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Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Posted by poolanalyst (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 30, 08 at 14:05

Here is an opinion of the major Charlotte,NC pool builders.

A&S: Big,corporate(went private a few years ago),light on construction supervision.Uses all subs here.Flooded the sales floor,prior to what will be the most competitive year in a decade.All Pentair equipment(DE filter).99% PebbleTec plaster.Most of the independant concrete pool builders in this area are former employees.Now they have their employees sign a non-compete clause,"they ain't goin nowhere".

The A&S in PA/NJ/NY is the original, and is vertically integrated and they build a great pool there.
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B-H Pools:Vying with A&S for the most pools built in the Charlotte area.Corporate,but a franchise structure.Previous franchisee went out of business here appx. 20 years ago.Current franchise owner took over(appx. year 2000) when previous GM(who was previously with A&S)started his own gig(Pools by Design).Current franchise holder assumed full control in appx. year 2006.Charlotte office also covers Lancaster county,SC,and has a satellite office in Greenville/Spartanburg,SC(as A&S used to).

All Hayward equipment,Northstar,cartridge filter,gray plaster in the majority of pools,maybe with some quartz addded.Trying to start a pool pump horsepower war in the Carolinas
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Carolina Aqua Sun A.K.A. Carolina Aqua Pools:Ex A&S management,all family run(mostly).Builds an A&S copy with all Jandy (DE)equipment,PebbleTec.May have the largest Charlotte area advertising budget of any pool builder in the area.May be running ridiculously low pricing on their pools this year.Can anyone connect the dots?
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Carolina Blue Pools:Run by a former A&S employee from his funeral parlor in Wisconsin.Hayward equipment,gray plaster.

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Pools By Design:Run by a former A&S GM,who was formerly with the Anthony Pools builder,Crystal Pools.Jandy equipment,usually gray plaster,usually non tumbled stone coping.

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Aloha Pools:Buy out of an existing builder by the Jandy rep.All Jandy equipment,usually gray or other colored plaster.

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Pelican Pools:Started by former B-H sales employees.Some of the most innovative designs in town.Mechanics of the pool are a copy of B-H's,as are the plaster and equipment.

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Signature Pools:Their office is the old office of Integrity Pools.The construction manager is the previous owner of Integrity Pools.Owned by a pool electrical subcontractor until he changed the LLC from his wife to a neighbor.Integrity Pools never declared bankruptcy,they just went out of business,i.e. didn't pay their subs.One of their subs was the PebbleTec application company for the Charlotte area.Consequently,this company is banned from selling PebbleTec on their pools.

Uses some Jandy equipment or what ever is discounted or on sale at the time.

Are mainly seen building for homebuilders at spec homes in the area,just the clientele that you want during a housing deflation,eh(or is it ay?).

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Artistic Pools: Ultra small,possibly unlicensed( pool permits not pulled) builder.

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Independant Pools:A vinyl pool builder that has just gotten into concrete pools.

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Artesian Pools:Does everything in-house.Can you say 6-9 months if you are lucky?Likes to install those wonderful MIP red handled chinese ball valves instead of Jandy 3-ways.

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Charlotte Pool & Spas:Moved up from Florida,who can blame him,it's an economic wreck down there.Didn't check to see if his company name was the same as a 45 year old business on Central Avenue,Charlotte,NC.
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Queen City Pools/Affordable Pools/Commercial Aquatics/Aquatic Services/Charlotte Shotcrete:Not building pools anymore under his own company,sorta unless you count Amenities Unlimited.

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Southern Pools and Spa/A Cool Tan,Inc. :Started as a vinyl pool builder.Now that the commercial market is slowing down,will try to ramp up their fledgling residential business.Or how about pushing that tanning thing?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Great information - and for us very timely. We are at the beginning stages of redoing our backyard. We are working with an Architect/GC because of the scope of the project. We are looking to put in approx. 20x40 ft pool with hot tub. We would like to have the hot tub spill into the pool and then have the edge of the pool spill to a (infinity edge?) rock area - We have no idea of what ballpark we should expect the price to come in around - could you hazard a guess? And which of the companies listed about would you get quotes from? I didn't really see where one had a stellar reputation over the others. Thanks in advance for your help.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I cannot pick a pool builder for you.Ultimately,you will compromise on a builder that can offer you:business longevity to be able to honor the warranty,licensed,price,build quality.

B-H is the most consistent in improving their product year after year and honoring warranties.Prices will all be within 5% of each other.If someone is crazily low priced they should be treated as the crazily high priced.If the deal seems to be too good to be true,then it usually is.....

Good luck,you have picked the busiest time of the year to consider a swimming pool.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I have worked with many of the pool builders that you have listed. You are missing many quality issues, not so much the equipment, horsepower, etc. B-H has entered the commercial business and disapointed me and others. CAP has now went family, and many subs and concrete vendors would like to be paid. Look up the A-S company on the web and you will see a site that has unhappy customers. Check out Southern pools,Lombardo,Pools by Design on the web and BBB.Let Them Build Your Next pools and spas.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

NEWSFLASH-Independant Pools has changed ownership and is allegedly a front for a dope ring.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Mr. Pool Analyst,

I'm currently getting quotes for a pool from Carolina Aqua Pool, Pools by Design and Aloha. Anything in particular I should ask/request to seperate one from the other? They all say they use their own "guys" to do "most" of the work.

Are the quality of products better or worse from one company to the next? They are all supposed to give me detailed quotes soon.

I'm not in a hurry to get this in by the end of the swimming season but Aloha and PBD both say the can get it in/started asap probably 6-8 weeks. CAP says 8 - 12 weeks. Weather depending of course.

Aloha & PBD both say they build 50 - 60 pools/year. CAP says they over did it last year and are scaling back this year to 80 pools or so.

Right now I feel okay with Aloha & CAP but I will wait for the quotes/specs.

I do like the pebbletec...a friend of mine has it...and the 15 year warranty offered on it from CAP. Anything to question about the warranty?

I'd just like to get your thoughts and any suggestions you have for me so I don't make a $40K screwup...


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

goodtimep,
I just finished my pool here in Charlotte, NC, and I got quotes from Carolina and Pools By Design, and Anthony and Sylvan.
I went with A&S because the sales guy was very knowledgeable about elevations and designs, and he was not hesitant at all about adding items to the pool that they customarily did not deal with. My pool is fairly large, and has many elevations, and they got it done in 5 weeks! The scheduler is a great guy that actually returns calls.
A&Ss quote was right in the middle... another reason why I chose them, and the fact that I wantes to go with a national company since so many pool companies are going under... be careful.
Since you are in no hurry, I would suggest at least seing what Brian can do for you. His phone # is 704 622 3193. Tell him I sent you, and that I demand that he treats you right. My name is Mike S. in Concord. If you would like to see my pool in person, just call me at 704 287 7873. I would be happy to give you some inside tips on how to manage the quote from A&S.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

goodetimep:

A&S is a two edged sword.They have built so many pools in the Charlotte area.Brian used to be a project manager at A&S.He floated Gene Bodycott's pool(out of the ground) and somehow transferred to sales.He is one of the top A&S salesman in the country now.
CAP and PBD's owners both used to run the local A&S.Only CAP offers the Pebbletec,as does A&S.

Every company is striving for your business.Pricing will be very close.Pick the company that you feel most comfortable with.

CAP uses their own guys because they are having trouble with subs.The last company that used to actually really have their"own guys" was Julian Price Aquatech-20 years ago.Aloha also used to have their own guys when the previous owners sons were doing the excavation,steel,and plumbing.I think that they are still working for Aloha somewhat.

Go with the salesperson who you click with and seems the most honest.

