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Backyard Expectations

The pros and cons of using subcontractors

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Today’s projects have become so complex and detailed the pool builder has become a general contractor, and is now designing and building elements that are much more than just the pool and standard decking.

Twenty to 30 years ago, there is no disputing pool projects were a lot less complicated and intricate than they are today. During this time, pool builders simply built pools and maybe installed the odd concrete or interlock deck. There was no such thing as waterfalls, fire pits, pool houses, and fancy automation or sanitation systems. Kidney-shaped pools with a 0.3 m (1 ft) of concrete ‘sidewalk’ around the perimeter were the standard. The pool equipment included a pump, filter, and heater with one clear-flex pipe between them.

About 15 years ago, pool builders started to get into basic landscaping, which mainly consisted of architectural concrete work. Around this time, pool builders started to promote the ‘turn-key’ solution as a way of controlling quality and project duration. Components like gas, electrical, and excavation were pretty much contracted out to specialty or subcontractors. Today’s pool projects have become so complex and detailed the pool builder has become a general contractor, and is now designing and building elements that are much more than just the pool and standard decking. The reality is, even though most pool builders still refer to themselves as a ‘one-stop shop,’ it is coming to the point where sub-contracting is hard to avoid and high-end builders have assumed the roles of project managers. Although most of the work, such as pool construction, stonework, and garden beds are still performed in-house, many pool builders will use subcontractors for the traditional components such as the gas, electrical, and excavation, but now some have even found it is more cost effective and better for quality control to contract out masonry, irrigation, structures, wood decks, and often project design to a third-party. That said, it is mandatory your builder uses subcontractors that have Workplace Safety and Insurance (WSIB) coverage. If you hire a builder that does not have WSIB coverage for his/her workers and/or employs subcontractors without coverage, you could be responsible for all injury claims that occur as a result of working on your project.

When is your pool considered complete?

For projects that only consist of a pool, it is considered complete after the pool equipment is installed, hydraulically plumbed, and ready to be circulated.

If the project is more elaborate and involves landscaping and other work to be completed by the builder’s crew or subcontractors, then project completion may not necessarily be related to only the pool, but at the time the sod is repaired. In this case, project completion is generally considered once it is substantially complete and useable for its intended purpose. Keep in mind, minor deficiencies may not prevent a project from being used, so they technically fall outside of ‘completion.’ Completion will usually be stated in the contract and tied into the payment terms with the balance of payment.

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