During installation of your inground swimming pool, many different types of trucks, trailers and construction equipment will access your DIY pool construction site. This post is meant to help you coordinate the various heavy equipment that will be used - at different phases of your pool construction project.
POOL KIT DELIVERY
The first truck to arrive is the pool kit delivery - this will arrive on a tractor trailer, with a lift gate. Our inground pool kits are hand-packed on several plastic wrapped standard wood palettes. We arrange for this delivery, so no coordination needed at this stage - just be on hand to receive the pool kit delivery, and before signing the bill of lading, check over the palettes to be sure that there isn't any apparent shipping damage. Have a location ready to store the palettes when they arrive. Most of the items won't be affected by rain (it is a pool, after all!), but should be in a place where it is protected from vehicles or other hazards.
POOL KIT EXCAVATION
To dig an inground pool you can use a trac-hoe, an excavator, or a back-hoe. A backhoe with a bucket on the opposite end may be best, for faster movement or loading of extra fill dirt. it is a good idea to get quotes on this part of the installation process. Before contacting a few excavation companies in your area, you need to have an overall plan for the backyard and also the pool dig spec sheet which comes with your pool kit. From your local phone book, free community papers, or online searches, contact a few excavation companies. Email or fax your plans, and they should be able to price out your pool kit excavation.
You should try to use diggers who have previously dug pools or foundations and who can follow a simple dig spec sheet. One of the worst things that can happen is hiring a digger who doesn't really understand how to dig a swimming pool, or how to read the dig specs. This can cause you countless hours of hand work after he has left the job site. Make sure while he is digging that you are checking the spec sheet closely. If you need any instructions or help with the pool kit spec sheet, you can call us anytime.
DIG YOUR OWN POOL?
Some people do rent the excavation equipment to dig the pool themselves, and also backfill the pool, after the walls are assembled. If you are able to operate the equipment and dig properly you will probably save yourself some money. If you haven't a great deal of experience operating heavy equipment, you should probably leave it to the experts.
BACKFILLING THE POOL
If you really want to play in the dirt, (and who doesn't want to dig a huge hole in the backyard?) you can operate a skid-steer loader instead. These are useful for backfilling around the outside of the pool walls, moving the dirt to other areas, and shaping and grading the dirt. You can also use it for loading a dump truck with extra fill dirt. All of these activities will lower the price you need to pay to a pool excavation company.
Backfilling is done a few days after the pool is dug, to fill in the extra 2-3 feet behind the walls. After the pool and plumbing is done and the concrete collar is poured, dirt is poured or pushed into the space around the pool, and also the trench that carries the pipes to the equipment pad. My pool was backfilled using a loader bucket on the opposite end of a back-hoe. The same company that I hired to dig the pool, returned 3 days later to backfill around the pool. This only used a small amount of the dirt removed for the pool.
You may be surprised at how much left over dirt you have after digging the pool and backfilling. I needed to order a dump truck for removal of the excess fill dirt from the pool dig, and find a place to take the extra fill dirt. Because my yard is fairly flat, I had nowhere onsite to use the extra dirt that we removed for the pool.
It is less expensive to have the truck on site during the pool dig so the material does not need to be moved twice. An experienced pool digger can estimate how much dirt to leave on site for use as backfill or grading around the pool.
To find the best dump location, do a little investigative work, looking for construction sites in your neighborhood that may need clean fill dirt. The closer the dump location, the cheaper it will be to haul away, as a dump truck may need to take several trips back and forth.
Look for "Fill Dirt Wanted" signs, or talk to job foremen for larger projects, and ask if they need any clean fill dirt, and where they would like it dumped. Your dump truck operator may know where to take it but it's best to plan ahead and have some options ready if you can.
You can also find Fill Dirt Wanted advertisements in the free local papers, or on your local Craigslist. There are a number of online portals that link those that have extra fill dirt with those that need it for their foundation or landscaping projects. I found freedirt.com and tonsofdirt.com, but the one that returned the most results of people wanting clean fill dirt (in my zip code and chosen radius) was Clean-Fill-Wanted.com.
For your concrete collar around the pool and for any concrete pool patios, you will need to order a concrete truck. it is far better to have the concrete delivered rather than mixing it yourself with a cement mixer, the amount of work to do it that way is tremendous. You can order their cheapest delivered concrete mix, no need for the pricey stuff. Estimate the cubic feet of concrete that you want delivered, and a truck will come prepared. You can order some extra concrete for the pool equipment pad, or other small patios or walkways.
HEAVY EQUIPMENT ACCESS
To get all this equipment in and out of the yard you will need good access and also room to maneuver the equipment around. I would say a good rule of thumb is about 15 ft wide area to get in an out with all your construction equipment. I think the minimum would be 12 ft but that would be tight.
You may need to have gravel delivered to reinforce turf areas that will have heavy trucks rolling across soft ground. Wet weather can make deep ruts from concrete trucks or dump trucks. Have a hose handy if needed, to hose off the truck tires if needed, or the trucks will leave mud tracks all the way down your street.
In my case, the best area for the heavy equipment to access my backyard was from my neighbor's yard. With their permission, I removed the fence and afterwards paid to have everything put back together. It was an easy call for me because it was my daughter’s house.
KEEPING HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATORS HAPPY
In an effort to keep heavy equipment operators happy, here's some tips on working with truckers or operators.
- Move vehicles, boats, bikes or anything that restricts movement of trucks or equipment.
- Keep them Hydrated. Offer them a drink, or put out a cooler with water or lemonade out for them.
- Let them know where they can use the bathroom (put down plastic if needed).
- Don't waste their time. They expect to arrive and work nearly non-stop until finished.
I hope this article in our series of posts about how to build your own swimming pool was helpful. If you have other questions about contacting, contracting or coordinating work from heavy equipment operators, give us a call at 800-983-POOL.
SPP Pool Expert