Help me figure out whether or not my courtyard can handle a spa!
January 9, 2019 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Hoping someone out there with structural engineering experience can give me a rough idea of whether my paved courtyard could take the weight load of a swim spa. Intending to hire a structural engineer to confirm if it seems likely it may be possible but hoping to save the hassle if the answer is absolutely no way.

The courtyard is paved with 40cm*40cm*4mm pavers, which sit at each corner on a paver pedestal support system (click here to view pavers and pedestal support). The pedestal support system sits on reinforced concrete which is the ground floor of my apartment block/ceiling of the underground garage.

Does anyone have any idea what sort of weight tolerance this set up could take (or how best to figure this out relatively simply?), assuming I am having the swim spa installed on top of the pavers.

Assume for the purposes of this that the swim spa in question weighs 8,000kg when full and the dimensions are 4.5metre(length)*2.31metre(width)*1.3metre(depth).
posted by ryanbryan to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Can you call the manufacturer and get some details for what kind of support it needs? Then you can share that with an engineer and have them walk through and see what they think.
posted by amanda at 4:23 PM on January 9

Have you considered placing the swim spa directly on the ground?

You could move a 12 x 6 grid of pavers, making a 2.8m x 2.4m opening that you can dress up a bit. You might need to pour a concrete slab, add gravel, or the existing reinforced concrete slab on grade might be enough.

This would also give you an advantage that the tub would be slightly lower, making it slightly easier to enter/exit. Also, any cables/etc coming to and from the tub would be easier to conceal by running underneath the paver system.
posted by suedehead at 4:29 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]

The pedestal support system sits on reinforced concrete which is the ground floor of my apartment block/ceiling of the underground garage.

This is the key piece which no one can realistically answer over the internet. The pavers and paver supports can likely support the spa, or could easily be removed/replaced. But a structural engineer needs to assess whether the structure below that can take the weight -- all anyone here can do is guess.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:09 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]

"The ground" in this case is the concrete roof of a parking garage. "Ground floor of an apartment block" makes it seem that this is either condos with an ownership association, or rental with an owner. Either of which could just say "No."
Analyzing existing concrete structures is very very difficult. Even if you have the original structural drawings, there is no guarantee it was built like the drawings. Or that even if all the reinforcing was put in, it was put in the right place *and stayed there* when the tons of concrete was poured over it.
I'd be talking to whoever controls the property long before I called a PE in. And without the drawings, there isn't much a PE can do.
posted by rudd135 at 5:10 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I concur. The pavers are a red herring; it's the reinforced concrete structure underneath. A 1.3m deep pool is a pretty substantial load. No one on the internet will be able to really help you. In general, I don't think most structural engineers are in the habit of adding structure and therefore cost for the just in case situation that someone is going to want to put a really heavy thing in what is supposed to be a courtyard. But that doesn't mean it certainly can't work.

If the courtyard was at some point designed to handle vehicular traffic (like a drop off or loading zone) or some other big thing (like a fountain) that isn't there now, you're more likely to be able to do it. If you have some flexibility in where in the courtyard you can put it so that it can be located optimally relative to the structure below, you're more likely to be able to do it. But those may not be enough; you're going to need professional advice.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:00 PM on January 9

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