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!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fixed price swimming pool designs are a scam

It is impossible to deliver a fixed price swimming pool!  There are just too many variables...

Every property is different

The pricing model cannot hold true for every property.  There are just too many variables...
The soil conditions vary from lot to lot in the same neighborhood and the required strength of the concrete shell will vary significantly.
Access to property and the required excavation equipment will differ.
The distance to the dump site for the dirt spoils varies, as do the fuel and trucking costs.
The size of properties and setback limitations are different.
The lines of sites from the owners & neighbors property differ.
Existing utilities and locations vary and may require upgrading or longer installation runs.

Hydraulics, Safety and Energy Efficiency

Piping sizes cannot be the same for ever project.  The longer the pipe lengths the more restrictions.  The pipe diameters need to be increased to reduce the added friction.

Using the same size pipe, regardless of the pump size or distance creates excessive line velocities.  This equates to an unsafe condition at the suction inlets and potential hair or bather entrapment.

Excessive line velocities are also a tremendous waste of energy.  The pumps must work harder and hotter to overcome this back pressure.  Destined for failure from the start....

Generic Engineering

The structural engineering used on these projects is a generic, a one size fits all plan.  They meet the MINIMAL requirements, but are not guaranteed to meet the conditions for your site.

How can they do this?  Because most building departments do not enforce the International Building Code requirement that the structural engineering be designed to overcome the surcharges placed upon the structure.  Some cities (Los Angeles for example) require soils reports with swimming pool plans and structural engineering.  They require that the soils engineer review the structural plans to ensure that the engineering meets his minimum requirements.

Simply put, the swimming pool must be strong enough to prevent structural failure (cracking) from loads placed upon the shell.  These loads come from adjacent structures & buildings, up or down slopes, retaining walls, winds, snow, saturated soils, expansive soils, uplifting soils, seismic events, surf or tides - anything that will place a force on the pool.

Generic structural engineering is totally worthless, if the structural engineer has not reviewed the site and a soils report (geotechnical investigation).  The structural engineer simply cannot validate the strength requirements without a soils report that defines the conditions below the surface.  

These "package" price pools totally disregard the strength requirement, by placating homeowners with a pool builder's own "structural warranty."  This warranty does not warrant the pool against cracking - only that the pool will "hold water."  That means when the pool does crack, they will patch only the crack - thereby restoring the watertightness.  And, when they patch the crack, they will not repair the plaster surface.  

Would you accept cracking of your home's foundation, a dam above you in a canyon or a bridge you drive on?  Of course not, but they seem to think that this is acceptable.

Price Changes

You want a site specific structural engineering?  That's extra!
You don't want the pool equipment 10 feet from the pool?  That's extra!
You want to change the shape of the pool or steps?  That's extra.
You want something other than white plaster?  That's extra?
Oh, you wanted the spa heated?  A heater is extra.
You want a gas line to feed fuel to the heater?  That's extra too.
You want a tile other that the 6 blue tiles we offer?  That's extra.
Oh, you want remote controls of the pool & spa?  That's extra too!
You want drains in the pool deck?  Those are extra?

It is the old bait and switch routine to which we all try to avoid.


Paolo Benedetti 
Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness 
"Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Swimming Pool Design Image Plagarism on Websites

Swimming Pool Designer angered over others claiming his work product as their own (Aquaspa Pools and Landscape Design - Ontario, Canada).

While flattering, I am angered by Aquaspa Pools & Landscape Design ( claiming my creative designs and work product as their own.  
 (click on image to enlarge)
That's my project in the center bottom of their website's homepage.

The immoral, fraudulent and dishonest activity of one individual, reflects upon an entire organization.  One fact about the internet, is that once you post something it NEVER goes away.  It is captured or cached on a computer somewhere.

They never responded to our numerous requests to remove the offending image, first sent on 8/31/12.  Repeated requests to remove the image over the following months also were ignored.  

My staff contacted aqua through their website's "contact us page," "," and through the administrative contact for their URL: 

We also sent letters to the administrator of their website: Amir El-Nesr, 1296 Mississauga Road, Mississauga ON L5H2J2 Canada and to the offices of Aquaspa & Pools, 3560 Rutherford Road, Unit 33, Woodbridge, Ontario L4H-3T8.  No one EVER responded to any of the e-mails or letters.

