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Shortages Delaying Pool Construction

A series of shortages are causing pool construction delays across the nation

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A series of shortages are causing pool construction delays across the nation

Shortages continue to plague the pool industry and have now begun to cause tremendous delays for pool builders. Experts say a serious plastics shortage is trickling down and impacting builders across the pool industry. Diminished supplies and rising costs for raw materials are causing prices to skyrocket with distributors. Supply chains have been dramatically affected by a recent surge in demand for pool products as well as the COVID-19 shutdowns. As manufacturing plants begin to come back online, many in the industry are beginning to wonder if it’s too little too late to save this year’s pool season. Supply delays are already causing serious problems for pool builders across the nation and the situation looks to only be getting worse as the season goes on.

Shortages Cause Distributors to Raise Prices

Across the board – prices for chemicals, components, and machinery have gone up with major distributors. PoolCorp announced price increases earlier this year that are set to start on May 3, 2021. Many pool companies however, have reported wide spread price increases from other distributors in the months prior to the announcement taking effect. Stock on many essential components are in short supply due to Covid causing a series of wide spread factory slowdowns. This following an unprecedented demand for pool and spa goods in 2020.

Hurricane Laura sparked a fire at one of the main chlorine production plants, shutting down more than 40% of the chlorine tablet production in the United States. We have seen significant price increases on chemicals, especially chlorine. The price for chlorine tablets is predicted to increase up to 50% by mid July according to analysts.

A plastics shortage is creating supply chain gaps in the pool industry for essential parts like PVC Pipes. Experts are reporting that the recent Texas freeze took a large percentage of valves off the market as well.
A plastics shortage is creating supply chain gaps in the pool industry for essential parts like PVC pipes. Experts are reporting that the recent Texas freeze took a large percentage of valves off the market as well.

Plastics Shortage Impacting The Pool Industry

ISM is reporting a plastics shortage that is already predicted to severely impact the pool industry. Raw material shortages for resin have dramatically impacted supply chains. Dwindling supplies were already tight say leading experts. The recent deep freeze caused by winter storm Uri, took many supplies off the market as pool owners in Texas experienced millions of dollars in unexpected pool equipment repairs.

The Petrochemical industry which is largely based in Texas, was nearly brought to it’s knees during the winter. Uri had disastrous implications on supplies which are impacting the inventory that pool companies have depended on being available for this seasons installation projects.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited S& P Global Platts, the freeze in Texas, one of the largest exporters of plastics and other petrochemical products, halted production of 75% of polyethylene, 62% of polypropylene, and 57% of PVC. Texas manufactures about 85 percent of the polyethylene used in the United States, making it the most commonly used plastic in the world. The manufacturing delays have triggered a global plastics shortage.

Maintaining Pricing Structures is Impossible

Maintaining existing pricing structures has already become untenable for pool service companies due to the rising costs of chemicals like trichlor and dichlor. Many pool service companies have begun to send out announcements to customers to expect price increases on weekly pool service this season. “We have absolutely no choice” said Mike Pompura of Pool Masters in Corona, CA. “Distributors have raised their prices considerably this season and unfortunately we are going to have start passing these price increases on to our customers.”

Pompura who has run his pool service company for the past two decades, says he has never seen conditions like this before. “I’ve been in business since 2001 and this is the worst I have seen it. We are having problems getting valves. PVC has also gone way up this year” said Pompura.

The problems Pompura is experiencing seem to echo the sentiments of many pool companies sounding off in pool industry groups on social media. The stress on plastic supplies and a surge on demand for resins are causing bottlenecks in the supply chain across the nation. Experts cite a number of causes for ongoing delays including port closures, over the road capacity shortages, and an increased demand on plastics for food packaging and PPE.

Many in the industry think the Covid-19 relief bill has inadvertently caused a serious labor shortage.

Emile Stinchcombe of Aqua Guard Pools in Detroit says the problem is bigger than just a shortage of materials. The Covid-19 relief bill has provided extra stimulus to the point where the industry finds itself suddenly short of skilled labor during the busiest months of the pool season. “We have a serious shortage of labor this year. Suddenly everyone wants to stay home and collect unemployment instead of work for a living. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years in the pool industry.” said Stinchcombe.

Winter storm Uri hit petrochemcial plants in Texas and Louisiana hard. Many industry experts fear that supply chains have not yet recovered to make a meaningful impact in time for this years pool season. This could very well be why major distributors are hedging their bets by stating that further price increases may be just around the corner.

Shortages Causing Prices to Soar

One thing is certain, with raw materials increasing in price – consumers can be certain to feel the trickle down effect in their wallet this pool season. The price of an inground swimming pool is predicted to increase 15-25% in most markets throughout the United States this year in comparison to last year. This is on par with the rising costs of raw materials like lumber contributing to an expected additional $36,000 to the price of average new home construction this year.

In addition, timelines for completing inground pool projects have also been dramatically impacted. There is an enormous backlog of homeowners waiting just to get on the list for pool construction. Consumers can expect extended timelines for construction to go up from the typical timeframe of 6-8 weeks to now 3 months or more in many areas of the country.

Shortages are causing delays with construction as materials become scarce and what supplies are left now go for a premium.
Shortages are causing delays with construction as materials become scarce and what supplies are left now go for a premium.

The news does not bode well for homeowners like Penny Lopez in Las Vegas who contracted with her pool builder back in January and is still waiting for her pool to be finished. “We were told that we would be swimming by May but I’m still looking at a giant hole in my backyard,” said Lopez, whose story seems to resemble that of other homeowners throughout the Las Vegas region.

The Trickle Down Effects

The pool and spa industry is just one of many industries affected by this crisis. John Schiegg, VP of Supply Chain Services for Houston-based home builders David Weekley Homes, said he’s seeing shortages and price increases on everything from siding to adhesives to insulation. After winter storm Uri, several PVC manufacturers reported to Schiegg they would be unable to meet their contractual obligations. Schiegg said he was surprised to hear distributors in other neighboring states were impacted as well.

New York based Confer Plastics, manufacturers of pool ladders, steps, and spa accessories; said they would be unable to deliver products planned or scheduled. They’ve already been forced to layoff 40 employees. Vice President Bob Confer said he’s never seen a situation like this in his 47 years in the industry. Confer Plastics is far from the epicenter of the Texas freeze but is still experiencing the long range ripple effects as are many other manufacturers throughout the pool industry.

4.9/5 - (23 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Pool Contractors Gift New Pool To Grandma After Disaster

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Pool Contractors Gift New Pool to 80 Year Old Grandmother in Indianapolis

A group of pool contractors are the answer to one homeowners prayers. For years, Kitty Smitth, an 80-year old resident of Indianapolis, had dreamed of having an inground swimming pool for her 29 grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy. Smith had just recently used her life savings to purchase a home and property in South Indianapolis that she was hoping would allow her to finally realize those dreams.

Smith acknowledges that the home she purchased needed a lot of work inside, but held out hope of enjoying the backyard with her family. For Smith and her grandchildren, the backyard pool meant a safe haven from the dangers of the pandemic that was sweeping across the country last summer.

“They were here, swimming and playing. I can’t tell you how great that was. This has just been my dream my whole life,” she told reporters.

Smith’s pool collapsed after a snowstorm this February. Photo Credit: WTHR

Future summer dreams would be put to an end this February when a winter storm caused her pool to collapse into a heap of disintegrating concrete and collapsed fiberglass walls. Smith was horrified to find that her backyard pool had collapsed in on itself in the night. “My whole body just started going numb and shaking. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she told reporters.

An engineering report was conducted to determine the cause of the failure. Analysis determined that a leak may have contributed to its collapse. A new pool cover, which had just been installed, combined with the inadequate water level in the pool may have contributed to adding stress on the walls of the pool.

To add insult to injury, Smith quickly found out that her homeowners insurance would not cover the damage. Despite being a customer of the same company for over 40 years and having a policy that includes the replacement cost of an inground pool, her insurance company refused to pay a cent. They claimed her policy excluded any leak in the structure of the pool.

Smith was faced with an impossible problem. The cost of installing a new inground pool would be at least $60,000 plus an additional $20,000 for hauling away the debris from the old pool that had collapsed. “I just put everything into my house”, Smith told reporters, indicating that she didn’t have the financial resources to rebuild the pool. She stated that she felt like her insurance company had left her high and dry.

