Why you don’t need to be swimming in cash to install a pool at home

By Colin Coates

The heat is on. Those predictions about a boiling summer seem to be accurate – which is why the thought of diving into your own swimming pool after a sticky day at the office is increasingly appealing.

Perhaps it’s time for those thoughts to turn to action, not least because pools are no longer merely the preserve of the well-heeled.

‘You can now install a pool for as little as the cost of a family holiday,’ says Christina Connor, editor of Pool And Spa Industry magazine.



Splash out: Outdoor pools are now more affordable than ever

Pools can come ready-plumbed to ‘dig a hole and drop in’. Eco-friendly equipment has dramatically cut running costs.

There’s an estimated 210,000 private swimming pools in the UK, with 2,500 installed annually (although that figure may have taken a knock last year).

While a few hundred pounds will get you a superior paddling pool, the Society of Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA) quotes £12,000 for an upmarket above-ground pool, £10,000- £15,000 for a pre-plumbed one-piece fibreglass pool (if you DIY), an average £25,000 for a liner pool (rendered concrete block or panel system, vinyl liner) and £40,000 for a concrete, reinforced fully-tiled affair. 

Running costs are around £5 a day in summer. Connor maintains this is good value: ‘With the predictions of warmer summers, and the fashion for “staycations”, putting a pool in, if you have the space, makes a lot of of sense.’

The Potter family wholeheartedly agree. While renovating their Sixties family home north of Cambridge two years ago, Lester and Penny Potter decided they’d use the money put aside for the drive to install a pool instead – mainly for their six children, now aged between eight and 26.

‘The drive was a muddy track for two years, but it was the best money we ever spent,’ says Mrs Potter. ‘We do without summer holidays, it’s just as good here, lounging round the pool in the sun, and a lot less hassle. And someone swims in it every single day.’


Dip in: Having a pool at home can save the cost of family holidays abroad

It cost £16,000 for a conventional liner pool – including gas heating and filtering in a garden shed. But she also paid £6,000 for a flat hard solar cover, which both maintains the water heat, minimises the evaporation of chemicals and can be locked for safety.

John Kime, a businessman from Lincolnshire, replaced the oil-fired heating on his indoor pool with a ground source heat pump which draws heat from the ground.

You need a lot of space – the pipes for the system are laid in a series of 50m trenches – and the installation, at around £23,000, was not cheap.

‘But I estimate that I’m making 13 per cent of that back on heating costs a year,’ says Kime. ‘The swimming pool industry has been at the cutting edge of energy saving and heat conservation for years,’ says Connor.

For indoor pools, dehumidifiers, which also put heat back into the water, are a must.

While solar panels remain an expensive choice, solar pool covers are very effective.

The Potters also fitted a 1,000-litre tank and a pump which harvests rainwater caught on top of their cover, which they use to water the garden.

One of the most popular innovations is the use of salt to treat the water rather than chlorine, which is cheaper, less of an irritant, and more environmentally friendly.

Does a pool add value to a house? Philip Blanchard, of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Winchester – who’s just put in his own pool – says it depends.

‘Some parents won’t buy a house with a pool because they are worried about safety. But for substantial country houses, it is one of the toys people expect.’

  • More information from Spata: 01264 356210, spata.org.uk
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Save our swimming pools, urge doctors

DOCTORS yesterday called on councils to stop closing local swimming pools and invest in community sports facilities.

The British Medical Association has thrown its weight behind calls for an expansion of community sports provision in a bid to boost activity levels and combat rising obesity rates.

Doctors also want alcohol advertising banned and a minimum price introduced to stop people drinking too much.

They have called for a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol, echoing demands from England’s chief medical officer earlier this year.

The save our swimming pools plea follows the closure of pools in St David’s and Treherbert in the face of widespread public opposition.

St David’s was closed last month and a new sports hall will be built on site. Treherbert swimming pool closed earlier this year in a £200,000 cost-cutting exercise.

