Friday, May 30, 2014

So you think you want a swimming pool???

Warning!!!! Unless you are having a company do ALL the work and pull the permits... It's not as simple as you might think! We did an above ground... I'm sure an inground would be a lot more work, money, time, and effort...

 Here is the process we just went though and wish we had known earlier... Could have totally saved some money, anxiety and time!!! 

First first first!!!! Go online and find out your cities building regulations for construction. Our city of Arlington require a permit for any swimming pool installation that isn't a blow up pool. It doesn't tell you on their website but NO extention cords allowed!!! I really wish they posted better rules or were more communicative when you go for your permit!

After you have decided that you really want this pool and have checked all your code and homeowner association rules and needs...

Get your survey document and make a copy with the stamp on bottom (or two or three just in case you need the extra for mistakes) maybe I did and maybe I didn't but use pencil and have to do it over!!! 

Figure out where you want your pool and measure how much space you have. In Arlington you have to be about 10 ft from the underground electrical wires...this needs to be marked and you will need the TASS number for verification.  Also no overhead lines above the pool.

Nothing can be in the easement so make sure you are far enough away from that. You will need to know your fencing, how tall, what kind, where, and if chain link, how big are the holes. You will need a self closing and latching gate that opens outward. If your pool is 48 inches or over for the outer wall this will serve as your inner"fence" but must have a removable outer ladder!

At this point you might want to get a pool planning kit from a company so you can figure out what size pool you have room for, and check out the location. then you can accurately measure to the outside of the pool the distance from the fences in each direction and from the house. You will also need to know where the sewer line runs.


Take your survey document and draw the pool ( I used a quarter for my round pool) location with all your measurement in place, you need to draw in the pump/equipment placement. The dig number from the utility company checks needs to be written on your document and a red circle drawn where your meter is located and the line of Oncor paint in red needs mapped in.

Make sure you have 3 copies of this with the electrical markings in red and take it to Oncor for processing approval. This could take up to 5 days.

After you pick those up from them, you need to take them to your city hall planning commission office, pay your Permit fee, (mine was $125 and I had to become my own contractor (another $100) and .25 for document scanning.

They will go over your plans with you to make sure it's all correct then they will do their 3 deep inspections for approval to install. As soon as they have done their inspections (another possible 5 days), you can pick up your permit to proceed. (I'm not sure what happens if you aren't approved). Now you can legally start your project.

Are you still with me??? Do you still think you want a pool???

okay, now comes the next phase, get your installation done and call for final inspection. Whew... what a process but at least we don't have to worry about huge fines, the city making us take down the pool, new owners getting stuck with getting permits, big fines, and/or possible removal of their project.

IF we ever do this again....
I will do all the planning and getting of permits first so I don't do something major wrong like buying and paying for a pool that won't fit within the area!!! I am grateful I didn't do that!!!
Here's where the pool will go... this is the before ...Our yard will never look the same... They will charge extra if they have to dig more to level your area so if possible make sure your area is fairly level already.
And after....Different right?....A least the ruts and damage will eventually go away... you will be in charge of that... installation companies are not responsible for any damage done...and the left over sand and trash is yours. Ours was thankfully minimal!!!
a few ruts in front and back....
a broken board,  and some leftover dirt, sand, and trash...

You build and install the ladder and place it in the pool... you will need sand "bags" they come with the ladder ...but we bought containers, so much better... ours requires 50 lbs of sand (25 ea) to hold the ladder down in the water.
We had plenty of sand left over...
Of course you still need to fill it up... about 43 hours for ours, but isn't it purty!! :) Now we will go forth and enjoy our legal pool with friends and family!!!
WELL.... not quite yet.... you still have to get the FINAL sign off for your permit.... this will be done the following day if received after 8am and if all is done according to code...I've got my fingers crossed...I put my request in on their 24/7 message hot line.

They came the first day and now we need to install the electrical outlet for the pump and bond the pool... no extension cords allowed...Still want a pool??? Keep reading!!!


