Sunday, September 7, 2014

Aqua Designer International Swimming Pool Consultant and Expert Witness

From the surf of Malibu and Southern California to the sunny beaches of Miami and the Caribbean and the cool waters of the Hamptons and upstate New York and all points in between, Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa brings a superior level of support services to high-end upscale projects and luxury pools.

Our Principal

Our founder, Paolo Benedetti, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of swimming pool and watershape construction.  He has consulted or designed projects on every major continent.

Paolo's vast experience and knowledge translates into economical solutions for construction and design dilemmas.  Paolo can honestly say, "been there, seen that, done that."  Instead of reinventing the wheel, your project can progress in a timely manner by drawing upon his knowledge and experience to solve those issues.
And, at a cost no more than those who claim to be his peers.

Products & Services

  • swimming pool construction
  • design consultations
  • hydraulic design
  • owner's representative
  • quality assurance
  • construction specifications
  • project details
  • CAD drawings 
  • construction documents
  • equipment specifications 
  • international watershape consulting
  • knife edge swimming pools
  • vanishing edge swimming pools
  • negative edge swimming pools
  • infinity edge swimming pools
  • glass tile swimming pools
  • glass mosaics
  • glass tiles
  • glass tile mosaics
  • swimming pool consultants
  • swimming pool designers
  • expert witness
  • construction defects
  • watershape designer
  • construction management
  • structural engineering
  • aqua design
  • sanitization
  • chlorine free alternatives
  • construction details 
  • indoor pools
  • rooftop pools
  • waterfront pools
  • basement pools
  • dehumidification systems
  • alternative energy systems
  • geothermal heating
  • solar heating
  • photovoltaic heating and energy
  • home automation integration

For no more cost than his supposed peers - don't you deserve the VERY BEST?

Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© © 
All rights reserved.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Interactive Splash Pad Fountain Sanitization Requirement

Whether in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas or the Hamptons, any water source that people interact with needs to be treated to keep them safe.

Simple Logic

Health codes require wading pools, swimming pools and spas all require filtration and sanitization.  It is common sense that any water that people touch, run through, or play in - also be treated.  Yet, health laws in all states do not require water treatment.

Filtration and Sanitization

To protect the public safety, fountains where people touch the water, all need to have the water kept safe.

Fountains where children run through the water are the worst offenders.  These fountains, whether designed for this purpose or not, need to assume public contact with the water.

Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© © 
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Swimming Pool Water Loss - Perimeter Overflow

As a Swimming Pool Construction Defects Expert Witness, I recently consulted on a newly completed perimeter overflow swimming pool in Florida.

The owners had a number of concerns regarding their new pool.  Their issues related to the operating levels of the surge tank and suspected water loss.
  • Excess water consumption - Their homes water use increased 8,000+ gallons a month following completion of the pool.
  • When the solar system activated, the surge tank level dropped so much that the fill line turned on.
  • For a while each day after the systems shut off, water backs up out of the slot and onto the pool decks.
Because the pool builder did not understand the relationship of the various components of the swimming pool and surge tank, the project will waste over 100,000 gallons of water every year. 

The bottom line - The hydraulics of this project were not planned or executed properly.

Surge Tank Sizing

The surge tank was too small and was installed at the wrong elevation relative to the pool.  The surge tank was also not sized sufficiently to accommodate the draw down for the solar system.

Due to the tank being under sized, when the solar panels filled, the tank's operating level dropped and the fill line sensor activated.  The tank would then eventually return to it's proper operating level with make-up water from the water meter.

However, when the systems shut off, the water in the solar panels would drain down into the tank.  Now the tank is too full.  

As the level in the tank rose above the overflow line, it backed up into the gravity drain line and out of the perimeter overflow slot.  The water collects on the pool deck the until the tank's overflow line can drain water to waste.  Repeat this process everyday, and it amounts to over a hundred thousand gallons of wasted water.

Not to mention the wasted money for the water, energy to heat and filter that water and the chemicals to treat it.

Bather Displacement

When bathers swim in the pool, their body mass and movements displace water into the surge tank.

The relative shallowness of the surge tank, cause the tank's water level to rise above the over flow line.  Valuable water is needlessly discharged into the storm drain, just from swimming in the pool.

Proper Calculations

There is no such thing as a surge tank that is too large.

Proper sizing of a surge tank needs to provide freeboard (excess empty tank volume) below the over flow line, so that the pool can actually be swam in without discharging water into the storm drains.  Imagine, people actually swimming in a pool... what a novel idea!

The surge tank also needs to have sufficient volume of water in storage, to allow for the draw down effect that occurs when the system first starts up each day.  Since the pumps draw from the tank, the level in the tank will continue to drop until that water reaches the pool, fills the gutter and gravity drains back to the surge tank.  This volume of water is called water in transit.  

