The Three Questions I Get Asked Most Often, Are:
How Much Will My Fiberglass Pool Cost?
What Is a Saltwater Pool?
By the time we get to the third question, I know these folks are serious buyers and there will be a lot more questions asked before we are through.
When I am asked “How long it will take to build our pool”, I always say the honest answer is 4 to 6 weeks, if everything goes wrong but If everything goes right, the pool can be done in 3 weeks. If you have a crew on standby for every segment of the pool build, and inspectors ready to jump right in, a fiberglass pool can be built in a day. But, honestly, would you want your pool to be built in a day? I would worry that something was missed, and as the guy in charge, it would keep me up at night worrying about what might go wrong. So, let’s examine the kind of things that might make a pool project go from 3 weeks to 5 weeks. Number 1 – by far – is:
WEATHER – This is a big one because for every day of rain, we usually lose two days of building. Because the excavation is mostly loose dirt or sand stacked around the pool, rain will wash things into the excavation and will fill in electric trenches, make the jobsite slippery and dangerous, and generally make things very difficult for working. Bad weather can go on for many days, and we are just now finishing a project that had more than two weeks of lost time because of rain and ice. Also, if thunderstorms develop, it is our policy to stop work because of the danger of lightning. Nice sunny weather makes pool construction go very smoothly.
PRESSURE TESTING – When everything is going correctly, pressure testing should take about half a day. But, when we find a leak and don’t know where that leak is, it can take hours trying to find the source. If the leak is a small leak, it usually means a bad joint, but it can also mean a flaw or cut in one of the pipes. We put air pressure on every plumbing connection we make, and the pressure has to hold for a minimum of 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, then we have a problem, and it must be found. It is rarely an issue, but it can be something to go wrong, and will slow things down.
INSPECTIONS – we don’t have a lot of inspections building residential pools, but they are necessary and important. We plan in advance for inspections and attempt to time them so the inspector’s plans coincide with ours. If the inspector is called to the site before the job is ready, he is not going to be happy, and if we delay he can be backed up a number of days if things are busy elsewhere. Sometimes we can continue to work while waiting for an inspection, but sometimes we have to stop work and wait.
ELECTRICIANS – Electrical work is highly specialized and needs skilled, well trained people, to do the work. The code calls for things to be done a certain way, and that’s the way we want things done, but if our electrician gets tied up on a job and can’t get to us for a few days, we have to stop. Again, we work to coordinate things with our electricians, but if they have a problem on a job, they can’t leave until it is finished. We can continue to work for the most part, but at some point we have to stop and wait.
OTHERS WORKING ON THE SITE – We do a lot of work for people who are building their homes and having their new pool installed at the same time. We have learned that the best time for us to go to a jobsite and begin, is when the builder has all the exterior work done – walls are bricked or sided, roof shingles are on, and everybody is inside finishing the detail work. Once we start then we can usually get finished on time and move on. If there are others on the site working outside, roofing for instance, we often find we are in their way, and they are in our way, and even though we try to accommodate each other, it is a poor work environment. And it is never good when things fall off the roof into the pool. If we have to start before the outside is complete, as in a situation where we have to get the pool on site because there will be no room to bring it in later, there will be days when we cannot work.
COMPLEX ADDITIONS TO THE PROJECT – If your pool calls for Travertine coping (very nice choice) or Travertine decking (OMG!) these things by their nature take time. Pool coping must be straight and each piece at exactly the same height, and it takes time to do correctly. If we are building an extensive water feature for your pool, that must be done properly, and it will take more time.
There are certainly other things that can slow down a project, but of all the above, weather has the biggest potential for trouble. But, sometimes, things just go perfectly – no leaks, pool levels quickly, electricians are waiting for us, inspectors arrive first thing in the morning – then we will probably be out of there in three weeks.
Either way, I can assure you, it will be well worth the wait, so make plans and get started for the summer!