The Great Slapulator Pool Saga

Slapulator

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2018
42
Riverview, FL
I have been lurking for a while, since 2008 and taking notes as I prepare for my own pool journey here in the Tampa Bay Area. Below is my rough plan of what I want that I welcome any feedback on to see if I have been paying attention to the right things. I have not started getting on the long list for builders to come visit yet. First, I wanted to get my wants reviewed and dialed in so I can hand each of the builders this list to work from as a starting point. Second, I don’t trust 2020 and to start during hurricane season in a pandemic seemed like temping fate a little too much 😊. But I know in my area is currently in the 7 to 9 month waiting que. The Slap’s are a family of 4, 2 40 somethings, an 18-year-old off at college and a 10-year-old. Looking for relaxing and fun pool, no water sports or anything like that. I have been saving a little each month for the past 13 years to get to this point.

Pool Size and Shape
Roughly 15X30 about 16,800 gallons
Leaning towards a lazy L type design, I attached a refence picture I like
4 feet to 6 feet depth
No SPA, water features or bubblers

Pentair Equipment Package (Preferred)
IntelliFlo VSF 011056
Clean & Clear Plus CCP420 160301
IntelliCenter System (Load Center with i5P Personality Kit) 521905

Hayward Equipment Package
TriStar VS 950 SP32950VSP
Swim Clear Cartridge C4030
OmniPL Smart Pool and Spa Control with TCELL940 HLBPLUS4W

Jandy Equipment Package
VS FloPro 2.7 HP DV2A VSFHP270DV2A
CV Cartridge Filter CV460
Pump, Heater, & 5 Aux
AquaLink RS Pool/Spa Control System IQ904-P + AquaPure 40K PLC1400

Heater
Raypak 016033 R8450ti-E Digital Heat Pump 140,000 BTU

Lighting
3 or 4 MicroBrite Color 12V 620425 or 620426

Extra Equipment
Pentair IntellipH

Plumbing
2” SCH 40 Rigid PVC, all sweep elbows
12 inch plumbing trench with clean sand backfill
No main drains unless required by code, cannot seem to find anything in internet searches if they are required just that they must be VGB compliant if you have them. In Tampa Bay, FL.
6 returns staggered in depths to created better circulation.
2 Hayward SkimMaster Skimmer - 2 in.X2.5 in. Item # SP10712SGR
All home run plumbing to the pad.
Pentair Automatic Water Filler with FluidMaster Valve Item #: T40FDG. Auto Fill and Overflow. Not sure is local code requires a separate Plummer or not. Either way I want both.
Jandy or Pentair CPVC Never Lube Valves
Check Valve for Heater
Inline Zinc Anode
Flow Meter FV-C
Flowvis Digital FV-D
18” straight run before vertical install of SWG.
12” straight run before pump.
Unions for all equipment
Flood light over the equipment pad
Water tap at equipment pad

Water Line Tile
These are the type of ones I am leaning to. I am sure @kimkats will help in this area and maybe have other ideas in this type.
Tile Series: Martinique | NPTpool.com
Tile Series: Coral | NPTpool.com
Tile Series: Trident | NPTpool.com

Plaster

These are my top 3 I am considering
Eco Finish AquaBright Mediterranean Blue
Primera Stone Lazurite
Hydrazzo Mediterranean Blue

Deck
Stamped concreate is my preferred. Ashlar Stone or English Ashlar pattern. Leaning Grey or Dark Silver color. Pictures attached.

Robot Cleaner
DOLPHIN Nautilus CC Supreme or DOLPHIN Sigma

Pool Cage
Super Screen 17X20 Mesh, Double Door for moving stuff in and out

Alarms
Going to go with the window and door alarms

Draw Schedule as close to this preferred model as possible:
10% Contract Signing
30% After passing of rough in inspections (layout/dig/reinforcement/plumbing/electrical)
25% after completion of Deck and equipment
25% After passing of Electrical final and plumbing final
10% After passing Pool final inspection and punch List
I want to be fair but protect my interests as well, when is a good time to make sure lien releases are done? Is that something that should be done after each phase?
 