Don't forget Lombardo Pools,Blue Haven,and Backyard Retreats,also.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

goodtimep,

Just for fun,if you do talk to Brian Syvrud,ask him what he thinks of Pools By Design-especially so since he left A&S some years back to go to work for them.A&S pulled him back by enforcing their non-compete clause.

Ask A&S if you can choose shotcrete over gunite for the pool shell.

The magazine 'Watershapes',October 2007 had some good insight into the shotcrete/gunite question in the tisherman:detail 81 column written by David Tisherman.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

goodtimep,

So,which company are you going to go with?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I see that CAP (Carolina Aqua Pools) have filled chapter 11.

I am glad I didn't have my pool built by them. I would have no warranties. I had Pool by Design build mine. They took a while but it was worth the wait. I could not be more thrilled with the product & the follow up service.
In my opinion, all the builders have a close product, It is the service you get after the pool is finished that sets them apart. Only Pool by Design employs their own service people, the rest rely on outside companies. That was a selling factor for me as I am primarily involved in law suits in construction industry for not looking after customers after the fact.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

We are currently using A&S. Aside from the kick in the pants we had to give them to start the build, once under way, we have had no problems with the contractors or the quality and customer service. They are doing a great job IMO.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I see Lombardo gets a couple of thumbs up here, but was wondering if anyone had any specific reasons for your approval. They're on my short list, but I've heard they don't do some things like Pebbletech finishing. I could have it done, but it would be sent out to a company that supposedly does the entire Charlotte area. Not even sure if I want Pebbletech, but I thought it odd that they didn't handle it themselves.

Then again, it could be just me. I'm new to the process.

Thanks!


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Pebbletec installer

No pool builder in Charlotte does their own Pebbletec finishing,or any other plaster finish themselves.It is all subbed out,as is most of the entire pool building process.What you are paying for is,essentially,construction management of your swimming pool.

The vertically integrated pool builders went away when Julian Price Aquatech downsized.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Did anyone get hung out to dry when CAP went under?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,
>>Did anyone get hung out to dry when CAP went under?<<

Of course people got hurt,some customers paid their front-loaded progress payments days before the shutdown.

If anyone read this thread from the beginning they should have stayed away from CAP.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

"If anyone read this thread from the beginning they should have stayed away from CAP."

Fortunately I didn't get caught up in any problems with CAP since they went under before I started. Even though I read this thread all the way through several times, there is still enough left to the reader's imagination to try and figure out the details.

Poolanalyst, can you connect the dots for us and give a sentence or two for WHY you'd choose from the handful of Charlotte-area pool builders you'd recommend?

I'm sure most readers appreciate your input, and if you were able to let us know how you came about this uncommon knowledge, we'd surely appreciate it even more!

Thanks!


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,

Are you narrowing your search,or have you already committed with a PB?

It sounds like you would like the positives on the Charlotte area PB's.

A&S:You can always contact their corporate office(Mayfield Village,Ohio) to get something done to your satisfaction,or raise a stink at their sales office,on a bi-daily basis.

Blue Haven:You can show up in person at their sales/construction office.I don't think that complaining to "Corporate" carries the same weight as A&S,since B-H is a franchise.

Pools By Design:Has cleaned up his act from years past.

Lombardo Pools:Has an established business with a bricks and mortar location.

Pelican Pools:May go to a "watch list" soon.

Artesian Pools: Does all work with own crews,and takes 6-9 month's to complete.

Aloha Pools:Does an acceptable job.Previous owners son subs on the pools.

Artistic Pools:stay away-inferior product and no permits pulled.

Maximum Pools:Investment banker/landscaper who now builds pools,need I say more?

Independant Pools:The infinite mushroom of the Charlotte pool industry.

Signature Pools: Kinda still building pools for home builders such as Ken Ponder.

Whomever you end up using,ask for a shotcrete shell using 5,000 psi concrete and not paper mache-like gunite.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I am narrowing the search. I have spoken to a few and received quotes from one so far. One other is working on one. I want to do my proper research and background, of course, but I don't want to waste my time getting a quote from a PB who I wouldn't want to actually do the job ... obviously.

Angie's List is pretty hit or miss for Charlotte-area PB (for instance, CAP still has a positive rating on there), so having your insight however you've gained it, is certainly helpful.

I'm not necessarily in a hurry, but want to get it in prior to next spring to take advantage of any off-season discounts that may hopefully exist.

Thanks again for your info!


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

poolanalyst,
You seem to know quite a lot about the pool builders in Charlotte, are you a builder yourself? If so are you still building or do you just like talking about them (maybe you were wronged by one of them) anyway I am retired therapist moving to the area from Florida and will be building a pool& spa, are you interested? Can you explain the difference between shotcrete and gunite as you have previously said......
"shotcrete shell using 5,000 psi concrete and not paper mache-like gunite" so is shotcrete cardboard? Please help with this, I need a reputable person to build my pool and you don't seem to care for any of the ones in Charlotte, NC.so would you be interested in designing a pool/spa for us?

Thanks
Ming


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

While we all try to figure out who Poolanalyst is (or at least which builder he works for/used to work for), I am still trying to figure the best local builder for my situation. If you work for a PB, is it against the forum rules to tell us so that we might consider you for a future job?

In the mean time, there are a few companies I've heard about that I was wondering if anyone reading this had any experience with:

*Douglas Aquatics
*Backyard Retreats
*Falling Water Pools

I can't find them listed with the Better Business Bureau and not sure if this means I should not even bother consulting with them.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Does anyone know about a local pool company called B & B. I have a couple of references for them but see no mention of them here. The references I have are really strong. Thanks


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Well I guess that answers the question about pool builders coming out on this forum and announcing their presence. There was a post from a rep from A&S here yesterday & now its gone.

Too bad, I felt like it was at least equal time for them to tell their side of the story. Maybe they should repost under a more anonymous name.

I've got nothing on B&B, but I'm far from a reliable pool analyst.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I have been shopping for a pool and after talking to several companies I have narrowed it to three companies. What can you tell me about Pelican Pools, Southern Pools and Charlotte Pools and Spas? In your earlier positive post you mentioned Pelican Pools might have to go to a "watch list" soon, why? Can you elaborate? You didn't say anything about Southern Pools or Charlotte Pools and Spas, is there a reason?

I chose these three because they all had nice pools to show and I want something that stands out. The other companies I looked at (A-S, B-H and Aloha) all had pools that looked the same.

Any thoughts or suggestions?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

*Douglas Aquatics -Not really a pool builder,but a commercial pool management company based in Virginia.
*Backyard Retreats -Brand new small pool builder,don't have a rating on them yet.
*Falling Water Pools -Can build some elaborate pools,likes to put floor cleaner systems in to make the pool more complex and expensive.Some of this companies pools have had cracks in the shell.

Pelican Pools-Best designer in Harlotte.Ask them to use shotcrete,or else they will use gunite.

nctal,I thought that you already had an A&S pool,am I mistaken?

Southern Pools-Likes to build what always looks to be a miniature of a commercial pool,because that is what they do.Used to build vinyl pools,10-12 years ago.Ask about their tanning deal.

Charlotte Pool & Spa-Recent arrivals from Florida-they were smart to get of that state=Dust Bowl-like Depression down there.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

TESTING


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re:A&S Pool

Flamingo212, nctal
You are welcome to stop by my home and check out my new build by A&S. It is a freeform 20x40, tanning ledge, salt, Intelliflow pump, infinity edge, 3 elevations,... (704 287 7873)
A&S was the ONLY company, (out of 4)that allowed me to call up their subs and ask them if they were being paid on time! I would not hire anyone unless they did this. We are on the verge of a depression, and pool builders are dropping like flies.
I would have liked to have seen A&S comments... too bad that they allowed one poster to post personal names, and then not allow that company and / or person to respond.
PoolAnalyst, it sure would make your posts a lot more credible if we knew how you became so knowledgeable of the Charlotte marketplace. And you do need to explain why you dislike gunite so much, instead of just saying that one process is so much better than the other.
Anyhow, off to enjoy my A&S hottub.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

ncrealestateguy,

>>And you do need to explain why you dislike gunite so much, instead of just saying that one process is so much better than the other.<<

I referenced some articles that explained the differences in a previous post.

