Pool building disaster in Khon Kaen

Any thing to do with swimming pools, fish ponds, or other man made structures which hold water (but not wells for drinking water).

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Pool building disaster in Khon Kaen

Postby djjamie » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:15 pm

Firstly as per forum rules I will not mention any company that I used either here or in PM. So please don't ask. I am only writing this to warn other members about the nightmare I have faced for 9 months, financially, stressfully and time consumingly as I would hate to see anyone else go through what I have been through.

I had a 6 x 3 salt water chlorinated pool built 2 years ago by a consulting company whose English consultant assured him he had vast experience in building swimming pools and also consulted and repaired other disgruntled swimming pool owners pools after leaks etc were discovered.

I received 3 quotes, the lowest was 450 000baht and the consulting company I went with was the most expensive at 550 000 baht. Why did I entrust this consulting company in building the pool? Because the expat told me it came with a warranty and I would save considerable money in the future if there was any problems. The expat also lived in my house ( we just bought it and we lived in the rented house next door) and oversaw the pool construction on a daily basis. Great news for me as this would ensure no problems what so ever in the build.

I believe the problems began on the day it was handed over to us, but previously knowing nothing about pools I had no idea how much the water bill should be, how much water it should use. No idea about salt PPM, chlorine levels, PH. Nothing. I had a pool guy come in and do everything. I was naive when it came to pools.

After moving the family to Laos for work we rented the house out and that is when the tenants started complaining about water bills. It was consistently around 5000 baht a month for a small 3 bedroom house with 2 people living in it. On the 4th of October, 2013 I sent an email to the consulting company telling them the issues my tenants had. There was this water bill situation as well as dirt entering the pool and settling on the floor one hour after the filter was turned on (yes, we backwashed etc). Suffice to say it took them over 6 weeks to make there first visit all the while the water bill was being paid at about 5000 baht a month.

I will fast forward to a week ago, the pool re grouted (by me), 300 emails later, on average 6000 baht a month in water bills and chemicals (salt, PH minus) and about 10 visits by this sham consulting company. The only positive about this time period is I became an expert in pool maintenance as well as gaining an intimate knowledge on my pool. The downside is the more I knew about my pool the more I found wrong with it.

They fitted a water meter at the pool to measure the pool leakage and the piping they fitted to the meter also leaked. I had to get a plumber in to repair that as well.

In this time the consulting company repaired one leak at the end of the pool after all the visits.It leaked again. They came again and dug up the same area of the pool and found the same leak again. The repaired it and refilled the pool. It leaked again. It was coming in through the LED light and I personally drained the pool siliconed the leak and refilled it. I thought that would be it. Job finished. Nope. The pool kept leaking albeit at a slower rate.

I checked it myself and found the below problem with the balance tank float valve position. It was at the top and constantly overflowing into the overflow! As soon as someone entered the pool it overflowed to the street as well as there was no room for water displacement. They could not find this basic simple issue after 10 visits. This leak had been there from day 1. There was an expat living in my house overseeing this job and I paid an extra 100 000 baht for his skills and he did not see this. The expats response when I sent him the below pics. I quote him here. "I have nothing to say about this" He washed hits hands of it.

It doesn't stop there. Even with the valve which we had another pool company move to the bottom of the balance tank completed the balance tank still overflowed when only 2 children swam in it for an hour. The balance tank was simply too small and not capable of holding the displaced water from splashing, jumping kids in the pool. The expat said it is correct and designed to hold 2 children! In other words we cannot swim in the pool as a family due to significant water loss. Never mind that I have to stand at the pump house and manually shut the pump off so it does not suck air when the balance tank empties. Then wait for the water to fill up the tank again and turn the pump back on to fill the pool to the brim. The expat said the balance tank is perfectly fitted to the pool. I asked him to get in the pool with me for 10 minutes and swim around a bit. He refused and steadfastly, arrogantly and stubbornly stated the tank is the right size.

It doesn't stop there. There was another leak. I found we lost 180 litres a day when the pump was not on and 460 litres a day with the pump on. The expats response. Evaporation. Never mind the salt disappearing as well. I am now going through 20 kg of salt a week to keep concentration at 4000ppm. Per week.

