Pools

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When James and Emma McCarthur came to this country from England they had heard about the good old Aussie fair go, until they met Brian Hurrell at his pool shop in the Barossa Valley. The result according to James has been shambolic.

"It's been a nightmare from start to finish. It's not even finished but it's been a nightmare. It's a mess, it's sandy, it's dirty, it's not clean, it's not ready for kids to swim in."

According to the manager of the swimming pool association (SPASA) in South Australia Jim Daniels: "I think it's terrible. They've come into this country and into this state and they've been hoodwinked."

Brian and Raelene Hurrell operate Barossa spas and pools at Tanunda and admits he never had a building licence when he was the principal contractor involved in installing the McCarthur's in-ground pool.

Jim Daniels from SPASA is quite clear in his comments about Brian Hurrell: "When he came into the association as a member, he came in as a pool shop retailer for above ground pools, which is a cash and carry business and portable spas. He agreed he was not going to enter into anything to do with installation of in-ground swimming pools and we have that in writing´┐Żsigned, sealed and delivered on his letterhead."

A job that should have taken a month has stretched to over five and along the way cracks have appeared in the work, stuff ups of monumental proportions and downright dangerous deeds.

James McCarthur says: "His men came in and dug the hole in the ground with a huge two metre drop and left it there for fifty one days. It sat there, no fence round the thing at all. My child could have dropped in it at two metres, into there, no temporary fence, nothing!"

Then when the man of the house was interstate, Brian's gang filled the pool with water and still no security fence.

For more than a month and a half the McArthurs had to keep their children out of harm's way.

Patched up jets installed are actually spa jets, not those designed for pools.

Brian's men made things even worse when they wrongly plumbed the skimmer box.

"Once again, totally illegal," says Jim Daniels.

Jim has 30 years in the game and acknowledges that Brian Hurrell, one of his members, has left one almighty mess in his wake.

He says: "After 20 years of trying to bring this industry into good standing which we have now achieved, it certainly doesn't take it long for one person to throw the association into a bad light, which doesn't impress me whatsoever."

Brian Hurrell also incorrectly stated the facts in a building application to Mt Barker Council, with the result that the unhappy couple came out big losers.

He went under $12,000 because he didn't have to have building insurance.

Now Brian's wife Raelene has been issued a building licence and the Hurrells are preparing to put more pools in the ground for new customers.

Meanwhile he has $25,000 of the McCarthurs' money.

According to James McCarthur, his incentive in coming forward was not based on money.

"It's to tell other people to be careful. Make sure you check with SPASA that the person is registered with them to do certain work then you'll have insurance through SPASA to cover yourselves."

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