You have made no bones about your love of your A&S pool and the salesman,Brian Syvrud.

Can you tell us if there are any goodies or referral fees promised to you from A&S,and if so,how much $$$$?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Hey everybody,

First let me say that A&S is a much improved company under Grant Robinson as GM.

As ncrealestateguy has said,>>My name is Mike S. in Concord. If you would like to see my pool in person, just call me at 704 287 7873. I would be happy to give you some inside tips on how to manage the quote from A&S.<<

So if anyone is considering going with A&S,please mention ncrealestateguy so that he can get his $1,000 referral fee,especially since real estate is so slow right now.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Poolanalyst,
What bugs you so much about me saying that I would refer a certain pool builder after having a good experience with them? Something personal with you? After all, this forum is here so that people can share their personal experiences with the process of building a pool.
I have never been promised any amount of money from A&S for a referral fee, but if that is what they do, then who cares? When I refer a freind or poster to A&S, it is because they did right by me on my pool build. Not because of a measley, fictional $1000 referral fee.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

ncrealestateguy,

>>What bugs you so much about me saying that I would refer a certain pool builder after having a good experience with them? Something personal with you? After all, this forum is here so that people can share their personal experiences with the process of building a pool.
<<

I think that you have gone a bit beyond the sharing of information with your statement of:

"I would suggest at least seing what Brian can do for you. His phone # is 704 622 3193. Tell him I sent you, and that I demand that he treats you right. My name is Mike S. in Concord. If you would like to see my pool in person, just call me at 704 287 7873. I would be happy to give you some inside tips on how to manage the quote from A&S."

If you are in sales and haven't WIIFF'ed A&S by now,then I am flabbergasted that you claim to be in real estate.

Please excuse my supposition,but some of your statements have the appearance of impropriety.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

BTW,
I am just stating the facts as I see them in the Charlotte area regarding swimming pool construction.I do not believe that I have undeservedly bashed any of the reputable pool builders.

In fact it's ncrealestateguy's threads that elicit responses such as follows:

"Posted by thejimbar (My Page) on Wed, Jul 30, 08 at 16:58

Seems like A/S loves to put grout whenever tile meets tile at 90 degrees.... I have 2 friends who have A/S built pools and this is the area they both had big problems with. Not on infinity edges, but on spa spillovers and spa edges. Loose tiles, cracking grout, tiles falling off because water gets in back of them. I hope you have better luck then they have had.
Their pools are both 5 years old.
"


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

poolanalyst,

Glad to see you back on the forum! Can you comment on any of my previous questions? Would you rather speak in a more private( secure) atmosphere?

ncrealestateguy ... Would love to see your pool, I will be in the area in about 2 weeks, I will give you a call...thanks


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

flamingo212,

Thank you for your kind words and accolades.I wouldn't mind helping you out,but for now keeping it on this forum.

I have considered from time to time being an independant consultant/inspector/third set of eyeballs for new pool customers.

If I were you I would consider allowing ncrealestateguy to handle your real estate questions,and if you end up having A&S build your pool,giving him the referral also.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Poolanalyst
All I am saying is that your stating the facts about the NC pool companies would be that much more insightful and meaningful if everyone knew your background... not on a personal basis, but just enough information so that readers could determine where you are coming from. That's all.
As far as why I offer people to take a look at my pool, it is because when we were starting out, there were a handful of people that let us stop by their home and check out their pool. It was very helpful in many ways. My invitation extended to these people to see my pool is for this reason, and not for the chance that there may or may not be a referral.
Flamingo212, you are welcome to stop by anytime, and I will not only tell you what I liked about A&S, but also what their shortcomings were.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Dear Mr. ncrealestateguy,

I would very much appreciate it if you could possibly mention what the shortcomings of A&S were so that we can all share in this information exchange?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I wonder why the moderator dumped charlottemike65,a/k/a monroemike-ss?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Antongogilak,
The biggest shortcoming was that the day to day supervision was a bit on the lean side. (just what poolanalyst described)The project manager would get the subs started on a new phase, and then check their work before moving onto the next phase. If anything was not correct, they would fix the problem then. On the other hand, they were extremely responsive on all of my requests and I am a very detailed and picky person. Seems to me that the easiest way for a business to increase productivity is to eliminate doublework. But, on the other hand, this style makes it possible for the manager to handle more builds at one time.
After all of my research was done on many builders, this known fact did not outwiegh the other positives that they brought to the table.
You can go to my pool build thread to get even more details.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I am starting to gather information for a concrete pool with spa overflowing, grill area and fireplace, to be ready by next summer. I have tried to contact a number of the above companies, and no one answers the phone. I have gotten a "live body" at Blue Haven and Anthony. Have some of these other companies listed above gone by the wayside ? Does anyone have advice on who is stable and who is not ?

Someone in my community had a pool started by one of the companies listed above, and they went out of business. The family had a very difficult time getting their pool completed. They had to sign a wavier from the company who agreed to complete the pool stating all warranties were void. I certainly don't want to get into that situation.

Any feedback at this time would be appreciated.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

No one answering the phone is not a good sign at all.
Ask any PB that you interview to let you call thier subs, so that you can get it firsthand that they are being paid on time. Also, get references from builds that are just completed and ones that are underway now.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

"Brian used to be a project manager at A&S.He floated Gene Bodycott's pool(out of the ground) and somehow transferred to sales.He is one of the top A&S salesman in the country now."

Is Gene Bodycott someone known in the community, or just a guy unlucky enough to have his pool pop out of the ground? (Great name, though ... sounds like a rock star).


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,

Gene Bodycott is involved in the Charlotte commercial real estate market,ncrealestateguy may know him.

After several years,Gene's pool shell started to develop many structural cracks,so A&S steeled,plumbed,and shotcretted a new pool inside of his existing one.

Now,saying all that,I don't know of any other pool builder that has done,or would do, this extensive of a warranty fix.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

>>Ask any PB that you interview to let you call thier subs, so that you can get it firsthand that they are being paid on time. <<

Some subs will have an accent.Generally speaking,the Mexican subs are honest and hardworking,but need close supervision(even after years on the job).The American subs have a large percentage of recreational drug users,and are in a hurry to finish so that they can.........(fill in the blanks).


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,

I actually had my pool built by Douglas Aquatics- one of the companies you are researching. They built my family a beautiful pool.

In reference to Poolanalysts response- We did a lot of research before deciding on a builder and were worried about Douglas Aquatics because they do a lot of other things in addition to building pools (Ie: Pool management and pool service). We were not sure we would get the best service or product during construction. We checked several references and visited several pools before deciding on Douglas. We had a wonderful experience with Douglas Aquatics and highly recommend them! BTW: They've been building pools since 1970.

Hopefully this helps you in your decision.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

charlottelegal,

If you had done your proper due diligence,you would have found that this Charlotte franchisee of the Douglas Aquatics name has only been operating here for 2.5-3 years.

I find it amusing that they list the part number of every inconsequential eyeball and plastic fitting that goes into the building of your pool.

If you visited "several pools" then you have most likely viewed 30% of their entire Charlotte pool building inventory.

Did you opt for the:Electrical hookup of all equipment,or opt to hire your own electrician.

What kind of valves do you have at your equipment,are they red-handled Chinese cheapies?

Douglas Aquatics-Charlotte would be accurately termed as dabbling in selling pools,and they really control only the marketing portion of the pool building process.

