Going Commercial…

Going Commercial…


Posted By on Sep 21, 2015

Is your aquatic facility going commercial?  Commercial pools aren’t the same as residential ones … so it is not smart to treat them that way. During the recent economic downturn, residential pool construction came to a near halt and builders scrambled to fill the income gap. Commercial construction was seen as a way for under worked builders to remain profitable. Smaller-scale commercial pools especially were sought out. For one thing, they are considered a stepping stone for residential builders hoping to break into commercial work. But also, to the naked eye, these pools don’t seem very different from their typical backyard counterparts. A hotel, motel, apartment or condo (HMAC) pool often will be approximately the same size as one found behind a single-family home. Seeing this, residential builders may believe they can proceed as normal on these projects. But that belief has spelled catastrophe on some properties, with pools having to be shut down for extensive renovations within six months. Mistakes are especially common with smaller commercial projects. Here, commercial veterans discuss the most common mistakes being made by residential builders making a not-so-graceful transition into this new territory. Below the surface It’s true that if a builder is going to delve into the commercial realm, he or she should begin small. However, the notion that small commercial pools are the same as residential is far from the truth. Where the circulation system on a residential pool can be designed based on the size of the vessel, commercial pools must be made to accommodate bather load. Think about it: You’ve got a 20-by-40-foot backyard pool. How many people swim in it in an average day? Two maybe?  You put that same 20-by-40-foot pool in a swim school or an aquatic therapy center, and they’ve got 150 people a day in it. However, inexperienced contractors may use the same equipment and plumbing sizes, figuring they can strive for the six-hour turnover rates as in a backyard. But even if this meets local code, the results can prove disastrous. This approach is especially problematic in pools at swim schools, aquatic therapy centers, summer camps and other facilities where a large number of people will use the vessels at the same time. At one swim school, for example, things fell apart within six months after construction was completed. Their staff was all sick, the water looked like pea soup by noon everyday. Something major is wrong with it. When investigated, it was found that the pool had a single residential filter. The pool needed 80 square feet of filter surface area, and it had 24 inches. When designing an HMAC pool, ask the owners for the maximum bather...

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