Arizona Republic 2015

September 25th, 2015

Two of our Frisch and Sons employees, Jose Perez and Nacho Flores were featured in an Arizona Republic article discussing the, California Drought and its Ripple Effects. One of those effects is the high cost (and waste) of keeping pools filled with water all year long. Below are the images used in the article:



So. California Homes 2014

Swimming Pool Demolition and Removal 101: An Interview with Dave Frisch of Frisch & Sons Construction, Inc. Original article found on  July 2014.

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Frisch & Sons Construction, Inc. is a general engineering/building contractor. We specialize in pool removal and abandonment. We take care of all phases of the demolition process from pulling all city permits, to scheduling all city inspections. We never use subcontractors, and we only use state licensed geo-technical firms for our engineering needs. Frisch & Sons Construction is celebrating our 20th anniversary in business. We have removed over 1,000 pools and spas in Orange County and the surrounding areas. Last year alone we demolished 76 pools and spas.

Is a pool demolition the same thing as a pool removal or are they different?

Pool demolition can be related to the general type of service which we provide. This includes breaking out and chipping away at the pool and or spa as required by each individual city along with surrounding concrete and decking or structures to be hauled offsite. Pool removal can be related to the process of complete removal of the pool and or spa. This would consist of removing all of the gunite and related debris completely from site, with an engineered and structural fill, which could support a new structure such as a room addition over the pool area.

What is the basic process for having your swimming pool demolished/removed?

Frisch & Sons Construction will take care of all city/county permits required for each project. We will pump all standing water from the pool. Schedule all inspections and meet with inspectors onsite to keep all jobs on schedule. We will cut the required holes in each pool; usually we remove the top 24″ of the existing structure. The entire structure can be removed but at extra cost. We use compaction grade-fill dirt for backfill and will include topsoil at the owner’s request. Any surrounding concrete or decking is removed to local recycling facilities. All backfill material is compacted with hand held whackers to achieve a 90% minimum density in fill areas. Our soil engineers provide a stamped soil report to the owner and all cities that require soil reports. All pool equipment is, removed, capped and hauled offsite. We grade the pool area for new landscape or hardscape.

Can you talk about the typical costs for a pool removal in Southern California?

The price to abandon/demolish a swimming pool can cost between $5,000 to $12,000.00 on average. Cost varies depending on access, amount of offsite hauling, size of the pool, and distance to the pool area from the staging area. The average pool demo is (approx.) $7,800.00, which would include permits, all work, and engineer’s compaction reports.

What are some of the benefits of having your swimming pool removed?

Most older pools in the Southern California area really have a negative value in residential neighborhoods. Some of the reasons that my clients give me for wanting to remove their pools are lack of use, high property taxes, monthly maintenance, high electricity rates, in need of repairs, water costs, property tax and liability issues.

What’s one of the biggest challenges with keeping a pool that’s not being used?What about a common challenge contractors/engineers face during the demolition process?

I think that the biggest challenge with keeping a pool that is not being used is probably maintaining it, maintenance can be very costly. One of the most challenging issues to contractors/engineers is ground water. The beach and other low-lying areas have a lot of ground water, which creates different challenges for our equipment when trying to demolish a swimming pool.

Do you have any tips for Southern California homeowners about how to plan or what to do with the swimming pool site after the removal?

It is always good to have a plan for your new backyard. I always recommend synthetic grass and cactus, succulents and drought-resistant species of plants for low maintenance with minimal irrigation.

What’s the best way for people to contact you and your company?

Frisch & Sons Construction, Inc. is locate in the City of Orange. We can be reached by telephone at (714) 282-0643 or by e-mail (, or at our website


See our interview on Southern California Homes, a top site for California homes for sale, New Mexico real estate, Northern California real estate & Orange County, CA homes for sale: Swimming Pool Demolition and Removal 101.

OC Register Home 2004

“Not everyone has bad things to say about contractors. Lynne Burt-Jenkins of Garden Grove has a good experience. Dave Frisch acted with complete integrity (throughout the entire job). He did everything he said he would do when he said he’d do it. He had his men showed up on time, worked steadily, cleaned up after each day’s work, dressed appropriately, spoke well to each other and to me. This guy deserves recognition. He is absolutely top-notch and I would not hesitate to recommend him.”