>>They've been building pools since 1970. <<
What's the point,A&S has since 1948 and B-H since 1954-so what.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Which brands are made in China? (aka - red-handled Chinese cheapies?)


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,
I was referring to the MIP(molded in place) valves which you can view at your local Home Depot/Lowe's in the plumbing aisle.

The black US made Jandy Never-Lube is the best valve on the market.Hayward makes a good copy of the Never Lube,but made in China.Intermatic and Pentair are lesser quality Chinese copies of the Jandy Never Lube.

Your top quality pool builders will use Never-Lube's,as a rule.B-H uses Hayward because their company does a national buy of Hayward products.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Can anyone recommend a monthly pool service company that is reliable and reasonable? We are about 30 days from completion and I want to start thinking about the next steps.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

>>And you do need to explain why you dislike gunite so much, instead of just saying that one process is so much better than the other.<<

The big differance between the 2 is that Gunite is mixed on site through the process of a 3 headed nozzle. The fella running the nozzle has control of 3 levers. 1 controls water, 1 controls the mix, and the other controls the sand. Shotcrete on the other hand shows up premixed in a cement mixer (truck). Shotcrete is computer batched at the plant and has less room for error.

I was told by an oldtimer in the industry that gunite's sucess has a high dependancy on the quality of sand used in the mix. It works great in Califonia and Nevada because the sand they use comes from the desert where it is much more coarse than what we have here in the east. Our sand is mostly dredged from river bottoms and has a finer consistency.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Sceadu,
You might want to read the "terms of service" for this sight. No commercial pitches...No advertising!
Hope you follow directions of your customers better than you followed the directions at this sight!
BTW I had a trimmer that went into business for himself. I think he had a few more pools than a tousand under his belt too.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Golfgeek,

I apologize if you feel that my post was inapropriate. It seems that there are alot of unanswered questions In the Charlotte market that I could help on. It also seems that some have questioned why Poolanalyst feels he is qualified for the posts he made. I wanted to put it out there on why I feel that I am qualified to answer some questions for folks embarking on a major purchase. Being that I am not a builder in the Charlotte market I can offer an unbiased oppinion.

As far as the comment about 1000 pools, ask a surgeon how many operations he has performed in how many years. Then asks him how many patients he has lost!! I have never lost a pool!! They are all exactly where I left them!! It's really not about quantity ya know, its about quality.

Life is short! try not to be too serious fore you may be buried with a frown on your face.


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Lombardo Pools

By way of an update to what's going on in the consumer side ... after much research and several personal consultations, I decided to have Lombardo Pools build my new pool. It was a tough decision, because I was able to get a very attractive design coupled with an increasingly attractive quote from Anthony & Sylvan.

For fair balance because he was very good to work with in spite of narrowly missing out on my business, I spoke with Dave Moore at A&S here in Charlotte (dmoore@anthonysylvan.com). He was able to provide a design that fit my needs and was the person I worked with about specific equipment requests as well as bid information. No one pool company or situation is right for everyone, so despite my choosing another company - if you're considering A&S give Dave a call. (And no, I wasn't paid to give that endorsement).

I had considered others, including Backyard Retreats and Blue Haven, but Lombardo ended up gaining my business and they've already made an impact on my back yard. Keith Lindberg is the landscape designer and sales person I spoke with at Lombardo (lombardopools@aol.com). So far I'm impressed with what Lombardo offers and the way they do business (and construction). For what its worth, as is mentioned earlier, Lombardo has an established bricks & mortor office in Matthews. I'll update as progress is made or if there are any questions.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,
What were the reasons that made you choose one over the other? Price, communication, trust, design...
Good luck with the build. Are you going to start a new thread about the build?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I narrowed my choices to A&S and Lombardo based on them meeting all the other criteria including my confidence they'd still be in business two months from now and two years from now, for that matter.

I selected Lombardo Pools based on total value of the plan, engineering quality (& quality control), and a good working relationship with the full team that would be handling my project.

A main plus to working with Lombardo is that the vast majority of the work being done on my pool would be done by Lombardo Pools employees rather than subcontractors. This might make the pool build process slightly longer, I suppose, but given the time of year I'm starting (here in December) that wasn't a real concern. Even if it was "in season", I'd sacrifice a few days or a week or two longer on the build process for assured quality. The same three men have been working on my pool so far every day they've been out here. The Pebbletec guys are obviously not Lombardo employees and there may be a couple of tradesmen like the electrician that aren't either. I'll update as we get deeper into the project and post a link as soon as I start a new thread dedicated to my build.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

nctal,
Congratulations!

Did these same three men dig,steel and short stub(plunb) your pool?

Are they Mexican's or your indiginous NAD's?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Here is a thought about companies that use all in house crews. Chances are that the same guys will be doing several different stages of construction. What are these worker's professions? Sure , one man can be good at several different phases, but when you invest as much money as it costs to build a pool, don't you want the best tradesmen doing the work?

Think about it this way. When you go to a hospital, there are many professionals that work at that hospital. You have your doctors,nurses, anesthesiologists, cafeteria workers and janitors to name a few. When your life is on the line, do you want the janitor to be performing a critical surgery on you. I want the "best" doctor in the building to be standing by my side. These are just little things to think about when chooseing a builder.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

True, but if you go to County General Hospital because you have heard that other people have had great orthopedic surgery there - but when you go, instead of getting (renouned specialist) Dr. Jeff Jones you get (5-surgeries-a-day) Dr. Clumsythumbs ... you realize its hard to duplicate the surgical results someone else had just by going to the same hospital.

I don't want to speak for the company I chose until I see the final results. I know there are specialists they use for certain aspects, but I'll be posting my pool build thread and will post back here with updates if my opinion changes, if problems occur, or if things go exceedingly well, for that matter.


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RE: NCTAL's pool build link

Here's the link to my pool build thread - so I don't hijack this thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCTAL's pool build thread


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Update on Lombardo Pools

Update On Lombardo Pools

Lombardo Pools has been feeling the pinch like every other builder in the Carolina's and appears to be using common strategies to compensate.

It appears that they have let go of longtime service manager Jeff Paraechi.

Judging from nctal's pool build photo's of his Lombardo pool build, they are now definitely using ACTIVE SHOTCRETE & PLASTER CO. for their shotcrete work.

Not do definite as the previous statement, but Lombardo Pools MAY also be using a combination of ACTIVE SHOTCRETE employees, and/or Ronquillo Pools Construction (owner:German Ronquillo) to dig,short stub plumb, steel, and tile their pools.

In other words, other than if the "landscape designer" is even a Lombardo employee, there hasn't been a Lombardo on the job yet(judging by the photo's provided by nctal).

Has anyone been by the Lombardo Pools office in Matthews lately to see if Keith Lombardo is still there? Maybe he sold the business to the ACTIVE SHOTCRETE chaps.Not an entirely out of hand possibility.

BTW, does anyone know what happened to Scott Lombardo after he left Blue Haven Pools?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Poolanalyst,
Thought you might want to see the real Active Shotcrete guys,
the person on the nozzle
is Marteen and the person down in the pool with him is Roberto, of course you will
not see Danny on most shoots
because he usually stays with the plaster crew.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Scott Lombardo is now with Independent Pool And Fence


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

>>Scott Lombardo is now with Independent Pool And Fence<<

Is he working for Independent Pool or Independent Fence?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

From what I understand he is digging for them, at least he was before x-mas.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

To the poolanalyst. The pictures of nctal pool being shot is me, KEITH LOMBARDO, I don't believe I look anything like martine being I have blond hair and blue eyes. Jeff is still my service manager,all the employees pictured are my full time crew. I have never used Ronquillo pool construction EVER.I feel your blog has been good until now,please check your facts before posting inaccurate imfo about a company. Im responding to set the facts straight,and not pick a fight.I believe this blog can help consumers provided you stick with the facts. If you want to stay anonymous fine,but feel free to contact me directly, if you still dont believe, I will do my best to give you the proof and facts you desire sincerely Keith Lombardo. Ps, you know how to find me, and yes,I'm still in matthews.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

If you still believe that active shot natal pool after reading above entry please put pictures side by side for your self and everyone else to compair and I belive this should put an end to all this drama, thanks again Keith. ps I hope after further review you are man enough to post an apology and move on to more interesting topics.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

poolanalyst,

Where did you go -------------


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

One can only guess that he is unable to come up with a smug response when he clearly was wrong after being so blatently adament about his previous assertations.

