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What Next For The UK’s Commercial Pool Industry? In this edition, Robbie Phillips and Luke Griffiths give their thoughts on an evolving commercial swimming pool industry and what challenges lie ahead for those that operate within it


he commercial swimming pool industry has changed significantly over the last few years; mainly due to local authority budget cuts, increased demands from private swim schools vying for pool space hire and the rise in the number of interactive water features and spa leisure facilities being created. As a result, the pool landscape has changed with today’s pools coming in a variety of forms, shapes and sizes, and all having a diverse range of uses and users. All these factors are determining the future of pool and spa plant management and shaping the industry’s training needs. To round up the year, we spoke to Robbie Phillips, STA’s Lead Pool Plant Expert and Luke Griffiths, STA’s Technical Manager for Pool Plant about their thoughts on the changing industry and what’s next. Q. How Have You Seen The UK Swimming Pool Market Change In The Last 5 Years? A. Robbie: With the number of swimming pool closures over the last five years outweighing the number of openings in both the public and private sector, we have naturally seen a massive sea change in the demand for water time. At the same time, we’ve seen big growth in the private swim school market, so demand for water time is significantly outstripping supply. This has all served to drive up the price of hiring water time considerably. With pool hire being highly competitive, we are also seeing all sorts of different pools in all types of locations being hired for swimming lessons. Of concern, this desperate search for water time is causing some to use substandard pools and even domestic pools for swimming teaching with no controls integrating national recommendations. This is a growing problem, and it’s why awareness and training

pool water; principles of water testing; principles of disinfection, pool chemistry and dosing in pool plant operations; principles of mechanical pool plant operations; swimming pool heating, ventilation and energy efficiency; management practices and health and safety in pool plant operations. The Little Swimming Company in Northumberland is one of a growing number of swim schools across the UK that are building their own pool facilities

that covers all types of water facilities is of even greater importance now. Q. How Is STA Dealing With The Changing Training Requirements Needed To Manage A New Modern And Diverse Pool Set? A. Luke: STA has spent the last year consulting with industry groups to develop a new Level 3 Award in Pool Plant Operations qualification that is fit-for-purpose and relevant to the industry, and all pool types – from sports and leisure centres to hotels, spas, lidos and interactive water features. By working with and listening to STA tutors, pool operators, health professionals, regulators and professional groups involved in the health and safety management of swimming pools, we have created a new syllabus that is user-friendly, robust and technically advanced; and one that covers all elements of pool and spa operations in a thorough but learner-friendly way. Q. What Does The New Syllabus Cover? A. Luke: The units covered in the syllabus include principles of healthy and hygienic

The pool landscape has changed with today’s pools coming in a variety of forms, shapes and sizes, and all having a diverse range of uses and users. All these factors are determining the future of pool and spa plant management and shaping the industry’s training needs” 44 December 2017 SPN 44_SPN_Dec_17_STA.indd 44

Q. Does The Content Reflect The New National Occupational Standards? A. Luke: Yes, the new qualification follows PWTAG guidelines and the new National Occupational Standard SKA PPO1. Q. What Challenges Do You Think The Industry Faces Moving Forward? A. Robbie: Our new qualification will go some way in positively bringing about change and meeting the modern day needs of pool and spa plant facilities. However, as an industry we still must deal with an ageing pool stock, budget cuts and change attitudes to training to ensure our pools are fit for purpose. We know that pools are expensive to build and maintain so with water space at a premium (and we expect this to continue in the current financial climate) and hiring costs escalating, the next issue becomes the cost of swimming lessons, which are increasing. The net result then becomes one of affordability for parents or classes being oversubscribed with large numbers. On a positive, the demand for water time has seen a rise in the number of swim schools building their own high quality pools that are designed for primarily swimming teaching. We’ve seen some fantastic facilities being built, with pools being inserted into purpose-designed factory units. We are also seeing old disused buildings being brought back to life, and becoming a focal point for parents in the community. To hear more and to discuss how the swimming pool and spa industry is evolving, STA is organising its first dedicated Pool Plant conference at SPATEX 2018 on Tuesday 30 January 2018 – all delegates will also receive ½ CPD Point. See more details here STA 01922 645097 28/11/2017 23:17

SPN (Swimming Pool News) December 2017  
SPN (Swimming Pool News) December 2017  

Informing the pool and spa industry since 1959. Covering the UK's wet leisure market, SPN (Swimming Pool News) is the UK's longest running a...