Additionally, an amount of water must be stored for other demands that will be placed upon the surge tank.  If fountains, solar panels or water feature pumps will also draw from the same surge tank, then a volume of water in transit must also be provided for these features.

Finally, a protective level of water must be maintained in the tank to prevent any of the pumps from running dry.  This is called the minimum operating level (MOL).  This level is usually 12 inches, but it may need to be deeper depending upon the size of the pumps.  High horsepower pumps can easily vortex in 12 inches of water.

The sensor for the auto-fill will be set just above the MOL.  This is to ensure that the water level in the tank never drops below this safe level.

Surge Tank Elevation

The slope of the gravity drain lines and the distance of the surge tank from the pool, will determine the entry point of the gravity drain line into the surge tank.  The further away from the pool the surge tank is place, the deeper below grade it will enter the tank.  Obviously this also increases the cost of a site fabricated tank.  Manways, ladders or increased tank heights all contribute to additional costs.

The maximum operating volume of the tank is the tank's volume that exists below the entry point of this gravity drain line.  So if the gravity drain line penetrates the surge tank too low, the tank capacity is greatly diminished.

The solution?  Build the surge tank deeper below the entry point of the gravity drain line.


Of course getting all of these volumes and elevations correct requires a lot of planning.  Perimeter overflow pools cannot be designed without creating cross-sectional drawings.  

The locations of the various pipes (overflow and fill lines, sensor stand pipes, suction drains, vacuum port) and the entry point of the gravity drain line must all be carefully calculated.

Always a Solution

Sometimes the surge tank needs to be relocated closer to the pool, in order to raise the entry point of the gravity drain line.  

When space is limited, our firm builds the surge tank adjacent to the pool.  This allows for sharing a common wall and reducing construction costs.

If the tank size and depth is constrained by project parameters, then we may specify balancing valves.  Of course balancing valves only work if the tank can be built slightly above the pool, say in a nearby planter or in an elevated portion of the patio.

Knowledge and Planning... FOR SALE HERE.

Paolo Benedetti, Pool Designer, Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© © 
All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

MINUMUM Swimming Pool Strength Shotcrete Gunite PSI MPA

There are minimum specifications for the strength of swimming pool shotcrete.  

What ever you call it, it's all Shotcrete
All pneumatically applied (sprayed) concrete is called shotcrete, regardless if they are using the wet or dry mix method.  The term "gunite" is often incorrectly used to describe the dry mix method.  The American Shotcrete Association (ASA), which is a sub-organization of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) only recognize the term shotcrete.  And they only refer to the shotcrete "wet" or "dry" methods.

Specifications are the LAW
ACI 318 is incorporated and included in every state building code in the United States.  By statute, this makes the standards of ACI 318 MANDATORYSo, regardless of the concrete strengths that a structural engineer can justify with their calculations, ACI 318 dictates the minimum strengths.  This is exactly where the problems start... structural engineers think that they are doing their clients and contractors a favor by specifying a lesser strength concrete.  

Concretes that are specified above 2500 PSI require strength validation by a testing laboratory.  The testing lab will obtain samples from the job site and then test them to verify that the proper strengths are met.  2500+ PSI concretes also require that an independent special (deputy) inspector observe the entire shotcrete placement process.  Structural engineers think that they are doing everyone a favory specifying sub-standard 2500 PSI concrete to avoid these additional quality assurance measures.

ACI 318-11 Durability Standards
As can be seen in the chart below, ACI 318-11, 4.2.1 specifies durability requirements for concrete (which includes shotcrete):

Swimming pools by their very nature are always a Permeability Class P1.  They are always in contact with water where low permeability is required.

Corrosion protection for swimming pools more than likely fall into the Corrosion Classification C2, due to their exposure to both water and chlorides (this includes pools treated with chlorine, salt chlorinators or chlorine compounds).  ACI does not specify a MINIMUM level of chloride exposure, to require a C2 classification.  In any case, the C1 classification would be the absolute minimum level of corrosion protection required for swimming pools.

So swimming pools must meet the P1 and C1/C2 durability requirements.

Concrete Strengths for P1 & C1/C2 Classifications

It is clear from the following chart from ACI 318-11, 4.3.1, that swimming pool shotcrete should have a minimum strength of 4,000 PSI to satisfy Classification P1.
Classification C1 allows for the use of 2500 PSI concrete, while C2 requires the use of 5,000 PSI.

Therefore, swimming pools should be either 4,000 or 5,000 PSI, with 4,000 PSI being the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM STRENGTH.

Don't let your structural engineer do you any favors.  If there are any issues with the performance of the pool structure in the future, substandard concrete will come back to haunt everyone involved!

The Uniform Building Code, Uniform Swimming Pool and Spa Code and the California Building Codes all recognize the requirements of ACI 318.

Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management 
Contact the author at: or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ 
Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© © 
All rights reserved.
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