Keeping Pool Contractors Out Of The Courtroom
Stay out of the courtroom by knowing what NOT to say…
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
Water is Ludi’s Life, Pools Are Her Stage!
In this issue, I am honored to introduce you to my dear friend and business associate, Ludivine “Ludi” Perrin-Stsepaniuk, President and Creative Director of Ovia Entertainment, an aquatic-centric production and training company in Las Vegas, NV. Affectionately known as Ludi, she is an accomplished aquatic performer, synchro competitor, choreographer, and coach.
For over 3 decades her life and career has been centered around pools. Her aquatic achievements grow more impressive every year. One of Ludi’s latest feats is being cast as an aquatic stunt performer in the mega hit AVATAR: The Way of Water. Her journey to that role is quite storied.
We first meet in 2017, when she graciously agreed to participate in Paragon Pools’ Float Like A Duck water safety PSA “Learning to Swim, led me to…” series. The videos in English and Spanish were created to inform and inspire youth about exciting adventures and career opportunities one can enjoy from learning how to swim.
The PSA’s showcase a wide range of individuals and groups from around the Southern Nevada community who credit their path to personal growth, success, and accomplishments in sports, academics, and careers from learning to swim.
For Ludi, that declaration is extremely meaningful, learning to swim wasn’t just a stepping stone- it became her life’s stage. “I feel that learning to swim saved my life… it has guided me through my life.”
Born in Nimes, France in 1984, Ludi began swimming at age 2. “I took lessons at the local public pool,” recalls Ludi. “When I was 4, my parents had a pool built in our backyard. It was very deep, I believe the shallow end was around 5 feet, this required me to tread water and swim constantly.”
Foray into Synchronized Swimming
“My sister Virginie was 9-years older and a synchro swimmer, I looked up to her and she inspired me to join the sport. In those days, typical synchro swimmers were very tall with slender long legs. I didn’t fit that profile, I was more petite, but my sister told me that synchro could be my ticket out of our hometown. If I worked hard then everyone would want me on their team.”
At age 6, she joined the small synchro club where her sister swam. Her love for the aquatic sport magnified when she attended “Sirella” the first French water show starring French Olympic medalist Muriel Hermine. Ludi’s hard work paid off, at age 12 she was recruited to swim for one of the top clubs in Aix-en-Provence. Following numerous national titles, Ludi moved to Paris to swim with the senior national team at INSEP where she competed for 2 years and earned national titles.
“It taught me to work hard for what I wanted, work hard and anything is possible.”
Ludi moved to Belgium in 2004 where she joined the creation team of Le Reve, an aquatic themed show created by Franco Dragone and choreographed by Guiliano Peparini. In 2005, she was part of the opening cast at the Wynn Las Vegas and performed nightly with the show for 10 years, totaling over 5,000 performances.
Ludi’s talents earned her the position of synchro team captain in 2012. In this role, Ludi excelled.
“I really enjoyed training new performers, coaching castmates, and getting an opportunity to choreograph sequences. I knew I could do it and I wanted to be more in control. This is when I decided I wanted to be my own boss.”
2016 was a turning point for Ludi, she was named Head Coach to the Nevada Desert Mermaids (NDM) synchronized swim team and founded her company Ovia Entertainment. A highly sought-after performer and choreographer, Ludi and her Ovia performers have been featured in TV, films, commercials, and music videos, as well as in print.
“I feel like I really developed every aspect of what you can do with water. I love creating, coaching, and teaching swimming.”
Analyzing a Pool
As a pool designer/builder when I’m traveling or visiting someone with a pool, my instinct is to analyze the pool, how it was designed, constructed, and how well its maintained. When you come upon a pool how do you assess it?
“My teams and I have performed in pools across the globe. The first thing I do if its coaching, performing, shooting, whatever, is put my hand in and check the temperature. Any synchro swimmer will do that- you check the temperature, because that will tell you how your day is going to go. The warmer the better, especially when you spend 12-hours in it, the ideal water temperature is 89 degrees.”