— Orange County Register, Home & Garden Page 8, December 18th, 2004

Apartment Magazine 2009

apartment magazine

     By David W. Frisch, July, 2009
     Click HERE to download this article…

Why Remove Your Swimming Pool

     Being involved with many different property owners, I have heard many different
reasons why people are tired of their swimming pools. Lack of use, property taxes, sky-rocketing electricity costs, repairs, remodeling, maintenance, water costs, insurance, liability factors, or just ‘Baby Boomers,” whose children are grown and gone, and no longer have any use for the pools or spas.

     With today’s costs of remodeling a swimming pool, in most cases, it will cost less to remove the pool. In the long run, the cost to demolish your pool would be considerably less than continued annual maintenance and repair costs. Our company provides property owners with a written estimate on the first appointment. All costs will be noted on the proposal before any work proceeds. In most cases, there is NO deposit for the work until the job is completed. Most jobs are completed within one week.

     Frisch and Sons Inc. will take care of all phases of the demolition process. We never use sub-contractors for any portion of the demo or backfill operations. Our “soils engineers” are state licensed, and provide a “stamped” compaction report for each pool when required by the various cities. Some cities do no require such testing, but it can be provided at the owner’s request.

     We will pump the water from the pool to the existing sewer or drainage facilities. We will pull all required permits from each city, county, or state jurisdiction. We schedule all required inspections, and meet with inspectors on the job, to keep each job on schedule. Codes change
from city to city; therefore each owner is made aware of existing specifications so there are no surprises. Usually there are numerous drainage holes cut into the pool/spa “floor,” so as the area will not act as a super saturated bowl, which could prone to be a hazard to the public’s safety.

     The other consideration is that there may be a future building on the site and the uncompacted fill would not be adequate to sustain the loading, and the new structure would likely suffer structural damage. In most cases it is a good idea to know what the pool area will
be use for, so as to plan for final grading, landscaping, concrete pavers, etc. In most cases the pool walls are removed to at least (24″) below finish grade. In some cases, an owner will request that the entire pool structure be removed, but at a substantial extra cost.

     Surrounding concrete decking is removed from site to local recycling facilities; rather than dumped into the pool area which will cause future “settling.” A lot of cities require a layer of crushed rock over the pool floor to facilitate free drainage of natural ground water. We use
compaction grade material for backfill, and will install landscape grade topsoil at an owner’s request. All material is compacted to 90% minimum, per city requirements using hand held wacker to achieve compaction in hard to reach area. Our soils engineer will take mid-level and surface tests during the backfill operations.

     Utilities are capped and terminated at the “point of connection” on the first day. Gas lines, electric lines, sewer p. trap, water lines, and return lines. Pool areas are graded to drain away from structures, to street area’s or drainage facilities. The price to remove your pool could vary, between $5,000 to $15,000 depending on a number of factors. Such as: accessibility to the pool area, distance from the “dump” area, size of the pool, amount of concrete to be removed from site, permit fees, and engineering or compaction testing required.

     Our company has been featured in the Orange County Register (May 07’/05′) regarding pools that have been left empty for extended periods of time, and have “lifted” out of the ground during heavy rain periods. Also, a new state and federal law was passed in Jan 09′ that requires all swimming pools to have a “DOUBLE” drain system that prevents a swimmer from
being “sucked in” to a single drain from excessive pressure during the cleaning cycle. Just one more reason to remove your swimming pool.

David W. Frisch is a general engineering and building contractor, with over 32 years experience in the demolition industry. Frisch and Sons Inc. has been in business for the past 15 years in the Orange County area. Frisch and Sons Inc. has been involved in more than 1000 swimming pool and spa removals, both residential and commercial. We have experience in gunite, fiberglass, plastic liner, and spa demos. Frisch and Sons Inc. is located in the city
of Orange, Ca. (714) 282-0643.


This article courtesy of Apartment Management Magazine.

Copyright © 2009, Apartment News Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

OC Register 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005
Down the drain

Demolition firms find a booming business in removing swimming pools
The Orange County Register
(photos by Andy Templeton)

OC Register

Jennifer Pho and her family are sad but relieved to see part of their home disappear.

Their swimming pool is gone.

“It was so bad,” said Pho with a shake of her head. “With so much rain this year, the water in the ground made the pool come out of the ground.”

“It must have come out almost three feet,” echoed David Frisch, the man Pho hired to demolish her pool and return her Cypress home’s back yard to its original condition.

As many owners of unused pools discovered, empty pools will lift out of the ground when heavy rains saturate the soil. “We’re just swamped with people who have had similar problems and want their pools demolished,” said Frisch.