I'm ok with silence as long as he doesn't pick right back up making inaccurate slanderous statements against his competition in the Charlotte pool building industry, but it wasn't just my pool build he was wrong on ... it was an entire company. (Possibly others, as well.) He probably needs to own up to his mistake and apologize to Keith & Lombardo Pools in general.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Dear Keith,

Please accept my apologies, it was hard for me to recognize you since you added 50-60 pnds of muscle to your frame, and now have very short hair.

Did you just emerge from the witness protection program?


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Single main drain

NCTAL will have the distinction of having the only concrete pool built in the Charlotte area in the last 15 years to have a single main drain.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

<<<<<<"NCTAL will have the distinction of having the only concrete pool built in the Charlotte area in the last 15 years to have a single main drain."

Obviously a huge inaccuracy which shows your lack of understanding of the world outside your own company or previous employer(s). Your credibility on this forum is lower than NASDAQ.

Lets not turn this into a personal thing, but post when you have facts. I'm only a home owner and pool buyer, but a simple Google search easily supercedes your "knowledge".

Here is a link that might be useful: Unblockable Anti-vortex Single Channel


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Sounds like Lombardo is up on the latest and greatest technology of the pool business. I wish my PB would have used this drain... like i said earlier, I hate having my two drains located in the sidewalls of my hot tub.
NCTAL, any more progress on your pool?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

poolanalyst I accept your apology,how ever I want to clear up some final personal facts. #1 I've never had long hair in my entire life! #2 I haven't been in hideing,I'm just a buisness man busy running my company,and building pools,and yes still shooting concrete.#3 mon. Jan 19th. was the first time I've viewed this blog,after being notified by nctal about a drama unfolding about me,my company and my builing processes. #4 I'm not interested in responding to personal statements any further. #5 now you know alot of real facts about me, I,m currious about you,could this be Simmon W/pools by design? does the use of the word chaps ring a bell? or the 2009 prediction statement that pools by design being financially strong ring a bell? eighter way I think you have had some good issues/and comments helping inform consumers stick with that and keep the personal side of things out we would all be better served.In closing if you must know I'm using A&A Avsc unblockable single channel drain which has a very high flow rate along with a very slow velocity,in my opinion its far superior and safer than the dual drains everyone else around here is using. they also cost a lot more than dual drains but I'm not trying to build to the cheepest pool eighter. Thanks and good luck Keith Lombardo


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Well, Keith, we certainly can tell just by your posts and responses to POOLANALYSTS comments who the REAL PROFESSIONALS are!! As mentioned before we had many people give us a bid for our pool and a certain person who I won't name names (but you did (!!!!!!!) never returned my calls or could find enough time to do a bid with me and had many, many excuses. I guess it was all in his DESIGN, if you know what I mean! Keith, we chose your company for your degree of professionalism and knowledge, and we have not been disappointed at all. Keep up the good work and just trudge through this economical mess like everyone else.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I think you are right, Keith, Simon was on my shortlist of possibilities.

An 'unblockable single main drain' conforms to the V.G.Baker act.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

galluvs2swim,

What's your MO, cheerleader for Keith?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Please spare us. Keep crud like that off the forum. Tit for tat does no one any good.

A wise man once said,"Never argue with a fool in public. No one can tell the difference."


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Dear poolanalyst,

My name is Bryan O'Neal, owner of local Charlotte Area custom pool construction company. It appears that you know a lot about swimming pool construction and "the whos who" in the industry. I stumbled onto this website looking for some local information and I must give you some respect in the fact you tell potential clients about the short cuts throughout the industry such as using red handle valves, etc. I also enjoyed the story of the salesman underselling a project by $30,000.00. This happens all of the time which makes it hard for companies like myself to sell with turn key confidence and public needs to know.

What I do not understand is the cheerleading for certain companies without representing the few who actually build custom pools. No where do I see B & B Pools, myself, or a few others in the list if you are the true Charlotte Pool Czar. If educating the public is the main goal, I can see numerous of mistakes throughout the pictures posted on this form such as 1) rebar to high on the pool beams, 2) incorrect rebar spacing with pool J-hooks, 3) no waterproofing anywhere on pool shells prior to tile or stone installation, 4) lack of gravel on pool floor, 5) the use of flex piping, etc, etc. I can continue, but these are issues people need to see vs. throwing pool companies under the bus beside Lombardo. I consider Lombardo Pools good "clean" competition which means they sell their product for a fair price without giving the work away. Consumers want the best deal possible, but we are not selling cars. Custom pool building is a craft and without professional workmanship and quality materials all you will have is a $100,000.00 headache in your backyard no trade-ins, no exchanges. This is what happened to the few companies you comment about if you cannot sell a project and cover your overhead with a small profit, then it is impossible to service your client.

So, I must ask. Are you 1) a retired pool contractor? 2) Sub-contractor with interests in who only pays your bills? Or 3) a pool maintenance guy?

Either way, if this forum is a big deal for consumers, please keep it real. I have seen, repaired, and renovated many pools built by all of these builders and every builder has have warranty issues due to workmanship, faulty materials (such as bad concrete, plaster, equipment, etc.), and the learning curve of managing employees that none of us will ever master. Some clients never get a response even with the big national companies. So what goes wrong? The only factor in warranties is if the contractor has the morals to address it. If workmanship and proper job supervision is not present, then you will be stuck with a disasters.

Sincerely,

Bryan.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Bryan;

Welcome to the forum. We have builders here from all over as well as several experienced techs contributing. The more the merrier. This site is growing with traffic.

Those that are BSers will shoot themselves and are weeded out and those that are good easily make it pretty evident by their responses.

Educated consumers benefit us all.

Regard;

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

It is great to see more Charlotte area people on this forum. B&B just finished our pool - the kids got in it for the first time this past weekend - it was still tooooo cold for the older folks - but they had a blast! I am still finding my way around the chemical maze that a new pool owner is faced with!

Another great thread of a local build is NCTAL's Charlotte area pool build - Winter '09. It is a couple of pages back - I don't know how to paste the thread in here. It is about time for him to update his thread - Lombardo is doing his pool - we considered them as well.

In response to Pool Analyst - he does provide information - however he left off both of the companies that we were considering at the end - so I never considered his information totally complete for the Charlotte area.

I have found that most of the people here - pool builders and pool owners - truly want to provide the best information that they can - and if they don't - others quickly call them on it. They pool owners and soon to be owners that use this tend to be very thorough in their research it appears and I would guess that most - like myself - only used this as 1 source of information in their decision making process.

Welcome!


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I wish had your info prior to building my pool.
Integrity Pools (owner Greg at Signature Pools) built my crumbling, leaking pool. Any suggestions on how best to deal with a pool leak?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

George,

I am truly sorry to hear about your experience. I have been fighting and preaching against this type of workmanship to clients and builders for nine years and no one wants to listen because it always come down to the final price. If there is any way to see your pool, I could access your problems. A crumbling pool sounds bad.

