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!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Paolo Benedetti is the principal and founder of the Internationally acclaimed design and build firm, Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa. The firm specializes in the design, construction, planning and consulting of swimming pool, spa, fountains and water features for Architects, Landscape Architects, property owners, developers, contractors, hotels and resorts.

What we do
Paolo Benedetti is the lead designer of the firm. He consults with prospective clients wherein he performs an extensive interview to ascertain their goals, changing lifestyle, how they entertain, how the facility will be utilized, and the construction budgets.

As part of a larger project design team, Paolo functions as a sounding board for other design professionals. He can advise and recommend efficient methods of overcoming problematic operational or design issues, while maintaining the intent and character of the design. Rough ideas and sketches can be transformed into complete construction drawings and construction budgets.

After defining the projects parameters, he creates sketches of proposed elements of the project and of potential configurations of their arrangement. A follow-up meeting with the client allows him to explain how all of these elements function together in the various layouts.

The client is again consulted with and agrees to the various elements to be incorporated into the project and their spatial relationship to each other. Paolo will then create the project plan view and begin to develop individual details of the key elements.

Parallel to the development of the primary elements, the designs of the support systems are developed, engineered and the line schematics created.

Support Systems
The support system designs include many crucial mechanical & electrical systems. Critical systems are designed and calculated to perform at optimum levels of efficiency, minimize installation costs, maximize ROI, reduce operating costs and lower reoccurring maintenance expenses. Their proper design will also ensure that future site needs can be met without extensive demolition or expense.

Both low and high voltage distribution circuits are configured and designed to minimize trenching and to provide maximum system flexibility. Complete electrical schematics detail where each conduit and circuit initiates and terminates, and it's purpose.

Low voltage systems are laid out to provide for the integration and control of all of the low voltage needs of the entire outdoor environment: irrigation, lighting, data systems, automation and control systems, outdoor sound, remote controls, security and access controls.

High voltage schematics detail the various circuits required, their purpose and wiring requirements. These circuits control the water feature circulation, heating, lighting, spa jets, filtration, outdoor kitchens, yard circuits, automatic pool covers, high voltage lighting, gate openers, and other apparatus as required by the project.

Hydraulics & Plumbing
The proper design & specification of the plumbing systems is critical to the proper operation of any vessel that moves water. The dynamics of fluid mechanics (hydraulics) can create havoc on an improperly designed system. The flow rates (measured in gallons per minute) and the line velocities (measured in feet per second) are critical in ensuring that the system is energy efficient and safe for bathers. Complete engineering of the system hydraulics also ensures that the system flow rates and velocities are below the maximums allowed by the codes and standards.

Therefore, the entire hydraulic system is laid out and the hydraulics of the system are engineered to determine the total dynamic head (restriction of the entire system to the movement of the water) based upon the required flow and turnover rates. Only after determining the specifications of the hydraulic system are the pumps selected.

Support Equipment
After determining the plumbing requirements of the facility, the support equipment is carefully chosen. The client's goals (as determined at the initial interview meeting) are the determining factors in selecting the equipment. If the client has expressed that need to maximize the ROI and reduce reoccurring maintenance expenses, then higher quality commercial grade equipment will be recommended. If the client was looking to minimize their initial capital outlay (e.g. they planned on immediately selling the property upon completion), then residential (but completely adequate & functional) grade equipment may be recommended. In either case, the client will be given their options, and the trade-offs discussed.

Oftentimes, the area available for the support equipment had been grossly underestimated. Equipment selection and configuration can partially address this situation. However, inventive solutions are often the only means to fit the required equipment into the allotted space. Underground vaults, stacked equipment or elevated filters & heaters allow for the optimum utilization of space.

All of the support equipment is laid out in scale drawings. If stacking or racking is required, then sectional views are also created to illustrate the layout. This assists the installer in visualizing the configuration in it's final form.

Finish Materials
Oftentimes clients have chosen finish materials well in advance of the completion of the design. Sometimes these materials have been chosen by other design professionals, as part of an overall project synergy. Our purpose in this situation is to merely ensure that the materials are suitable for the desired purpose and lifespan. This is only because we will be held liable if we do not advise the client that a material is not suitable for their project (e.g. not frost proof, will dissolve when exposed to pool water, not stain resistant, slippery, prone to decay, etc.). Once the client has been advised of the risks, then they can "move forward" and assume the related liability.

Conversely, some clients rely on Paolo's vast knowledge of materials and installation practices. Paolo sources unique materials from around the globe, one's he's seen in his international travels, site visits to quarries, attendance at materials trade shows, or past experiences.

Complete installation methodologies and practices can be specified for a project if the client so desires. Tile, stone, masonry and concrete installation specifications can all be defined. Paolo's constant and continuing pursuit of construction related education, will ensure the client that their project will be designed in compliance with the latest industry trade practices, published standards, and building codes. The client will not have to worry of their subcontractors are in compliance with the latest methodologies, technology, standards or code.

Structural Engineering
Complete structural engineering is then completed for the project. The engineer will review the various details of the project and will define the support structures to allow construction.

The structural engineer will require a complete geological report (soils report) in order to define the strength of the structures and elements. The soils report also advises the structural engineer of any unusual site conditions that may affect the long-term performance of the structure. Issues such as ground movement, ascending or descending slopes, unstable, expansive or rocky soils, ground water, or unusual surcharges will be outlined in the geological survey.

From concept to completion, or anywhere in between, Paolo Benedetti can assist you in turning your dreams into reality.

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