“Then, I check the chlorine level and water quality, these are very important. In my sport, we don’t wear goggles. In a highly chlorinated pool, we won’t be able to work as long. Alternative sanitizers are much better. For any visual jobs such as shooting underwater for a movie, commercials, photos, or music videos the clarity of the water is also important.
The next thing is I look at is the design and shape of the pool. I like to use the whole set-up, to highlight the entire pool for the client. I ask about the depth of the pool, if we can use the water features, where the audience will be standing, and determine where the performers will enter the pool. I also confirm they have working lights. For evening performances, we need lights for safety. But I love it when we can have different colored lights because it really adds to the mood of the choreography. It makes it look more like a stage. The tag line for my company is Transforming Pools into Magical Liquid Stages! We always feel so lucky when we have a beautiful pool because it’s our stage.”
Pools and Safety
You mentioned safety earlier, what are some of the safety elements that you look for to ensure your synchro teams and performers are safe?
“If it’s an evening performance, working underwater lights are critical. We need it to see the interior and sides of the pool, as well as spot each other. But it’s especially important when we are doing acrobatics in the water. The performers need to check their surroundings before doing a back-flip off someone’s shoulders. If they get too close to the wall someone could get really hurt. I will also check the pool deck. There are a lot of deck tiles that are very slippery. We test it by getting the entire deck wet and check to see if we can dance, jump, and twirl on it. If its slippery, then we adapt the choreography. Water quality is also safety concern. If we arrive and the pool is in bad condition, we will offer a dry show instead of performing in the pool. I also talk with the pool manager and lifeguard about our activities and review the signal for danger- arms crossed in an X with closed fists. Whether it’s my performers or the athletic team, I will be the first one to jump in, why because I know the choreography, I know what looks natural, and I know what it looks like when that person is in distress.”
“In 2015, while I was still performing in Le Reve, the French National Synchro Team wanted to come to Las Vegas to do a camp, and they asked me to be their manager. I contacted the local synchro team, the Nevada Desert Mermaids (NDM) for advice and help on renting pools, sound systems, and organizing the activities. I built a relationship with the Head Coach Linda Tannenbaum. A year later, Linda contacted me inquiring if I knew someone who could help in coaching the junior team 1-day a week. I accepted the parttime position and got hooked again. I just loved coaching the kids and seeing how fast they would improve. When the Head Coaching position opened, I applied for it, become the Head Coach in 2016.”
Ludi has also been a part of USA Synchronized Swimming since 2016, starting as a guest coach and graduating to the level of Head Coach for a number of teams. In 2018, Ludi was named USA Synchro West Zone “Coach of the Year”. In 2020, USA Synchronized Swimming officially changed their name to USA Artistic Swimming. Her success as a coach has resulted in an abundance of medals and championships for her teams.
“I was head coach for the USA Junior National Team for the first ever Junior Pan Am Games in Columbia held in 2021. We won the first ever gold medal presented in the Games and finished with a total of 7 medals. Then, I was named Head Coach of the USA Artistic Swimming Youth Team for the FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships in 2022. We presented in every event, they swam very well and finished with the highest cumulative score, winning the championship and the world trophy. For me that was a huge accomplishment, one of the highlights of my coaching career. I had a dream team, and a great assistant coach. I cried when the US anthem played because I knew I had made it. I became a US citizen in 2021, so putting my hand on my heart and singing the national anthem was very emotional.”
Le Reve- the dream!
Created for Wynn Las Vegas, Le Reve was set in a unique aquatic theater-in-the-round stage. The 27’ deep swimming pool had a capacity of more than 1 million US gallons and housed moving stages and props, longline regulators, underwater cameras, speaker systems, fire elements, and an scuba crew to assist the performers.
What was it like being a part of Le Reve?