Dr Richard Lewis, the BMA’s Welsh secretary, said: “If we are serious about encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles and do more sports and exercise then we have to have sufficient facilities.

“It is an absolute travesty that we’re seeing swimming pools within Wales being closed down and others that are either not big enough or not of high enough standard to support the community.

“A lot more needs to be done to develop the swimming facilities that we currently have.”

The BMA, at its annual meeting in Liverpool yesterday, also called for the expansion of safe cycle paths and networks and action to ensure all local sports halls are open to everyone.

Doctors also want to see children encouraged to play football and other active games in school playgrounds. They claim such moves will improve public health and fitness and tackle obesity.

Wales has some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world with 22% of 13-year-old boys and 16% of girls classed as overweight or obese.

The latest figures show that 57% of adults are classed as overweight or obese in Wales.

Figures also reveal that only 30% of adults meet the 30-minutes-a-day, on five or more days a week, activity target, while a staggering 34% of adults do not achieve 30 minutes of activity on any day.

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Design of Birmingham’s Olympic swimming pool revealed


These are the first architect’s images of Birmingham new £58 million Olympic standard swimming pool, water park and leisure centre.

The centre, to be built on St Vincent Street, near the National Indoor Arena, will include a 50 metre pool to be completed in time to welcome international athletes preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.

Also included in the massive complex will be an Olympic standard diving pool, leisure pool including rides and attractions, a teaching pool, large gym, saunas, steam rooms, climbing wall, sports hall and five-a-side football pitches.

A cafe, community meeting rooms, play area, creche and police room are also part of the state-of-the-art centre.

Council leisure bosses will today open an exhibition of the plans at the neighbouring Nelson Primary School, allowing the local community and wider public to have their say before the proposals are confirmed.

Birmingham’s new cabinet member for leisure, sports and culture Martin Mullaney has previously criticised the plans and urged further investment in community pools like the Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath.

Architect design of the olympic swimming pool for Birmingham.

But today he stressed the new complex would serve the local community as much as the elite sports men and woman.

He said: “One of our biggest challenges is to increase sports participation in Birmingham and this development forms a major element of our city-wide sports facilities strategy.

“There is currently no facility for swimming in the Ladywood constituency and this would resolve that issue while at the same time providing a world class facility for the whole of the city.

“We’re looking to provide the people of this city the top-class sports facilities they deserve.

“This consultation is all part of the pre-planning stage for the project and it’s essential we hear the views of as many people as possible.”

Birmingham and the West Midlands, have been criticised when it emerged that paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, from Walsall, had to move to Swansea to be able to use an Olympic standard pool.

Speaking on a recent visit to Birmingham, Olympic champion triple jumper Jonathan Edwards said: “Our sporting facilities are poor given how well we perform on the international stage.

“It’s not right that this region doesn’t have the facilities for Ellie Simmonds to train, but that shows we do need to work on our sporting infrastructure.”

If full council planning permission is given and the council cabinet approves the complex then building work could begin as early as October and complete in time for the Olympic games.

First though, local residents are being asked for their views on the draft proposals and the consultation exercise will inform and influence the planning application, due to be submitted later this summer.

The plans will be on display to the public this week at Nelson Primary School on King Edwards Road, between 4pm and 8pm on Thursday and Friday, between 10am and 2pm on Saturday.

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New for 2009 Sol+Guard Solar Cover

The Most efficient pool solar cover available! Independent scientific testing by both Brighton & London Metropolitan Universities concluded that a Sol+Guard pool cover is significantly more effective than a conventional pool solar cover.

Investing in a Sol+Guard pool cover will reduce your energy bills.  Sol+Guards unique formulation features a clear top surface and a translucent tinted underside. This translucent surface increases the covers ability to produce solar gain.

Overall studies showed a reduction on heating costs of a typical pool of up to 50%, and with the cover being used, evaporation is reduced by up to 98%, so a typical cover will have a payback period of less than a yearsolguardpic250hopt

Please follow this link to see how much you can save on your pool solar cover

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Kids wanted for coolest job in world



Holiday company First Choice is searching for seven kids to advise it on what makes a swimming pool cool.

