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Aluminum framing materials offer many advantages for aquatic venues

By Mark Albertine

Pirate’s Cay waterpark was built with a free-standing, double-sloped enclosure.

Creating an all-season indoor aquatic attraction, whether it is a pool or waterpark, is a major commitment that requires a great deal of consideration. With this in mind, venue owners can reduce the stress caused by taking on such a venture by carefully choosing the appropriate design and materials at the start of the project.

For aquatic venues in particular, retractable roof designs built with a thermally broken aluminum framing system (a barrier in between the inside and outside window frames that help prevent conductive thermal energy loss) have been advantageous to many owners.

In fact, aquatic facilities built using aluminum-framed retractable roofs have lower energy, maintenance, and operating costs (compared to those built with conventional, fixed-roof structures) thanks to two key factors:

  1. The ability to use natural lighting and ventilation, which reduces energy costs with respect to illumination as well as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to manage indoor air quality (IAQ).
  2. Reduced maintenance costs of the retractable enclosure’s aluminum frames, as they are corrosion-resistant.

Retractable roof designs and enclosures can be implemented on a wide range of aquatic venues in many locations and climates around the world. By choosing a design and construction firm with the right experience, venue owners can enjoy the benefits of a unique, quality engineered structure that takes full advantage of its materials. This article will provide an overview of how an aluminum-framed retractable roof enclosure can be designed and built successfully for an aquatic facility.

Diverse team of experts

Whether it is a full-scale family resort that attracts thousands of visitors every year or a local pool providing fun and recreation to a community, every aquatic facility requires a team of dedicated professionals to design and operate it successfully. Even a small-scale pool requires extensive plumbing, water filtration, and drainage systems, not to mention temperature control systems, chemical analysis, and other water engineering services.

Putting all of these features inside a retractable enclosure adds another layer of requirements, as additional HVAC systems, motorized roof components, structural engineering, and many other elements must be in place before a venue can open. It can become a challenge for owners if these things are not completed properly, but when the right team of experts is assembled, the design and construction of an indoor aquatic venue with a retractable enclosure can be extremely rewarding.

To bring together all of the functional components of an aquatic attraction, a building project needs to be managed by a team of professionals who are highly experienced in their fields. This team should meet frequently throughout the project—from start to finish—to ensure everyone understands the goals and vision of the job, as well as to ensure everyone can work seamlessly together, no matter what role he/she plays.

A typical indoor aquatic attraction will include experts from many industries, including:

  • Surveyors;
  • Zoning and building code specialists;
  • Financial consultants;
  • Architects;
  • Structural engineers;
  • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineers;
  • Water systems engineers; and
  • Planning and operations managers.
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