11 November 2015
A Day in the Life of a Trainee Pool Designer - Jason Beirne
I’m fortunate, since my last post, my commute has shrunk from an hour train or cycle ride each way, to a three minute walk. The move has coincided with the enrolment season and I'm now attending Guildford College once a week for the sequel of the AutoCAD course I studied last year.
The extra time gained in the mornings and evenings has been allocated for studying, so currently I begin my days deep in text books or online tutorials. I like variation in my morning routine, so alternating between early mornings in the office and studying at home both have their merits.
Today, it’s an office day and on my way in I catch up with colleagues from the Servicing department about completed pools which the Contracting team has handed over to them after the pools have been commissioned – in layman’s terms that means they are now ready for swimming!
The benefit of getting into the office early is being able to make the most of the calmness – far fewer phone conversations taking place. Our office is very busy with enquiries coming in from clients and prospects who need pool or spa servicing, as well as from companies and individuals wanting quotes for tenders to private builds. The early morning peace gives me a chance to catch up with any loose ends and plan for the day ahead of me, checking through my ‘to do’ list.
Today’s tasks include searching for lights, finishing a plant room drawing and attending a meeting in the afternoon with colleagues on a project which requires a detail for some cover trays. I’ll start with the lights.
On the projects LSPC designs and builds, we specify fittings which come from manufacturers with a quality reputation that resonates with our passion for perfection. During the design process, we will present our ideas and the products we prefer to use. An interior designer working on a project has requested that we use a particular form of fibre optic light for the pool steps.
The situation is interesting; we know the product - a 7mm diameter fibre optic light case is high spec - the question is whether it can be incorporated into the particular finishes of the pool, which are 50mm thick? After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that we will have to design a bespoke niche to house the fibre optic light to allow for pinpoint accuracy when spacing the lights, so I get to work on drawing what’s needed.
In the meantime, I receive email questions that need answering by the site manager. These relate to ductwork. This gives me the opportunity to catch up with one of our highly acclaimed ductwork contractors. I reply positively to the enquirer and arrange a site meeting for the following week.
Next on my agenda is configuring the outlay of a plantroom for a project that’s in construction. Working with various architects and consultancies, a lot of drawings are received. We work with a range of clients, and I am fortunate enough to view some of the capital’s most pioneering designs and buildings in the form of drawing files.
Drawing techniques and commands deployed by some offices can often be pioneering too, so opening each drawing can be challenging in terms of editing and working on them for purposes such as plant room layouts, but each piece is invaluable for developing my own technique.
Engineering solutions for specific site demands happens for each aspect of the pool design, from thickness of finishes being applied to the pool, to the route in which a particular air duct can run - but one thing that helps to make a project run smoothly is good communication between parties working together. Communication between the team on this particular project is very good and with some simple too-ing and fro-ing of drawings, minor adjustments are made to the plant room and issued.
I’m told that while tailoring a bespoke suit, the wearer can make up to 30 visits for measurements to achieve the final piece. In many ways, what we do here at LSPC is very similar; because we aren’t making an off-the-shelf product, we’re creating a unique piece.
Attending sites to take measurements and meeting with clients and project managers is part of what we do. This afternoon, Ryan, a colleague, and I are attending a pool which is nearing the end of the construction phase. The final parts are nearly ready to be put into place and certain aspects, such as the cover pit trays, need to be measured for fabrication.
Seeing the pool at this stage, without any tiles is such a contrast to when it is tiled and the pool room is finished - at this stage progression to completion of the project is a really interesting; it moves so quickly.
Having taken measurements of what’s already in place, it’s time to go back to the office to create sketches of what’s needed, and gather a few opinions. The piece has to be practical, aesthetic and able to perform the required task, with no exceptions.
I like to finish the day by writing up what has taken place and ticking off what’s been done or hasn’t and creating my ‘to do’ list for the next day. For me it’s a way of making sure things are never missed and I can close off for the evening knowing that priorities have been tackled. Now for my three minute stroll home!