Kids who fancy applying for what is being billed as the coolest “job” in the world must be able to swim and should be aged between 5 and 12 years old.

To be in with a chance of winning they need to write a letter explaining why they should be on First Choice’s Cool Pool Board of Directors and include a picture of what their Cool Pool would look like.

The lucky seven kids who get selected for the Cool Pool Board will be invited to join First Choice’s own Cool Pool expert, Tommy Lynch, for an all expenses paid trip to its UK head office and one of the best swimming pools in the country.

The kids will then be able to enjoy the water slides and wave machine and asked for their ideas on what fun activities a pool needs to make it great. Advice from the kids will be incorporated into a First Choice Splash Resort specification check list. All holiday hotels seeking to make the grade as a Splash Resort will be judged against this check list.

The special prize for one member of the Cool Pool Board will be an all-inclusive holiday in Turkey for them and their family to the Aqua Fantasy Hotel and Spa, one of First Choice’s Splash Resorts. Here they will be able to test out some of the coolest pools and slides around during the May half term holiday 2009.

Cool Pool expert and First Choice lifestyle development manager Tommy Lynch says: ”We understand how important swimming pools are to kids on holiday. In a recent survey we found a staggering 92% of kids said that they were in the pool every single day on holiday”.

“Being such a vital part of their holiday, it’s important to get this right and there’s no one better placed to ask what makes a cool pool than kids. With their help we hope to ensure only the crème de la crème make it into the Splash Resort list,” Lynch adds.

In its recent holiday survey First Choice found that the favourite holiday activity for kids is splashing about in the pool. The survey showed that 46% of kids spend most of their holiday time swimming and enjoying water based activities.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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Construction work begins on new 50-metre swimming pool

surreyuniLeading construction firm Willmott Dixon is undertaking work on a new swimming pool for the University of Surrey.

Willmott Dixon began excavating the 50-metre pool last month, which will form the focal point of the university’s new Sports Park complex.

The commencement of construction work at the site is the start of a wider project to deliver a new sports centre that will also feature eight squash courts, three sports halls, a new gym, eight floodlit tennis courts and two outdoor artificial pitches.

Commenting on the project, Mark Tant, managing director of Willmott Dixon’s office in Cobham, said the pool would be a “star attraction”.

“If you located the ten nearest internationally-sized 50-metre swimming pools from London, seven would be in Paris,” he said.

“That’s why this is so important and we are proud that Surrey University has made us responsible for delivering it.”

Willmott Dixon is one of Britain’s largest privately owned construction firms.ADNFCR-1582-ID-18955436-ADNFCR

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The man paid to test swimming pool flumes around the world

A 29-year-old is paid to travel around the world in order to test holiday resort swimming pool flumes.



Tommy Lynch has travelled more than 27,000 miles to don his Speedos and try out the slides for holiday giant First Choice this year.

He has to check the height, speed, water quantity and landing of the flumes as well as all safety aspects.

Mr Lynch said: “I do have the best job in the world. No-one believes me when I tell them what I do.

“Some people sit in an office all day but I get to fly all over the world and slide down flumes.

“It can be a bit tough when it is chilly and you have to strip off and shoot down the flume but other than that it is great.

“There is so much more that goes into the flumes than people realise. The pools and slides are such an important part of the family holiday so it is vital everything is right.”

In 2008 Mr Lynch tested flumes at the company’s nine holiday villages in the Costa Del Sol, Lanzarote, Majorca, Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus, Algarve, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

And this year he will quality control First Choice’s new splash resorts in Greece, Turkey, Florida, Jamaica and Ibiza.

His favourites flumes are the ultra modern one at the holiday village in Benalmadna on the Costa Del Sol and the Aqua Fanasty park in Kusadasi.

