October 7, 2022

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Home | Pool News | Alabama Pool Builder Accused of Theft by Deception
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Last week, pool builder, Doug Wilson – the owner of Mobile, AL-based pool company (Wilson’s Pool Design) surrendered himself to Metro Jail. The pool contractor was charged with nine counts of theft by deception after several of his clients claim he took their money but did not complete their swimming pools.
The owner attributes incomplete or delayed work to worker and supply shortages but a long list of fed-up customers believe what’s happening is criminal and are turning to authorities to investigate.
According to court documents, the charges represent more than a quarter million dollars in just those nine cases. More dissatisfied customers are coming out and speaking to authorities about their experience.
Several people, according to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, signed contracts with Wilson’s company, Wilson’s Pool Design, but never had their pool built.
Kyle Malmay claims to be one of them. Malmay says that he was referred to Wilson in December and claims to have invested nearly $30,000. According to photos, he only has a hole in the ground so far. Malmay claims he requested a refund from Wilson.
“I started getting concerned and in my text messages say, hey I’m losing confidence here when is this going to be done?” Malmay told reporters. “He’d always say or we’re going to be out there. He would say I promise I will be out there tomorrow, or I promise I’ll be out there next Wednesday. Did not show up.”
Malmay isn’t the only one who didn’t get his money back, according to MCSO Detective Joshua Grimm. Another customer, Phillip Ward, claims Wilson started work on his pool last year but never finished it. Ward claims he began to suspect something was wrong in June.
“He basically dug the hole, wouldn’t show up when he was supposed to, put us off,” said Ward.
Dissatisfied customer, Sandy Smith, stated that she will also file a complaint. Currently there is an eight-foot hole in her backyard that she claims should have been a finished swimming pool but has instead become a breeding ground for mosquitos.
Smith claims she agreed to pay Wilson’s Pool Design $70,000 in January 2019, but the project was halted after she paid about $50,000. She claims she was given the brushoff by the owner, who she claims caused $15,000 in damage elsewhere in the yard during the project.
“On average for each individual person so far we’re looking at about an average of $40,000,” Detective Grimm told reporters. “It was a bunch of concerned citizens that were making complaints about this same company.”
News sources reached out to Wilson’s attorney, Christine Hernandez, who claims there is more to the story.
“Mr. Wilson is a businessman and I believe this matter will be resolved,” said Hernandez, “Everything that you see on Facebook or everything that you hear from your neighbor is not necessarily one-hundred percent accurate.”
“I’m not taking people’s money and running. I’m trying to get them done,” owner Doug Wilson told reporters.
Wilson claims that both Ward’s and Smith’s projects involved change orders, and that if Smith had completed the payments, the project would have been completed a long time ago. She denies it.
According to court records, another couple was awarded a $47,000 default judgment in February after suing Wilson for fraud and breach of contract in their pool project. Wilson claims he did not appear in court because he is attempting to save his struggling business, which he claims has been severely harmed by rising fuel prices, inflation, and material and labor shortages.
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Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine’s own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine’s home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you’d like to share with Pool Magazine? Email [email protected] your story idea.
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Travel enthusiasts are trekking out in search of a hidden waterfall pool that recently went viral on social media. Local officials, however, warn against the dangers of the perilous terrain associated with the picturesque location. They advise caution for those seeking it out.
Woy Woy Waterfall Pool is a (not-so) secret hidden man-made pool that lies within the heart of the Brisbane Water National Park, located approximately 85km north of Sydney, Australia. On social media, you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of videos and photos of people enjoying the scenic man-made pool.
“I’ve lived in Woy Woy for years and never knew this place even existed,” said one local in response to an online post.
Travelers thinking about visiting the local attraction have been warned to be especially careful near the pool’s narrow ledge.
“This is a dangerous area, so please take precautions. We’ve already had one visitor recently fall and require medical evacuation by helicopter ” one person responded.
A post shared by MARY F. | ONLINE FITNESS COACH (@maryfittipaldi)
While travelers from all over enjoy swimming in the man-made pool, some locals have cautioned visitors that the water may not be as safe as they think.
“The water is from a nearby waste management facility, definitely be careful putting your head underwater,” one person responded.
“When you realize that it’s a sewage outlet,” another commented.