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Nikilyn

Bronze Supporter
Sep 3, 2018
1,096
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
17000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
My pick from those tiles is the Trident.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
22,860
Bedford, TX
S,

Your list looks pretty good to me, but I see a couple of things that you need to look at again..

You want to add a Zinc Anode.. Why?? No one I know has an anode.

I would not initially add an pH pump.. in most cases it is just not needed and it is easy to add later.

It sounds like you want a saltwater pool, which is great, but I see no mention of a Saltwater Chlorine Generator or SWCG???

If you have a saltwater pool, then there is no requirement for a check valve before the heater..

I can't thing of any reason that you need any kind of flow meter, digital or otherwise. They are just not required.

Just because a robot costs more does not mean it will do a better job.. I like simple, like the Dolphin S200 series.

Keep in mind that for any cleaner to clean the pool it can't really have a bunch of nooks and crannies like that seating area.

I have stamped concrete and wish I had gone with pavers.. I suspect it was a cost thing, at the time.. You pay for what you get..

I am a highly biased Pentair kind of guy, so that is the equipment I would get. I would not even get bids from anyone that could not provide the equipment that I wanted.

All in all, it seems you have paid attention to our general suggestions.. Great job.. :thumleft:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,078
Tallahassee, FL
YES! You HAVE been reading and taking notes! SO well done!!

So tiles-My first pick is the Trident BUT with the warning the tile setters will need some major skills to get that one right. Ask if it is mesh back or paper front.

Second pick is the Martinique with Coral third. My biggest worry about these two is the variations that will come with these. It will be almost impossible to pick through them to take out the ugly ones, if there are any.

Plaster-I LOVE the ecofinish for it's smoothness. Are you SURE there is an installer in your area? A GREAT installer is a must for this finish. Of the other two you cannot go wrong with either one. Just throw a dart and let it decide.

Pool design-LOVE it! The seating area is very neat but like Jim mentioned that is going to be *interesting* to keep clean. It will be helped by a return in there on one side towards the bottom to move anything that gets in there out into the main part of the pool for the robot to get.

How about a pic of where this pretty thing is going to go.

That is quite an age spread with the kids. Does the college age one live at home?

Kim :kim:
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
308
Tampa, FL
Wow, that is very thorough! I am getting overflow and auto fill but I have to hire a separate plumber to connect to the water supply for the autofill. So the auto fill will be installed and pipes run and then I guess after the pool is completed, I'll have the other plumber come in. So you may get quotes with or without the plumber, make sure to ask. Are you on well water, is that the reason for the anode? Can't wait to watch the build!
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
569
Houston, TX
Looks like you did alot more homework than I did before making the plunge, you should be good! The pic that you shared looks like a really nice setup, but I do wonder not only about the robot being able to clean it, but also the cost of construction. Here in Houston every builder that we talked based the cost of the pool on the circumference of the pool instead of the usable space of the pool. That design looks like it sacrifices alot of usable space for the design aspect of having the large entryway and the seating area.