Smith contacted investigative reporters and discussed her problem with them. The reporters shared her story with some folks they knew in the pool industry that could help lend a hand. Ultimately, eight separate Indiana companies came together headed up under Automatic Pool Covers owner, Michael Shebek. Shebek pooled his resources and network to help put together a team that will help rebuild Smith’s backyard.

What is truly incredible about this story is that although some of the companies on this list are competitors, they are all united in the single goal to help one local resident recover the usage of her pool.

Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, Smith was greeted with the surprise of a lifetime. The contractors who have agreed to rebuild her pool at zero cost, showed up at her house along with the 13news team to break the good news. Overwhelmed with emotion, Smith hugged them all and said “I don’t know your names but I know your hearts,” telling the contractors, “I love you.”

A team of local pool contractors has vowed to help Smith rebuild her pool. Photo Credit: WTHR

Smith will hopefully have a new pool to enjoy with her grandchildren this summer. The contractors have all assured her that the unsightly mess in her backyard will be removed and a new pool installed. The entire cost of the project is estimated to cost approximately $90,000.

“Just no words. There aren’t words big enough to thank everyone,” Smith said. “I’m just so thankful.”

5/5 - (13 votes)
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Las Vegas Pool Builder Receives Top Industry Award

Joseph Anthony Vassallo, CBP of Paragon Pools Named PHTA 2021
Builder of the Year

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Las Vegas Pool Builder - Joseph Anthony Vassallo, Vice President & Chief Design Executive of Paragon Pools was named the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) 2021 Builder of the Year

(Las Vegas, NV) Nov 21, 2021 – Las Vegan Joseph Anthony Vassallo, Vice President & Chief Design Executive of Paragon Pools was named the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) 2021 Builder of the Year at the Awards ceremony held on Nov 15th in Dallas, Texas during the Pool, Spa, Patio & Deck Expo.

The PHTA annually recognizes prominent achievements and outstanding performers in the pool, spa and hot tub industry of which include the Individuals Awards and the International Awards of Excellence Design Awards.

The Builder of the Year Award is a peer-nominated award given to one PHTA builder member who has advanced the pool building profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry.

Nominees must meet a strict set of criteria, including commitment to being a positive role model for the profession and peers, have a proven track record of meeting or exceeding industry standards in designing and building pools and spas, must have been employed in the pool, hot tub, or spa industry for at least five years, has actively participated with PHTA at a local or national level and must be a current employee of a PHTA member company in good standing.

Vassallo, who is often referred to as Joe Jr. began his career as a design apprentice in his teens (1989). He found enjoyment in the challenge of conceiving and developing pool and landscape plans to complement the home’s architecture and restrictive plot layouts while designing a stunning custom design for the homeowner.

Following high school, he studied architecture, marketing, and small business management. He has continued to further his professional and technical skills with PSI Leadership Seminars, Tom Hopkins Seminars, Auto CAD-2000, Structure Studios 3-D training, PHTA University curriculum, ART- Artistic Resources and Training, as well as CEU’s in industry business and technical topics.

In 2001, Vassallo joined his father in opening the family business, Paragon Pools in Las Vegas. As the Vice President, Vassallo has been instrumental in the success of the company and creating a high standard for design and construction for company projects earning an expansive list of international design awards and business accolades over the years, including Masters of Design Awards, International Awards of Excellence Design Awards, Aqua Choice Design Awards,  Aqua 100 Hall of Fame, Nevada Business Journal Family Owned Business Honoree and Vegas Inc (formally InBusiness) 40 Under 40 Award to name a few.

In the nomination letter, Robert Blanda, CBP, PHTA Fellow, 2014 Builder of the Year submitted the following:

“Celebrating the 20th Anniversary Paragon Pools this year, Joseph Anthony Vassallo, CBP has had a long respected and celebrated career as a pool designer and builder in Las Vegas, NV.

