Lightweight and Strong, ACH Foam Technologies' Geofoam Helps Builders Rethink the Possibilities in Pool Construction

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Jan 19, 2016) - A roof deck swimming pool incorporated into a parking structure at Hub at Columbia, a student housing complex serving the University of South Carolina, required long-time pool contractor Genco to come up with an innovative construction solution. Because the pool was being added between the top two floors of an existing parking deck Genco was challenged to think creatively about how to develop the desired shape and depths without adding any more weight than necessary.

Typically, when a pool is built at grade, contractors dig the desired depths and contours out and then fill in concrete to create the pool's structure. In the case of adding the pool to the roof deck, the water level of the pool was planned to be flush with what had been the top of the parking deck, while the bottom of the pool is positioned below the parking deck. That meant creating the desired depths and contours of the pool was a process of filling in rather than digging out. Since concrete would have added far too much weight to the parking deck, the design and construction team sought an alternative.

Fortunately they'd already had success using ACH Foam Technologies' Foam-Control EPS Geofoam and knew the product could solve the primary project challenge. At about one-percent the weight of traditional earth materials, engineered expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam provided a lightweight material with a compressive strength high enough to support the pool without negatively impacting the existing structural loading capacity of the parking garage.

Despite being so lightweight compared to earth or concrete, Geofoam's compressive strength accommodated the full range of desired pool depths and even helped form the curved shape of the pool. After assessing the required fill density for each section of the pool, Genco worked directly with ACH Foam Technologies in a design-build process to have each required piece of foam cut to exact specifications. With the shallowest section of pool being a mere 8 inches deep and the deepest section 42 inches, all required foam sections were divided into three levels of density. The thickest pieces were 36 inches, while the thinnest pieces were just 6 inches, including a variety of densities ranging from EPS15, EPS22, and EPS39.

The structural loading capacity of Hub's parking garage wasn't the only challenge ACH Foam Technologies helped to solve. Located on Main Street in Columbia, the building is bound by a bustling, commercial city center, with little room for construction traffic or roadway closures to accommodate craning operations. Simply getting the required volume of material to the roof deck was going to be something of a logistical challenge. ACH Foam Technologies developed a just-in-time delivery strategy allowing all of the required foam to be craned from trucks on the street to the roof deck in a single night. As the foam arrived, it was craned directly up to the roof deck of the parking structure and everything was out of the way so the street could be opened back up for normal morning traffic.

A dynamic parking garage renovation uses light weight foam to add a pool and lounge area.