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Addressing ethics in the water shaping industry

Be ethical

A low-tech option is to load project images, along with the company’s logo, into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

All designers/builders should keep high standards when it comes to their websites and promotional materials. Integrity is “doing the right thing even if no one else will know.”

Another grey area is the difference between giving credit and taking credit, as it can be very complex. Some large projects can be quite elaborate, involving several designers and requiring many different tradespeople on-site. In some cases, a project may start with an overall concept, then the design is paid for, but the client moves on.

In this case, the waters get muddy when a new designer takes over and potentially changes or modifies the design. The problem then becomes who gets credit for the project? Common sense should prevail, but often it does not. This scenario can potentially present a number of questions for designers/builders:

  • Can the original designer take credit and take photos of the finished project?
  • Does a minor player in a project have the right to photograph and publish a finished project?
  • Does the designer get credit or the contractor? Or, should both get credit?
  • What happens when a simple pool is installed in an elaborate landscape?
  • What happens when an elaborate pool is installed in a simple landscape?
  • What is more relevant—a highly technical design or a highly technical installation?
  • Can a designer claim credit for a particular project without ever stepping foot on-site during construction?
  • Does someone need to know how to build a pool in order to design one?

Who can be considered a designer?

Most professions control who can use certain designations (e.g. doctors, landscape architects, architects, interior designers, accountants, engineers, etc.); however, it is seemingly common for most pool builders websites to include a section on design.

Landscape architects and architects are highly skilled at spatial distribution, balance, and form and function. However, some do not have formal training in the nuances of pool, spa, and water feature design. There are very few outlets for professional design instruction in the water shaping industry; therefore, installing a templated pool into a landscaped property should not qualify as design. Further, those who do not have education, formal training, or any credentials in aquatic design should not be considered a pool designer, as this can potentially mislead customers.

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