Instead of writing a “he said, she said” article about the plaster spotting controversy, Service Industry News (SIN) thought it would better serve the pool industry by conducting their own investigation to determine what information is true, and false. They started on that goal by analyzing the Cal Poly test pool studies. In their July 31, 2015 issue, SIN presented credible evidence (from the Cal Poly Phase 2 report) that the white spotting of the plaster test pools was not caused by aggressive water.
That conclusion directly refutes the NPC’s claim that the Cal Poly study proved that white spotting is caused by aggressive water. The SIN article pointed out that when the test pool’s plaster surfaces spotted or deteriorated in balanced water, the cause obviously has to be something else.
The article contains a thorough analysis and helps readers understand the Cal Poly report and what actually happened. This was a bold and courageous move by SIN. It was also a “right” thing to do, and they seem uniquely qualified since one of their editors (Marcelle Dibrell) has a PhD in chemistry, and is capable of scientific analysis.
A second article in that issue addresses the fact that the recently written NPC Plaster Standard lacked specifications, limits, and other valuable information on very important durability issues such as; water-to-cement ratios, calcium chloride content, mixing, water troweling, and other finishing techniques.
What is baffling is that the NPC is always touting that they promote and establish quality workmanship standards. But when the NPC received requests by industry members to acknowledge that there are limits on the amount of water and calcium chloride content, the NPC reply was that since they don’t know at what level to set the limits, they won’t set any limits at all. What was the purpose of spending more than a million dollars of industry money to study pool plaster issues at Cal Poly? As the other article illustrates, Cal Poly never was about studying plaster, it was about finger-pointing.
Former NPC Chairman Alan Smith is quoted as saying that the Plaster Standard should only contain “general” specifications, and that the Plaster Standard is a living document which can be added to later. But where are the general specifications? One could say that the NPC’s Plaster Standard contains no standards. In other words…..anything goes; at least in regards to workmanship.
And is it realistic to think that the NPC will allow changes in the future if the NPC is steadfastly refusing to establish specifications and limits up front - with all of the known cement science available? Why does this industry need to wait (5 more years!) for good standards to be adopted, and why should the plasterers get away with no standards now? One has to wonder if the NPC leaders realize that allowing inferior practices helps the poor quality plasterers, while hurting the good quality plasterers.
It appears that if the plaster spotting and discoloration controversy is ever going to end, PR rhetoric needs to be confronted and corrected with the truth so that the industry is aware. Kudos to Service Industry News for doing just that.