Digging Into Pools

By Steve Hudson | September 28, 2010

Pool construction is a demanding market with demanding clients. But in southwest Florida's swimming pool construction market, Brothers Pool Construction is relying on its zero-tailswing excavator to construct pools for commercial and residential clients with minimal disruption to surrounding landscaping and terrain.

"I've been working in construction since I was 15 years old," says company founder Kevin Bishop, who got his start in the industry years ago tying rebar.

Founded in 2000 by Kevin and his brother Bob Gossage, Ft. Myers, Fla.-based Brothers Pool is a family owned and operated business. Currently, the firm handles commercial and residential pool projects for clients in the Bradenton, Ft. Myers and Sebring area of southwest Florida. The company fields three crews working under the direction of construction manager Jeff Puterbaugh and generally builds several pools each week.

On a typical pool project, after sod has been removed, work begins with excavation. At the heart of the operation is a Kobelco SK70SR excavator, which Bishop selected with the help of Steven Rhoad of GS Equipment. The SK70SR handles the digging of the pool site, cutting the excavation to the desired contours and loading excess material into a waiting truck for transport from the site.

Once the excavation is complete, crews use two-by-fours and Masonite to form the pool's edge, which often has a freeform outline. Once forming is complete, reinforcing steel is placed to form the shell. Then gunite subcontractor Prestige Gunite shoots the pool shell with gunite. Backfilling is done around the shell, and plumbing is installed.

After brick coping and tile work are completed, footers are poured for the deck. Then the deck is installed. Pool equipment is then installed on an equipment pad. Finally, the 1/2-inch-thick Pebbletec plaster interior finish is applied by hand.

Operator Eddie Bennett affirms that the excavator is ideal for this type of work.

"Much of our business involves working around existing homes where access is the key," Bennett says. "The machine can get into just about any job we're called on to handle, and with zero tailswing we don't have to worry about damage to houses or fences." The machine's rubber tracks are another plus, he adds, as they minimize damage to landscaping.

Not all of the company's projects are outdoors, however. Recently, the company was chosen to serve as the pool subcontractor on an unusual project calling for construction of a pool inside an existing building.

"Usually the pool is constructed before the building goes up," Bishop says, "but that was not the case on that one."

The working area inside the building was exceptionally tight, Bishop notes, but he adds that the Kobelco was able to maneuver and operate effectively even in the close confines of the building. The excavator kept its boom low to complete the pool excavation, and excess dirt was shuttled out of the building by the company's Bobcat skid-steer loader.

"The general contractor was amazed that we could do it," Bishop says.