It doesn't stop there. The dirt going in the pool after each filtration cycle. I vacuumed the pool one day, backwashed it and filtered it 5 times to test this issue. Everytime within an hour the pool floor was layered with a thin film of dirt that built up were the grout is. The expats response. He said it was the dirty environment we lived in. Never mind that the pools within a 50 metre radius don't get this layer of dirt. Anyway he said we needed a bigger filter and pump set up. I humored him and paid the company that is affiliated with this consulting company 15 000 baht for a bigger filter and pump. An Emaux 0.75 HP combo set. Well guess what? Yep, the same issue was happening. I wasted 15 000 baht for nothing. The expats response to this. He stated and I quote "I have seen this problem once before and cannot tell where the dirt is coming from" We will never know he said, but he sent a cartridge filter to my house to fit in series with the current filter. So we have a new filter that travels through a pipe and into the pool and he has no idea where the dirt is coming from?

It doesn't stop there. The filter needs bleeding every time we turn it on so we cannot run it in auto mode. I have to go out, open the pump, add water to bleed it. I have to do this twice a day. He won't address this issue either after being informed.

It doesn't stop there. Today I got another pool contractor in and they showed me the rebar that is pocking out and rusting through the perimeter overflow channel. They isolated the perimeter overflow and within one hour of arriving found 7 holes in the perimeter overflow that is leaking water out into the surrounding area. This is where I decided to cease using the old company (yes, after 9 months I was very very patient and gave then ample to to prove themselves) and have now engaged the new company who have shown nothing but professionalism and most importantly have shown me results.

The new pool guys that came have not only found the new leaks within the hour, but reaffirmed that the balance tank is too small and needs to be replaced or engineered to accommodate more water. How did they test this. Him and I got in the pool and did 2 laps. The balance tank was full and overflowing 3 minutes later. WOW. Such a simple test which confirmed I was right.

Like I said I will not name names, but just want to tell you my nightmare story so you good people can be very wary of expat consultants that state they are professional pool builders, but are simply unable to build pools. I can understand 1 problem. 2 at the top, but when you have problems after problems as above then this expat has shown he is not capable of building pools.
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Re: Pool building disaster in Khon Kaen

Postby Klondyke » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:52 am

Sorry to read all your troubles. In fact, to make a swimming pool in Thailand is not so big deal once you have an idea what you want. Then to control simple village workers to realize it, with the material bought by yourself - same material as you need for building a simple house (concrete blocks, usual cement) or for the bathroom (usual ceramic tiles bond by usual cement). There are no special things to be bought at a special pool shop. They will overcharge you, as well as the companies offering to build a swimming pool as a turn-key job.

That's how I did it with the help of village "chang pun". And the pipes and pump installation with another help of somebody (chang) who knows how to work with the generally available PVC pipes (not necessarily a plumber). I wrote something about this in viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4623 , if somebody interested in more details I will provide a more explaining thread.

My swimming pool is functioning without any Hi-Tech devices, with a simple minimum chemical treatment, throughout the whole year, for my daily swimming exercise. And that despite my problems with very strong ironized supplying water - the treatment I described in viewtopic.php?f=14&t=4611 .

I know that this can be of a little consolation to your troubles. However, what you have to do now is to review the whole system and eliminate parts where a failure can occur. Firstly to remove the automatic refilling of the balance tank, it is not needed. The pump that sucks the water from the tank is to be just supervised by a level switch that interrupts the pump when the water level is nearing to the suction basket.

The balance tank does not need to be over large, it collects only the water that goes over the edge during swimming - this is not over a hundred liter - once not a whole village is invited to jump in the pool. And this water will be pumped back again into the pool. The same when the pool without people is cleaning its water surface: the water over the edge drops into the balance tank with the same volume as it was pumped up.

There is only one problem for the volume of the balance tank: at a strong rain the pool water added by the rain will overfill the balance tank very fast (in the ratio of the square surfaces of the tank and of the pool). For that an overflow from the tank is needed, if possible out to the garden or a drainage. If the location does not allow it, a simple submersible pump (Daewo in Thai) can be permanently placed in the tank, switched on automatically by a level switch when the water in the tank will reach the max. level.

If any advice for more details or explanation needed just let me know.
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Re: Pool building disaster in Khon Kaen

Postby Stoace » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:56 pm

Just out of interest what was the name of the company who managed to fix the problems?
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Re: Pool building disaster in Khon Kaen

Postby dam-sealers » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:06 pm

A concrete water dam will most likely start to leak due to small ground movements causing cracks in the structure. Ground movement is commonly caused by longer periods of wet and dry, causing reactive clay soils move.Choices for repair mean either sealing the crack or installing a tank liner. While more expensive, a tank liner will accommodate future ground movement, while an isolated repair will not.

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