He has been committed to ensuring and promoting professional development and the growth of the aquatic industry through a variety of activities including volunteering his time to serve on the Southern Nevada Chapter as well as the National Builders Education Committee (BEC) and Builders Manual Task Force…

Joe Jr. has always been very respectful of his fellow aquatic professionals. His high standards, design talents, knowledge of product and instincts are with true merit…  He is eager to share his knowledge and elevate the skills of others. I and others have sought his advice on projects on numerous occasions. And his contributions to the 3rd and 4th edition of the Builders Manual was extremely valuable…  

He is a fine example of what the BUILDER of the YEAR represents and has advanced the pool building profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry.” 

Established in 2007, the PHTA Builder of Year Award is previously known as the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Certified Building Professional (CBP) of the Year Award.  Vassallo joins a short list of only 17 honorees that span the United States, including his father, Joseph Michael Vassallo, CBP who received the award in 2012.

Joseph Vassallo Sr. – Owner of Paragon Pools, Joe Trusty – Editor of Pool Magazine, Joseph Anthony Vassallo – Vice President & Chief Design Executive of Paragon Pools – 2021 PHTA Builder of the Year

The Vassallo’s are the only father and son to both receive the distinguished accolade. The duo also received an International Awards of Excellence Design Award for their unique design in the category of – Spa built in conjunction with a pool.

# # #

ABOUT PARAGON POOLS Paragon Pools is an award-winning, custom, in-ground swimming pool and spa design/build construction company in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contractor specializes in new construction and major renovations of residential and commercial projects. Paragon Pools has received numerous accolades worldwide for its unique designs, trend setting applications and renovation projects. Their client list includes major hotels, casino moguls, sports stars, and celebrities. The company has been showcased in numerous TV, Cable and news profiles and featured on HGTV.com Designers Showcase.  https://www.paragonpoolslv.com

5/5 - (16 votes)
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Pool Industry Mourns The Loss of Grant Smith & Bob Lowry

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Grant Smith - Bob Lowry - Remembrance

The pool industry lost two of it’s best and brightest this week and was saddened to learn of the passing of widely respected professionals, Grant Smith and Bob Lowry.

This week many in the industry were gathering for the PSP Deck Expo in Dallas, TX. Colleagues were meeting after years of being separated by the pandemic and had been enjoying the opportunity to reconnect. The mood and energy were high at the Omni Convention Center. Pool Magazine editorial staff got to town early to help set up our own booth and cover some of the events being presented.

We were debuting our first printed issue of Pool Magazine, and I was personally excited to meet some of the industry professionals that I had been able to connect with virtually through social media. Over the past year, I had been corresponding with Grant Smith and engaging with him to become a contributor for our new publication. After a few easy-going conversations, Smith agreed to join our roster of op-editorialists.

I had published several of his op-ed pieces over the last year and was eager to get to meet him face to face and thank him for being a contributor. Shaking his hand and telling him how much I appreciated him being a part of our publication was something I was really looking forward to doing. I made sure to get one of his best op-eds in our first issue and wanted to hand it to him personally. Unfortunately, that never got to happen. Like many who got the sad news this week, I was on the expo floor when I found out that Grant Smith had suddenly and unexpectedly passed at the age of 50 years old.

His opinions were widely respected and from time to time would generate controversy on social media. Smith frequently inspired the type of intelligent debate that is the very lifeblood of our industry. A mentor and educator, he was eager to offer his expertise and help in any way he could. Evidently, that’s just the kind of person he was. The sort that have no compunction of giving their time and energy to help complete strangers.

For me, it was incredibly telling of the type of person he was and exemplified exactly what I’ve come to expect from those that lead our industry from the front. It should be of no shock to anyone that Smith was a United States Marine, they instill that type of character into their very best.

Bob Lowry, was equally greatly admired and respected throughout the industry. Known as a chemical service guru, Lowry was a thought leader on many issues pertaining to pool service. Many in the industry credit him with helping guide their career path and shape their approach towards water management. The author of a multitude of pool and spa water chemistry books, IPSSA manuals, and publisher of hundreds of technical articles and white papers over a 45 year span in the industry. He passed away in Lima, Peru on November, 17th after a long illness.

The news of the passing of both of these great educators in our industry leaves a hole in many of the hearts that knew and respected both of these incredibly warm and generous individuals. They will both be greatly missed.

There is a GoFundMe organized by Dave Penton to help assist with misc. final expenses – in lieu of flowers please consider a donation which will go directly to Grant’s family.

4.9/5 - (24 votes)
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