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Swimming Pools / Leisure / Aquatics / Spas / Health

122 February/March 2019

Evolution and elevation Of stainless steel pools

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Published by The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd ABN 940 025 83 682 41 Bridge Road, Glebe, NSW, 2037 Australia Ph: (02) 9660 2113 Fax: (02) 9660 4419 On behalf of The Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia Ltd (SPASA Australia) Publisher: Simon Cooper Managing Editor: Chris Maher Phone: 0412 048 639 Email: chrismaher@intermedia.com.au

editorial Heating up the market

Contributors: Cal Stanley, Izzy Grace Advertising Manager: David Stennett Phone: 0404 725 554 Email: david@spasa.com.au

Well it’s official – that was the hottest summer ever, and the Bureau of Meteorology is expecting autumn to continue the warmer trend – especially in the eastern states.

Senior Designer: Chris Papaspiros Production Manager: Jacqui Cooper Head of Circulation: Chris Blacklock

And despite the floods in Queensland and NSW, it was also a particularly dry summer.

For Subscriptions Call: 1800 651 422 Copyright All material in this publication is copyright to the publisher and/or its contributors. No material may be reproduced without the express permission of the publishers.

Disclaimer: This publication is published by The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”) on behalf of SPASA Australia. Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. This issue of SPLASH! magazine published by The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd (Intermedia) may contain magazine or subscription; offers, competitions, forms and surveys (Reader Offers) which require you to provide information about yourself, if you choose to enter or take part in them. If you provide information about yourself to Intermedia, Intermedia will use this information to provide you with the products of services you have requested and may supply your information to contractors that help Intermedia to do this. Intermedia will also use your information to inform you of other Intermedia publications, products, services and events. Intermedia may give your information to organisations that are providing special prizes or offers that are clearly associated with the Reader Offer. Unless you tell us not to, we may give your information to other organisations that may use it to inform you about other products, services or events or to give it to other organisations that may use it for this purpose. If you would like to gain access to the information Intermedia holds about you, please contact Intermedia’s Privacy Officer at The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd, PO Box 55, Glebe, NSW 2037.

Obviously there are a number of negatives with hot dry weather – drought, water restrictions and bushfires. When topped off with floods it can be doubly devastating. We’ve published some advice from Swimart on page 10 to help with both flooded and bushfire-affected pools.

Chris Maher Managing Editor chrismaher@ intermedia.com.au

Regardless of the negatives, for the pool and spa industry, hot dry weather usually means increased sales for builders and retailers, and a greater number of service calls for technicians. There is anecdotal evidence of an uptick in the industry and one franchise network at least – Jim’s – had a record number of call outs during the thermometer-busting heat of December. However, the pool DA numbers have yet to show an increase in building approvals. This may just been the lag in numbers which sometimes happens, or it could be due to one or more social economic factors such as pre-election consumer trepidation, continuing low wage growth concerns or the decrease in home equity due to the drop in real estate values.

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On the positive side, however, all those concerns were in play at the Sydney expo – where two elections are due within the next couple of months and real estate values had taken a noticeable dip – yet there were more consumers than last year and an overall positive mood, with plenty of leads and serious interest. On another note, this issue we say farewell to our longest standing contributor. After four decades in the industry, Cal Stanley has finally decided to retire. We have his last column – and the third part in his story about his time in the industry – on page 24. Thanks for all your valued input Cal! But, as members of this industry know only too well, often when someone retires, you still hear from them on a regular basis. So we can hold out hope for the occasional article in future.

Copyright © 2019 - SPASA Australia.

SPLASH! contains NO advertorial. Proudly supported by

The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent those of the above supporters, nor should any product advertised in SPLASH! magazine be seen to be endorsed by the above.

This issue’s cover Cover shows the most famous elevated stainless steel pool in the world, at Marina Bay in Singapore. There is more on stainless steel pool construction on page 46.