“Nice spot, but don’t swim in it after rains as (the pool is) linked to runoff and has lots of fecal coliforms,” a third person said.
According to Daily Mail, a waste management facility that uses the same waterway as Woy Woy Falls is located a short distance away.
For those truly adventurous souls that are still determined to check the place out, WalkMyWorld has a step-by-step guide on how to find this hidden Aussie waterfall pool.
Featured Photo Credit: Instagram / Delwynk
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For those fortunate enough to have a pool at their residence, swimming can be a great way to to unwind during the summer months. While swimming pools are an excellent way to relax, stray voltage in the pool can pose a significant threat. Stray voltage typically occurs through improperly grounded pool equipment.
Before you can figure out how to stop stray voltages from happening, you need to know what it is. In most layman of terms, stray voltage exists when unconstrained currents leak from an electrical source. When swimmers or pets come in contact, stray voltage can even prove fatal.
Most first shocks from stray voltages are less than 10 volts, which is not very strong. When a person gets into the pool or touches a handrail or ladder that is connected to the pool, they may feel a small tingling or stinging sensation. Children are more sensitive to sensory input than adults are, so they often notice these small shocks before adults do.
A faulty transformer or electrical cable can often be the source of stray voltage in the swimming pool. This leaking current then travels through the ground in an attempt to deplete its energy. Just like a lightning strike, it uses the Earth’s ground as a pathway.
In reality, these voltages can be found under the soil of most homes. Your family could be in danger even if your home’s electrical system meets all applicable standards.
One of the most likely places to find stray voltage is in a swimming pool, simply because electrical current has much less resistant transit in the presence of water. When electricity flows from an electrical outlet and into another conductive item, like a metal water pipe, metal support beam, or concrete slab, this is known as “stray voltage.”
Until the electric supply is cut or the power source of the energy is removed, the electricity will remain in the water. Having poor electrical wiring, inadequate GFCI protection for outlets and circuits, and electrical cords and appliances coming into contact with water are the three most common causes of electrocution in swimming pools.
Electrocution in a swimming pool is very rare, but it is still a risk for anyone who owns a pool. Consequently, it’s important to know what to look for if there’s an electric current in the pool and how to stop it.
It used to be common practice to embed metal rebar into concrete floors (for concrete stability). Metal was the preferred conductor of electricity, rather than concrete, and stray voltage was not a major worry back in those days.
Stray current became a problem as the concrete industry began incorporating additional components into the mix and rebar was no longer required on every build. As a result, contact voltage has been linked to far too many incidences of injury and even death.
There is no visible sign or way to tell if the water in the swimming pool contains enough electricity to kill. Most of the time, people don’t feel electrical current right away when they get into the pool. This is a lesson New Jersey homeowner James Volk learned first-hand.
A Brick family discovered an electrical current running through their yard and pool. Now they are seeking help to shut it down. https://t.co/p5VoT9UfWe
“My wife, my mother-in-law, and my daughter were in the pool, and my wife went to go clean out the skimmer basket,” Volk told news sources. “When she stuck her hand in, she got shocked so bad that she felt it down to her feet, like tingling, numbness.”
The entire family has learned to tread lightly around the pool area as some have experienced these shocks outside of the pool. The family is currently investigating what is causing the issue and have closed their pool until they can determine the cause.
Protecting swimmers in the pool from stray voltage should be of top priority. With proper wiring, the risk of stray voltage can be greatly mitigated. Wiring and grounding will also function better. Consequently, consideration of how to safeguard against stray current starts during construction of the pool itself.
Stray voltage can occur suddenly if problems develop on the grounded or neutral side of an electrical system. Equipment which may have worked perfectly for years can malfunction if something out of the ordinary occurs.
Every pool with underwater lighting, a pump to move the water, or electric heating has a chance that the water could become electrically charged if there is an electrical fault. Most experts would advise to add equipotential bonding grids under the pool and deck in order to provide stray voltage an alternative pathway.
A pool should be electrically safe to swim in if it has been constructed right and has an equipotential deck surface with all of its components properly bonded.
If you do suspect your pool has stray voltage, a device known as a “shock alert” can be used to check for electricity in the pool water. If there is electricity in the water, the shock alert will let you know by beeping and flashing red. This would indicate that there is electricity in the water and swimmers should stay out. If the device flashes green, on the other hand, it would indicate that there is no voltage and the pool is safe to swim in.
The best advice is to avoid contact with any stray voltages at all costs. Seek the assistance of a licensed electrician as soon as possible if you think you have this issue close to your pool or spa. Do not allow anyone, including humans and pets, near the pool until the issue has been resolved.
The electrical code has seen in significant evolution during the past recent decades. It’s possible that the bonds in many older swimming pools were nefver properly installed or constructed to begin with. A wiring fault or issue with your electrical provider are also additional possibilities. There are a number of potential causes of stray voltages, so it’s best to have a qualified electrical contractor check it out and fix it. The majority of problems have very simple solutions.
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The relationship that consumers have with their homes has changed in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The average homeowner has doubled their home equity since 2020. Homeowners gained $3.2 trillion in equity in 2021 alone. Across the nation, folks were eager to use that equity to finance backyard improvements.
With a housing market shortage, the prices for homes have skyrocketed to the point that many believe their investment will pay off down the road. Consumers are investing in outdoor home improvements like a pool, calculating that improving the backyard will ultimately increase the value of their home. This is a strategy that may pay off, especially as swimming pools become more expensive to build in 2022.
Supply chain shortages and a tight labor market have plagued the pool construction industry over the past two years. Pool equipment shortages came seemingly out of nowhere. Basic materials were in short supply. Concrete prices have continued to soar. Consequently, the price of an inground pool has gone up substantially since 2020.
Most pool construction companies rely on a healthy subcontractor base. Today, the number of masonry crews that were available before the pandemic is roughly half of what it was in 2020 and ranks 4th in severity amongst labor shortages in the trades. Among the subs that are still operating, many are working with a skeleton crew with half the number of workers they had prior to Covid. The prevailing labor shortage problem in itself is why it’s taking longer to build swimming pools.
Those with the foresight to know when to strike while the iron is hot may not get a better deal by ‘waiting it out’. Prices for inground pools are expected to climb again in 2023, waiting to build may not be the smartest option if it winds up costing thousands extra.
For Donna Sanchez of Folsom, CA, the choice was a clear one. She spoke with Pool Magazine about the challenges of building her dream backyard. “When our community swimming pool was shut down due to Covid, my mind was made up – we were building a pool.” Her husband was working remotely from home and having the kids around taking their lessons online meant a full house for Sanchez. Building a swimming pool in the backyard meant an answer to a variety of problems.
Financing backyard improvements like building a pool meant refinancing her home and flipping her home equity into an inground pool. “As easy as the financing process was for us, the building process was the complete opposite,” said Sanchez.
Plagued with a series of delays due to weather, permitting, and construction, Sanchez said her pool was finished by mid-2021, roughly 3 months behind schedule. “Everything about the project was more expensive than we initially anticipated. During construction, the price for materials just went absolutely crazy.”
Prior to the pandemic, the Sanchez family had considered building a swimming pool but had put off the idea for concerns it would lower the resale price of their home. Traditionally, this line of thinking may have been true. Homes with swimming pools tended to take longer to sell as they would need to appeal to a particular buyer who wanted one in their backyard. The additional costs of maintenance and insurance were considerations that could turn away many buyers.
“The pandemic changed everything,” said Sanchez, “if I had a crystal ball and knew the price for a pool would shoot up the way it did, we would have built back in ’19. Waiting wound up costing us probably an additional $30,000 to build our pool.”
“The hardest part of building a pool was competing against everyone else who wanted one at the same time. The initial builder we wanted to build with was booked solid, and so was our second choice,” explained Sanchez, who said that quite often communication with her builder was lacking throughout the entire process. She claims he was inundated with other projects they were building simultaneously with hers.
By the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, it had become increasingly desirable to purchase a home that included a swimming pool, if only to save the hassle of installing one. Rather than dealing with the difficulty of building, buying a home that was “ready to swim” has been what many consumers have opted for. “We’re seeing homes with a swimming pool go for a premium,” said Yuba City realtor, Michelle Lightle, “consumers who don’t wait to wait for two years to get their swimming pool built are snapping up homes that already have a pool.”
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