Mr Lynch, whose job title is lifestyle product development manager, was recruited to identify the very best pools to be featured in First Choice’s new Splash Resort collection.

He also ensures potential new resorts are up to the company’s standard.

He added: “There is a serious side to my job, which carries a lot of responsibility, but getting to check out the flumes is by far the best bit.”

A spokeswoman for First Choice said: “At First Choice we understand how important swimming pools are to kids on holiday, which is why we appointed someone dedicated to finding the very best in the world.

“As you can imagine, there were no shortage of applicants for the job.”

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Birmingham Forges The Way Ahead

The first phase of plans to create a new network of swimming pools across Birmingham has been outlined in a council report.

Phase one of the Swimming Pool Provision strategy, to be considered by Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet today, will also propose to improve existing swimming facilities across the city.

The plans will also see a new 50m pool of Olympic standard built. 

Following a feasibility study carried out earlier this year, a city centre site for a 50m-pool complex has now been earmarked.

The complex will incorporate a 50m, 10-lane pool with a movable floor and boom, an international diving tank, a major leisure water facility and significant indoor dry sport facilities, including fitness equipment, climbing wall and dance studio.

Scheduled for completion in early 2012 it is hoped the new facility will be used as a training facility by visiting athletes for the Olympic Games later that year.

Leader of the council, Councillor Mike Whitby said:

“Birmingham is recognised as a world class city for sport, and it is imperative that we continue to evolve and offer modern, high-quality facilities of a world class and Olympic standard.”

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Water works for joint pain

jointpainThe benefits of hydrotherapy to sore muscles and stiff joints is immeasurable

HYDROTHERAPY MEANS different things to different people.

In the so-called wellness industry, luxuriating in swimming pools with hot and cold water jet sprays and jacuzzis is sometimes referred to as hydrotherapy. However, in more clinical settings, hydrotherapy is defined as an active form of therapy, carried out in warm water swimming pools to help people manage or recover from specific conditions.

“Hydrotherapy is not passive. In fact, it can be quite vigorous and while it is commonly used for rheumatology patients, it is also used for sports rehabilitation and for people who have had spinal and head injuries,” explains Fiona Pegum, senior chartered physiotherapist in hydrotherapy at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross, Dublin.

Rheumatology patients with inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic pain and musculoskeletal problems are referred from St Vincent’s Hospital to Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross for rehabilitation.

“We also offer hydrotherapy to patients in the community reablement unit who have had minor falls and have been referred to us from St James’s Hospital and then we have children with arthritis who come here from Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin,” explains Pegum.

The range of patients who use the hydrotherapy pool at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross paints a picture of how valuable it is.

“Patients are difficult to discharge from hydrotherapy because they like it so much,” says Pegum. “Moving in water helps them build up their confidence again and they often don’t realise how much they are moving,” she explains.

“In Ireland, older people can be terrified to get into the pool but often it’s those who were most afraid who make the biggest journeys and become real converts. Some of them go on to learn how to swim afterwards,” explains Pegum.

She stresses that patients don’t have to be able to swim to participate in hydrotherapy. “Swimming can, in fact, aggravate certain knee or hip or back injuries but hydrotherapy will help almost every condition,” she says.

Hydrotherapy is also used to help children and adults with congenital physical disabilities access a wider range of movement than would be possible on dry land.

“A lot of the children with physical disabilities can achieve independent movements in the water that they can’t have on dry land,” explains Michele Marvefley, physiotherapist who works with Enable Ireland in Galway city.

The benefits of hydrotherapy occur due to the combined effects of warm water and the buoyancy of water in general. “The buoyancy allows people to feel weightless in water and the warm water [the temperature must be between 32 and 35 degrees Celsius] helps relax the muscles,” explains Marvefley.

Hydrotherapy has also been found to relieve general aches and pains, improve circulation, relieve tension and stress and help people sleep better.

Mark Halliday (4) has been attending hydrotherapy sessions, organised by Enable Ireland in Galway city for the past three years or so. His mother, Aisling, explains that it offers him both opportunities for physical and social learning.

