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What is a Swimming Pool Contract?
When adding a swimming pool to your residential property, a swimming pool contract outlines the services you agree upon with the pool builder. This is a construction contract that includes a liability waiver, detail of services, an overview of materials, and more.
Using a swimming pool contract to outline your pool construction before its installation protects your home and the builders. It sets project deadlines and includes a complete overview of what the final result will look like.
Swimming pool contracts for home renovation are common. A reputable pool company will issue one to you before starting any work.
Here is an example of a swimming pool construction contract from a genuine company that you can use for reference.
What’s Included in a Swimming Pool Contract?
As a legal document, a comprehensive swimming pool contract should include a clear list of details that protect both the homeowner investing and the pool builder.
In a swimming pool contract, you should cover:
- A full description of the pool construction services.
- A list of equipment and pool materials used in construction.
- A detailed diagram of the final project, including its size, shape, diameter, fixtures, etc.
- Project deadlines and a detailed timeframe for the completion of the entire project.
- Contingencies may affect the deadline, such as broken equipment, inclement weather, and change order.
- Payment terms for the project.
- A liability waiver or hold harmless agreement between builder and client.
Part 1. A Description of Services
A construction contract should provide a detailed list of the contractor's services and any subcontractors may perform on a given project.
The services description also provides an overview of the project scope, such as installing or adding a pool, retiling a pool, or adding water features to an existing pool.
This introductory section should also include details about the pool itself, including the location, size, shape, design, and any installation requests the owner makes.
Additionally, the services portion of a swimming pool contract should outline any required permits and their attainment before construction.
The swimming pool contract is different from a time and materials contract, which is broader and does not set a specific deadline for any services. This allows the contractor to issue a “not-to-exceed” clause, or maximum price quote, for their services.
Avoid signing a time and materials contract when adding a swimming pool to your home. Instead, it is better to have a legal contract with a fixed time and price for your pool’s installation and completion.
Part 2. Equipment and Material Overview
A pool builder will use extensive equipment and heavy machinery to install a pool on your property. Using such equipment may require building permits, which you will need to acquire before construction begins.
The swimming pool contract should detail what type of equipment and machinery is necessary, an equipment lease or rental cost, conditions, and a description of the quantity and type of materials used for construction, detailing, and decoration.
Image via Pexels by Rodolfo Quirós
Part 3. A Pool Diagram
The contractor should provide a fully detailed diagram of your swimming pool in the final construction contract. A swimming pool contract needs a diagram to visualize the project at hand and illustrate what the final results should look like.
This diagram shows the pool’s complete dimensions, such as square footage, surface area, depth, plumbing fixtures, drains, fountains or faucets, and any other features in the pool’s final design.
The diagram helps to ensure the builder and client agree upon the final design and that both are aware of the project's scope. They should completely agree on the plan before signing a contract.
Part 4. Project Deadlines
One of the biggest mistakes people make when arranging swimming pool construction is not setting a timeline for the builders to meet. Whether you are arranging a new installation or swimming pool renovation, the deadlines ensure contractors perform their services in a reasonable timeframe.
The deadlines should offer a general idea of when the pool job will be complete. It may be difficult for the builder to provide a definitive end date, but there should be a clear approximate start and end date and a work schedule.
The schedule should state the builder's working days and how many hours they will take to complete the job.
Part 5. Contingencies
Contingencies outline what circumstances may impact the agreed-upon terms of a service contract. These include broken equipment, delayed material deliveries, inclement weather, and worker injuries that leave a builder out of commission.
These contingencies may also include alternate arrangement outlines to describe what a pool builder will do if they are unable to perform their services based on the outlined circumstances.
A change order may also be mentioned under contingencies. A change order is an amendment to an existing construction contract that alters the scope or final results. This can alter everything about a project, including its estimated completion date, price, and type of materials.
Part 6. Payment Terms
You should know how much a project will cost when paying for the services and how much you will be charged at a maximum for any amended agreements.
An inductive or deductive change order can alter the final price of a swimming pool installation. So, homeowners should have a contract explaining how they will be charged or reimbursed if their final project falls above or below their initial quote.
The pool builder may use a cost-plus contract, in which the client pays for all of the construction costs plus a contractor’s fee. This is not the same as paying a lump sum for all labor and building materials.
The contract should clearly explain how the client will be charged, how prices will be calculated, and how payment disputes will be settled.
Part 7. A Liability Waiver
The swimming pool builder may include a hold harmless agreement, also known as a hold harmless clause. This type of liability waiver indemnifies the contractor from legal and financial responsibility as a result of personal injury you or another person sustains on their construction site.
However, every state has its limitations and requirements for hold harmless agreements. For example, your state may prohibit using them during construction jobs, so you should consult with a lawyer before signing any liability waiver.
You can learn more about swimming pool contracts and what to include in yours in this article.
How Do You Negotiate with a Pool Builder?
You should first request quotes from at least three builders before choosing one for your swimming pool. Negotiations must be relevant and reasonable based on the market price and the project's scope.
To negotiate effectively, you must consider the nature of your request and the cost to the builder. For example, asking them to perform labor for far lower than their standard rate is not fair, so it will not result in a profitable gain on your end.
For the best outcome, you should:
- Understand the average cost of the type of pool you want.
- Research different companies and request quotes.
- Compare quotes and ask builders how much they can negotiate.
- Ask for an itemized list of materials and equipment to understand the builder’s price.
Here is an article that explores whether pool prices are negotiable and how to get the best deal.
How To Write a Swimming Pool Contract
You may decide to work with a construction lawyer when writing a swimming pool contract. You can start by using a swimming pool construction contract template online, then modify it to fit your project's particular scope and parameters.
The lawyer can ensure you cover all the necessary points to protect your finances, property, and well-being. They can also review a contract issued to you by a pool builder to ensure that you are only being given a fair legal document.
This article outlines a pool contract and includes certain points you may wish to incorporate into your document.
Questions to Ask Before Signing a Pool Contract
Before signing a contract, it is always a good idea to ask questions. In addition to carefully reviewing the contract and possibly seeking a lawyer’s review, you should ask the pool builder questions.
Asking these questions can help ensure you only work with the best company for the job. Questions to ask a pool builder before signing a contract include:
- How many years has your company been in business?
- Can I get a copy of your license number to verify?
- Can you provide references for your work?
- Do you have photos of pools like this you have built in the past?
- Do you have all the required permits, and can I see proof?
- How do you ensure a pool is up to code?
- What safety measures do you take during construction?
- How long will this project take?
- What is the maximum price you will charge for this project?
- After completion, do you fill the pool, and is this service included in my quote?
Here is a checklist of questions you should ask a pool builder before you agree to work with them.
Get Help with a Swimming Pool Contract
Given the time and expenses involved in building a swimming pool, it is always wise to hire a lawyer to help you with a potential swimming pool contract. Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to get flat fee quotes from lawyers to review and compare. All lawyers in our network are vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.
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