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10 Years Ago: Why Proper Supervision Is Essential

10-year logoIn April 2001, as part of his “Details” column in WaterShapes, David Tisherman argued forcefully for constant, competent on-site supervision of watershaping projects. In his article, entitled “Super Vision,” he noted, “Call it quality control, attention to detail or perfectionism: There’s no substitute for supervision. It has to be there, every time, all the time.” He also wrote the following: 

“It’s a fact of life: The best design feature in the world isn’t worth anything if it isn’t executed properly. And no matter how good your in-house staff or subcontractors are, they need guidance when it comes to the nuts-and-bolts work of getting the job done the way its designer intends.”


“Whether you’re talking about high-rise buildings or swimming pools, weekly or even daily meetings are required to make certain something that was designed by one person and is being built by another is going to be consistent with the initial design.”


 “All over the map, you find people selling watershapes who have never worked on a construction job or attended a builder-oriented class of any kind. But as much as anyone actually working on site, salespeople should know the specifics, such as how to run a gas line or what happens to its cost when you run it under the house. They need to know how differing soil conditions will affect costs or the plumbing required to set up a waterfeature or a vanishing edge.’


“The first point in the process where physical supervision becomes crucial is before the tractors arrive. In my own business, the process actually starts at least a week before excavation in a meeting that includes everyone involved in the project: the landscaping contractor or designer, the irrigation contractor, the arborist, the geologist, the homeowner and anyone else who is involved in the project each should provide input. This helps prevent problems right from the start.”


 “From start to finish, what all of this boils down to is communication – which generally means you need to work with people you trust. When I started my company, I looked for the very best subcontractors I could find. No matter how small the job was, I met them on site every day and paid them for the work that they did. Through the years, I’ve built incredible relationships with these people. I’m proud of the fact that most of them are like brothers to me. We work hard, laugh, do great work and enjoy the fruits of our labors.”


 “[W]ith proper, competent supervision, each phase of the process can unwind and flow smoothly, with no need for adjustment, alteration or reconstruction. And if things do crop up along the way, it helps everyone’s morale and the bottom line if it’s an isolated thing that doesn’t give anyone a sense that the process is spiraling out of control.”

David Tisherman is the principal in two design/construction firms: David Tisherman’s Visuals, in Manhattan Beach, Calif.; and Liquid Design, in Cherry Hill, N.J. He is also co-founder and principal instructor for Genesis 3 Design Group. Dedicated to top-of-the-line performance in aquatic design and construction, Geneseis 3 conducts schools for like-minded pool designers and builders. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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