We contacted their ISP.   Their ISP advised us that since they were in Canada, they were not bound by US copyright laws.  Had they been in the US, thier website would have been crashed without notification.

Source of the Image

I do not enter bogus design competitions.  Therefore, I know that my images were not obtained through NSPI/APSP marketing material or image discs.  We have NEVER released our images without copyright restrictions against republication.  Every on-line image that is posted is visibly or invisibly watermarked.  Hard copies of images or discs are stamped with the copyright notices.

Website Creator to Blame?

Make sure whoever creates your website is not LAZY.  The business owner must ensure that they are not re-posting the copyrighted material of others.  Instead they should be creating ORIGINAL material.

Business owners can use, or a similar website to compare the webpages their webmaster creates to the content of others on the internet.  You may find that they are merely cutting and pasting other people's copyrighted material.

Allowing a website creator to plagiarize, exposes your firm to litigation for copyright violations and the angst of others in your industry.  

Many firms employ software that actively searches the web for images and text from articles, websites and postings. The internet is merely a series of 1 & 0's.  These search engines compare known copyrighted material to other postings, comparing the numerical sequences.  From these firms, a business owner can receive a weekly reports of sites that have re-posted copyrighted material without permission. 

A firms unresponsiveness to notices of copyright violations and acts of plagiarism, only serves to condone and endorse the illegal activity.

A lot of people in business and government have lost their ethics and morals.  They think that there's nothing wrong with lying, cheating, stealing or acting fraudulently.

Personally, I'm outraged.

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

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Designing Handicapped Accessible Swimming Pools and Spas

Swimming Pool Designer and Expert Witness Paolo Benedetti - ADA compliant swimming pools and facility design

Recently I was designing a handicapped accessible pool and spa for Sgt. Brian Jergens, who was severely injured by a roadside IED during his first deployment in Afghanistan.   

During the conceptual design phase, I researched the various methods of creating an accessible pool and facilities.  The goal was to have an accessible backyard, without it looking like a roadside motel with a deck mounted lift.

Pool Access

There are 3 primary methods to provide handicapped people access to the swimming pool - lifts, ramps and transfer walls.

Lifts are hideous and downright UGLY.  

Ramps can be incorporated into organic designs.  They are easily camouflaged as beach entries on lagoon or pond style pools.  On contemporary pools, a ramp easily consumes a lot of space.  Inside the pool, the ramp required railings and curbs.

Since the site for this project already had some minor changes in elevations, I opted for a transfer wall.  One long wall of the pool would be 18 inches above grade, allowing for an easy transition into the pool from a wheelchair.  Additionally, it would allow for the use of an automatic safety cover and would not look like it was a "special pool."

Outdoor Kitchen, Benches and Seating Areas

Next came the hardscape and kitchen counters.

Countertop heights needed to be adjusted and access provided to allow a wheelchair to easily roll under the countertop.

The elevations of the bbq & sink needed to be adjusted to permit access while in a seated position.  Those these would be a little lower for able bodied people, they would ensure that access was always available.

Extra space for wheelchair turnarounds and movement had to be accounted for between planters, curbs and fixed benches.  Concrete benches had to be of a sufficient height to allow ease of transfer from a wheelchair.

Concrete benches had to have sufficient seat widths and backs to support users and to prevent tumbling.  Ramps and sloping walkways required curbs to prevent wheels from inadvertently rolling into planter beds or runaway wheelchairs from careening off onto the lawn.

ADA Guidelines

The Government ADA guidelines provide a lot of guidance when designing and developing outdoor spaces for the disabled.  Though the guidelines are intended for public spaces, their criteria and dimensions are directly applicable to private homes as well.

ADA guidelines can be found at:
Construction details and diagrams for buildings, facilities, outdoor spaces & swimming pools:

There is absolutely no reason why handicapped accessible facilities need to look sterile and industrial.  With a little thought and effort, the design can look clean and contemporary, while remaining functional!

To learn more about the efforts to build the pool and backyard for this deserving veteran, please like us on Facebook:

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