We’ve talked before about why you should always hire a licensed contractor when building a pool (and you definitely should), but that may not solve all of your problems. In the past few months, we’ve encountered the same issue numerous times that has the potential to slow down your project and cost you money. We want to help you avoid it.
When building something as large as a pool, most people probably assume they should use a professional, licensed contractor. However, when it comes to smaller things, they’re more likely to assume it doesn’t matter who completes the project as long as the finished product looks good. In fact, recently, we’ve talked to several homeowners who were told they didn’t even need a permit for projects such as fences, shade structures, horse barns, large sheds, and more. That can sound like good news, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t true.
This is where the problem comes in. Now, when a homeowner in this situation wants to start another project—such as a swimming pool requiring a permit—any licensed contractor will know they must pull a permit. So they do. But when they submit the pool construction permit application to the particular municipality, that municipality (or municipalities) may require other structures like fences and sheds to be indicated on the application.
And now we have a major headache on our hands. That municipality may then require the homeowner to get permits for all the existing structures that have not been “permitted,” otherwise the pool permit will not be processed or approved. These homeowners have to spend valuable time and money to find the original builders (if they can) to retrieve details, schematics, or plans of the project, or be forced to create them themselves. Then they must submit for permits for each item. As you can imagine, this not only upsets the homeowner but can also severely delay the current project.
For example, Maricopa County typically takes about 4 weeks to get a pool permit approved. If the homeowner runs into an issue like the one above, it can take 3 or 4 months, if not longer! We personally had a similar issue about 2 years ago that took over 6 months to get permitted for the reasons stated above. This is very frustrating for the homeowner as well as the contractor hired for the current project.
Based on these experiences, we strongly suggest confirming that any contractor you hire is in fact licensed. Ask for their license number. If they can’t provide one, then don’t do business with them. Also, be careful with those who say they have to get back to you because they may be calling on a buddy to cover for them. When you do receive a license number, look up its standing with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors to make sure it is legit.
Another suggestion we would make is to personally confirm with your prospective municipality to see if a permit is needed for the subject project. Later, confirm with your hired contractor that a permit has been issued and ask for a copy of the permit to keep for your records. Finally, make sure that all necessary inspections have occurred, and ask for the final inspection approval letter to keep as well.
We wish you could trust everyone. It would certainly make things easier. But, since you can’t, it’s better to be safe than sorry. By always using a licensed contractor, no matter what the project, and staying aware of where things can go wrong, you can save yourself from running into problems like these. And, of course, if you are in the market for a licensed pool builder, we would love to hear from you. Schedule a free estimate at any time.