Educational Consumer Tips

**** Swimming Pools

Author: Better Business Bureau

So you want your very own swimming pool! First, take the time to become familiar with the various pool construction methods available in the industry and what local building regulations apply. Next, ask friends, family, local building supply outlets and others who built pools for recommendations. When obtaining estimates, ask contractors for names and phone numbers of customers who had pools installed comparable to the pool you are considering. Follow up by contacting these referrals regarding their experience and satisfaction with the contractor, satisfaction with the work done and with any follow up warranty work which had been necessary, and other pertinent general questions. Ask for bank references from both the contractor's commercial bank and other lenders. A contractor in good financial standing should have no qualms about giving this information. Discuss payment plans with each candidate. Most work on a 'cost plus' basis, which is the cost of materials, subcontractors' services, wages for anyone working directly on the project (but not office help) plus the contractor's fee. Others work on a percentage of the basic cost. Many will work out a payment schedule which allows for payment upon customer satisfaction at several stages of the job. Find out about the warranty the contractor offers on his work, including how long, terms and conditions. Also ask about all manufacturers' warranties on materials to be used. A good contract includes, at a minimum, all expenses for materials and labor, date the work will begin and be completed, and the total cost. Others items to include are: plans and sketches of the job, subject to your approval; payment terms and conditions, when and what amounts, with final payment made upon your approval of the completed work and the contractor supplying you with proof that suppliers, subcontractors and employees were paid; certification of insurance for workers' compensation, damage and liability; and, a rider stating that all changes, whether or not the cost increases, must be submitted and approved in writing. REGISTRATION/LICENSING: A Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) ordinance requires anyone who builds, remodels or makes other improvements to property WITHIN FAYETTE COUNTY to be registered with the LFUCG Division of Building Inspection. To register, contractors must show proof of insurance and agree to take part in an alternative dispute resolution process for handling consumer complaints. For more information on the ordinance and to find out if a contractor is registered, call 859-258-3243 or 859-258-3770 At the very least, cities and counties require that permits be obtained prior to doing any building or home improvements. For information or assistance, check with your city hall or county building. To determine if a contractor has, or requires, Commonwealth of Kentucky licensing, call 502-573-0365.