You thought about building a swimming pool in your backyard for years. The home improvement project adds another amenity to your property, which increases the value of your home. You get to spend countless afternoons relaxing under the warmth of the sun, as well as invite friends and family members over for a day of outdoor fun. The only thing standing in your way of realizing your dream is swimming pool construction defects.
If you are embroiled in a dispute with a swimming pool contractor over the design and construction of a swimming pool, work with an experienced construction attorney who specializes in pool construction defects to ensure you receive every legal protection granted by law. Working with a construction lawyer also educates you on how to handle bad swimming pool construction.
Not all defects are readily apparent to the untrained eye and not every blemish amounts to a defect. Common problems with pools include structural cracking in the pool shell, pool engineering problems, cracked coping and tile, lack of sufficient gunite, improperly placed reinforcing bar (“rebar”), and improperly compacted soils. Oftentimes pools are placed on hillsides and require special engineering that may not be adequate to support the weight of the pool. As a starting point, if you are experiencing cracking in your pool and suspect something is wrong, check to see if your auto fill is running continuously or whether your water bills are abnormally high. A construction attorney specializing in pools should be consulted to determine whether the defect is significant and causing damages.
Follow the Contract
The contract you signed with the contractor includes all the details that are associated with the swimming pool project. The contract should be in writing, reasonably detail the scope of work, and provide for a schedule of payments. When the project starts to move away from the standards established in the contract, refer the contractor to the contract to reinforce your position. For example, if the contract states the contractor is responsible for defects, refer the contractor to the contract to enforce that legal provision. Before you sign any type of contract that is covered by business and commercial law, you should have a construction attorney review it to ensure it includes every legal protection you need.
Leave a Digital Trail
One of the most frequent issues that arise between homeowners and contractors concerns miscommunication. Contractors often get deeply involved with a construction project such as a swimming pool, which can lead to a lack of communication with a homeowner. Although you should establish the standard for responsive communication before the start of a construction project, you can jump-start your interactions by encouraging short daily emails that keep you updated about the status of the swimming pool. Text messages are discouraged because it makes for a more difficult paper trail later to piece together the evidence.
Adapt to Changes
Sometimes, a bad swimming pool construction project does not involve the design or construction of the swimming pool. A construction dispute can be about not defects. If your swimming pool project has fallen behind schedule for a legitimate reason and you and the contractor agree to change the timeline, make sure to get it in writing and signed by you and the contractor first.
Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney
If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.