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  7


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Contents 30

24

52

Neptune Pools, the end The third and final part of Cal Stanley’s adventures building concrete swimming pools and his related time in the Australian pool and spa industry.

Industry can play leading role in safety promotion Andrew Kidd, Poolwerx chief operating officer, says that the swimming pool and spa industry has an important role to play in promoting safety in and around water.

27

Looking to the future Lindsay McGrath interviews Maytronics CEO Eyal Tryber, asking pertinent questions about innovation, marketing channels, leadership and the future direction of the company.

30

The pool shop toolbox: ideas to help improve retail profitability Izzy Grace looks at the marketing tools that savvy pool and spa companies use to align business goals with a better understanding of their customers, while balancing digital platforms with their bricks-and-mortar presence.

44 54

57 Keeping small business cash flow consistent Chris Strode explains how to manage cash flow – the lifeblood of any business – and says without it you’ll be hard-pressed to function.

The many ways for swim schools to find success We look at a number of swim schools to find out how they found success, and discover many different routes to a winning outcome – but all requiring dedication, hard work and creative thinking.

Pools shine in the best of Houzz Pools featured prominently in many of the Best of Houzz 2019 Awards, especially in the design and photography categories. The evolution and elevation of stainless steel swimming pools One of the pioneers of stainless steel pool construction, Mike Walsh of Natare Corporation, visited Australia as part of a global tour, and met up with SPLASH! to discuss stainless steel, filtration and elevated pools.

The modern home that saved the pool The owners of this house wanted a strong modern statement for their new home, but needed the structure to embrace the existing swimming pool.

64

44

46

54

regulars News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Commercial news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

Pool DAs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

New products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Ad index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  9


news

Many swimming pools in bushfire affected areas experience a build-up of ash and debris

Service

Cleaning and maintaining swimming pools after fires and floods Following the devastating bushfires and floods that have ravaged parts of Australia, pool and spa specialist network Swimart has provided some key information to enable pool owners to help restore healthy water balance.

Bushfires

Many swimming pools in affected areas and beyond may be experiencing a build-up of ash and debris, greatly impacting the quality of the water. “After bushfires, swimming pools can become contaminated by impurities such as embers, ash and other debris – and this can significantly impact the chemical balance,” says Swimart’s Rick Graham. “The result will be dirty, green or cloudy pool water.”

Steps to remedy pools affected by bushfires

There are several crucial steps pool owners can take to clean and maintain the pool and ensure it can be safely used again: 10 SPLASH! February/March 2019

• To start with, it is important to remove as much debris and ash from the pool and ensure the skimmer and pump baskets are clean; • Remove as much debris as possible from the surface of the water with a leaf rake; • Turn the pool pump on to skim any remaining ash and leaves from the surface of the water; • Take a water sample to your local store to be assessed and they will advise what’s required to safely rebalance your pool water and ensure it’s fine for swimming; • The service technician will also advise whether the pool requires flocculant; • If the ash and dirt is substantial, use a liquid or granular flocculant to make the debris and organic matter drop to the floor; • Clean your filtration. For cartridge filters, remove the cartridge and hose it down.

For sand and media filters, backwash and rinse the filter; • If staining has occurred, see your local retailer for the appropriate solution. “If any circuits or electrical fittings of your pump, timer or electrical equipment have been damaged by fire, it’s important to get an electrician to first check the electrical outlets are still in good working order,” says Graham. “Then get your local pool technician to thoroughly check your swimming pool equipment. If needs be, they can prepare a report and quote for your insurance company. “We also advise pool owners not to empty their pools without first checking with an expert due to the risk of serious damage. The fact is that all swimming pools – whether they’re vinyl-lined, fibreglass or even concrete ones weighing over 50 tonnes – can float when empty. The upward pressure of the water under the floor can actually cause it to lift.”

Floods

Thousands of people have been affected by the devastating floods and heavy rains across Queensland and parts of New South Wales. Swimart has some key tips to help pool owners reclaim and clean their pools – and thus mitigate further damage and eliminate contaminants. “Our thoughts are with those affected,” says Graham. “We understand the number one priority is cleaning out houses and making them habitable, but it must be remembered that flooded swimming pools present a unique set of hazards. “It’s certainly not essential that a pool must be restored to use immediately, but it is vital to assess the condition of the pool and make it safe before starting any work.” The pool shell acts as a kind of ‘boat’ when empty of water. If the surrounding soil is saturated, the pool will have a tendency to float, which can cause it to shift or crack.


new

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Thousands of people have been affected by the devastating floods and heavy rains across Queensland and New South Wales

QLD

WA

SA

The available three-monthly pool DA numbers for November-to-January held relatively steady with a drop of one per cent compared to the same period last year. Over the three months, Victoria was up 10 per cent, while Queensland and South Australia were up two per cent. New South Wales was down five per cent and Western Australia was down 18 per cent. Annual figures comparing the 12 months to January showed an improvement of one per cent. South Australia was up 23 per cent and Victoria was up 15 per cent, while New South Wales was down one per cent, Western Australia was down 10 per cent, and Queensland was down 11 per cent.

Yearly comparison by month

• Determine whether fencing is intact to prevent children from accessing the pool; Year old 2000 • Secure or restrict access to the area if possible, particularly 1500 if fences have been damaged or debris has 1000dangerous; made the area • Do not empty your pool, 500water may as the ground have become saturated and the pool could pop or 0 Feb Mar Apr May crack. Experienced pool technicians should only Year old empty pool water when it’s 5000 deemed safe;

Numbers holding steady in hot weather

Year old

Year new

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3000 1000 2000 500

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0

Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Jul

0

Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan

Year old

Yearly comparison by State

Tips for owners of pools affected by floods and heavy rain

• Check the pump house and other structures in case snakes, spiders and other pests have harboured there; • Remove all debris from the pool including leaves, branches and dirt as this organic matter will create algae issues; • Have a licensed electrician check the circuits and electrical fittings of your pump, timer and any electrical equipment. This may need to be done in consultation with a pool technician in case electrical components need to be replaced; • Consult with a pool technician on how to ‘flocculate’ the pool water. Aluminium sulphate, a flocculant, will cause suspended solids in the water to congeal into a filterable mass and settle to the bottom. The flocculated material should be vacuumed to waste and not filtered, as it will rapidly clog the filter; • Take a water sample to your local pool store for testing and advice; • Test the water pH and aim for a recommended range of 7.2 to 7.6; • If your pool is full of water but isn’t able to be restored, Year new check it daily for evidence of mosquitoes. If mosquitoes and/or larvae are detected, speak to a pool technician about how to remove them; • I f the pool water starts to turn green, an algal bloom is developing and you should consult with a pool technician about how to address this; Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan • Only turn your filter back on once water quality has been restored andYear an new electrician has checked your equipment.

Three-monthly comaparison

“Swimming pools can float when empty. The upward pressure of the water under the floor can actually cause it to lift,” he says. Most pools are equipped with a hydrostatic relief valve in the floor which will allow ground water to enter the pool to keep the equilibrium and relieve pressure build up. However, the valve could be faulty or not able to cope with the amount of pressure caused by the ground water. Therefore, it’s wise to consult an experienced technician if you must empty the pool. With recovery efforts now underway, there are a number of integral steps to restore floodaffected swimming pools. “An unused, flood-affected swimming pool is not likely to transmit or become a source of diseases in the short term unless sewage has contaminated the pool. However, as it generally won’t be filtered or sanitised, it is important to check for evidence of mosquitoes on a daily basis.”

Year new 7000

5000

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4000 3000

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2000 1000

0

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NSW

Quarter old

VIC

QLD

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Quarter new

7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0

While these figures give an indication of the way the market is trending, they are not comprehensive and don’t include all pools built or even all DAs lodged. By some estimates, the total national numbers including all types of pools could be almost double these figures. They do not include pool projects that are approved as part of a new home, smaller projects under the cost threshold, renovations that don’t require a DA, or some aboveground pools. Additionally, not all councils are forthcoming with data or report on time; councils in some states such as Queensland and Victoria are particularly reluctant. For further information, call Cordell Information on 1800 80 60 60.

