In Southern California, the climate is such that countless number of homes are built with pools. High end pools typically have water features, such as an infinity edge and spa. It has been our experience that pool builders, particularly on the high end, also are licensed landscape architects. Although a high-end builder will know the additional requirements for a high-end pool, this does not guarantee a well-built pool.
We currently have a huge case against a well-known pool designer/builder/landscape architect. Our client owns a few acres in a gated community where the homes are all beautiful, and the back yards have spectacular pools, hardscape and landscape. To further beautify the property, our client decided to hire a well-known pool builder-landscape architect who regularly appears on television touting his expertise. On this occasion, the pool builder decided to build an infinity pool with spa near the downslope of the property without caissons and without first obtaining a soils report so he never knew, but should have known, that he built the pool and spa on several types of material, which guaranteed eventual failure of the bottom of the pool. The hardscape also was not placed on properly compacted fill, so that too failed. A road below was washed out by water that leaked into the hillside. The owner also lost the use of the pool and the backyard, which is a compensable damage.
Our advice to clients is to always do more, not less, when you want a pool built on your property. Hire top professionals, make sure to obtain a soils report and make sure your soils and geotecnnical engineers work together with your structural engineer and pool builder/designer when designing the pool for your yard. The cost of a pool and hardscape can be quite high, however, as the builder in this particular case wrote in an article he published in a trade magazine, the cost of removing and replacing a defective pool is way more expensive. If you have already built a pool that is showing distress and is cracking, do not rely on the builder to fix it. Pool contractors will promise the moon but to maximize profit, they will do a quick, inexpensive and improper repair and will hope that the repair holds until the statute of limitations passes for them to be sued. Call us or someone like us who handles theses types of cases so we can bring in the right people at the outset to determine what needs to be done.