pool construction details

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  • #154436

    Hi all,

    I am looking to be educated on pool construction, and how to do details of piers, beams, steps, and all others. (gunite pools).  Does any body have a link for cad details, or some sort of online lecture for these type of details?  I would appreciate as much feedback as I can get!


    Dave McCorquodale

    There’s probably a shortage of good material out there, as there are few standardized methods of construction on a national scale.  Most pool companies build follow similar concepts, but most states lack regulatory bodies and licensing which clouds the issue even further. 

    I do quite a bit of work with a custom pool builder and we occasionally get a pool designed by an LA who doesn’t have day in and day out familiarity with the pool industry.  Most of the details are poorly conceived and don’t make sense.

    A civil engineer gets involved for our projects that are either waterfront, severe slope, etc.  Even his details stick to the underlying structure and refer back to the pool contractor for step heights, tread widths, spa wall thickness, etc.

    Short of spending a lot of time working with a quality pool installer, it’ll be tough to get a good grasp of.  Not impossible by any means, but there’s likely not a straight path to follow to get to what you want to know.

    Good luck, 


    Jason T. Radice

    Some of what you seek can be found in your local pool codes as far as steps and such, and gunnite pools are pretty simple if done in one shot with no seams or gaps where you would need waterstops. They are pretty much a hole, rebar, and shooting the concrete to a specific depth. You can find some pretty good details in some pool books or just do a goggle/bing search, inluding images. Gunnite/shotcrete pools are pretty simple and can answer a lot of your questions. Poured pools can be a pain.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    I have several pool details, and more to come, on my new website:


    go to page 2 and scroll down and you’ll see several pool details….

    click on pic for larger view.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    thanks Henry, maybe I’ll get it finished one day. the website that is….

    and most days I don’t wear a tie….


    Hey Alan, everyone.  I have personally designed over (400) pool and pool amenity areas during my LA career.  And, I have always included “Pool Construction Details” with my Contract Documents.  So, when you read my comment below….understand that my years of experience with POOLS has taught me well.

    But, I have to say…over the years, I have learned that even those as LAs, we were all taught to design “Pool Construction Details” and other construction items…..I have learned that you have to be CAUTIOUS……..”liability issues”.

    First, I make SURE I full understand a particular State’s Pool Codes….the State Pool Codes over-ride all City & County Pool Codes.

    Oh, I make sure my Pool Drawings show design intent…meet all CODES…..have the pool plaster, coping, depth markers, pool fencing, pool tile….all SAFETY issues covered.  And rather than specifying pool pumps, etc…again, I show “design intent” on my Pool Plans….and have the Pool Builders determined the proper pool pump sizes, water sources/pressure, pipe sizes, etc.

    When drawing up Pool Construction Details….again, I show “design intent” for the Pool Builders.  So many problems/issues can come up with pool construction (after the fact)…..i.e., pool cracks, pool beams separating from the adjacent pool deck, pools can move, etc.

    On my Pool Construction Plans, I place a NOTE that states:  “The Structural Design of the Pool shall be by the project’s Structural Engineer”. 

    A Structural Eng. once advised me on a pool I had designed…..in reviewing my Preliminary Pool Plans…..he explained to me the pool was “too long”.  It was over 100 feet long, curved style pool.  He explained that you could NOT add enough rein. bars (even large ones) OR large enough pool beams to keep that pool from “cracking”.  He recommended I re-design the pool to be in 2 or 3 sections – where the pool could be built to be “structurally sound”.

    Another pool I designed in Dallas was located where I knew the soil was bad….very expansive clay soil.  The pool was in a tight courtyard, with approx. 30 feet of grade change…the pool was to have 3 levels.  I recommended to the Owner that he have his “Structural Engineer” design the pool beam and specify what was necessary to prevent the pool from moving.  The “Structural Engineer” ended up adding (30) 24 inch dia. concrete piers that extended down from the pool beam….through the clay where those piers would rest on the rock layer located below the clay soil.  It’s been over 20 yrs. and that pool has NOT moved.  I just didn’t feel that I had the expertise OR that the Pool Builder knew enough to ensure this pool would NOT move.  I guarantee you, that IF that Structural Engineer had not designed that pool beam (and added those concrete beams)…that pool would have MOVED…and it would have had to be jacked out and re-built…which would have been a nightmare logistically….major costs too!!!  AND, had that pool MOVED, I promise you, that Owner’s Attorney would have been looking for ME.

    So….no matter what type of Landscape Architectural Design Element it is you’re designing….(retaining walls, heavy duty arbors, pools, etc.)….I just think it’s WISE to be very cautious…and get a Structural Engineer involved…get them to approve the design details & add his/her Structural Eng. seal….and let them take on the “liability”.

    Devid Sapher

    We can not find online source for lecture but we an find out few good blogs or sites over Google where we can get tips.

    Ryland Fox

    Alan’s look fairly similar to ours.  We always put that they are schematic in nature with the mechanics to be designed by the pool contractor. The we review the pool contractor’s drawings for finishes and sizes.

    mark foster

    A good source:  http://watershapes.com/

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