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When you think of swimming pool design, the first image that might come to mind could be a large pool of crystal clear water. Before putting the first shovel in the ground, many factors need to be addressed for aquatic facilities. The programming and planning of aquatic facilities for both recreational and competitive use include collaborating with clients and the design team to create a plan that enhances and optimizes their vision and goals and site conditions.
“For the majority of aquatic facilities, project planning for environmental, facility, geotechnical, and material factors is critical,” says Matt Reynolds, Department Manager of Aquatics for Terracon in Concord, CA. “By assisting our clients in evaluating sites and identifying goals and objectives, we create a strategy to design new aquatic facilities or renovate existing aquatic facilities, optimizing end-user benefits.”
Indoor or outdoor – it mattersWhen it comes to evaluating property conditions for swimming pools, located either in a natatorium or outdoors, review is necessary of the pool and building’s mechanical and chemical treatment systems, the building envelope, foundations, roofs, finishes, air quality, applicable governing codes, and ADA Accessibility Guidelines. The Terracon Aquatics team can meet the client’s desired project delivery approach by identifying the most cost-effective mechanical, electrical, and plumbing functions.
The importance of environment
Many existing indoor natatorium facilities have poor air quality and moisture migration. To better plan for project needs, it is often necessary to conduct environmental studies to determine indoor air quality and assess whether asbestos or lead exist, as well as mold due to the moisture driven through the building envelope. Once these factors are identified, a remediation plan is developed and followed through with quality control ensuring any removal work is done correctly.
Aquatic projects have the potential to pose interesting challenges. A unique one is known as a “floating shell.” This occurs when hydrostatic pressure below the pool floor is so significant that when a pool is empty, it pushes the shell upward, creating large cracks, leaks and destroying pool piping. This can be prevented with a thorough geotechnical study which provides structural engineers with the best information to minimize foundation design issues while meeting applicable building codes and standards. Additionally, Terracon’s design standard for swimming pool engineering provides hydrostatic relief valves in each main drain sump and a sight sump to allow pool operators to view the ground water level with respect to the bottom of the pool prior to draining the pool.
What it’s made of matters
An aquatic project schedule should account for materials testing. Swimming pool shells are typically constructed of reinforced concrete and require rebar inspection, concrete placement inspection, and test panel materials testing. The pool shell is designed to be watertight without any finishes applied, and Terracon can provide water tightness testing services. For existing pool shells that have moved, cracked, or are leaking, a forensic evaluation of the existing concrete may be required. Consulting and design for remediation of concrete and compatible waterproofing membranes and finishes is often needed to provide clients with the most reliable renovation to maximize facility longevity.
Matt’s advice on creating a successful aquatic project? Work with a trusted partner to help navigate the unique challenges an aquatic project can pose. “Whether clients are looking to develop or renovate an Olympic-size pool, or the local community pool, we work with clients to educate them on the new trends in recreation swimming and provide knowledge in the requirements for competitive sports. These include the various governing bodies for competitive swimming, water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming. We offer extensive in-house experience to be your partner for aquatic facility evaluation, renovation, replacement, and new construction.”
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Ever notice a breeze in older buildings, even when it is not windy? Many buildings are leaking air, which means the owners are losing money. The Charlotte Mecklenburg School System (CMSS), one of the largest in the United States with a $1.3 billion operating budget, decided to take action to identify buildings in the school system that might be exhibiting air leakage. Full Story
The article discusses how advances in construction materials engineering testing and using advanced collaboration methods, can help achieve better results.
When you’re responsible for housing the data center operations for the Southeast’s largest concentration of telecommunications companies, the words “leaky roof” are likely to cause you more than just a little anxiety. So when a renovation contractor requested that Terracon provide a roofing evaluation and specification to reroof the 10-story, 103-year-old 56 Marietta Street building in downtown Atlanta, it was clear that this project would require special attention. The historic brick hotel built in 1912 is now home to a 160,000-square-foot data center. The U-shaped building has four different levels of roofing which cover approximately 13,000 square feet. The third floor was Terracon’s particular focus and proved to be an unique opportunity for roof consultation.
The project’s challenges began to mount early in the discovery phase. Terracon began by conducting destructive testing which identified that the building actually had two roofing systems – one of which was coal-tar pitch that dated back to the original construction. Coring roof samples then revealed that water had been running under the most recent roof system – a 15-year-old modified bitumen system. A subsequent moisture scan showed the third floor roof to be 100 percent wet. Full Story.
With a unique new design that includes an observatory dome 40 feet above the ground, half of its planetarium dome outside of the building, and multiple exterior cladding systems; some say the building looks like a spaceship.
The original San Antonio College Planetarium opened as part of the Alamo College System in 1961 and has entertained and educated more than 2 million people. The facility was rededicated in 1994 as the Scobee Planetarium to honor NASA astronaut and former San Antonio College student, Francis R. Scobee, who served as commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger’s tragic final flight in 1986. Complete story found here.