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Team-Based Approach

Pool Design article by William T. Drakeley, Jr.

Much has been written on the benefits of teamwork from almost every perspective - medicine, business, sports, education - and the list goes on. In my experience with the construction of luxury watershapes, I have found that almost nowhere is collaboration with other skilled professionals more important than in the design and installation of high-end swimming pools. Clients are making significant investments in their properties when they elect to install a high-caliber structure, and it's the responsibility of everyone involved to protect that investment. Working together can help ensure excellent performance throughout the life of the project.

As I reflect on best practices in this team-based approach, one project in particular, located in beautiful Putnam County, New York, comes to mind. A dream team of professionals converged on this one site, and the results were strong.

Landscape architectural firm Oehme van Sweden's Eric Groft designed the structure and directed garden and hardscape placement. Eric also worked closely with the client and provided great leadership in terms of the overall installation. A critical aspect of a successful project is making sure that lines of communication with the client and between the contractors are open; Eric served as that conduit.

Watershape Consulting principal David J. Peterson, P.E. was the engineer of record and produced the structural prints as well as hydraulic design. As all good craftsmen can agree, the importance of a quality print should not be underestimated. Additionally, we at Drakeley Pool Company created the structural design, which Dave then generated as formal plans. The ability for professionals to share a vision and translate each other's ideas into actionable steps is an important part of project efficiency. Expertise frequently crosses industry lines, to the benefit of the project and client.

During excavation, we discovered unsuitable soils that required removal. To that effect, we hired John Hardman, principal and lead engineer of Special Testing Laboratories, to conduct a site visit, John took soil samples to determine compaction rates, drainage, and soil compositions. He ultimately would conclude whether or not the soil could be used under the pool in a load-bearing capacity or even as backfill material on the sides. Every element of his investigation was directly related to the success (or potential failure) of the structure. As we suspected, John confirmed that the soil was indeed unsuitable and needed to be removed.

These professionals cleared the path for Drakeley Pool Company to conduct a successful construction process. We performed a full excavation and installation, including application of finish materials. With the guidance of Cameron Tapp of Clearwater Tech as sanitation specialist, we added a complete organic ozone system as primary sanitation unit, a decision that we felt was reflective of the standard of excellence that was upheld by all contributors throughout the project.

As the pictures reveal, the outcome was stunning. This Lautner-inspired, low line velocity, perimeter overflow swimming pool was not brought to reality before first encountering some very real challenges. With the brain power and dedication of seasoned professionals, the obstacles were overcome and the vision prevailed.

William T. Drakeley, Jr.

William T. Drakeley, Jr.

Drakeley Pool Company
74 Hickory Lane
Bethlehem, CT 06751
T (203) 263-7919
F (860) 274-7902