Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™
Pools as an art form - the way it should be!
Showing posts with label consultant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label consultant. Show all posts

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Infinity Edge Swimming Pool Spa Watershape Consulting Design Construction

Infinity Edge Swimming Pool, Spa and Watershape Consulting, Design and Construction is a specialty within the aquatic construction field.

Tom, Dick and Harry
Not every Tom, Dick and Harry can build one of these complex pools.  On many expansive estate development projects, the general contractor insists on controlling everything on the site. 

While they  are entitled to earn a living managing the overall project, certain specialty trades are best left to those with decades of experience.  A general contractor is a generalist - much like a family practitioner doctor.  But construction, like medicine, contains many specialties.  If you were sick, wouldn't you insist on the best specialist available?

So why leave the construction of a $250,000 - $1,000,000 to a general practitioner???

Specialized Training
Swimming Pool contractors, designers and consultants who specialize in complex infinity edge or hillside pools should have countless hours of training in geology, engineering (though they are not structural engineers), hydraulics, waterproofing, architectural and landscape design and construction methodologies.

Their decades of experience on various prior projects oftentimes involved a team of experts.  Soils engineers, structural engineers, world-class architects, landscape designers and interior designers often collaborate on complex projects.

The experiences gleaned from being a member of these world-class design teams, can oftentimes save a property owner tens of thousands of dollars.

Case Study:

The soils report on a recent project specified drilled caissons and a mat slab or grade beam foundation for the swimming pool, due to an overlaying layer of expansive clay soils.  The structural engineer was already in the process of designing an expensive foundation system, when I was retained to consult on the project.

Upon reviewing the soils report, I noted that the clay soils were only 4-6 feet deep.  Seeing that the pool varied in depth from 4-9 feet in depth, there was a good chance that most of the clay soil would be removed from the pool area merely through the process of excavating the swimming pool.

I raised this point and suggested that the complex and expensive foundation be abandoned.  Instead I suggested that any deeper pockets of clay soils be over excavated and back filled with a suitable material. It would be less expensive to over excavate the pool & to build it with vertical free-standing walls.  The areas around the completed pool could be back filled with other suitable excavation spoils from around the site.

The soils and structural said, "Ah, ha" when the lights suddenly went on.  Though I am not trained in either of their specialties, I have the experiences to draw upon.  Those experiences saved the client $50-60,000 - 10X my initial consulting fee!

Another Case Study:
On a hillside project, the top 4-5 feet of the site was overlaid with organic material and lose soils that could not support a pool.  The existing pool was cracked in 5-6 places and was rotating out of level.  A geotechnical investigation revealed that this top layer of material was actually sliding down the hillside.

The soils engineer and structural engineer both initially recommended a drilled caissons and gradebeam foundation.  Having worked on prior projects with similar conditions, I suggested that they explore a deepened step foundation.  Again, the hillside could be over excavated, removing all of the incompetent material.

The hillside would then be "benched," like a series of large steps, though with a slight backwards slant.  The downhill wall of the pool would be constructed on a trenched foundation.  The void behind the wall would be filled with an engineered fill, consisting of a cement slurry.  This engineered fill would have a bearing capacity over 100,000 times the minimum required to support the pool.  The installation of the slurry would be faster and less expensive than importing and compacting soil in 2-4 inch lifts.

Again, the client would have realized a savings of $60-80,000 on the foundation design alone!

Experience has Value
This prior experience can only benefit the client.  It brings a sense of reason to the engineers, balanced by the logic of the "person who has to build it."  Efficiency and economy are not sacrificed for quality.  Rather, unexplored viable options are presented that serve the project needs and benefit the client's budget.

The Long Haul
Yes, though I work on a "cost plus" basis, saving the client money means that I make less profit on a job.  However, this newly found money might allow the client to upgrade the finish materials or include design elements that were previously deleted from the project.

Being able to demonstrate to a client that I am willing to forgo a quick profit, to gain their long term trust, is what it my business all about.  Oftentimes as a result, I find that they will broaden my scope of work, refer me to their friends and include me in future projects.

Now, that's really the BIG PICTURE!

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist
"Creating water as art."™
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Expert Swimming Pool & Watershape Consulting Design and Engineering

Why do I need a Swimming Pool Design Expert?

Human nature being what it is, people simply do not want to admit that they do not know something.  Ignorance being what it is, people do not know what they do not know.

Ignorance is bliss!

Pride and ego's are the reasons many people refrain from asking for help.  They want to be something that they are not and are afraid to admit it - especially to a client.

Thoughtful Design

Design professionals know what questions to ask the clients.  Without the right information, a project simply cannot be designed for a client.  Anyone can ask for the elements that a client desires in their project.

An insightful designer will know what detailed questions to ask to ensure that the clients do not outgrow the project in future years.  This will save the clients tens of thousands of dollars in the future, by not having to remodel the project to fit those future lifestyle needs.

Knowledge is Power!

Because a designer works on projects around the world, they are constantly exposed to new technologies, construction practices, materials and design trends.

Their exposure to cutting edge technologies on high-end projects ensures that they are familiar with the latest and greatest construction methods and products available.  These could translate into a major cost savings on your project!

Their multinational and regional travel, advanced and continuing education and training ensures that they are familiar with the ever changing and evolving building codes, industry regulations and trade standards.

Installation technologies and methodologies are evolving as quickly as electronics technology.  Many of the new products and methods offer extended warranties and labor savings.

Industry Involvement

Most design professionals are actively involved in the industry at a national or international level.  This keeps them abreast of the proposed and pending changes to codes and regulations.  By designing ahead of the code changes, your project is surely to breeze through the plan check phase of your local building department.

