INYOpools.com, we have seen a huge trend in homeowners building their own swimming pools. When most people think of building their own pool, they think that they would be like the professional pool contractor out digging the hole for the pool, doing the plumbing and electrical, etc.- but this is not the case. Most pool contractors do not do the actual labor of building the pool themselves. Pool builders act as general contractors (GC) and subcontract the building of the pool to various subcontractors (subs), so when you purchase a pool from your local pool company, they are organizing the build of your pool through subs.
The builder would arrange for a sub to dig the hole, another sub for the plumbing, another for the electrical and so on. Essentially, the act of building a pool is really just the act of assembling the proper subcontractors to build the pool for you. What kind of savings can you expect to see by doing all the legwork yourself? The savings are substantial - expect to save in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000! Below are quotes from 4 different pool builders for the same pool, followed by the Homeowner Builder price: Pool Builder #1 - $50,245 Pool Builder #2 - $45,950 Pool Builder #3 - $50,438 Pool Builder #4 - $48,105 Homeowner Builder - $35,416
After asking the sub the above questions you will want to FAX the sub a copy of your pool design and ask them to bid on your project. You may also want to ask the sub for any input on your design, if they think any areas may have issues or many not meet code. For a typical gunite pool build the subs would be scheduled as listed below. Vinyl and Fiberglass pools are slightly different, so we will outline any differences in there process at the end of this section.
Gunite Pools Planning & Pool Design – This is the first step in the pool building process and many homeowner builders undertake this task themselves. There is much pool design software on the market including AutoCad and Adobe, as well as many online pool design solutions. The sub you choose will probably have seen pool drawings done in just about any format from pencil sketches to detailed computer drawings. We would suggest doing your design through a software program as it will eliminate confusion with the subs. If you do not feel comfortable doing your own pool design, there are many companies that can help in this phase including http://www.pooleng.com/ , http://www.pooltemplates.com/ , http://pooldesignsoftware.com/ http://www.poolspaworld.com/. Structural Engineering - responsible for drawing up the engineering drawings that determine the stress forces throughout your pool. They take into account pool depths, proximity to property lines and house lines. The structural engineering drawings will determine how much steel rebar is necessary to support the pool. We recommend to do your structural engineering drawings with http://www.pooleng.com/. City Permits – Most cities require that you fill out an application along with your structural drawings. The city will review the plans and request any corrections required by the Codes to be made. Typically A swimming pool permit issued by your city or county is required prior to starting any work on your pool. Call Before you Dig / Blue Stake – This service is typically free and gets your underground utility lines marked and helps prevent undesired consequences like broken gas or plumbing lines. Layout – Draws the shape of the pool on the ground which excavators will use to dig the hole. Excavation - responsible for digging the hole where your pool will be. Most excavators use a backhoe, but in projects with limited access, a Bobcat may be used. In extreme cases, they will come in with a large crew to do a hand dig. The excavators will form the steps, benches, and other structural features in your pool such as a beach entry. Plumbing - responsible for installing all PVC piping and pool equipment required for pool filtration. The pool equipment includes pumps, filters, heaters, chlorination systems, and cleaning systems. It is important to let the plumber know that you will be providing all of your own equipment as this is an area where you may save a lot of $$$$. The equipment that you will need for the plumbing phase is Main Drains, Skimmers, Pool Pump, Pool Filter, Pool Heater, Pool Chlorinator, Eyeball Fittings, Wall Fittings, Water Leveler, Pool Waterfalls, Jandy Valves, Spa Blower & Spa Jets For more information on choosing the proper pool filter For more information on choosing the proper pool heater For more information on alternatives to chlorine For more information on pool plumbing diagrams
Gas - If you are building a pool or spa that uses a natural-gas heater, or other features which use Natural Gas you will need to contact a Gas company. They will put in all the natural gas lines needed for this equipment. In some states, the gas work requires a separate permit and inspection. Normally the gas sub will take of this as a part of the job they do. Electrical – The electrician lays the electrical lines that will operate your pumps, timers, remotes, and pool/spa lights. The electrician can also add as much extra electrical work as you need for your overall backyard project. The equipment needed prior to the electrical phase will be pool light niches, pool controls and swimming pool lighting For more information on choosing the proper swimming pool controls For more information on choosing the proper swimming pool lights