Piter is digging the trench to save us some money (the electricians were impressed and truth be told I was too:) We have hired a licenced electrician from Arlington to put in the plug... He had to be able to pull the electrical permit off my pool in Arlington or it wouldn't pass...another cost to add onto the installation...NOPE they pulled the permit at no cost off of our permit!!!

You can spruce up your pool or landscaping anyway you want... but you can take all the time you need to do that part...

Pool bonded and electrical plug installed...
Time to call for the last (I hope) inspection!  

Ask your electricians if they pulled the permit. Be sure NOT to call for inspection before permit is pulled for anything!!!
Fortunately they are still going to come today!!!

Well, we might have to wait until after Memorial Day to swim....we got another red card but our electrician is calling him and says the inspector got it wrong. he wants a grounding wire all around the pool but the pool is a solid sheet of steel so only needs the one ground wire. different interpretations on code maybe:( MAKE SURE the electrician listens and understands when the inspector tells you to bond AROUND the pool. Piter told us what the inspector said but it didn't make it to the actually work:(
Now our inspector Ron want us to dig 4 feet from the wall of the pool and 2 feet deep and in to 4 posts for the grounding... He also said if we didn't have a metal fitting for our pump then we would need a metal ladder to ground the water.  Our electrician called Ron's boss and  his boss Mark is backing him up.... however after I sent this photo of having to move our pump and outlet to accommodate them...

 our electrician called Mark's boss and Jerry said we only need to dig 1 and 1/2 foot from the wall of the pool and 6 inches deep and in to the 4 poles... NO NO NO metal ladder and NO NO NO changing the pool installation that would change that warranty... we did what Jerry said so we will see I'm nervous!!! 
After the Memorial weekend, I got a text from David saying we should be all set as soon as this new work is done!!! David talked to Ron and was told what we were doing would be fine!!!  I want to do this correctly and I want the pool to be safe but I am very grateful for an electrician that was willing to go to bat for us:) Thank you David Johnson (Extreme Electrical)
Okay... NOW it's supposed to be done correctly another $300 later.... I'm not really sure how running these copper wires up the side of an above ground pool is safe ( I hope kids don't pull on them) but okay...Plan on at least $2000 above the price of the pool for permits, installation (unless you install it yourself) and electrical work....

The inspector came..... and ...Yay... Finally!!!
It took us from April 23rd to May30th to discuss (we didn't discuss it very long), buy the pool (within 2 days of decision) (just long enough to research prices and reviews) and the Final/Final/Final? inspection getting may as well plan on at least a month if all is basically simple and done correctly the first time...I do not know how long it would be if more needed done.

Personally, if I knew all this upfront I still would want to have a pool and I still would want to do it correctly, but we would have been more prepared...and a lot less frustrated... Piter said he wasn't so sure he would have still wanted it, but he is so excited to have it and his actions are speaking more loudly:). He was the first one to swim and that was before he even added the start up chemicals!!!

Now I don't want to forget to look at the blessings of all this in the midst of our frustrations...Nobody said blessings were easy to come by... usually they take sacrifice of some kind....Blessings include but are not limited to... digging the ditch around the pool (it gave Piter the opportunity to cut some roots that could have grown under the pool and caused some damage).... also, the knowledge that the pool will be as safe as it can be is a huge blessing.... Not having to worry about someone finding out we have an unauthorized pool and getting fined, Having a pool in our own Texas sun heated back yard for years to come also has to be included in blessings of course!!!

Now we can REALLY enjoy our new pool knowing it is legal, and we fully intend to!!!



Chalea said...

The best part is, our family can enjoy this pool and YOU did all the work! Thanks, mom! Lol glad it's all done.

Piter and Heidi said...

Chalea!You know how's this awesome.Tell to Chaz and kids and come on :)

Piter and Heidi said...

Hahaha:) all the work is just beginning for Piter but he is definitely looking forward to it:)

Lindsay Wood said...

Having a pool installed is already a lot of work and can cost a lot of money, let alone building your own. That being said, I salute you guys for the awesome job you did there. Thank you for sharing this amazing post with us. All the best!

Lindsay Wood @ PoolShopWA