Exigent Design & Build is in the midst of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Brandon, who has found himself in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, is now employed by his wife, Amanda Heitmann (aka Amanda Pisarski), at her new landscaping company Resilient Outdoor Living!

The Story


We purchased a 2D design from Exigent for our pool installation. We opted for 2D because the concept was so simple, a giant slab of concrete with a pool dropped in it. This is how we've always described the pool we want. Our three guidelines for the design were :

1. we do not want any plants, trees, or shrubs
2. we want plain white concrete
3. we want a rectangular pool.

The initial design was head-scratchingly bad. After asking for a refund, having a new designer meet with us, and assurances that this is not how Exigent works, we got to a design we were comfortable with. Below is a comparison of the original design vs. the final design.


Original Exigent Design


Final Exigent Design

Contract Negotiation

Prior to purchasing our design, our first interaction was a call where we explained what we wanted and asked if that could be done within our budget. Our budget was 25% higher than the initial rough estimate. To get an official estimate we were required to pay $500 for a 2d or 3d design. We do that and our project is not within our budget. Make adjustments to design and it's still not in budget. Ask for liner pool are told yes they will get us some numbers. Get a call a short while later saying no we can't do liner pools although they are still advertising they can.

When it came time to talk about the numbers and the contract for the project, Brandon Heitmann, the owner of Exigent, was our primary contact. In our opinion, he was the most aggressive sales person we had ever dealt with. We felt that he pushed us extremely hard to sign and pay immediately.

Exigent's contract was in the same ballpark as other pool builders. The contract that was proposed to us was about 17% higher than the budget we had set aside for the project. We asked to move from a fiberglass pool to a vinyl liner pool, which would help us get to a price we were comfortable with. I was told they would not do a vinyl liner pool.

Throughout this negotiation process, we were contacted almost every night of our vacation to sign and wire the funds. While we were being pursued regularly, revisions to the contract were routinely missing things we had verbally discussed. We spoke about additional fence work, a mesh cover, robot vacuum, and wash/stain/seal existing aggregate concrete. I insisted things be put explicitly in the contract, but I was assured that Exigent is a turn-key builder and I need not worry about these small details. Stay tuned for how that turned out.

I was so turned off by my experience throughout this negotiation and the lack of follow through on our verbal conversations. I called Exigent to let them know I wouldn't be signing a contract with them. I wish I would have listened to my gut!

Exigent is definitely relentless. They recognized that Brandon wasn't making progress with me and sent out a project manager to finish up the deal. We signed our contractor with Exigent Landscaping under the premise that they would work their hardest to start in the fall of 2021. In the end, we ended up signing our contract on May 14, 2021.


I paid 48% of the contract value within 7 days of signing our contract. I was under the impression that we would be starting in the fall, because I received a text from our project manager that said, “If we start this fall as planned ...”. On Jun 10, 2021, after asking Exigent about when I need to pick the color so my pool could be installed this year, I received a response from Exigent :
Color is normally selected when we get closer but I can send you the options and let me know what you guys decide. Timing is still the same but I will say we are moving very efficiently and looks like we will be ahead of schedule, however, I can't guarantee anything.- Exigent Project Manager

On June 21, 2021 we receive an email asking us which color we would like for our pool. We respond within hours with our top three choices, to ensure that the pool wouldn't be delayed. We receive no response or acknowledgement of our choice, so we follow up to confirm that the email was received on June 24, 2021. Without so much as a phone call about timelines or even mention of pushing our project to the next year, we are told that regardless of color, pools will take 5-6 months. In the midwest, 5-6 months from June 24, 2021 puts you at November/December which would not allow for a 2021 install.

Given that we paid a large down payment under the assumption that the project would be done in 2021, I called Exigent to try and understand what happened. We waited 41 days after the contract signing (34 days after payment was received) to order the pool shell. I was politely told that Exigent doesn't do any type of refunds and would not modify the payment schedule.

Fast forward to October 15, we are contacted and informed that Exigent submitted permits. They let us know the pool shell is ready at this time. Unfortunately, work couldn't begin until mid to late November and it is unlikely that the pool and concrete will be installed before the ground freezes.