This is a prime example of the problems when a subcontractor, (lets say the tile guy) decides that the company that he works for is making too much money. So they start their own company. It has happened to me twice and both employees lasted less than a year because they do not understand the cost of running a business. To really know this business, you must start from the ground up which normally starts as a part-time job in high school or youre the son of a pool builder. So there is a lesson to learn from this for all new consumers:

1. Pools are a lot like cars. You can buy a Ford or a Lexus, both are cars and it is completely up to you and you know your budget.
2. There is no way you can buy a new Lexus for the same price as a new Ford, but a Ford salesman can make a Ford sound like a Lexus.
3. When the Ford manufacture consistently makes Fords, then someone wants a custom Ford to compare to a Lexus, the Ford employees do not know exactly how to built it or price it.

This is exactly how pools work. If you want a custom pool you are paying for workmanship. Our workmanship and attention to detail is what breaks down the cost of a pool. All Builders pay about the same for equipment such as pump, filter, heaters, and controls and none of that stuff means anything if the knowledge, creativity, and workmanship are not there. Another good example is stone work. You can pay L.C. Lynch in Mooresville $35.00 per foot for a premium grade stone coping or pay the "dude" working out of the back of his truck $20.00 per foot for junk stone. The junk stone that is installed around pools is the stuff we throw away. Does this make sense? What do you want in your backyard?

There are so many differences in construction that it would make your head spin. Everyone has their own opinion on what to sell and how to do it. The guys who learn from their mistakes and constantly improve on their workmanship are the companies who tend to have higher pool prices because they know what it take to please a customer and reduce the number of call backs.

Hopefully this will sink in for someone before they make a bad decision when they think their getting a "deal".


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum leak info for

George,
As for your leak, mark the water at the tile line with a marker and run the pool for 24 hours - see how much your pool goes down.

Then, fill the pool back to the mark and turn the pool off for 24 hours - see how much your pool goes down.

If the water goes down at the same rate, then the leak is in the pool (such as tile, plaster around return fitting, etc.) if the water does not go down (or not as much) when the pool is off, most likly you have a plumbing issue. Sort of like your garden hose with a pin hole - nothing when it's off, but turn it on - stream of water.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Mr. Pool Analyst,

You are completely mis-informed in your assessment of Artesian Pools.

You are correct that they are a small, in-house operation.
However, you are completely wrong on the build time and quality.

If you are talking about the Artesian Pools owned by Rod Worthington, they built a large custom pool and spa for me in less than six weeks. They used all Jandy valves and are super-committed to quality.

They intentionally keep their work load small so that they can deliver high hands-on quality and meet their delivery commitments.

They built my gunite pool six years ago and it still looks brand new. They also poured a large concrete deck for me and I still don't have any cracks.

If you have even one example of a pool that took 6 months or more for them to complete, my guess is that it was one of the complex, creative jobs that they specialize in like the famous vanishing edge and waterfall pool that they built on Lake Wylie

http://www.artesianpool.com/photogallery/photo13796/real.htm

Charlotteans in the market for a custom pool should have Artesian pools at the top of their list. This is especially true if they like natural stone work.

Artesian Pools has been in Charlotte for 33 years and sell primarily through referrals, so they are all about quality.

If anyone is in the considering a custom designed pool, feel free to contact me if you would like to see my pool.

John Fults
(704) 341-1004

Here is a link that might be useful: Vanishing Edge Pool


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

As a custom builder, the Artesian construction process looks to be on par for one of the best in the area. I have no issues with anything that I see. The framing is right, the rebar is right, and everything looks good. When you see workmanship as this, they are not competitors, they are fellow pool builders. We need more of this craftsmanship in Charlotte.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

My name is Rod Worthington, owner of one of the mentioned companies in this thread. There are many things written on this thread that are incorrect but I am only going to address those items that pertain to my company.

First I would like to thank John Fults for defending us and informing me about this site and also Brian ONeal of Falling Waters for his positive comments.

"Red handled valves"

There 4 different types of red handled valves shown on our website under special purpose pools that we built for the Bass Pro Shop in Concord. The majority of these valves are schedule 80 true union ball valves manufactured by Hayward Industries industrial division and cannot be purchased through pool distributors or Home Depot. These valves cost far more than Jandy valves and are designed for a specific purpose. They are manufactured in New Jersey. There are also "red handled" 4 inch butterfly valves and 8 inch wheel operated butterfly valves on the piping manifold designed for other purposes. Red handles are commonly used throughout the valve industry for easy visual identification. This entire system is schedule 80 pvc which is an indicator of the product quality generally selected. This elaborate system took two months of collaboration between Artesian Pools and a group of engineers and architects to design and involved sand, activated carbon and bio filters along with water chillers, oxygen systems and generator backed up systems. The system also operates 3 water features on the roof of the aquarium. The sand filtration system alone is greater than that required to operate a junior Olympic pool. At the time of conception Bass Pro had one operating Aquarium in St. Louis and was looking for improvements to that prototype, hence the detailed collaborative effort. Once the system was designed we had a window of 30 days to install it and make it operational for the owners first walk-through and 2 weeks to make any changes prior to fish being introduced into the aquarium. This was all covered in a liquidated damage clause in the contract.

Shown in the lower right hand corner of the second photograph is a sand filter system with a "red handled valve" that operates their fish quarantine tanks brought in by their fisheries department to stock the aquarium. This system was not part of our contract.

"6-9 months, if youre lucky"

As John stated, his pool was completed in less than 6 weeks. We built his pool in the fall and had reasonably good weather conditions. There were no other structures or contractors involved and changes to the plan were minimal. His pool is a 9 ft deep 24x41 with a large raised oval spa and 1400 sq ft of travertine patio. Typically a project of this scope could take 2-3 months depending upon the time of year and weather and site conditions. Kittys Story on our website under process shows a pool that was completed in less than a month during the hydrangea bloom.

After finishing the Bass Pro shop we started the vanishing edge pool mentioned in Lake Wylie. This job was entirely different and took longer than 6 months. We have been involved in many projects in our 33 years of business that take 6 months or longer. Quite often there are other structures involved and we need to get in first to handle site prep and grading, build the infrastructure and leave while other contractors build the house, bath-house, garage, tennis courts etc. We were involved in one project that took 2 years from start to finish for these reasons. Many times we will start a project in the fall with the intention of completing it the following spring. There are many applications in our business that are temperature sensitive and cannot be properly applied under most winter conditions. This also allows time for other structures to be built and the surrounding areas to be landscaped and finished prior to making the pool operational. Some of these jobs could run 4-6 months from start to finish.

When a family makes the decision to buy a pool they are always anxious for it to be completed as soon as possible. This is very understandable because it is usually the beginning of a dream they have had for years. Because each and every project has a different scope and set of conditions, an estimated completion date is part of our standard contract in order to keep expectations realistic. Our business philosophy is to deliver a long lasting product in a realistic timeframe at a predictable cost. We have lost many projects over the decades because we were unwilling to make false promises or create unrealistic expectations in order to sell the project. There have always been competitors that will say whatever it takes to get the job. I cant count the number of distressed calls taken over the years from unhappy pool buyers that were disappointed by the lack of performance of their chosen contractor and have repaired or finished many of those projects. In these cases the overall cost and angst experienced by the customer always greatly exceeds that which would have occurred had they been more diligent in the planning stage of the project.

The benefit of our personal and business philosophy is the excellent long-term relationships we enjoy with our customers by making their dreams become reality. I would advise any potential pool buyers to choose a company that share in these fundamental principles.

Thank you, Rod Worthington


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Whoops, in the process of editing my post to meet the business criteria of this website, I made an ommission and do not know how to re-edit the post. I apologize for that error.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Rod,

We don't flog stand up guys.

Welcome. This forum is a great resource for builders, customers and techs. Give freely and it will help you more than it helps those that you gave freely to.

