Laser Measuring for Vinyl Liners

As a pioneer of Laser Measuring of Pools for Vinyl Liners, I thought I would share some guidelines on the type of measuring equipment available and where it is used. Firstly, assess what type of pool you want to measure to determine which device is required. Most pools are measured using a fibreglass tape measure which is okay for basic pools, but other devices are better when you have a lot of measurements or need to measure with more accuracy.

If you just want to use a laser device to measure A-B points and write them down, you can probably get a laser measuring device with +/- 2mm accuracy for around $200 from a trade tool outlet. This is a basic handheld device which will display the distance between two points but, in my view, is not all that useful when working with a lot of measurements. It doesn’t really save you any time because you still have to manually record each measurement, either on paper or on a computer.If you want to measure 2D style lined pools, capture the measurements on a device then download them to a PC or to liner order software. You can start with either a Leica brand “Disto” device which stores 1000 measurements to +/- 1mm accuracy, or a Hilti brand device. These handheld devices store the measurements on board so you can capture one or more pools of data and download them later onto your PC. These are a definite time-saver when working with a lot of measurements, but there are some limitations.

Let me explain…. One of the limitations of a handheld device is, exactly that, you hold it in your hand. This means your hand can move around and the laser point can easily stray off the desired target point in the pool. Ideally, you need a steady hand, or you may prefer to use a professional measuring instrument like a Total Workstation, as used by surveyors. These devices can be hired, but I recommend that you have sufficient training and experience before measuring a complex shaped pool for a vinyl liner.

For complex “3D” style pools, I suggest you engage an experienced surveyor to do the pool measuring for you. There are plenty of surveying companies around, but the key to a well-fitting liner is to ensure that the measured data points are located in the right place. This is something which requires the input from someone experienced in measuring pools for liners and cannot be left to the surveyor to decide by themselves. I recommend that you accompany the surveyor to site for at least the first ten pool measures to make sure they understand where you want the measurements taken. I suggest you mark the pool for the surveyor the first few times to help them understand where the seams on the pool liner will be located and therefore where the data points need to be. The pool liner seams are linked to the location of the data points so it is important the points are measured in the right spot, for smooth flowing lines through the pool.

You can download a 3D laser markout sheet from ABGAL’s web site which has more detailed information on what is required to measure these types of pools. ABGAL can also put you in contact with an experienced surveyor you can contract to measure complex 3D pools.

For information on handheld measuring devices please click here.

Garry Long has been working in the Australian pool industry since 1978. A qualified canvas goods maker with a passion for innovation, he was inspired by the technology behind the sails used in America's Cup racing sails, and adapted and applied it to the pool industry at ABGAL. In 1990 ABGAL were the first company in Australia to use a single ply robotic cutting system to fabricate vinyl products. In 1993 Garry developed a 3D measuring system for complex shaped inground pools, which continues to be used today. Garry was President of the Australian Canvas & Synthetic Products Association in 2007-2008, and is the Managing Director at ABGAL Liners & Covers.