One other thing to note is the mention of the Omni PL automation system. I just had one installed on our new build and I am overall happy with it, but I was surprised to learn that the controller it comes with has to mounted within 12 feet of the equipment pad. We planned to have the control panel mounted in our outdoor kitchen, they drilled the holes and ran the conduit to the patio when the decking was done only to find that they do not sell a cable for the controller that will go farther than 12 feet. We ended up with having to add an additional controller that can be mounted farther away. We do have the phone app that can control the system but wanted to have the controller on the patio for guests if needed, and right after they installed the system the app went out completely for 2 days and to control anything I had to go back to the controller at the equipment pad.
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
308
Tampa, FL
In Tampa, my experience is that price is based on sq ft. Something I learned the day I signed the contract is some of the builders have ranges, so if you are at say 501 sq ft, see if tweaking the pool to get under 500 saves a lot of money. My pool originally was 604 sq ft...we got it down to 599 and it is saving me like $1,500...seems silly but that's how it is. :) Also, going to 6 feet instead of 5 1/2 may add to the cost, again depending on builder. I am paying $3k to go to 6 feet.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
I would consider going deeper in the deep end. As your kids grow... or rather as My kids grew, they spent more time in the deep end playing games that can only played in the deep end. And from reading the billions of posts here it seems that the automation system dictates a lot of the rest of the equipment... so decide on that and then follow it from there.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,549
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You have an excellent equipment list and construction guidelines. This could be used as a template for many others to use. If anything, it should make comparing the different bids easier to evaluate. A lot of feedback have been given to you but I have a couple of points to add
  • On plumbing - will you go with 2" suction and returns? You just mention 2"PVC so you might want to make that clear in your bid guidelines.
  • You mention a heat pump - do you plan to put a bypass on that (in your plumbing) and is that why you have the check valve?
  • We debated between Hydrazzo and Wet Edge Primera Stone. Liked them both and opted for Wet Edge as we liked the installer better (we did a re-plaster). Both are great products. Be sure your plaster company is an authorize installer for whichever you select. I called Wet Edge directly even though they had them listed on the website (sometimes those things do not get updated).
  • While I like the overall design you did indicate it was a "reference picture" and you mentioned no spa. If so, will the horseshoe seating area have any sort of special jets or multiple returns? It just seems that horseshow area needs some extra circulation either for enjoyment and/or for cleaning.
  • Build your equipment pad larger than you need it - it is always best to space out equipment for easy access - like to be able to remove your drain plug on your filter.
  • I have stamped concrete, and enjoy it. Although I am not the original owner who built the pool, it has lasted 17 years and it is easy to clean.
  • It will be interesting to see what feedback you get from the PB's on your payment schedule. I think it is great that you have set your expectation but with pools in high demand, I just wonder what they will counter it in their bid.
Good Luck and keep us posted on your final design and equipment/tile/coping/plaster/deck selections
 

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Slapulator

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2018
42
Riverview, FL
Evening all!

Thanks for so much feedback, it is awesome and so glad all of you have helped me get to this point and will be with me during this process that has me excited and scared at the same time. I have tried to answer all the questions and suggestions by each poster. Keep the feedback coming TFP is my co-pilot on this! @kimkats I will try to take a pick of my backyard tomorrow and add it to this post for you.

Jim R.

You want to add a Zinc Anode.. Why?? No one I know has an anode.


Galvanic corrosion is the reason. I saw what that did to my grandparents pool rail and metal ladder and figured it is some of the cheapest insurance I can install to help all metal in the system that comes in contact with water last longer.

would not initially add an pH pump.. in most cases it is just not needed and it is easy to add later.

That is the plan, it is in my list to make sure the equipment pad layout includes room for it if needed after the build.

It sounds like you want a saltwater pool, which is great, but I see no mention of a Saltwater Chlorine Generator or SWCG???

Correct this will be a saltwater pool, all the automation bundles include the SWG, based on 40K units to make sure it is 2X my pool volume.

If you have a saltwater pool, then there is no requirement for a check valve before the heater..

That is a holder over from an internal debate I been having and would love some thoughts on the pro’s and Con’s of a bypass. Originally it was part of the bypass system because the heat pump would not be needed a chunk of the season so I figured have a bypass to not have water running through it using up useable life when it wasn’t needed for heating purposes. Then I took out the bypass thinking I was just over complicating things. So, thoughts on a bypass with check value?

I can't thing of any reason that you need any kind of flow meter, digital or otherwise. They are just not required.

These are purely for the geek in me. I have learned that the turnover equation is not needed for proper cleaning of the water. However, a lot of the equipment has min and max flow rates and I want to be able to tweak the RPMs to hit the sweet spot of running the pump all day at the lowest speed but still hitting the min flow rate needs. I have run some initial simulation calculations that I believe it will cost me less electricity to run at low RPM 24/7 vs a set on off schedule at higher RPM to make sure enough chlorine is produced and filtration. I also jut believe digital makes it easier for tweaking but always plan an analog back up for when technology fails you.

have stamped concrete and wish I had gone with pavers.. I suspect it was a cost thing, at the time.. You pay for what you get..