“It was hard to believe it at first, it was like a dream. I always had to work so hard as a competitive athlete but with Le Reve it felt so natural. They liked my style and that boosted my confidence. Like me, all the synchro swimmers were right out of competition, none of us had experience in shows, we didn’t know what to expect. We created a nice bond, going through the good and hard times together. Franco’s direction was, I want something aquatic, but I don’t want synchronized swimming. We had to create a lot of different pieces. The Aquatic Choreographer Dacha Nedorezova had us try ugly things, for us it looked ugly- not pointing our feet, not being perfectly in-sync.
The creation and training year was incredible, they had a red-carpet entrance for the first day, they gave us an apartment for 2, a car to share with 4 people, they fed us at work, provided us with food per diems, and a salary. For me, going from an athlete with no salary to getting paid for what I love, was like wow this is really what I want to do. I felt like a rock star.
Castmates were from across the globe, speaking different languages. I spoke French and learned a little English. When the show was ready and we moved to Las Vegas, it was a different experience. I was 20 years old, I had to really learn English, and how everything worked in the US, it was definitely a big culture shock. But I was lucky, fellow castmate, acrobat Raman Stsepaniuk and I fell in love, and we were married in 2008.”
The AVATAR Experience
Since opening Ovia Entertainment, you and/or your performers have been in some amazing projects. One of the highpoints is being cast as an aquatic stunt performer for the movie AVATAR: The Way of Water. Tell us about that experience.
“First the audition was amazing, you had to be invited. I was lucky to have a friend and former Le Reve castmate submit me for consideration. The audition was mainly to see how we moved in the water and how long we could hold our breath.”
Synchro swimmers are stunning athletes known for having incredible stamina, strength, and breath holding ability. There are numerous interviews with the stars of the movie detailing how they were taught the art of freediving, several learned to hold their breaths for 5 minutes or longer underwater. Did you undergo any of that training?
“Yes, we were trained by a professional. Freediving is very different than synchronized swimming, in freediving you learn how to take more air into your lungs, and how to calm your heartrate, it is a very different way to warm up your lungs. In synchro you are not calm you are very energetic, and you only have seconds to grab breaths during a routine. I do stress that people should not try this on their own, they should work with a trained professional to learn the technique.”
When you watch the movie at the theatre, what are your thoughts?
“I’ve seen the movie numerous times, I cry every time I watch it, not just because I was lucky to be a part of it but because the story line is amazing. James Cameron inspired me so much, the way he would explain a scene and his imagination was so beautiful. I remember how mesmerizing he was and how he got me hooked to the scene. He was telling a story and building our character. Now in my sport they judge performance and musicality in competition, I use his technique to explain the routine to the swimmers.
Seeing my name in the credits is surreal. I have such a tiny role, but the title of the movie and story line truly resonates with me. For me, water is my way of life, I just loved the story behind it. In the Scully’s new home, they learn to adapt to it, to live surrounded by water, in the water, and respect for the creatures in the water. That’s why it’s so relevant to me, I can relate to the characters in the script, the locals trying to teach the new commers how to respect the water.”
Advice for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, Ludi has become very successful in carving a niche in the entertainment industry. Only two years after founding Ovia Entertainment, she was named to the 2018 Vegas, Inc. 40 Under 40 business professionals, a very distinguished and highly competitive accolade. Over 300 nominations were submitted for consideration. Ludi was one of 19 women named to the list and the only female business owner to receive the honor.
Many pool builders and retailers are small business owners like yourself. Do you have any advice for them?
“It’s all about the quality of your product, project, or service, I don’t want to go cheap, stay true to yourself and don’t go the cheap way. Yes, my price may be a little bit higher, but they need to understand why they are going to pay for that service.
My second advice would be to really listen to what the client wants. I look for the approval of the clients, that’s very important to me. I focus on the quality of my projects and the satisfaction of my clients.
Know your craft, but you can always learn something new. I am an expert in synchro swimming, but I can always find someone who knows more than I do on a certain subject. I had never done freediving or motion capture until AVATAR, the experts on set taught me. It makes me richer in skills. Learn from others, learn from your competition, and from your mistakes. Accept and own your mistake, apologize, and promise you will make it right.
Adapt and adjust to circumstances. We all learned from Covid about adapting. The mantra for Le Reve was “The show must go on”, we never cancelled a show. So, this is just how I live my life.
You also need to be a good problem solver. I’m a good problem solver, especially when I have a timeline, I’m going to be very stressed out for 24 or 36 hours, but I will find a solution.”
Functionality of a Pool
When Joey and I meet with a client, there are some key questions we ask to assist us in designing their project. Function is a key element, how they intend to use the pool. Is there any advice you would like to give to pool builders when it comes to functionality of a pool.
“I’ve been to a lot of different pools. I mentioned it earlier, the safety element using non-slip deck tiles around a pool and the use of alternative sanitizers. I also prefer entry steps in the pool instead of ladders. I love wet decks, it adds so much more character to the pool, and I use them in my shows. I also love the look of the infinity edge. And lastly, underwater sound systems would be a huge plus in pools.”
You have already hit some major highpoints, what does the future hold for Ludi?
“I have a few dreams. I feel accomplished when I’m really a part of the project, where I have more control, because that’s who I am, I like to lead, I like to have a say in it. I would love to expand my creative side, to create aquatic stunt segments for motion pictures, and to develop an aquatic themed show in Las Vegas. In 2020, I choreographed a cast of more than 2-dozen aquatic performers for the VIP opening night party of the Circa Resort & Casino at Stadium Swim. And in 2021, I was hired as the aquatic choreographer for the music video Seduce by hip-hop artist Russ. Shot in Atlanta, GA, I had a cast of 26 synchro swimmers.
Both experiences were very satisfying creatively. Another dream is to build my own aquatic training center, a pool where we could do everything from swimming lessons to artistic swimming, high-level training, diving, and aquatic stunts.”
Ovia Entertainment – “Transforming Pools into Magical Liquid Stages!” 702-505-3687 https://oviaentertainment.com/
Featured Photo: Ludivine “Ludi” Perrin-Stsepaniuk, President of Ovia Entertainment, Head Coach for the Nevada Desert Mermaids (NDM) and Coach for USA Artistic Swimming, on deck at the NDM training pool in Las Vegas. )
Photo Credit: Mary Vail, MBA Publicist
How To Keep Your Pool Renovation From Turning Into a Disaster
A pool renovation can be an exciting project but can quickly turn into a disaster without the right planning and preparation.
Renovating a pool can be an exciting project. A well-executed pool renovation can breathe new life into your backyard, create a more enjoyable swimming experience, and add value to your property. However, if not planned and executed properly, a pool remodel can quickly become a complete disaster. From skyrocketing costs to shoddy workmanship, there are a number of things that can go wrong.
Thoroughly planning your pool renovation project before you begin is crucial to its success. Without proper planning, the project can quickly become overwhelming and lead to unexpected issues, delays, and budget overruns. A well-planned renovation project, on the other hand, ensures that all aspects of the project are considered, allowing you to make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips on how to prevent your pool renovation from becoming a complete disaster.
10 Pool Renovation Tips To Know Before You Start a Remodeling Project
- Plan, Plan, Plan
The first step to a successful pool renovation is to plan everything out in advance. Start by making a list of everything you want to accomplish with your renovation. Do you want to add new features like waterfalls or hot tubs? Do you want to replace old pool equipment or resurface the pool? Write down all of your goals and prioritize them.
Once you have a list of goals, it’s time to start planning the details. This includes creating a budget, hiring a pool contractor, and determining a timeline. Be sure to get multiple quotes from different contractors, and make sure that they are all licensed and insured. Don’t rush the planning process – taking the time to do it right will save you headaches and money in the long run.