Steel - responsible for laying down the steel rebar frame that forms the reinforcement for your pool shell before the shotcrete is shot. Shotcrete - responsible for forming the shell of your pool. Shotcrete is a mixture of concrete and other materials that is sprayed on using a high-pressure nozzle to form a hardened shell. Rockwork (Optional) - responsible for any rock water features in and around the pool prior to the deck being poured. This includes standard waterfalls, grottos, and accent boulders around the perimeter of the pool. Deck - responsible for the decking area around the pool. Kooldeck has been the standard for years, but more recently, Acrylic decking is getting popular as it can be applied in a variety of different finishes and it is more durable. Flagstone, Pavers, Travertine, and other exotic stones are being used in new creative applications. Tile - responsible for installing the tile inside the pool and along the waterline of the pool. Fence or Screen Enclosure - responsible for installing the fencing around the perimeter of the pool that is required to meet code in most cities. In most cases, this is a standard aluminum fence. In warmer climates many people will opt for a screen enclosure instead of a fence. Cleanup - after the shotcrete, rockwork, deck work, and tile work is done, the pool will be quite a mess. Cleanup is responsible for hauling away all the trash before the interior of the pool is installed. They also do the final grading (or regrading) of the land around the pool (if possible), since it will have been torn up pretty badly by all the other prior subs. They also make sure the deck, pool lights, and all the peripheral areas are cleaned up prior to final interior. Interior / Marcite - responsible for installing the interior finish of the pool. Standard marcite plaster has been the interior of choice for years, but that is giving way to a new generation of advanced interior products. Exposed aggregate pebble interiors (like Pebble-Tec, Baja Pebble, or SunStone) are getting popular now. Just in the Pebble arena, there are many variations like Pebble-Sheen (from Pebble-Tec that uses smaller, smoother stones which is gentler on skin), Pebble Smooth (from Baja Pebble that actually grinds and polishes the exposed stones to a mirror-like tile finish), or what is considered the top-of-the-line marble-like finish Hydrazzo by Aquavations. Quartz is also getting popular with a variety of different brands available - Colorquartz/3M, Diamond Brite/SGM, and Krystal-Krete/CLI. Acid Wash - this is done by the interior subs as a part of the overall work to clean away the surface plaster haze from the finish after the pool interior has had time to dry. Startup - responsible for giving you all the tools and startup chemicals needed to get you going along with some introductory instructions on pool startup and maintenance. We would suggest purchasing a Chemical Start Up Kit which includes all of the proper chemicals to start up and maintain your pool as well as New Pool maintenance kit which includes all of the items need to clean your pool on a regular basis. City / County Inspection - After completion of your pool build the county / city will come out to the final inspection of your pool.
4. Collect bids from the subcontractors that made the cut. Fax copies of your pool design to subs. Call the sub first on the phone to speak with them in person and explain that you are a homeowner wanting to build a pool on your own and ask if they work directly with home owners. Almost all subs will work with homeowners. In actuality, most subs would rather work with homeowners because they get paid quicker. As you have them on the phone, you will be able to get the information listed in step 4 above. For the bid make sure they include the following:
Ask the sub to let you know what they need from you info-wise to include in the FAX. After that, fax them the drawing and wait for the bid to be FAXed back. Whatever is missing from the drawing must be added to the FAX cover sheet. Make sure to got bids from multiple subs from each trade, most of the time, try to get at least three. This insures that a particular sub is not over-charging you. Most of the subs in our example came within 10% of each other. Having a line itemization helps because then you can compare the quote line by line to see where the discrepancies are. 5. Making the final subcontractor selections. Believe it or not, this is typically the hardest part in the process. If the bids come out over $500 different (and you determine that all else is equal - ie. reputable, multiple referrals, clean record at ROC, etc.), you should just go with the less costly bid. Sometimes there are some extenuating circumstances that will make you go with the higher priced bid. For example, when choosing excavators, if you continue to hear the name of a sub being mentioned over and over again by others and you are told they are simply the best then it may be a good idea to splurge the extra $$.
List below are typical equipment lists for Pool only builds and Pool & Spa builds. We have listed a standard equipment package which would be the most basic equipment, and we have also listed an upgraded equipment package which includes upgraded equipment. Standard POOL ONLY Equipment List Swimming Pool Pumps Swimming Pool Filters Pool Chlorinator Wall fittings (different for vinyl) Eyeball fittings Anti-Vortex Main Drain (different for vinyl) Swimming Pool Lighting (Voltage) Intermatic Transformers (if 12V) Pool Light Niche (different for vinyl) Letro Auto Fill Jandy Valves Hayward Skimmers (different for vinyl) Intermatic Timers Standard Maintenance Kit Pool Chemical Start Up Kit Standard POOL & SPA Equipment List Swimming Pool Pumps Spa Pumps Pool & Spa Heater Swimming Pool Filters Spa Jets Spa Jet Internals Spa Blower Wall fittings (different for vinyl) Eyeball fittings Anti-Vortex Main Drain (different for vinyl) Swimming Pool Lighting (Voltage) Spa Lighting Intermatic Transformers if 12V Pool Light Niche (different for vinyl) Spa Light Niche Letro Auto Fill Jandy Valves Hayward Skimmers (different for vinyl) Intermatic Timers Pool Chlorinator Standard Maintenance Kit Pool Chemical Start Up Kit Add on options & upgrades Pool Heaters / Swimming Pool Heat Pump / Solar Pool Heating Pool Controls Salt Chlorine Generator & Pool Alternative Sanitizers Automatic Pool Cleaners Fiber Optics LED Pool and Spa Lights Pool Waterfalls Diving Boards Swimming Pool Slide Ladder & Rails Swimming Pool Covers Pool Alarms
By following the steps above you are on your way to saving tens of thousands of dollars building your own pool. INYOpools.com can supply you with all of your equipment to build your pool including: pumps, filters, controls, heaters, lights and much more. We hope this guide will help you start your endeveavour of building your own pool. If you have any questions regarding the pool building process or necessary pool equipment please give us a call toll free at 1-877-372-6038.
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