Worried about the integrity of the pool shell without concrete around it and not wanting our backyard in shambles an entire winter and into spring we opted to wait until spring to begin work. With this decision, we are given assurances we would be the first project they work on in the spring and would be swimming by early May. Come spring, Thanks to social media we became aware that they were digging for another pool and we had NO work being done on our project.


March 30 we left for a vacation. That was also the day they began work. Because we knew we were going to be out of town while they were working we set up security cameras to be able to keep an eye on things. We did inform exigent of this. We also had a family member who graciously volunteered to stay at the house while work was happening.

While we were gone things seemed to be going smooth, but, on April 13th, we noticed pooling water on our concrete. After notifying Exigent, they assured us that the pitch was correct and that it was nothing to be concerned about. This response was so odd that it prompted us to look closer at the concrete that had been poured. We were appalled at how bad it looked.

After multiple days of going back and forth on “bandaids” to the problem we were finally able to meet with Brandon and the operations manager at our property on April 18. Finally, they did admit at this point the concrete was bad. Strangely, Exigent told us he will absolutely be using this same concrete team to do other jobs.

First Concrete Disaster
Click for all concrete photos!

Exigent let us know that they needed 1 week to fix their mistake. That same day, after agreeing that the concrete needed to be tore out, Exigent had a different concrete subcontractor come out to look at the job. During that visit, the subcontractor let us know that he was not comfortable doing a cantilever edge.

After being promised coping samples by multiple different Exigent employees, the samples never came. We pushed Exigent to use coping as it seemed like the only way we could have the job done correctly. Exigent saw it differently, they wanted to try new forms for the pools edge and wanted us to be guinea pig. We were forced to pay extra to get coping installed.

While we wait to have our concrete redone, we encounter a large amount of unprofessionalism, shoddy work, and more delays.

1. Inspections weren't called in appropriately which forced us to push the job back by a week.
2. Our first coping installation was unlevel, had uneven cuts, and was done very poorly overall.
3. The bowing in the pool wall required backfill to be dug out, the pool was braced, and the bond beam was repoured on one side of the pool.
4. ~350 sq. ft. of concrete was never included on the permit. It was added and approved hours before the concrete was scheduled to be poured.

Our concrete was not poured until May 7 (25 days from the original pour and 19 days from the time he told us he needed 7 days). The caulking required between the coping and concrete was never completed by Exigent Design & Build.

Stopping Work

On May 7th, 2022 our concrete was poured a second time. Exigent only did a rough grade of our lawn and put our air conditioner over the next 7 weeks. We have dealt with a plethora of different tactics to stall this project. The most prevalent one being that we haven't paid our progress payment. In our contract, we are to pay ~6% of the total payment after concrete is delivered. All the items listed under the concrete portion of the contract have not been delivered. Actually, almost nothing from the contract has been “delivered” yet. A massive amount of repairs are necessary to complete the project. At this point, we've paid ~88% of the contract and very little has been completed. Even Exigent's estimations (which I strongly disagree with) show we have paid more than the actual value provided.

Breakdown to illustrate completion of the project in percentage based values: ... Total project completed to date: 85.13%- Exigent Operations Manager

Everything is Broken!

After seeing the list of items that they have claimed to be completed, I wanted to build a list of the outstanding work. We inspected our backyard a bit closer.

