Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH

Swimming Pools

Swim Away!

Swimming pools require regular maintenance and at time closures are inevitable to allow emergency repairs or larger redevelopment works designed to ensure a pool's longevity. Despite the obvious benefits a refurbishment offers, closures are seldom welcomed by the public. Therefore, minimising downtime and meticulously planning any disruptive works are top priorities for pool owners who want to keep the swimmers happy.

Nicole Lester, contracts manager at pool maintenance specialist JC Leisure says: “We make it a priority to take the time to identify what the customer wants to achieve in their business. Whether it is to reduce facility downtime, operating costs or energy efficiency. We then match their objectives with a tailored and relevant plant room package."

We look at four recent pool developments and how approached issues such as downtime and sustainability.

PROJECT 1 - Watergate School, Lewisham

Planned maintenance minimises disruption

Well-planned maintenance programmes can prevent small scale problems from escalating into disruptive, costly repair projects. Watergate School in the London Borough of Lewisham is a primary school for children with severe learning difficulties.

The school's swimming pool is vital for the school and its programme of daily hydrotherapy sessions, so any disruptions could have far-reaching effects.

Nick Frost, the school's head, said: "When it came to replacing our pool operator, we had to take into account that we cannot afford for our children to miss out on vital therapy or swimming sessions.”

As part of preventing closures during maintenance periods, the school appointed JC Leisure (JCL) to devise a maintenance schedule that would ensure that an engineer was on site regularly, attending to the small faults which could turn into big, expensive and inconvenient problems.

JCL director Jamie Bewers said: “The PPM programme for Watergate school is a schedule of visits once a month, where various assessments are undertaken around the pool plant and wet-side area.”

The pool is used for daily sessions so any closures would be disruptive
The pool is used for daily sessions so any closures would be disruptive

PROJECT 2 - Woodhouse Grove, Bradford

Turnkey approach could lower costs

A new approach to the building of swimming pools by Competition Pool Solutions (CPS) could affect the way procurement processes are handled for designing and building new facilities. CPS enables organisations to procure swimming pools and sports facilities using a turnkey solution, with the aim of reducing the cost and project times.

One such project has just been completed at Woodhouse Grove School in Bradford. CPS was invited to construct a 25m, six-lane county-standard competition pool after the initial tender estimates of £3.9m meant the school might not be able to afford the project. CPS researched the market and was able to provide a bespoke design and build solution (1,300sq m) for at a total cost of £1.99m.

Gary Wake, the lead architect at CPS, said: “A lot of sports facility schemes tend to be very complicated and drawn out and follow an approach that hasn’t changed for years. What we wanted to do is to enable the client to only have to deal with one organisation throughout the process."

PROJECT 3 - Bridlington Leisure World

Temporary pool to keep membership happy

When East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) announced £20m plans to demolish the ageing Bridlington Leisure World (BLW) – and to replace it with a new, modern facility – it was faced with the prospect of leaving the town of Bridlington without a working pool for more than a year. Keen to maintain its aquatic provision for the local community, the council decided to invest in a temporary pool. Following a tender process, Total Swimming was brought in to supply a temporary 25m pool within a mile from BLW at a cost of £566,000.

The pool will remain open for two years, providing the council with a consistent revenue stream – while delivering swimming and other water-based activities for the local community.

The pool supplied by Total Swimming has already proved a big hit with the community, partly due to it being an Olympic legacy pool. It was previously used at Stratford Park during the 2012 Olympic Games – a factor that has been actively used as a marketing tool when attracting swimmers to the site. The marketing has worked, as ERYC originally projected an income of £30,000 per year from the temporary pool. Since opening in January 2014, however, usage has been so high that the figure has been revised to £50,000.

Adam Mainprize, general manager, said: “When we decided to close BLW we knew that moving from three pools to just one would have an impact on our income. We wanted to protect our core business of swimming lessons and the swimming club usage and despite an initial decrease in re-enrolment we have found that our user numbers have now started to increase back to previous levels.”

The pool took 12 weeks to build and is housed in a stand alone building with raised decked flooring and changing facilities.

The income projections for the temporary pool have nearly doubled from initial estimates
The income projections for the temporary pool have nearly doubled from initial estimates

PROJECT 4 - Tonbridge Pool, Kent

Speed is of the essence

There are times when a temporary closure of a pool can not be avoided – such as when a facility has been flooded and inundated with sewage. The town of Tonbridge in Kent suffered heavily from the turbulent weather during last winter and the town's pool was badly hit.

The pool area and changing rooms were flooded in December 2013, leading to the 25m pool to flood with murky water and waste from the overwhelmed sewage system. The centre's owner Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, was forced to close the pool to allow a clean-up project to take place. The £300,000 cost was covered in its entirety by insurance, but the sudden closure meant there was no "plan B" to provide regular swimmers an alternative facility. This lead to speed and efficiency of the clean up operation - undertaken by the council - to becoming essential to keep customers happy.

Due to a well-planned, round the clock project, the facility was reopened ahead of the Easter break – a mere three months following the closure.

The pool was reopened in time for Easter Weekend – one of the busiest of the year
The pool was reopened in time for Easter Weekend – one of the busiest of the year
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Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH