SPN (Swimming Pool News) October 2020

Page 39


Could You Build, Own And Run Your Own Swim School Pool?

In this issue, Luke Griffiths, Qualification Development Manager for Pool Plant at Safety Training Awards discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic could encourage swim school owners currently hiring pools to take the plunge and build, own and run their own swimming pool


he COVID-19 pandemic has put such a strain on the leisure industry. It has been widely reported that 30% of public pools could remain closed until 2021, with fears 10% of swimming pools could permanently close. (But no more doom and gloom and I promise not to mention the ‘C’ word again for the remainder of this feature!) Therefore, could the current situation open up opportunities for swim schools to own and run their own swimming pool? I am a firm believer that swimming is one of the most important life skills and one which one day could be a lifesaver. It is enjoyable and has fantastic physical and mental health benefits. It can also be a profitable business, despite the associated costs of operating your own pool. The last few years have seen a slow decline in the number of local authority pools, meaning pool space is at a premium. This has already resulted in a drive for many swim school owners who were previously hiring facilities at high costs, to build or own their own pool. There are many options in terms of locations and buildings that may be suitable to build a commercial swim school pool. We have seen pools being built in deserted community pubs, retail and industrial units, and even abandoned car parks. It is vital when retrofitting these facilities as with any new build that commercial pool technical requirements are followed. The potential financial and life changing costs of not having suitable pool plant far outweigh the

initial savings from cutting corners on the specification of the pool. With small to large scale swim schools and franchises continuing to grow, STA, over the last few months, has seen a marked upsurge in requests from swim schools wanting additional information on building their own pool. In the current climate, swim school owners who are currently hiring pools, are finding it difficult to open fully due to pool owners being reluctant to hire out their pools at this time. There have also been requests from those swim schools hiring pools who have been able to open, but would like more control to ensure that the water quality is safe for themselves and their customers.

HIRE Vs OWN Swim school owners interested in owning their own pool must be aware of the key differences when hiring a pool and owning a pool. When hiring a pool, generally the pool owner has responsibility for ensuring a safe hygienic facility and water quality; as well as the day-to-day running costs such as utilities and rates etc. Once you take the plunge and own your own pool it is your responsibility for all aspects of health & safety, pool plant, management and finances of the facility, not just the swim school. Building your own pool gives you the opportunity to own a facility that works for your swim school business. It can be designed to suit your needs from car parking, reception areas, changing areas, pool and plant, to secondary spend options. It also gives you

With small to large scale swim schools and franchises continuing to grow, STA, over the last few months, has seen a marked upsurge in requests from swim schools wanting additional information on building their own pool” www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk 37_SPN_October_20_STA.indd 37

the peace of mind that you are providing safe, clean and hygienic pool water at the temperature that is most suitable for your swim school customers. It gives you priority in terms of programming your swim school sessions. As well as the flexibility to hire out pool space to provide another income. So, could owning your own pool be a viable option? STA 01922 645097 www.sta.co.uk

Industry’s First ‘Build Your Own Pool’ Virtual Conference Robbie Phillips, Martyn Hardy and Chris Hayes have all presented on the build your own pool topic across several STA Conferences and at last year’s STA Pool Plant Convention. With seminars ranging from planning and building, to operating your own swim school pool. This year’s STA conference has been postponed until next year, but due to the increased interest in owning or building your own pool, STA will be hosting a virtual ‘build your own pool’ conference in November. These sessions will explore in more detail some of the considerations that swim school owners need to make before deciding whether to take the plunge and build their own swimming pool. To find out more about the industry’s first virtual ‘build your own pool’ conference on 20 November, which will be tailored for independent swim schools and teachers who are looking to develop their own facility with COVID-19 considerations, please keep an eye on STA’s Facebook page @ STAHealthLeisureLife, email marketing@ sta.co.uk or see www.sta.co.uk/events/stasvirtual-build-a-pool-conference

SPN October 2020 37 01/11/2020 20:35