I just really don’t like pavers; it is purely an aesthetic and walking feel preference of mine. I do plan on adding a gripping agent like SHARKGRIP.

Kim

Ask if it is mesh back or paper front.


Good note, it has been added to my list to ask. I plan on asking for pictures and possible site visits of the title work of the subs they use. I know in the end it will be a Crud shoot but I am trying to think about potential awesomeness that will look like.

Plaster-I LOVE the ecofinish for it's smoothness. Are you SURE there is an installer in your area? A GREAT installer is a must for this finish.

I did check with Ecofinish and called the one licensed installer to confirm they are still doing it. It makes me nervous I only have one option when it comes to that. I really like the idea of the inert surface that will make start up and balancing so much easier, but I am nervous about lack of installers in my area.

The seating area is very neat but like Jim mentioned that is going to be *interesting* to keep clean. It will be helped by a return in there on one side towards the bottom to move anything that gets in there out into the main part of the pool for the robot to get.

It is, I have waffled some on to keep that in the final design. I like the idea of a sitting area that is out of the way of the main pool lane for the kids and friends to enjoy. The plan in my head was to have a return in the area to move stuff off and down to the floor. Not sure if in reality it will work as it does in my head.

That is quite an age spread with the kids. Does the college age one live at home?

She does not, she goes to college out of state. The 10-year-old just joined us about a year ago. We officially adopted her in May.

TampaKathy

So you may get quotes with or without the plumber, make sure to ask. Are you on well water, is that the reason for the anode?


Nope, county water. Galvanic corrosion is the reason. I saw what that did to my grandparents pool rail and metal ladder and figured it is some of the cheapest insurance I can install to help all metal in the system that comes in contact with water last longer.

Something I learned the day I signed the contract is some of the builders have ranges, so if you are at say 501 sq ft, see if tweaking the pool to get under 500 saves a lot of money

This is great information. Thank you very much!

spd500

I just had one installed on our new build and I am overall happy with it, but I was surprised to learn that the controller it comes with has to mounted within 12 feet of the equipment pad


I did notice that. It is not my preferred way to go but I wanted to have options incase the builder we like is locked to a “brand”. The plan of my pad location would be able to make the 12 feet work if it is what, we have to deal with.

mguzzy

I would consider going deeper in the deep end.


It seems that going more than 6 feet in my area adds a lot of complications and significant increase in costs. I am assuming it is related to the soils and high water table. Just my guess.

HermanTX

On plumbing - will you go with 2" suction and returns? You just mention 2"PVC so you might want to make that clear in your bid guidelines.


My plan would be 2” for everything I can get 2” for. I have made a note to make that clear. Thank you.

You mention a heat pump - do you plan to put a bypass on that (in your plumbing) and is that why you have the check valve?

That is a holder over from an internal debate I been having and would love some thoughts on the pro’s and Con’s of a bypass. Originally it was part of the bypass system because the heat pump would not be needed a chunk of the season so I figured have a bypass to not have water running through it using up useable life when it wasn’t needed for heating purposes. Then I took out the bypass thinking I was just over complicating things. So, thoughts on a bypass with check value?



We debated between Hydrazzo and Wet Edge Primera Stone. Liked them both and opted for Wet Edge as we liked the installer better (we did a re-plaster). Both are great products. Be sure your plaster company is an authorize installer for whichever you select. I called Wet Edge directly even though they had them listed on the website (sometimes those things do not get updated).

Great note to double verify, I have added it to my list. Thank you!

While I like the overall design you did indicate it was a "reference picture" and you mentioned no spa. If so, will the horseshoe seating area have any sort of special jets or multiple returns? It just seems that horseshow area needs some extra circulation either for enjoyment and/or for cleaning.