- Consider the Overall Design
When renovating your pool, it’s important to consider the overall design of your backyard. Your pool should complement the existing landscaping and outdoor living space. This will help create a cohesive look and add value to your home.
If you’re not sure what design will work best for your backyard, consider consulting with a landscape architect or pool designer. They can help you create a custom design that meets your needs and complements your home’s style.
- Address Any Underlying Issues
Before starting any renovation work, it’s important to address any underlying issues with your pool. This includes fixing any leaks, repairing cracks in the pool’s structure, and addressing any plumbing or electrical issues.
If you don’t address these issues before starting your renovation, they can quickly turn into bigger problems, leading to additional costs and delays in your renovation timeline.
- Set a Realistic Budget
Before starting any pool renovation project, it’s important to set a realistic budget. That’s one of the most important do’s and don’ts of pool remodeling. This will help you avoid overspending and ensure you’re able to complete the project without running out of money. When setting your budget, be sure to factor in the cost of materials, labor, and any unexpected expenses that may arise.
It’s also important to prioritize your renovation needs. If your budget is limited, focus on fixing any safety issues or structural damage first. Cosmetic upgrades can be done later when you have more funds available.
- Get the Necessary Permits
Before starting any pool renovation work, you need to make sure you have all the necessary permits. Building codes vary by state and county, so it’s important to check with your local government to find out what permits you need.
If you fail to obtain the necessary permits, you may be subject to fines and could be forced to stop work on your renovation until you have obtained them. Additionally, not having the proper permits can affect your homeowner’s insurance coverage, leaving you liable in case of accidents or damages.
- Don’t Cut Corners
One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make during a pool renovation is trying to cut corners to save money. While it’s important to stay within your budget, trying to save money by using inferior materials or hiring unlicensed contractors can be a recipe for disaster. In the end, you may end up spending more money to fix the mistakes made by these shortcuts.
If you want your pool renovation to be a success, be willing to invest in quality materials and hire experienced professionals. This may mean spending more money up front, but it will save you money and headaches down the line.
- Research Materials and Equipment
When planning your pool renovation, it’s important to research the materials and equipment that you plan to use. Don’t just rely on the recommendations of your contractor – do your own research and make informed decisions. This includes researching the pros and cons of different types of pool finishes, pool heaters, pumps, and filters.
Following the latest trends is smart, but don’t be swayed by gimmicks. Stick to tried and true materials and equipment that are known to work well. This will help ensure that your pool renovation is a success and that you don’t end up with equipment that needs constant repairs or replacement.
- Communicate Clearly With Your Contractor
Communication is key when it comes to a successful pool renovation. Make sure that you communicate clearly with your contractor from the start. Discuss your goals and expectations, and make sure that they understand what you want to accomplish with your renovation.
Throughout the renovation process, continue to communicate with your contractor. Ask questions and provide feedback, and make sure that they are keeping you informed of progress and any issues that arise. If you notice something that doesn’t look right, speak up and address it immediately.
- Prepare for the Unexpected
No matter how well you plan, there will always be unexpected issues that arise during a pool renovation. This could be anything from weather or equipment delays to unforeseen plumbing issues. Be prepared for these unexpected issues by building in extra time and money into your budget.
Additionally, be willing to be flexible with your renovation plans. If something unexpected comes up that requires a change in plans, be willing to adjust your plans accordingly. This will help ensure that your pool renovation stays on track and doesn’t become a complete disaster.
- Don’t Rush the Process
The key to a successful pool renovation is taking your time and doing things right. Rushing the renovation process can lead to mistakes, oversights, and even accidents that can compromise the quality of the work and result in additional costs and delays.
Before starting your renovation, take the time to plan out all the details, including the scope of the work, your budget, and your timeline. Rushing into a renovation without a clear plan can lead to unexpected issues that can quickly spiral out of control.
