Robert Lamoureux | Take a deep dive on pool work bids

Robert Lamoureux
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Question No. 1  

Robert, 

I’m on a board of directors here in Santa Clarita, and we have several bids for pool reconstruction at our association pool, which includes handrails and several other things. I need some guidance because the bids are all over the place, and we have been thrown for a loop on how to tackle this selection process and all of the things that are factoring in with the details.  

— John A.  

Answer No. 1  

John,  

This is a huge project you’re taking on. It may be best for your association to hire a project manager, someone who has experience in this area so that things are not missed/overlooked and each detail is scrutinized.  

Barring that option, someone from the BOD will have to take this on and be extremely detailed about all that is included in the bid. For example, just beginning with demo, it is nearly impossible to not damage deck drains during this process.  

Does the bid state that new deck drains are included if they are damaged, or will this be an additional cost? Similarly, if return lines, electrical lines and such are damaged during demo, what is written in the bid regarding these repairs? This is all information that needs to be known ahead of time or the additional costs incurred, if the HOA isn’t prepared, could really put you in a financial quandary.  

It is the minute details, such as those that occur throughout the process, which can make or break a smoothly run project. Something as simple as the fencing around the pool — assuming this is likely a wrought iron fence here in town, part of this will need to be removed temporarily for equipment access.  

What is detailed about the landscaping that will likely either be damaged or need to be removed/replaced before and after the project … is this the contractor’s responsibility or the association’s? If this simple detail isn’t worked out, you could have a start date where the contractor shows up and then they have no access because the fencing is still in place.  

The pool specialist that is contracted with the association already should be contracted to work with your contractor for the project. The pool skimmers should not be reused, they should be replaced with new after demo and at the appropriate time, because just the vibration during demo will likely crack them internally.  

I could go on with dozens more details that should be line items in your bid, but I think you may understand with just what I’ve listed, that you need someone quite knowledgeable about the entire process, to review bids with/for you, and ensure that you are hiring someone competent who is offering a quality and complete work scope for a fair price.  

If your association doesn’t have anyone skilled enough for this, I highly recommend you seek out a professional to oversee this for you. I’ve seen this several times in fact, and associations have ended up paying for the entire project twice because the first contractor was not competent/didn’t do quality work. Best of luck to you. 

— Robert 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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