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Swimming Pool Home Improvement Contracts in California

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

In a previous post, I listed some of the often-missed requirements for California home improvement contracts ("HIC"). But California has added requirements for works of improvement involving swimming pool contractors.


California Bus. & Prof. Code section 7150.1 and section 7151(a) reiterate that Article 10 (Article 10 includes all the sections from 7150 to 7170) applies to swimming pool contractors, and that "home improvement" includes work to swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs. Section 7166 limits the applicability of Article 10. Section 7166 is a convoluted mess, but in short, it means Article 10 only applies to single family residences, and does not apply to contractors who build a pool as part of a development (other laws apply in those situations).


Section 7159 (yes, that section 7159) requires HICs to have the heading: “Description of the Project and Description of the Significant Materials to be Used and Equipment to be Installed,” followed by a description of the project and a description of the significant materials to be used and equipment to be installed. But for swimming pools, the project description must also include a plan and scale drawing showing the shape, size, dimensions, and the construction and equipment specifications. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code section 7159(d)(7).


Section 7167 is critical for swimming pool contractors. Swimming pool contractors must abide by all provisions of section 7159, but if they violate subsections (c)(4) (HIC must include statement regarding unconditional releases), (c)(5) (when change order forms can be incorporated into HIC), (d)(7) (HIC must include description of project), (d)(8) (required downpayment information), or (d)(9) (progress payment requirements), the HIC is unenforceable and void as against public policy.


Section 7168 is big: in a lawsuit against a swimming pool contractor, the prevailing party (which might well be the contractor) is entitled to attorneys' fees (and I would be very interested to hear why swimming pool HICs have this statute, but not others).


Section 7165 also has provisions particular to swimming pool contractors, but involving third party lenders. This section probably deserves its own post, so I'll leave it for now.


Conclusion


Article 10 (Home Improvement Contracts) adds extra requirements for home improvement contracts involving swimming pool contractors. If you are a swimming pool contractor, or you have hired one, bear these sections in mind when deciding how to proceed in the event of a dispute.

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