Common Pool Renovation Projects & How Much They Cost
Marcus Weekes from Premier Pools & Gardens in Brisbane explains that pool renovation projects are a common undertaking for homeowners. He mentions several common projects that homeowners usually choose, including installing new tile and coping, waterline tile, custom interiors, pool lighting, filtration improvement, and equipment relocation.
Renovating Tile & Coping
Renovating tile and coping involves replacing old, worn-out tiles and coping with new ones to give the pool a fresh look. Another popular option is replacing the waterline tile that runs around the perimeter inside of the pool. Homeowners typically will choose between glass and ceramic mosaic tiles to enhance the pool’s appearance.
Many pool owners will opt for custom surface interiors. In Australia where Weekes is located, they use Pebblecrete. Here in the U.S. you’re more likely to use Pebbletec. Whichever you opt for, that type of glass beading is used to give the pool a unique and sparkling look.
Adding or Upgrading Lighting
Weekes suggests that adding pool lighting or upgrading to LED lighting can also provide a more vibrant and welcoming atmosphere, especially during nighttime swimming.
Upgrading or Relocating Equipment
He also notes that a pool renovation is an opportune time to improve your pool’s filtration. This can involve replacing old filters or adding new pool equipment to improve the pool’s water quality. Equipment relocation may be necessary if the pool equipment is causing noise or visual distractions.
Pool Renovation Costs
Overall, homeowners can choose from a variety of different renovation projects to upgrade their pool’s appearance and functionality. From small changes like adding lighting to larger projects like custom interiors, these renovations can make a significant difference in the overall enjoyment of the pool. How much your pool remodeling project will cost ultimately boils down to the materials and contractor you choose.
Renovating a Swimming Pool
Renovating your pool is a significant investment in your home and your family’s enjoyment, and it’s essential to take the process seriously. Rushing into a renovation without careful planning and execution can lead to a variety of issues, including unexpected costs, delays, and even safety hazards. On the other hand, a well-executed renovation can transform your backyard into a beautiful and functional space that adds value to your home.
Work With an Expert
Perhaps the most critical takeaway in this entire article to preventing your pool renovation from becoming a disaster is to work with a reputable and experienced contractor. Finding the right contractor can be a daunting task, but it’s crucial to take the time to research and interview potential candidates. Look for contractors who have a track record of success in pool renovation and who are licensed, insured, and bonded. Additionally, it’s essential to check references, read online reviews, and ask for a detailed proposal that outlines the scope of work, materials, and costs. By working with a trustworthy contractor, you can ensure that your pool renovation is completed on time, within budget, and to your satisfaction.
Good Communication is Key
The final important takeaway to achieving a successful pool renovation is to plan thoroughly and communicate clearly. This includes identifying your goals and priorities, setting a realistic budget, and creating a detailed timeline for the project. It’s also important to be flexible and open to changes as the project progresses, as unexpected issues can arise that require adjustments to the plan. By working closely with your contractor and communicating regularly, you can stay informed about the progress of the renovation and address any concerns or issues promptly. In the end, a well-planned and executed pool renovation can enhance your home’s value and your family’s enjoyment of your outdoor space for years to come.
What Were The Builders Thinking With This Movable Pool Floor?
A pool builder experimenting with movable pool floors was a costly lesson. Learn how this moving pool floor project was saved.
It started with a phone call from the owner’s personal assistant. They had movable pool floors in the pool and spa that didn’t operate properly. They wondered if I’d fly up to Whitefish, MT, and have a look-see at their problems.
A Failing Movable Pool Floor System
Upon my arrival, I was met with an odd home-brew moving floor system. In an attempt to reinvent the wheel, the pool builder attempted to create his own moving floor systems. The premise was that ballast tanks would be filled with water to lower the floor and be filled with air to raise it.
In theory, it may have worked, but as with any unproved and untested design, there are always kinks. Testing theories on a wealthy client and working out the kinks on a multi-million dollar pool project, is never the place to learn.