I have waffled some on to keep that in the final design. I like the idea of a sitting area that is out of the way of the main pool lane for the kids and friends to enjoy. The plan in my head was to have a return in the area to move stuff off and down to the floor. Not sure if in reality it will work as it does in my head. However, your suggestion of putting jets there for enjoyment with bonus cleaning is interesting and I will look into that possibility. Would I need a second pump?

Build your equipment pad larger than you need it - it is always best to space out equipment for easy access - like to be able to remove your drain plug on your filter.

That is on my list, I want a spacious pad. Thank you!

I have stamped concrete, and enjoy it. Although I am not the original owner who built the pool, it has lasted 17 years and it is easy to clean.

Great to hear! Thank you!

It will be interesting to see what feedback you get from the PB's on your payment schedule. I think it is great that you have set your expectation but with pools in high demand, I just wonder what they will counter it in their bid.

It’s a starting point, I expect it will be a deal breaker for some, a negation point for others. I think it will also help me cut to the chase if this a builder that is over leveraged and needs my payments to finish other builds and the needed resources for my build will be paid by the next customer. That tell me the builder is a bad fiscal manger and not really someone I want to trust my 13 years of saving with.

sktn77a

Good luck finding a builder that will go along with your draw schedule!


It will be an interesting talking point and I hope to set the tone that I understand good financial practices from bad ones. If no builder wants to take my money in a fair equitable way ( I am open to some flexibility) I will take the extra route of an owner build. I don’t have an issue paying for the service on not dealing with that scheduling headache and the added delays that it will cause for get in already over booked schedules. However, I will not turn over 70% of the cost before we are even in the second round of inspections. It just not something I am comfortable in doing with my money.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,078
Tallahassee, FL
You have done so much thinking and time it really shows!

I would have a return on the bottom of the "foot well" of the seating area to move stuff out of there.

Can't wait to see the yard pics!

Kim :kim: (so sweet of you to adopt an older child! Many HUGS!)
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,892
NY
Hey slapulator !! Your homework and overall knowledge gained is impressive. Nice job !!! I saw 2 small things that stick out to me.
I have run some initial simulation calculations that I believe it will cost me less electricity to run at low RPM 24/7 vs a set on off schedule at higher RPM to make sure enough chlorine is produced and filtration.

I wanted to clear a common misconception that more flow makes more chlorine. The SWG is either on or off and produces 100% of its output so long as there is enough flow to turn it on. More time running produces more chlorine. Also, if you run 24/7 the filter should easily clear whatever is in the pool with a slow and steady wins the race approach. Pools that only run for a few hours a day need to clear whatever entered the pool in the off times and probably need to be done with more flow RPMs to achieve the same effect. My pool was 24/7 trickle and I never needed to raise the RPMs unless a weather event hit like pollen season or a big storm. You’ll trail and error it until you know how your pool responds over time.


Galvanic corrosion is the reason. I saw what that did to my grandparents pool rail and metal ladder and figured it is some of the cheapest insurance I can install to help all metal in the system that comes in contact with water last longer
Anodes don’t matter. Poor quality materials do not like any water exposure. Salt or not. The salt content is only 10% of seawater so it’s not nearly as strong as the average person thinks. Your tears and sweat are twice as salty as the pool. So don’t cry or sweat near the equipment/railings. :) However. That being said it’s a $12 feel good ‘insurance’ for your big bucks investment. If it helps you sleep at night it is way cheaper than going to the DR and the prescription co-pays to get that same good nights sleep. Anode away all you like.
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
308
Tampa, FL
I signed a contract a couple weeks ago and the payment schedule was an issue for me as well. The PB wanted like 100% payment before they were even 75% done. After I shared another PB's payment schedule with them they agreed to a compromise. I realize that's just one example but even with busy PB's there is some flexibility. I think it's great that Slap has already thought thru the payment schedule. It was kinda an afterthought with me. My guess is that the 30% will be too low and they may only agree to a last payment of 5% but it can't hurt to try for the ideal schedule :)