All, simply because your project was design to codes that won't be adopted and enforced for a few years.  This also ensures that you will not run into an inspector or official who will misinterpret or apply the codes - your project is already ahead of the curve!

Cutting Edge

The lead designers in the field are always involved with state of the art projects.  This exposes them to the latest design trends, ideas and material applications.

Your project can only benefit because of the depth of their knowledge and the resources available to them.

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist
"Creating water as art."™
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa

Vanishing & Infinity Edge Swimming Pool Expert Witness, Watershape Consulting

Why would I need an Expert or Consultant?

There are actually many reasons... but, plan review, contractor competency evaluation and quality control are the primary reasons.

Plan Review

The more complex a project, the greater the need for an independent expert consultant.  The consultant will bring an objective voice to the evaluation of the plans and design.  The primary designer may have spent months developing a project plan.  Small details are easily overlooked on complex projects.  It simply avoids costly errors in the future by having the plans reviewed by a second set of "fresh eyes."

An evaluation of the plans can actually save the client money.   More economical methods or practices may be suggested that can save time and money.  The expert may have actually constructed or consulted on a project with similar details.  They can lend valuable insight and experience that will avoid cost overruns and delays.

Contractor Evaluation

The plans for many complex projects are developed by teams of designers and consultants.  The selection of the swimming pool contractor is usually left up to the general contractor on the project.  They will have their usual cast of characters, whom they will have bid on the project.  However, they may not have the competency to actually build the project.

An outside expert can evaluate the skills of potential contractors before contracts are signed.  If there are no local contractors who possess the necessary skills, then there are alternatives...

Ongoing Construction Consultation

The consultant can assist and guide the local contractor through the processes of construction where they lack the requisite skills.  The consultant is in effect, "teaching as they go."  The client has a local builder, yet the builder has the resource to guide them through the project.

Most don't know what they don't know... and the owner's of many failed or substandard swimming pools are living proof of contractor incompetence and ignorance.

Quality Assurance - Owner's Representative

As the  "Owner's Rep" (OR) the consultant ensures that the project is actually constructed as per the plans and contracts.  The OR ensures that the best industry and trade practices are adhered to.  The consultant documents the progress of the construction through digital imaging and written reports.

The OR will also ensure that the required independent inspections and materials testing are performed.  Since most owners do not know how to build a pool properly, the OR will ensure that their interests are protected.

Investing in an expert consultant to oversee the construction of your complex swimming pool project can actually save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in future litigation, repairs, loss of property value and lost sleep.

Paolo Benedetti -  Consultant, Expert Witness, Construction Management
"Creating water as art."™
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hollywood Hills Hillside Vanishing Edge Swimming Pool Designer & Builder Paolo Benedetti weighs in on why you need to get a swimming pool designer

Why you need to get an aquatic consultant / swimming pool designer involved early.

People who create designs for a living understand the importance of a well thought out plan. But many lay people simply cannot grasp the value in spending money for someone to consult on a swimming pool, spa, or water feature.

The real value is in the savings... Savings, you ask? How can spending thousands of dollars on a swimming pool designer possibly save me money?

Someone with experience can suggest innovative means to overcome obstacles or issues during the conceptual phase - long before they become on-site issues and delay the construction project. They can identify potential problems before they become one. They can offer creative solutions to conceal visual clutter. Their intimate knowledge of water and the way it acts on various surfaces, how it flow, how it breaks, scatters or casts can save the client from living with a constant mess.

Getting a consultant involved in your project as early as possible, will allow them to weigh in on important issues long before things are "set in stone." Lines of sight, vantage points, colors and reflections, materials and their suitability, and the "all important budgets," can be discussed early on in the project.

A designer can assist in visually integrating the water vessels into the project, landscaping, and help ensure that project timelines will be preserved. This will save the client money, by preventing from having to go back and rework portions of the project that had already been decided.

Architect or Landscape Architect??
Why can't my Architect or Landscape Architect perform this service? A few reasons, actually... education and experience.

While most Architects possess the college education, few if any possess the the combined specialized education about water through history, the physics of water and color, the importance of system hydraulics, the characteristics of water in motion, the construction of vessels, waterproofing, and modern construction technology, and the basics of designing complex water effects.

Decades of experience in analyzing the failed projects of others and actually designing and building complex hillside swimming pools, water effects, vanishing edge, knife edge, and zero edge pools can save the client money. The experienced designer can share the experience of the R&D from past projects that pushed the envelope of watershape design. R&D you ask? Yes - R&D! ("Rework and Demolition!").

Tricks that worked on past projects, solutions to prior issues, or proven techniques used to create an effect can save the client money, by not having to reinvent the wheel. There are people out there who already know that wheels are round, and can get your wheels rolling faster!

Knowledge & Experience
There are a lot of firms touting themselves as pool designers. Some are technicians. Some are artists. Some are engineers. Some are problem solvers. Some rely on computer programs. Some are merely builders. Some are copycats. Very few can do all of the above.

Knowledge and experience do come together... There are only few highly qualified aquatic designers in the world...
Individuals who can do it all (I won't say "know it all" because I am not arrogant enough to say that any of us know it all. After all, I learn something new every day. Sometimes, I even learn a lot of things in one day!).

But of those that possess the skills to perform at an exemplary level in all aspects of aquatic design - I can count them on one hand. And, yes, I consider each and every one of them a friend.

A well thought out plan can only be created, if the people doing the thinking actually possess the knowledge to think the relevant thoughts...

Now is the time to hire an aquatic consultant, before you start the plans for your dream project!

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist "Creating water as art."™ Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa©