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!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

International Swimming Pool Design Awards

Award winning swimming pool and watershape designs - why the receipt of an award is meaningless!

Lack of Substance 
Every swimming pool industry design award is lacking a critical element - substance.

Though the projects that are awarded Gold Medals, Medallions in a magazine, Guava Award or Mastery of Design recognition are all pretty projects - that's just the point.  They are merely pretty!

None of the projects are judged on the merits of the builders construction practices, compliance with building codes, industry or workmanship standards.  

These awards went straight for the dessert.  They skipped the appetizer (review of the plans, soils reports and structural engineering) and bypassed the salad (client comments).  The main course (review of the construction practices, methodologies and installation practices) was deleted for expediency sake.

Some organizations have even given awards to the builders of the pools, that merely executed the plans and designs of someone else (this has happened to me on THREE occasions).  Because they do not review the plans for the project, they actually have no idea who was the creative force behind it's conception.

Industry awards exist for ONE PURPOSE - self-promotion.  

The industry collects pretty pictures that they then use to promote the industry to consumers.  Pool builders and designers use the awards to tout "Look how great I am!" 

Consumers see pretty pools, but do not understand exactly what the acquisition of the award entailed.

Pretty Picture Contest 
Because award contests lack substance, they are really nothing more than Awards for having the prettiest picture of a pool.

This is why, as a general rule, I do not enter Award Contests.  

If someone wants to grant me an award, they must evaluate what's behind the curtain.   Otherwise it's just smoke and mirrors for publicity sake.
Paolo Benedetti 
Aquatic Artist, Consultant and Expert Witness
"Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

International Swimming Pool Designer and Consultant

International Aqua Designs or overseas watershape consulting- what standard applies ?

Most EU member countries have adopted the ISO standards.  However they do not address a multitude of construction, design and safety issues that are covered in the United States building codes.

International Building Code

The IBC is THE adopted building code across the Unites States (except Wisconsin).  The IBC has incorporated the ACI, ASA, NEC and ANSI/NSPI/APSP standards as well as other construction workmanship related standards.

Therefore, the IBC should be a basis for defining the standards on an international project, where ISO or local codes do not address a particular issue. 

International Swimming Pool Code

APSP has released an International Swimming Pool Code.  While not all encompassing, it is also a good BASIC starting point.  It is generic in many of the areas it addresses, because it refuses to establish a minimum level of acceptable workmanship.  Where it does establish a criteria, this should be only be a "not to exceed" standard.

A copy of the 2012 International Swimming Pool & Spa Code is available at:
2012 International Swimming Pool & Spa Code
Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist 
"Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

10 Common Swimming Pool Designer Mistakes

10 Most Common Mistakes when designing a swimming pool

1.  Short Term Savings, Long Term Loss

To save a few dollars on the initial project bid, pool contractors do not specify a "dedicated pump for a dedicated purpose."  In other words, they over size the primary filter pump in an attempt to power more options.

Running an over sized filter pump consumes more electricity than is needed, for the the few hours each month the options are in use.  Additionally, the excess line velocity through the plumbing damages heaters, salt chlorine cells and other apparatus.

Multiple skimmers result in a cleaner pool.  An over sized filter can (depending on the type) result in fewer cleanings and servicings.  An automated chemical delivery system can keep the water chemistry perfectly balanced - the pool is always ready for use.

2.  Not Specifying Color Coordinated Fittings

It is simple to specify fittings to match the finish color of the pool.  Many manufacturers make eyeball fittings, main drains, channel drains and skimmers in a multitude of colors.

There is SOMETHING out there that will blend in with your project.  It is not "WHITE OR NOTHING," that is pure laziness on the part of the builder.

3.  Not installing an auto-fill or over-flow line

Face it, people are busy.  Attending to the water level in the pool is the last thing on their mind.

Low water levels result in pump damage or in the case of VFD pumps - self protection shut-down.  Imagine your pool without filtration in the heat of the summer!

During the winter months rain can quickly cause the water level to flood skimmers, rendering them ineffective.  Debris from winter storms and winds will sink to the bottom.  High water levels can also damage copings and mortar beds.

4.  Failing to install a pressure side cleaner line

Even though a client may not desire a pressure side cleaner, the plumbing line and booster pump should be installed for the service company.  A cleaner booster pump combined with a "leaf bagger" cleaner will accelerate the clean up of bulk debris from the floor of the pool after winter storms.  Garden hose pressure is insufficient to properly and effectively power a bag leafer.

5.  Failing to install a dedicated vacuum line on a detached spa 

If the spa is not attached to the pool or is more than 30 feet away from the closest skimmer, then a dedicated vacuum line is needed.  This is much like a "central vacuum" port that allows for the simple collection of sand and silt from the bottom of the spa.

6.  Not installing automated controls on a pool / spa combination

It is simply foolish not to install even a simple automation system on a pool & spa that share a common filtration and heating system (e.g. spill over spa).

Automation allows the owner to activate the heater, check the temperature and turn the valves in the proper sequence - all from within the house.

Failing to cool the heater down before turning off the filter pump can damage the heater.  Sequencing the valves in the wrong order  
can drain the spa, dead-head the pump or cause the pump to run dry.  Many people are confused by the valve's proper positioning and sequencing and end up damaging their systems.

Automation has become affordable, so the point of being a necessity on every pool and spa combinations.

7.  Failing to install adequate deck drainage

Allowing the decks to drain off into the planters merely allows the water to seep back under the decks and percolate into the sand/rock under the concrete.

This can cause corrosion issues with the pool reinforcement steel, cracking of the pool from saturated soil surcharges, or deck heaving or settlement.  It can also create efflorescence issues with the pool deck, coping and tile.  On sloping lots, this run-off can even undermine a slope, cause mudslides or the pool to slip down the incline.

It is best to collect the surface water and direct to an appropriate discharge point away from the pool.

8. Allowing a "Pool Salesman" to specify the project

A pool salesman works on commission.  Your interests are not his.  His job is to sell you as much as possible for the highest possible price.

Few salesmen have the requisite training to specify the correct plumbing and pump sizes or to calculate proper system hydraulics.

9.  Installing a single light in the deep end

Installing a single twelve inch round cheap looking motel light in the deep end is the silliest thing you can possibly do.

Installing a few more smaller sized lights on the wall facing away from the house (or vantage point) will result in a pool that is more evenly lit.  It will also mean that you're not looking directly into a truck headlamp whenever the lights are on.
10.  Hiring the Lowest Bidder

For some reason, consumers have been led to believe that they need to collect 3 bids and then select the lowest one.  In today's economic climate, you simply will not get the best possible project for the least amount of money.

The best for the least?  Come on - that's common sense.  But millions believe this to be true. 

REMEMBER - You get what you pay for! 
Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist 
"Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa