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Keeping Pool Contractors Out Of The Courtroom

Stay out of the courtroom by knowing what NOT to say…

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

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A client contacted a pool contractor, wanting a bid to perform repair work on a job completed by another contractor. The client said they were not pursuing litigation or making an insurance claim – they just want the project fixed correctly.

Avoid Making Statements That May Come Back To Haunt You

If you find yourself in this situation – tread carefully. ONLY provide a written estimate of your proposed repairs and your installation specifications. Oftentimes, once the client receives the estimated cost of repairs, they will change their mind about litigation or filing an insurance claim against the original contractor. If you made statements about the cause of a failure, quality of the workmanship or code compliance, it will come back to haunt you.

The pool contractor was subpoenaed to appear in court, to repeat the verbal & written statements he made about the causation and workmanship. And he was only compensated at a rate predetermined by the court – less than minimum wage, like a juror. He was also sued by the original contractor for slander & libel, due to some false assumptions he made and had expressed about the failure.

How do you avoid being drawn into litigation as a witness for the plaintiff?

Simple…It is human nature to want to impress people with our knowledge. But, this is the time to “bite your lip.”

It is best to listen to the client’s complaint, take diligent notes & copious pictures and prepare a repair estimate back in the office. Limit your comments to the weather & sports. If you see things they are not aware of, merely include them in your cost of repairs. Do not discuss the workmanship or the suspected cause of any failure.

Remember – They already know the project is screwed up… that’s why they called you. If they want to know WHY it’s screwed up, then they should hire someone who will perform a thorough inspection, forensic evaluation or testing and render a written opinion – for a fee. Stay out of the courtroom, by learning what not to say.

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

Paolo Benedetti is better known as Swimming Pool Expert Witness. Paolo is an instructor at Watershape University and has authored a myriad of articles on the finer points of pool construction and design. He is a pioneer in the field of aquatic design, constantly pushing the envelope, creating a number of firsts that spawned new trends in the industry.

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

Shooting Shotcrete? Keep Your Hand Off The Nozzle

It’s important to understand why nozzle manipulation is a poor practice…

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

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Shooting Shotcrete? Keep your hands off the nozzle.

A swimming pool contractor must understand the trades that work under them. If you don’t know anything about shotcrete, your subcontractors or employees will do what is easiest and not the best practice.

Nozzle Manipulation during Shotcrete Application should be avoided for a variety of diferent reasons.

Nozzle manipulation alters the velocity, changes cement to water ratios & separates the components. This can be squeezing the nozzle, bending the nozzle, putting a hand in front of the nozzle or redirecting the spray with a hand.

Watertight & durable pools rely on quality shotcrete.

Standing too far away from the receiving surface is another common error. It’s not hard to drag a little more hose & get closer.

Keep your hand off of the nozzle.

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

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Swimming Pool Expert Witness

Just a Waterfall of Problems

Poor planning leads to huge problems time and again…

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

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The owners of this new pool decided during construction that they wanted to add a waterfall onto their pool. The pool builder ordered a “standard engineering detail” to add to his standard pool plans. A “shelf” was added to the pool steel and the pool was shot.

The city came out to do the final inspection and “red tagged” the job, because the waterfall had encroached into the setback. The pool builder had failed to file the water fall details and to get city approval for the changes to the project. Then the owners realized that soil behind the water fall was soaking wet.

There were cracks within the boulders and in the pool wall below the waterfall. The back of the waterfall appeared to have settled a few inches. A review of supplier receipts revealed that there were over 40,000 pounds of boulders in the waterfall.

The first winter passed while the pool builder and homeowner engaged in settlement talks. During the winter months, the homeowners experienced flooding in their yard. Only then did they realize that the pool elevation was too high and the yard was re-graded and sloped towards the house.

A standard pool engineering planset cannot compensate for these kinds of loads. This is why you should NEVER add a waterfall or surcharge onto an existing pool – you have no way to know if it can handle the surcharge. Besides, it looks like a pile of crap. YOU WILL CRACK IT… and then you will own it!

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Swimming Pool Expert Witness

Confusion About Using Sweep Elbows

Even amongst seasoned builders, there is still confusion about using sweep elbows when plumbing a pool.

Swimming Pool Expert Witness

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Confusion about benefits of using Sweep Elbows

Even amongst building officials and seasoned builders, we’re still seeing confusion about the benefits of using sweep elbows when plumbing a pool. If a plumbing system is designed properly and conforms to the maximum line velocity standards, then sweep elbows are a moot point.

The keys, are design flow rates of 4.5 FPS suction and 6 FPS return. These guarantee that once installed, the system flow rates will not exceed the code maximums of 6 FPS suction and 8 FPS returns.It is the line velocity that creates cavitation at elbows. Regardless of the pipe diameter, if the flow is kept within check, then sweeps are not required.

Slower moving water does not slam into the corner of a 90º elbow, and does not cavitate. Legislatures bought into the fallacy that sweep elbows would increase energy efficiency. They responded by mandating the use of sweep elbows, without regard to pipe diameters or line velocities. In reality, they should have mandated hydraulic calculations and line velocities.That would have required that builders use larger diameter pipes and slow the line velocities.

Builders who actually bother to design their hydraulics, are being forced to use sweep elbows (when they’re really not required). Fortunately, the energy code already mandates maximum line velocities of 6 FPS suction and 8 FPS returns. Now, all we have to do is get the sweep elbow mandate removed and educate building officials about line velocities and energy standards.

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