You probably know this but the Primera Stone is the most expensive Wet Edge...then there are different levels within Primera Stone...I *think* the color you have picked is in Tier 3 but I'm not positive. Maybe ask the PBs for their list of upcharges by Tier level or color just so you make sure you've got apples to apples there. I don't know about the other plasters but I assume it's similar.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,892
NY
I signed a contract a couple weeks ago and the payment schedule was an issue for me as well. The PB wanted like 100% payment before they were even 75% done. After I shared another PB's payment schedule with them they agreed to a compromise. I realize that's just one example but even with busy PB's there is some flexibility. I think it's great that Slap has already thought thru the payment schedule. It was kinda an afterthought with me. My guess is that the 30% will be too low and they may only agree to a last payment of 5% but it can't hurt to try for the ideal schedule :)
^^^^^^^^^ this. It will also give you an idea of what’s to come if/when problems arise. If the PB has some flexibility and agrees to work with you, even a little bit, when it comes to payment, you will probably be dealing with the same rational person if any other negotiations need negotiating.
 

spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
569
Houston, TX
My builder wanted a draw schedule that would have paid the final 10% prior to plaster when we signed the contract, seems like most of them do. I told him that was a deal breaker for us ad that we would only agree to a final payment when the pool was 100%, all punch list items had been addressed, and I had proof of release of lien from all subcontractors. He did agree with this after some complaints about it not being his standard. Now that I have a long puch list of items that he needs to take care of I am happy that I at least have some leverage. I would never agree to full payment prior to 100% completion, this is one area you want to stand your ground.
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,429
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Haha... what do you need us for? :)

Your list sounds good. You know what you want. I had to go Hayward and Paramount, and except for the pump itself, they are all top notch. However, the valves are all Jandy which for the diverters are the best you can get The Hayward VSP pump keeps having a shield (the fan at the back) rattle at high speed. Banging it fixes it for a few weeks.... I need to get at it this winter, but it's annoying. I could have the pool guy come out under warranty, but I suspect I can tighten it down or something. Try that first. There are other things I don't like about the Hayward pump. When it needs to be replaced I'll like replace it with a Pentair.

The Paramount stuff is absolutely the best of the best as are the Jandy diverters. (However Hayward just bought Paramount so I expect the quality to go down eventually), The Hayward cartridge filter is okay.. I finally had mine apart last weekend. In my case for a 14K pool even the C3030 is oversized, but the bigger you go, in theory the longer you can go between cleanings. I am a DIY kind of guy and if there were going to be anything I'd hire out it's cleaning those darned filters. I might simply buy cheap aftermarket ones and change every time I hated doing that so much. Cleaning the filters...sucked...

Except for the diverter valves, I don't like any of the Jandy equipment. That's me. The Paramount Venturi skimmer is awesome. to the point if I were to build again with a Pentair or Jandy builder I would request them special.

Being a DIY type of guy, the one thing I did that I am happy about is not automating the pool. With a heater......maybe..... but it's just more stuff to break and it's expensive, and the technology doesn't age well, honestly.... Also if I had to do it all again I would ditch the LED lights and go halogen. You can change the bulbs to aftermarket LED but if you are like me they simply don't get used much. My light is connected to a Kasa switch so Alexa can turn it on and off.

I have pavers. Coming from the Midwest, pavers there were always ungodly expensive for some reason. So you don't see many of them. They are common here and I like them because it's something I haven't been able to have my entire life. The concrete decks are going to be easier to maintain but I agree I like the look I have better.

Do the SWCG. It's maybe not as perfect as many here claim, but you realistically can't use tabs.. (maybe you can in Florida because water is more abundant, but you also have to worry about floating the pool there on a water change) and hauling bleach, well frankly, sucks. Ultimately you end up adding less stuff to the pool as instead of adding salt as a byproduct every time to use bleach, you have to use Muriatic Acid which nets out to gasses that evaporate out. The cost is almost a wash.. and you can be a lot more lax in the maintenance. It's worth it over all. In theory you should be able to go much longer between water changes than any other method.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
22,860
Bedford, TX
S,

My equipment pad has a similar layout.. I like having the automation "around the corner" as it allows you to walk right up to it, without having to dodge equipment.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

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