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 :
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.