Regards;

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

The poolanalyst has'nt responded to his own thread in 6weeks.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Rod,

I could not add anything more to your comments. You are 110% correct about construction time lines, weather, customer expectations, etc. Completely educating potential clients prior to signing contracts is the only way to have a successful project. I have heard it all, as you:

"They can have it completed in 4- 6 weeks"
"They can start tomorrow"
"Their system only takes one bag of salt a month" (Is that it? No balancing Chemicals?)
"They can do the same as you, they have pretty pictures in their brochure" (Is that pool in Charlotte with the cactus in the background?)

I know I cannot (or want) to build every pool in Charlotte; in fact I can only handle 10 15 pools a year (if I want to keep the workmanship to a higher standard and want to keep my hair). I am very pleased to see that someone preaches the same "pool talk" as I do, which is only common sense and the truth. I do not have a problem explaining to clients the lessons that I have learned through trial and error to explain how we got from then to now. I have stuck my neck on the line on some very complicated projects just to try something new and creative (and will continue to do so) which only makes us better. When I see a proposal from another company offering something that I know will become a long term problem, I call them out on it. I also explain that if you cannot afford an additional $10,000.00 - $15,000.00 to do it right, you are better off scaling the project or not doing it at all. Would you rather have a "Travertine Deck" with a settling pool or a nice decorative concrete deck with a pool which will not slide down the hill?

I think that this is a great way for people to hear the facts about what we do, hear, and see throughout the industry. Normally, during a bid, this information goes in one ear and out the other when a client is wondering how high is this bid will be. I do want to put swimming pools on a higher standard in our area. I am tired on seeing the junk, and do I have some pictures!

For the customers who are reading this, a pool on a higher standard does not mean building a $250,000.00 project. You can build a $40,000.00 pool on a higher standard which may only cost you $1,500.00 or so, but you will be so much happier down the road.

Bryan O'Neal


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

It's the "Down the road" vision that many miss. Sad but true. The pressures that are present often cause short sighted things to happen and increase the potential for animosity or buyer's remorse down the road.

Those that have been through the process understand this.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

As I have said before, when some pool builders collect the last check they never want to see that pool again. They look at the pretty waterfall and pat themselves on the back. Another job well done! Ha!

I challenge every builder to go see the pools they built 5 and 10 years ago. Then ask the pool owners what they think of their work. Then you can decide what kind of builder you are. If you are scared to do this, then dont bother, you already know.

This said, it seems many customers demand crap. The $40,000 pool doesnt get built nor the $41,500 pool, but instead the $38,500 pool.

I never intend to make enemies, but when you make the same mistakes over & over again and refuse to learn or listen, I might accidentally let my tongue slip.

Or maybe they are not mistakes but what the customer demanded. I just dont know any more.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

That goes to the "Why are some customers crazy?" thread. From the answers posted, I interpreted that we're all crazy and sanity has no place for some combinations of builder//buyer relationships.

Besides, I wanted to be the 100th post on this thread.

Peace!

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

What is a fair price to pay for a 400-500 sq. ft. pool with 40 sq. ft. hot tub. No decking, no landscape, no fence. Just pool. I would like stone coping around pool and stone on tub. Would like to figure out a way to heat with solar. Easy access to flat pasture lot on 3.5 acres in Weddington. Thanks.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Hey everyone, I live in upstate s.c. and am starting my search for a pool builder. Can you recommend anyone? Thanks


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Guess I had to sign in. As a sub-contractor for swimming pools, I hope my opinion matters.
Get off the web and speak to them in person. Any moron can post good or bad on here. Take it from me, half still owe me $$$. SHHHHHHHHHHHH Brian.
Check thier referral lists. Contact info should be provided. Just please talk in person like we use to, the web isn't fair. Most of the subs build the same pool, it just comes down to design, relationship and a strong warranty.
Sincerely,
One jaded sub that someone on here remembers.
P.S. Guess I'm not the only one!B-O'something


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Update for Spring of 2010:

Greg Hergott, formerly the owner of Integrity Pools (with Steve Hughes) has graduated from Signature Pools and is now working for Overstream Landscapers-building pools.

Bill Howell, formerly of Carolina Aqua Pools, has now formally filed for personal bankruptcy protection.

Blue Haven Pools seems to be coming under the stress of the financial realities of the Great recession as is A & S.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

poolanalyst,

WRT to BHP, is that Corporate or the regional franchise?

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I am trying to upload some pictures taken today 3-7-11 of a concrete shell on a Pelican Pools Job site.

Seems as tho he is building his sun-shelf and a bench in the pool out of concrete block. This is just the start of how terrible this pool shell is.

Pelican Pools also does not have a Builders License and is un able to pull permits in NC.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Put them in a Photobucket album.

Copy and paste the 3rd option, one per line.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

[IMG]http://i56.tinypic.com/5vmxq1.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/mn0qow.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i56.tinypic.com/1zxxtup.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i51.tinypic.com/23tlf6b.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/33w3b7n.jpg[/IMG]


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pelican pools high quality!!!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

How are you involved in this build?

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

This is DIY (no offense to good ones) garbage.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

The above pictures also show that it is new home construction. Shame on the builder who is letting this happen. They know better, but due the economy they are awarding the lowest bids only for their profit. This is going to be a major disaster once it is plastered, and a major expense to the homeowner in the future, far outweighing the cost to build it correctly the first time. Consumers need to be educated on the proper procedures on construction to avoid stuff like this. Even worse, the building inspection department will overlook this because their only conserns are grounding. bonding, electrical, fencing, and door alarms.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

The cinder block poster hasn't responded. Something is fishy.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Poolguynj:
I am not involved in this build what so ever! I am a local pool builder that has had problems with this builder in the past. I feel like everyone should see the garbage that he is actually putting out.

Bryan:
I agree 100%.

This job is on Belle Isle in Cornelius.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

So when the homeowner calls you and says what do I do, you tell him. It's not a problem for you but an opportunity in the making. Document everything. One of these days, you will sell against him. This is one of those rare instances where showing a picture you can substantiate was one of his builds to a client...

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Is this a spec home or a custom home build? If it is a spec home, post the address here so I, nor any other agent, shows the home to unsuspecting buyers.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

This is Jonathan from Pelican Pools and Spas. I have been watching this thread progress and typically would not entertain discussing matters with any person who hides behind annonimity but matters have now gone too far.The same person who has posted these photos has for the past year been hounding us and has been trying to sabatoge our company with malicious intent. In fact just today one of my clients that I am building for received an anonomous telephone call from someone who absolutely trashed us. This person hid their number and would not give their name or information. Fortunately we have a good enough rapore with the client and they trust us enough that they realised that something was fishy and they brushed them off and the caller landed up making a fool of himself. However, is this what we as pool builders want to be associated with??
Surely when you read an annomous post from someone who who trashes another person and doesn't have the balls to give their information you must realise that something is not right.
I am shocked and in disbelief that Brian from Falling waters jumped on the banwagon without knowing the full details, but at least he left his name and I can respect that. I have just called him and left a message to discuss what is going on at the site in question. Hopefully he will call me back. I have no problem discussing the subject when I know who I am talking to.

These photos shown are just a glimse of a larger picture and have been taken so far out of context it is laughable. I am also astounded that none of the above posters have simply picked up the phone or e-mailed me and asked me what is going on if they are so offended by it. Surely in order to have an informed opinion, one has to get both sides of the story first?

If anyone would like to hear the details at the job site, (potential clients included) please call me at 980 722 7199 and I will be happy to discuss matters with you.

Anonomous posters trashing others should be taken with a grain of salt and paid no attention.

P.S. I have no idea how to do a spell check on this so if there are any errors please forgive me. :)


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Like I said, something was fishy.