1. For the first time, I went in the pool (just knee deep, Exigent refuses to clean the pool enough to actually look closely at the shell) and found that our splash pad had very significant sagging. Below is a 4 foot level set on the floor of our sun shelf.
Sagging Sunshelf
Sagging Sunshelf
Sagging Sunshelf
2. Our egress window well was pushed against the egress window and cracked it.
Broken egress window well
3. The exhaust for our hot water heater was broken.
Broken hot water heater exhaust
4. The coping was installed poorly, had/has large gaps in the mortar bed, and was never caulked. This is the second time they installed the coping.
Coping Mortar Gap
Coping Mortar Gap
Coping Not Caulked
5. Some concrete forms were never removed, even months after being poured.
Concrete forms never removed
6. Multiple gutters were dented and downspout bands were snapped.
Gutter broken
Gutter broken
Gutter broken
7. Concrete has cured on the brick, windows, and side of my house. Below is just a few of the problem areas.
Concrete on house
Concrete on house
Concrete on house
8. The sprinkler manifold was broken, leaving me without sprinklers for months.
Sprinkler manifold broken
9. Killed multiple patches of grass by leaving equipment and supplies for months.
Dead grass
Dead grass
Dead grass
10. Our HOA's property was demolished to make Exigent's life easier, but it was left in disarray for months. Sprinkler lines cut and never capped and the berm completely destroyed.
HOA Property
HOA Property
HOA Property
11. Our yard left in complete shambles. Plumbing exposed, yard left without sod, and landscape edging cut.
Our Property
Our Property
Our Property
12. Our fence panels were damaged enough to be unusable, even though they knew the fence panels would need to be reinstalled.
13. Our heater was not installed to code and requires additional venting in its current location. (May 2023 Update: after months of litigation in both an arbitration and civil case, the licensed plumber who pulled the mechanical permit purchased the part, installed it and passed the final inspection.)
14. Our automation system was not programmed correctly and required significant time to get it working.

Of these problems, the sagging sun shelf presents the most challenging problem. It is roughly 9 feet wide, 3 feet long, and 2.5 inches deep. When bringing this up to Exigent, they said they would come out and look at it. After a few days, an Exigent employee stepped in the pool and took his findings back to the team to discuss. After this discussion took place, we received a call from Exigent claiming that the problem was not of any worry and that this is a known problem with that model of pool. We told Exigent that we would be reaching out to the manufacturer to ensure that our lifetime warranty would not be voided because of an improper installation.

After multiple days of insisting that this problem is not something that you just live with, Exigent agreed that it was a problem. The solution proposed by Exigent was to cut a 6-8 inch hole in the top of the sunshelf and pump concrete underneath it. This was an extremely alarming suggestion, one that we were uncomfortable with, so we tried to do our own research. We posted in Facebook groups, and got some second opinions on how to resolve this problem. Almost all the suggestions we could find did not involve drilling holes in a brand new fiberglass shell.

Exigent did NOT like us seeking outside advice and called to ask us to stop slandering them on the internet.

At this point, it seems clear that we don't trust each other, so I offered to escrow all the money left on the contract against the list of outstanding work left to be done. They refused and let me know that they needed the money to buy material for our job. I offered to pay for any material costs associated with my project, they refused because “that isn't how it works”.

After 30+ days of back and forth and sending my final notice to fix all the damaged property and complete the outstanding work, Exigent shows up to drain the pool for an attempted fix on the sun shelf. We let Exigent know that we would not be attempting any fixes until our pool was cleaned so we could inspect the shell for any further damage.

Moving on

After a lot of stress and deliberation, we decided that we couldn't continue working with Exigent. We have hired another contractor to finish our project with the hope that the negligence will stop. Below are the three things that threw us over the edge and made us decide that losing money was less of a risk than continuing with Exigent.

1. Exigent showed up to work once in 30+ days after we fought them to repair the damage they had done to my property. On that one day, they spilled muriatic acid on my new concrete and damaged it.

Muriatic acid concrete spill

2. Exigent arranged to fix the sun shelf by using a concrete lifting company to pump concrete through multiple drilled holes in the shell of the pool, then have the fiberglass repaired. We couldn't move forward with this because of how poorly everything else had been executed. The concrete lifting subcontractor had only worked on one fiberglass pool and was adamant that they would not take any liability if the fix wasn't successful.

3. We exhausted all of our own avenues to find a respectable link between Exigent and the permit/license holder. It is our understanding that Exigent should not have been working under other companies permits.

Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself on Exigent Design and Build! Our pool project didn't go well, but we wanted to write this story to ensure that others do not make the same mistakes that we did.
Reach out if you have any questions or a similar story!
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