Miami Swimming Pool Design and Construction
Paolo Benedetti, SWD Aquatic Artist, Watershape Consultant, Expert Witness, International Construction Management Contact the author at: email@example.com or 408-776-8220 "Creating water as art."™ Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa© ©www.aquatictechnology.com All rights reserved.
The underlying problem in this country, is that trade associations write minimum performance standards for their own members. Volunteers with egos, contractors and manufacturers sit on these committees, pushing personal agendas in order to validate their antiquated products, inferior trade practices or poor workmanship. The resulting standards end up catering to the lowest common denominator.
These minimum workmanship standards then get absorbed into the building codes as law or adopted by state contractors licensing boards the performance standards. This has happened with almost every association published code in this country.
Does this process really serve the American public? It certainly serves the industry, manufacturers and contractors.
People need to realize that building codes and industry performance & workmanship standards are not the ceiling to strive for, but are the foundation upon which to build upon. They are the minimum acceptable level of performance.
To date only 2 major standards have evolved beyond being self-serving – the ACI and NEC. Every one of their standards is based upon science and the evaluation of practical field experiences and failures.
Swimming Pool Plaster Workmanship Standards
The National Plaster Counsel (NPC) needs to get scientific with their standards. For example, maximum water-cement (W/C) ratios are not specified by the NPC. Instead the NPC Techinical Manual (section 2.1) is ambiguous about water content, leaving it up to the on-site crews to determine.
I have never seen concrete finishers, stucco applicators or venetian plasterers "re-temper" their work by splashing water on it. They all know that this destroys the finish, causes discoloration, and that the localized addition of water invalidates the W/C ratios. But the NPC continues to endorse this improper practice.
The technical bulletins for integral cement pigments from Davis, Scofield, Solomon and most others all state in BOLD TYPE "calcium chloride shall not be used." What is so special about pool plaster that makes it exempt from the addition of calcium chloride?
Steel troweled stucco finishes and Venetian plaster are installed virtually free of trowel marks, waviness and unevenness. I see these finishes almost daily. These other trades deliver hand finished & troweled surfaces that are virtually flawless. They are precariously perched on scaffolding or working overhead as they trowel. Yet, the NPC workmanship standards promote surfaces with these flaws. Their standards are subjective and not quantitative, thereby in effect validating bad installations. Why not hold the industry to a standard that contains a defined +/- variance?
Precise batching, W/C ratios and basic cement chemistry are beyond the comprehension of a mere mortal plaster crew. We're lucky to have high school graduates on the plaster crews, let alone someone who understands cement chemistry.
It's time for the NPC to set a new bar - HIGH.
If the tide rises, all of the boats will have to float with it. If we drain the seas, they will all sit on the ocean floor and will go nowhere.