Feature Article - March 2007
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A Plan Four All Seasons

Four-season design for recreational enclosures

By Kelli Anderson



Notes from the School of Hard Knocks

When it comes to any new project, nobody wants to reinvent the wheel or have to earn a Ph.D. from the school of hard knocks. This list contains a few dos and don'ts from those who've already been there, done that with their four-season structures.

MECHANICAL SYSTEMS FOR AQUATIC SPACES:
  • Have more than one air-handling system for a backup or else two smaller systems.
  • Put a colorful "sock" over the handling system to set off a space that is usually boxy and unsightly.
  • Research the handling system as part of your structural selection process— it's all part of the package and essential to overall success.
  • Heaters often corrode; try a drop-aluminum heater with temperature gauge.
  • Make sure conduit in wiring for the structure is not galvanized to avoid corrosion.
AIR-SUPPORTED STRUCTURES:
  • Get a backup generator for peace of mind to offset the deflating effects of a power outage.
  • Build a foundation (2 to 3 feet high) on which to place the structure so the base will not be damaged by snow-removal equipment.
PANEL-AND-FRAME STRUCTURES:
  • When transparent or translucent paneling is near the ground, it is a good idea to landscape as close to the base of the building as possible to prevent splash-back of unsightly dirt during rainy weather.
SELECTING A STRUCTURE TYPE AND COMPANY:
  • Meet with as many suppliers in person as possible.
  • Visit other facilities and ask what they recommend per their experience.
  • Pay attention to a company's overall attention to detail and "willing" attitude in the event that their cooperation is needed for an unexpected problem.
  • Compare warranties.
  • Bring all players to the table early in the process.
  • Make sure the company is familiar with the local energy codes.