“Mark has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair but his disability disappears in the water. When he’s in the pool, he can swim around with the other children,” she says.

The group hydrotherapy sessions which are led by a physiotherapist focus on movement through fun and games. “He loves the freedom of it and being at one with everyone else,” says Aisling Halliday.

Eoin Kiely (4) has also been attending hydrotherapy organised by Enable Ireland in Galway city. “Eoin has congenital muscular dystrophy and his limbs are quite weak but being in the water gives him a range of movement he doesn’t have when he has to contend with gravity,” explains his mother, Hilary Kiely.

Both Eoin and Mark will be among the first children to enjoy the new Enable Ireland hydrotherapy pool which opened in Galway yesterday.

Gaining access to hydrotherapy can be difficult for many people who already know the benefits of the therapy. Organisations such as Enable Ireland offer public hours to specific groups such as Arthritis Ireland in their pools.

Their swimming pools are specifically designed for hydrotherapy so will have water at the correct temperature and will have fitted hoists which are needed by some people to get in and out of the pools.

Some hotels and community swimming pools throughout the State are also good at accommodating groups by increasing the water temperature on specific mornings or evenings.

However, Arthritis Ireland believes a lot more could be done to help people avail of this therapy.

“If you consider that 700,000 people in Ireland have arthritis and a huge part of the management of their condition depends on the individuals themselves, more access to hydrotherapy would benefit the individuals and the health system,” says Grainne O’Leary from Arthritis Ireland.

O’Leary also points out that hydrotherapy pools in acute hospitals in Ireland tend not to be available to non-patients.

“In the UK, many hydrotherapy pools in hospitals offer hours to various groups outside the hospital but that doesn’t seem to be happening here. With a bit of lateral thinking, this could help reduce costs of managing the pools and see them used more,” says O’Leary.

The benefits

• The warm water relaxes sore muscles, eases stiff joints and improves blood circulation.

• The water’s buoyancy reduces the pressure on the joints and makes it easier to perform a range of movements.

• It promotes relaxation, relieves pain, stress and tension and encourages better sleep.

• It provides a social outlet to people who might be less able to interact with others.


This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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New Flexible Pool & Spa Pipe can finally Handle Chlorine!

 The Hi-Fitt® laboratories present Barrierflex CDS®,

the first spiral hose for swimming pools and spas able to resist corrosion by chlorinated water.

This exclusive product unites two patented technologies in just one hose: a rigid spiral covered by a Spiral Protection Barrier® patented anticracking barrier coextruded with the hose, which guarantees an excellent seal and resistance to subsurface stress, and the special, newly formulated internal PVC Chlorine Defence System® film, which offers watertight protection against corrosion by chlorinated water.

Chlorine is widely used to disinfect swimming pool and spa supply systems and is the arch-enemy of hoses. The oxidizing action of water deteriorates the hose, making the internal part wrinkled and porous and – therefore – more exposed to the abrasive action of water flowing through the hose. The hose progressively absorbs water and consequently swells; this is the primary cause of irreversible deterioration of the physical and mechanical features of the hose and its performance.

This new hose offers a solution to this problem. Mechanical and thermal resistance 5 times higher than standard hoses, superior physical-mechanical specifications and unchanging long-term performance; these are the features guaranteed by Barrierflex CDS®, allowing a significant increase in the quality standards of hoses for swimming pools and spas.

Laboratory tests carried out on samples of this innovative hose have revealed that the presence of the CDS protective film guarantees 11 times less water absorption compared to other PVC products available on the market, together with a major improvement of ultimate tensile stress and ultimate elongation.

Hi-Fitt® has developed a special packaging made of customised PE sheeting that completely envelops and protects the roll. Either end of the product is sealed to prevent access by foreign bodies. The product is supplied with a statement of conformity and a 20-year warranty certificate.


Excerpt Taken from the European Swimming Pool News

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