Swimming Pool Construction In North Vancouver : Free Guide
Specializing in the construction and renovation of hot tubs, spas and swimming pools throughout the Lower Mainland and located in North Vancouver, BC, Cascade Pools Inc. offers the following free guide to obtaining competitive quotes. We welcome enquiries from customers located anywhere in the Greater Vancouver area of BC.
How To Ensure You Are Receiving Competitive Quotes!
Swimming pool companies are asked every day to provide quotes on residential pool and spa projects. Often, a homeowner or a general contractor will say "How much for a 16-foot by 32-foot pool?"
This approach can cause uncertainty for both the estimator and the prospective client.
After a site visit or a look at the landscaping plan an estimator can usually come up with a price quite quickly and provide a 3 or 4 page quote. But how does he know what he is actually supposed to be bidding on?
At first glance, as a prospective client, you may think that after three or four phone calls and a couple of site meetings, you'll have plenty of choices. Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as that. There is no standard form for the estimator to fill out. Every company has different standards as to what they include in their quote and what they don't. So it isn't always easy for the person receiving the quotes to make their decision.
When bidding on commercial work, the contractors are provided with detailed drawings and specifications regarding the pool's structure, finish and mechanical components. This allows all parties to bid on a level playing field. Without a similar guideline for your residential project, the specifications are left to the individual bidders and may not all be equal.
By asking questions, being certain of what you want and making sure all bidders have the same information, you can be more confident as you make this important decision!
1) Your Pool's Size, Depth And Location
Seems simple, but being clear about the most basic information is the starting point for receiving fair and competitive bids from your swimming pool contractor!
2) What Is Included?
Again, seems simple, but knowing exactly what you expect from your pool contractor and being clear with all the bidders helps us keep the playing field level. Answer these simple questions:
If you have a general contractor, he may be taking care of many of these items. If not, then either the pool contractor is the general contractor or you are! Make sure this is clear!
- Who is responsible for the excavation, gravel placement and backfilling?
- Who is responsible for the gas, venting and electrical work?
- Who is responsible for the coping and decks?
- How much decking do you want and what materials do you want?
- Who is responsible for building the mechanical room?
- Who is responsible for water and sewer connections?
- Who is responsible for permit applications and who is paying for them?
- Who is supplying the necessary damage deposits to the city?
- What other services may be available? For example: landscaping, irrigation and retaining walls if they are in your design?
- What else is included? Lights? Covers (automatic or manual)? Waterfalls? Spa jets?
- How firm is the quote? How complete and detailed is it?
- What is the contractor's policy for billing extra charges?
3) The Structure
As part of the permit application process, your city will require engineered drawings detailing the rebar and concrete requirements. The engineer who provides these drawings will also be required to inspect the forms and steel before the concrete is poured so you can be confident in this portion of the job. Be wary of a contractor who wishes to build your new pool or spa without a permit, though.
4) The Finish
Most contractors provide pricing including a basic level of tile and plaster. Be sure you understand what is included in the basic price and that you will be satisfied. Tile and plaster material upgrades can be expensive so be sure you are clear on this from the beginning.
Research as much as you can online and discuss which options you may want with pool owners you know. Beyond upgrades to finishing material and decking, there are unlimited options for your project from built-in hot tubs and automatic covers to fountains and rock waterfalls!
6) The Mechanical System
Unless you are having your pool designed by a professional separate from your contractor, to a certain degree, you are at the mercy of your contractor at this point. Pipe sizing is important since properly sized pipes will allow the filtration system to operate more efficiently. When it comes to the equipment, most estimators will not provide you with details regarding pumps, filters and heaters but will tell you which brand they will install. It's fairly simple to discover relative pricing on the Internet and you may soon see that there can be a difference of several thousand dollars in the equipment alone! This is not to suggest that more expensive equipment is necessarily better, but cheaper equipment is rarely the best. This one-time only savings can cost a lot in increased maintenance and repair costs over the lifetime of your pool.
7) Needs And Wants
A pool can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Knowing what you need as opposed to what you want can help keep the bidding process fair. Having answered the questions above and knowing what you need in your pool, meetings with contractors will inevitably provide you with new ideas for your design. Ensure that all bidders price the same basic set of specifications and then ask your bidders to price any other items they may suggest as extra line items. This will allow you to compare the basic proposals and the extra items separately. Sometimes having a proposal with all the "bells and whistles" included from the start will make the project appear too expensive or too complicated. Simplify the bidding process for all concerned.
Make sure you are confident in the contractor you choose. Building a pool is a large undertaking, both financially and emotionally, as you see heavy machinery moved into your yard to begin excavating for the new addition. Feel free to ask to see other projects in various stages, from excavation to completed yards. And if you wish to speak to former clients, feel free to ask for references, too.
We are confident that if you follow these general guidelines, you can be more comfortable when choosing your pool contractor.