A Poor Choice of Materials
To begin with, the structure was fabricated out of aluminum. Anyone who’s spent time around chlorinated swimming pools knows that aluminum rapidly decays in salt or chlorinated water. The ballast tanks did not have any bulkheads, so the water sloshed from end to end. This caused the floor to list to one side or end, binding it within the pool walls. You can imagine a multi-ton structure wedged within the pool walls. The deck of the floors were finished in Ipe, a hard exotic hardwood. However, after submersion in water, the wood becomes gray, slimy, and slippery.
To make matters worse, the builder failed to recess the incandescent lights and wall fittings. So the shifting floor structure would sheer off the glass lenses and fittings. In a futile attempt to keep the multi-ton structure aligned, the builder cut guide tracks into the walls and installed roller wheels. Again, the forces at play here grossly exceeded the bolt-on wheel assemblies.
A Laundry List of Problems Unfolds
The moving floor in the spa was another disaster. The mechanism was a scissors lift, driven by a hydraulic ram. The builder sourced his hydraulic ram from a local tractor supply store. Over a few quick months, the leaking ram created an oil slick atop the spa. Needless to say, the cast iron ram began to corrode within the chlorinated water.
Once I began to evaluate the hydraulics, electrical, and moving floor systems, it became apparent that the entire project would require a substantial renovation in order to be safe, functional, and code compliant.
Out With Old Pool Floor & In With The New
I partnered with a local contractor, Shawn Hossack of Panorama Builders. Together we came up with a plan to remove the dangerous floor system and install a new fully proven and engineered system. Though we obtained bids from a number of manufacturers, we settled on systems from Hydrofloors – Twinscape Group. Their technical support and proven track record made the client’s choice simple.
The Scope of Work
The interior of the pool & spa was determined to be not completely plumb and true. The only means to correct these deviations would be to render them with mortar and tile them. First, the failing Eco-Finish would have to be removed from the walls, the walls roughened, and prepared for waterproofing.
Since winter was approaching, the decision was made to tent the project under a 100-foot by 50-foot tent and pump in 2,000,000 BTU of heated air 24/7. Over the winter months, the exterior temperature dropped to below -18ºF with the wind chill. Meanwhile, the interior temperature remained a comfortable 60ºF! The cost to operate the diesel heat exchanger and blowers averaged $10,000 a month.
To get the exact contours from which Twinscape could begin fabrication, the crews at Panorama tiled the top 3 feet of the pool in order to generate a 3-D model of the interior.
Since the walls are supposed to be perfectly vertical, these 3 feet would be a representation of the entire pool depth. From this model, Twinscape was able to begin fabrication, while progress was being made on tiling the pool.
The spa wasn’t quite deep enough to accommodate a properly designed scissors lift. We remedied this by raising the spa walls 18 inches and replumbing the jets. Once the concrete had cured, the tiling of the spa began in parallel with the pool.
The clients chose a beautiful blue tile from Interstyle. The hydraulics and mechanical systems were corrected to the best possible conditions without demolishing the decking and totally re-piping the pool and spa. Some pumps were eliminated and their pipes were re-purposed in order to reduce the line velocities on the remaining pumps. Some drains were converted to returns and unblockable drains and sump were installed. The ineffective skimmers in the catch basin were removed and their suction pipes were connected to the basin floor drains. Water chemistry management systems were installed to eliminate corrosion of the new floor systems.
During demolition, we discovered many electrical and bonding deficiencies. The incandescent lighting was converted to strip lights from Hydrolume and proper j-boxes and conduits were installed.
To eliminate the fall hazard over the vanishing edge, we partnered with Reynolds Polymers to fabricate and install an acrylic railing system. The panels were set into a channel within the floor. So, regardless of the height of the floor within the pool, there will always be a railing of sufficient height to protect pedestrians and bathers.
All in all, the repairs to the project took almost 20 months. The ensuing lawsuit resulted in a jury trial and a judgment of $4,750,000 – to date, the nation’s largest judgment in a residential pool construction defect case.
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