Please do explain the badly laid cinder blocks.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I will hold off judgement for now. Maybe the homeowner wanted a sunshelf and bench really bad, and Johnathon and the owner were unable to come to agreements, so the owner did the work hisself.
But until we hear the other side from Johnathon, all we have to go on are pics of a poorly constructed shelf and bench, that will not last.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum 2

To their credit, Pelican Pools has an A- rating with BBB.
Johnathon, is the poster correct when he says you do not have the proper licensing?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Alright, here I go. The phone calls to clients and trashing a company is ridiculous. Whoever this guy is, I hope you spend as much time on your own jobs as you do others. On-site, owner supervision will probably help your final outcome, and please write me back and tell me that you do.

Regarding the Pelican Pool, I think I also bid this project if it is on Belle Isle Rd. I sure hope the home contractor and pool builder went through the appropriate steps to ensure that the house and pool will not slide down the hill. I did receive a phone call from Jonathan from Pelican Pools and listening to a long message of scenarios and excuses, and there is a fix to the problem he has on his hands.

I would recommend that providing step by step pictures as the repair is made. This will help warrant your project and make your competition feel better about your management, workmanship, and standards. There are few builders that I am impressed with and feel they are friendly competition including B & B pools and Artesian Pools, I don�t know enough about everyone else, so I don�t know. With that said, I still think I go through additional steps that make me feel better about what I provide to my clients.

I�m not going to go into detail on how to fix this CMU and bad gunite day issue, but I would recommend a flexible protective coating and waterproofing barrier over all of the cold joints is the best and only solution. If the CMU is filled will gunite and plastered over, it will crack at the joints of the CMU. The pool will leak and it will be a costly repair.

In fact, this is a perfect opportunity to again address what we do as contractors. I have spent 10 years educating and tweaking my process to provide my clients the best product as I can. Unfortunately, as you learn and develop better way to build something, your prices increase. If you have good morals, once you see how to do something better, it is impossible to go back, it�s like skipping a step. It is really tough to explain to clients the importance of taking additional steps to provide quieter equipment, prevent leaks and reduce the effects for efflorescence. I just completed a very high profile project working with Brian Van Bowers of Aquatic Consultants, Miami FL. He has made a worldwide name for himself by building and specifying his pools to a much higher standard than the normal. I learned a few good concepts from building his pool design, which I have adapted to all my projects and offer the "official" proper way as an upgrade. I now understand that I cannot build as many pools as the rest of the Charlotte Area companies, because it takes the right client to understand the importance of building something right and knowing that the up front cost far outweighs the long-term repair. In fact, I will eventually transition myself into a consultant/design company as consumers are educated and demand for better quality custom pools increase. I saw how Brian Van Bower was respected as the consultant and clients looked to his advise even thou solutions to situations were suggested by myself. Brian Van Bower did not spend as much time on the project as I thought, but I also believe that he knew I had the project under control.

I would like to challenge all builders who read this to experiment with better products and search to build your pools to a higher standard. You know what it takes, read the installation manuals and read the articles provided to us. I know there is a better way to improve what we do, and I will continue to spread the truth and hopefully get our Charlotte Area pool industry working on better standards. Let�s get out of the 1980�s and build something worth giving to a consumer.

Bryan O'Neal 704-506-7806


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

What does a 16x32 gunite swimming pool with pebbletec cost for Charlotte, NC? I have bids coming in but, want to know what to expect.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Pool_2011,

Please start a new thread.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Personally I would disregard everything that Poolanayst has posted. Saying builders are fronts for a dope ring or every Caucasian worker is a druggie should discount his opinion for anyone. What I do think this shows, though, is that buyers are starved for information when it comes to finding a reputable pool builder. I don't build in the area, but there does seem to be a need for a good source of information. Like poolguyNj said, it is probably best to start a new thread asking others for their experiences. Ignore everything posted by poolanalyst...something is strange about that guy. Be careful, though, to get your recommendations from pool owners and not pool builders. There's a character in my town (PB) that refers others to his buddies and vice versa. Best to get your info from actual owners.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

How about an updated list. Superior, Pool by Design, Pelican, and any others. You seem to hate Superior, and I'd love to know why. Who would YOU use?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I just received a quote from Carolina Custom Pools for the Rock Hill area. Anyone have any experience? Is there another York area pool builder (shotcrete) I should be contacting for a bid?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Houseofsticks,

We just a quote today from Carolina custom pool also. Andy Smith did our neighbors pool 4 years ago and it still looks brand new. We thought we'd get a quote. Liked the alpine lake 400 sq foot. no frills but did go for pebbletec. regular brick coping and 400 sq ft of concrete around it. 31K is the quote. Andy is the first person we have spoken to and seems a really nice guy. Have no idea if that is competitive or not. Can anyone chime in?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I'm at the beginning phases of putting a pool in.
So far, from what I've gleaned from this thread, I need to make sure to not use gunite, look into the A&A AVSC unblockable single channel drain, use either a Hayward or Jande pump (no cheap red handled valves) and try to get in touch with the subs to make sure they're getting paid.
Anything else?
I've had a few people out now, with varying (yet always interesting) outcomes. We're down to choosing between Ozone and PBD.

Any intel on either of these that I need to know?

PBD said tried to steer me away from PebbleTech, Travertine, and a salt system in favor of marble glaze, concrete (processed with salt and divots to keep it cool), and their own Algae Inhibitor system. However, they did say they'd do whatever I wanted to.
Ozone uses Subs, Pebble Sheen, Travertine, and salt (if I want).
Ballpark numbers were shockingly different, but I'm not going to say how except that it was a $15-$20,000 difference for an under $80,000 pool (no spa)

Also, IRT getting a survey done. Is there a markup going through the PB? Should I just get one done myself?

Thanks for all your help!


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

There isn't anything wrong with either deck type when done correctly.

I prefer Jandy over Hayward for a full system, not just the pump.

Beware of the Algae Inhibitor stuff. A salt cell is recommended.

If the subs are good, so what? Talent isn't exclusive to those that do it in house.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Thanks, Scott.
How does a buyer know whether or not the subs are good? What do I need to look for/ask?


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Visit pools the builder built. Talk to homeowners. Ask the builder about all types of customers, good and bad. Seeing the work they did or are doing (in the process of being built) helps. Asking what went wrong or differently than expected helps too.

Note about subs: The builder may not have as much say in the sub's time line for getting things done. Weather and work load will play a part.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Question for the experts here. My Shotcrete pool was finished January 2011. The builder managed the water Chemistry till February 2011. In late Feb I noticed what appeared to be large areas of darkness in the plaster. It was too cold to investigate and I did bring it to the attention of my local Charlotte pool builder- He said they would send someone out as it looked like the finish was crumbling.

They never really have addressed this outside of the owner telling me it was a water chemistry problem about 6 months ago. Due to some he alt issues I did not pursue.

Now, it has gotten worse and I firmly believe it is shotty plastering, but need to prove it. The areas of darkness in the photos are very rough indicating much of the white plaster has be lifted in the dark areas. My cleaner very often id full of what seems to be plaster. The chemistry has always been reasonable and in fact this happened a few weeks after they finished managing the chemistry. Since it continues to worsen and I seem to be capturing a bunch of plaster each week- I assume it is still decaying.

this is my second in ground Shotcrete pool- I never had this kind of issue with the first one.

Take a look at the Pictures- Any help is greatly appreciated- and yes I am getting two estimates to fix this, but I really don't think I should pay. I believe my Pool company should fix rather than dodge the issue.


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

Sorry to tell you but I don't think it was defective plaster or application. That streak looks chemical in nature.

Scott


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RE: Charlotte,NC Concrete/Gunite Pool Builder Forum

I want to add a free form hot tub to my existing pool. Any legit company that would like to discuss the job may call me at 828-855-4090.


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