This is a situation and I find most confusing. Mr. E.G. and his family were at all times amiable and an absolute pleasure to deal with during the very substantial project built on 20 beautiful rolling acres. We were given full artistic control on this design/build that the scope would be approaching 400K by today’s price standards. We made this possible by having extended numerous concessions that granted a cost availability that otherwise would not have been one quarter of what was realized. Upon completion and commissioning this job and every element within it were exceedingly beyond the industry standard.
We are a highly detailed oriented company that believes in empowering the client with knowledge, before, during and after the build. This client was given a minimum of twice the instruction over the average not only at the start but practically every single year subsequent to then. Literally in excess of 15 orientations were administered for this client on the operation of the system over the past 9 years, some years only twice, other years 3 and 4 orientations. We had never experienced anywhere close to this before or since, and that is a 52 year span.
It is a statistical fact that over 40% of our clients are engineers or have engineering backgrounds. This is realized directly as a result of us being perhaps the most detailed in knowledge supplied and process of order throughout the build. Engineers really appreciate the no BS, it all adds up, transparent and documented approach. At every stage of our interaction with a client our objective is to demystify the industry and the process. Below is noted the clients numbered issues and our factual response:
1) Multiple in-ground leaks. Fact: There was one leak in a buried pipe approximately 8 feet away from the filtration and it was determined that it was a result of the client driving his tractor over this area. The pipes were buried to an adequate depth from the onset but the client cut the grade down over this area thus adding exposure to the pipes. None the less, we took the high road and re-attended to fix the pipe when the issue had occurred which was the following year after the original build. We had only provided service for the first year after the build. The Client had citied our rates being beyond what he wanted to pay (they are at industry standard) and he had obtained seasonal service elsewhere in the years following that point. Fast forward to 2016, he posts a negative review on Home Stars. I contact him to ask how it was remotely possible that he could find any merit to do so and furthermore not contact us first regarding the issue. He replied that he messaged me to ask about a suspected pipe leak and that I hadn't replied. I arranged a site meeting and had in the presence of his wife, had him pull out his cell and show me the text string. When he did he saw my reply and had apologized saying that he hadn't noticed it before. Then he continued to say that if we fixed the leak he’d amend the review. We had pointed out that we had not provided any service in years and that it was fine when we left it last and that we do not assume any responsibility of damages caused by actions or inactions of others. Regardless, we had elected to take the high road as much as he didn’t remotely deserve it and as a measure of goodwill only, re-attended and repaired the leak for him. When the fall time came he had called and asked us to close the pool. We advised that he best carry on with whoever was doing the service during the lengthy absence. He replied that he didn’t have anyone to do it, that he had called everyone around and had exhausted every option for service from any company near proximity and practically begged us to resume service some 5 years after the build. He then quipped that he had not changed the review but would look to do so if we’d resume the service. For no other reason other than we had several other pools in the Nobleton area, I had agreed to take it on. Fast forward to spring of 2019, we had attended to open the pool, spa & water feature and had advised that we were unwilling to continue seasonal service and that he should seek to hire another company. Frankly it was costing us more than it was worth by all measures of effort. He literally groveled and begged but it was simply put that what he was willing to pay made it not economically viable and that fundamentally I couldn’t condone doing work for someone that apparently thought so little of our efforts provided. When it came to closing he contacted several times pleading for one last service procedure and that he’d pay anything for James to come take care of it and he was told that our decision was final. He was literally beside himself not having an option, wonder why.. I then took it upon myself to contact 5 service companies in proximity, all declined. I then asked an old service connection if he’d take on the job despite it being outside of his service area and he agreed. Not sure how many companies would do what we had done and this is just the tip on the iceberg.
2) Pump placed 6 ft above water surface. Not a good idea. Nothing but problems. Fact: From the start the client had advised us of the location for the pool equipment and asked for it to be at the elevation it was installed at. He was cautioned several times as to the future complexities in ongoing use and performance in doing so. It was explained several times that whether you use a half hp pump or a 3 hp pump, the vacuum created was about 3 lbs per foot. In order to prime a line the air must be removed via the suction created by the pump before the water can get to the impeller. The innate problem with this is that the common pool pump is designed to work reasonably well up to 5 ft. It is recommended by the manufacturers not exceed 5 feet. Any elevation above the water surface starts to tax the priming capacity of the pump. The way that a pool pump primes is aided by the atmospheric pressure pushing down onto the water surface, the lower the elevation, the more the pressure and easier to prime. The higher the pump is placed, the vacuum strength is less effective excising the air in the pipe. Ideally it’s best to not exceed 2 ft or it may require a pressure primer to assist with the load. This is hydraulics 101. We’ve been building pools for over 5 decades and were aware, as I suppose all pool experts are, of this principle and have never not advised clients of the complexities. None the less, this client insisted and we were directed to put it where it was installed. I suppose after years of fighting physics, the client decided to lower the pad. We were unaware that he took it upon himself to do so and in the review eludes to how he was burdened with this work but obviously he wasn’t going to ask us to do it as he was cautioned several times not to do it right from the start.
3) Lido came the first year. We have been on our own. Fact: Not remotely true at all. As noted above, the client elected to have seasonal services done by others after the first year up until 2016. However, the client had been in contact with our office or field servicemen every year at least once but more often 2, 3 or more times asking questions on the operation. Advice had NEVER been denied.
4) Subsequently, in 2016, they came back and committed to fix the problem in 2017. Fact: We did indeed come back to fix the problem despite not being our responsibility to do so and thus the client was further enriched at our cost. There was no appreciation offered by the client by our act of good will.
The most disconcerting thing to us was the lack of appreciation for the multiple concessions that we had made and the tremendous value that we had provided the viability for in order for this client to achieve everything and more from his wish list. From the start, the client had the budget for the pool, spa, water feature and very modest landscaping. In looking at the big picture, I had decided to assist with saving the client money by finding a tradesman & helper that he could deal with directly & agreed to do the labour portion of the landscape at about 10% to 15% of what the going industry rate was at that time. Furthermore we had extended our cost price for both the retaining wall material and the stone decking. The total cost savings had exceeded $90,000. How so, see below. Why so, today.. I’m sure I don’t know.
• Travertine Marble Decking. Going rate of $25/sq. ft. x 2000 sq. ft. would have been $50k + extra aggregates as this area spanned an 8 ft plus grade differential. We passed along our cost direct from the importer @ $3/sq. ft. and arranged the labour @ $3/sq. ft. = $6 x 2000 sq. ft. = $12k. Difference of $38k.
• Armour Stone Retaining Wall. Going rate installed of $450/ton x 160 tons = $61k. We passed along our cost direct from the quarry @ $40/ton and arranged the labour @ approx $5k = $11.4k. Difference of $49.6k.
This project with pool and decking spanned 55’ x 85’, approximately 4,600 square feet. Keep in mind that we were under no obligation to provide this extra value, we had put this together for him after the pool deal was agreed to. As well, it doesn’t take into account the time and effort to coordinate, lend expertise, aid in supervision. Last but not least, we had allowed his tradesman to us one of our machines, which was practically new at that time, and they had it for over a month. The value to that would have been $2,500 and to boot, they wore out the tires requiring replacement at $1,200.
In conclusion, there are clients that have merit to post negative things with any contractor and don’t, however, we feel that this client had absolutely zero merit in doing so even without consideration of the $90k plus gift. We have all the backup data and pictures to substantiate this version of events. We know that we have provided an amazing pool-scape that will serve this client and his family well for years to come. He had received far more value than what it cost him. We’re proud of the job and have no regrets.