There is so much business that his company, Frisch and Sons Inc., a general engineering firm in Orange, now specializes in removing swimming pools and in-ground spas. And, though he’s done this work in Orange and surrounding counties for 15 years, he’s never seen anything like the number of problems this year.

“Gunite pools, fiberglass pools … there’s just so many having problems we can’t keep up with the demand,” he said.

The Phos’ pool was about 18,000 gallons, Frisch estimated. It took up most of the small back yard, with very little room between it and the concrete wall in back. Heavy rains caused the pool shell to shift and push up dramatically on one side.

OC Register

All the work Frisch did – pulling permits, testing soil, drilling for four long days to make holes in the bottom for drainage, demolishing the pool and then putting 2 feet of a good soil on top and compacting all of it – came to about $10,000.

“That’s not unusual,” Frisch said.

While the Phos had their pool demolished – broken up and compacted in the hole it occupied – Orange County cities differ on requirements.

Newport Beach specifies that you can demolish the pool and haul off the debris, or just bury it at the site.

Cypress allows demolition of fiberglass and gunite pools, with reburial of debris, but requires complete removal of vinyl pools.

Huntington Beach requires a soil engineer to specify a plan for demolition.

At a minimum, all those cities we contacted require drainage holes.

Why not just let residents fill in the pool, rather than go to all that trouble and expense?

Here’s how the city of Fullerton explains the need for demolition: “The concern is that an abandoned gunite pool will act as a bowl, and unregulated back-filling may create an area of super-saturated soil, which could prove to be a hazard to the public’s safety. The other consideration is that there may be a future building on the site and the uncompacted fill would not be adequate to sustain the loading, and the new structure would likely suffer structural damage.”

OC Register

Translation: If you don’t tear it out, you could create a quagmire or make the soil unstable , so that anything built on it could end up looking like the leaning tower of Pisa.

Frisch said he always uses a soil engineer to test the soil to be used for refilling, even if not required by the city in which he’s working.

“When you’re talking about building something on top of where the pool was removed, you don’t want to take a chance about whether the soil will support it.”

Fullerton allows for partial demolition. Instead of having to tear out all the concrete and haul it off, a contractor must remove at least 100 square feet of the deep end of a pool and also remove the sidewalls to a depth of at least 2 feet below finish grade. Even if city code doesn’t require it, sometimes a homeowner prefers the remnants be completely removed. Some homeowners are content to have their pools broken apart and buried. That’s fine if their city allows it.

While the methods of demolishing or removing a pool or spa differ somewhat, here’s an example of how Frisch works on a pool that is to be broken up but the materials left in the ground:

  • A written estimate is provided.
  • Permits are pulled from the city.
  • Utilities are capped at the house.
  • Any water in the pool is pumped out.
  • Four drain holes are created in the bottom of a pool (and spa, if it’s part of the job).
  • The city makes an inspection.
  • Gravel is poured in the pool and spa.
  • Gunite and surrounding decking are broken up.
  • Backfill with clean soil and 4 inches of topsoil are poured into the hole (if the owner so requests).
  • A final city inspection is made.

OC Register

Prices vary widely, but you can expect to pay $8,000-$20,000, depending on the situation and the contractor you hire. Complete removal usually costs more than demolition because more labor is involved, along with hauling away the debris.

Even if you don’t plan to build on the site, you need to think about future use.

Lynne Burt-Jenkins of Garden Grove found that out when she decided to replant the area after having her pool demolished and the remnants buried.

“One thing I did not anticipate in advance when I had my pool removed was that I intended to plant several large trees in the now pool-less area. Tree holes are deep. In one spot, pool debris was a couple of feet closer to the surface than I had anticipated. I called Dave (Frisch, who had demolished the pool) to see where a good (debris-less) spot would be to plant, and he offered to come over and dig out the debris where I wanted – without a charge.

“This is something your readers may want to figure into their thinking: Anticipate what you will do with the site after removal, so you and the contractor can plan for it.”

OC Register

Contractors who demolish and remove swimming pools and spas are like the cliche: few and far between. It’s hard to find one in the telephone book and on lists of contractors. In some cases, you’ll find one or two listed under “Swimming pool demolition.” In other cases you may eventually find a company or individual that lists pool demolition even though it’s listed under “Swimming Pool Construction.”

CONTACT US: Write: Nick Harder, c/o Home & Garden, The Orange County Register, P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, CA 92711 Call: (714) 796-7769 E-mail: