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Sloppy Pool Construction Practices

Pool Design article by Paolo Benedetti (See original post.)

Which of these sloppy construction practices is your pool builder guilty of using?

No soils reports (even in differential soils)?
Undermining the foundation of a house by digging too close?

Using flexible PVC tubing (meant for portable above grade spas) because they were too lazy to heat bend pipe?

Only install 2-bar bond beams?
Install reinforcing steel or pins in contact with the forms or earth?

Place your pipes directly on the earth, because trenching to place them below grade is too difficult?

Use the same steel schedule for every single project or utilize generic / mail order engineering without regard to surcharges (soil conditions, building foundations, hydrostatic conditions, wind loads, etc) ?
Use flimsy forms that do not provide a solid surface to shoot against (as required by ACI & ASA) ?

If your pool builder does not know why these practices are forbidden or against industry practices, then they need some training and education. Unfortunately, this is an industry of "on the job training"... but if the people they learned from were doing it wrong... the tradition continues !

Did you know that the International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Codes (IRC) REQUIRE soils reports, project specific structural engineering (structures must be designed to overcome the anticipated loads) and minimum shell thicknesses? Some states have adopted their own more restrictive building codes (but they are based upon the IBC & IRC - e.g. CA & FL).

Most building departments that do not enforce their adopted building codes, do so, out of ignorance. The liability in the event of a failure, falls on the contractor, as the government has immunity. It is your builders responsibility to know the codes and to follow them.

Just because they have done it that way for 35 years, does not make it RIGHT... SAFE or LEGAL.

You should be constantly learning, something new everyday - then putting that into practice. If you think that you "know it all," then it is time to retire.

I cannot count the number of times that pool builders in various courses or lectures have come up to me after and said, "You know we've been doing it that way for XX years. I never knew that it was wrong," "That explains why we have that type of failure constantly occurring," "I wish someone would have taught me the correct way years ago. It would have saved me thousands of dollars in remedial repairs."

EDUCATION is cheaper that demolition and lost consumer confidence.

No, I'm not saying all of this because I've been sued or have a vested financial interest in any education programs. I am saying this because I want to elevate the practice of building pools and make this industry better. Anyone who knows me, knows that though there are various techniques, there is only one way of doing something - the RIGHT WAY !

How do you know that your pool is being built in compliance with the building codes, if the local building inspector does not know what he is looking at? Hire an independent inspector or "owner's representative" to ensure that your project is built "per code."

Paolo Benedetti

Paolo Benedetti

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa
PO Box 130
Morgan Hill, CA 95023
T (408) 776-8220