Something just isn't quite right
Your pool has been completed. It doesn't operate quite right, tolerances vary, things are out of level, the equipment is noisy and the masonry and concrete is beginning to crack. Your international aqua designer and builder has an excuse for every issue you raise. You're not an expert but you know that they're blowing smoke. You can just "feel it."
Few people actually listen to that "sixth sense," that tells them when something just isn't right. And the people who are trained to listen to that sixth sense, police officers, special forces operators and trained interrogators, are naturally suspicious to begin with. Go with your gut feeling - your instincts are usually correct!
Make your demands reasonable
A property owner needs to be reasonable. They need to provide their contractor with sufficient time to remedy any defects. The owner needs to put everything into writing. Conversations can be debated - he said, she said.
Be professional, courteous and non-emotional. List the defects that you are aware of, what you want done and the completion deadline you seek. First class mail is usually sufficient. If there is already some animosity, then certified mail - return receipt tells them that you mean business and are documenting everything.
You should also involve your architect, landscape architect or your watershape consultant. They may be able to inspect the project for compliance with their plans.
Failure to reply or comply
If the contractor fails to reply or refuses to address the issues, then it is probably time to consult with an attorney and a swimming pool expert witness.
Your attorney can discuss with you strategies and tactics.
Once the swimming pool expert witness has performed their cursory inspection, they will prepare a list of patent defects (obvious defects). From their investigation they may begin to suspect latent defects (concealed defects). Those may require invasive and non-invasive testing.
Collecting your documents
The swimming pool expert witness will want to review everything that you have in your possession:
- initial proposals, bids, concept drawings
- change orders
- contracts, specifications, equipment & material lists
- a list of sub-contractors and their lien releases
- plans and structural engineering
- permit inspection card and any city documents (regarding barriers, special inspections, inspection schedules, etc.)
- EVERY photograph and video that you took during construction (burn to a disc)
- copies of any communications between you & the builder (emails, letters, telephone call logs, etc.)
- any calendar or diary of their construction progress, dates of major milestones, no show days, etc.
- cancelled checks or receipts for payments
- any other documents (packing slips, owners manuals, instructional papers, use/care guides, pre-liens, correction notices, etc).
From your detailed and extensive collection of digital photographs, they will be able to zoom in on suspicious items. Items and locations that may include potential latent defects are identified. Those items may warrant additional inspections.
Once the list of actual damages (patent and latent) has been identified, the cost of repairs can be estimated. Then your attorney will take over and negotiations begin.
Many times swimming pool expert witnesses will be retained following the case settlement to observe any corrective measures. Though these repairs are usually performed by a third party contractor, the expert witnesses has intimate knowledge of the defects and the project that allows them to provide guidance and direction on the owner's behalf.
Contact the author, Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-776-8220.
Visit his website at: www.aquatictechnology.com.
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