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  11

0


news

Regulation

Pool and spa heating sector agrees on standard reviews Respected industry leaders have agreed to help formulate fact sheets so consumers can make better informed decisions regarding pool heating, while also committing to undertake revisions and new drafts of important standards relating to pool and spa heating. The meeting was held at SPASA Australia’s Parramatta office and included representatives from all major heating segments: solar, gas, heat pump and pool covers. Several knowledgeable representatives signed up for the working groups. Convener Spiros Dassakis led the meeting by outlining the fact that a previous industry initiative on this topic had stalled in 2014 – despite considerable investment in

The meeting at SPASA Australia’s Parramatta office resulted in positive forward steps

time and energy from industry members. He says industry can’t afford to let this initiative stall again – it’s critical for industry to take the lead. He says that he has been receiving more communication

from regulators on this topic than ever before. “We can’t simply sit back. We’re at the crossroads now it is likely the industry will have imposts placed on it by government or regulators, local and national,” he says.

The first agreed action is the formulation of fact sheets, providing clarity for consumers and industry on the different types of pool and spa heating. This document will have a level of technicality but won’t be a technical document such as a standard – but will identify minimum industry benchmarks. Following this will be revisions of existing standards for solar pool heating, including materials and collectors, and looking at new standards for pool covers, heat pumps and gas heating in relation to the swimming pool and spa industry. If more industry members are keen to participate in an active and meaningful way, Dassakis says they are welcome to contribute. For more information contact spiros@spasa.com.au

Safety

The $46 million swimming lesson promise Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten says if elected his government will spend $46 million over four years to ensure all primary school children have access to swimming lessons. “Aussies love swimming, but too many young people are growing up without learning sufficient water safety skills to keep them safe,” he says.

After a late start to the season, Jim’s Pool Care received a record number of customer leads across Australia during December.

From 2020 Labor, if elected, plans to fund extra swimming lessons for schools that need it, catch-up lessons for children who require them, support towards transport and pool entry costs, and additional support for children with disabilities to ensure they can participate.

Shorten told Basil Zempilas on Sunrise that it's not a federal takeover but he thinks it's time for the national government to use a modest amount of taxpayer money to ensure every child finishes primary school having had the chance to do swimming lessons. "It is going to save lives,” he said.

Top five online news stories

Keep informed by subscribing to the free online newsletter. Hot summer brings record leads for pool service franchisor

About one in five Australian children leave primary school unable to swim 50 metres.

The online stories that made the news over the past two months. New Zealand industry stalwart passes away Sadly, long-time supporter of the swimming pool and spa industry in New Zealand, Geoff Bonham, passed away after a short illness.

12 SPLASH! February/March 2019

Aussie’s still love pools as ownership rate edges higher

Cleaning and maintaining swimming pools after fires and floods

Homebuyers investing in renovation to improve lifestyle, survey finds

New Roy Morgan puts pool ownership at nearly 1.1 million pools, close to the general industry estimate of more than 1.2 million.

Swimart provided key information to enable pool owners to help restore healthy water balance after recent devastating fires and floods.

The Houzz & Home Australia Survey shows half of homeowners on Houzz Australia are planning to renovate their home (57 per cent) at a median spend of $25,000.


Upcoming events 2019 Mar 23-24

SPASA Pool Spa & Outdoor Living Expo SA

May 3-5

 ew Zealand Pool Spa and Outdoor Living N Expo, ASB Showgrounds, Auckland

May 9-11

Asia Pool & Spa Expo 2019, Guangzhou, China

May 20-22

AALARA Conference, The Star Gold Coast

April 5

Chris Dorrity Memorial Golf Day, Keysborough

May25-26

Queensland Pool Spa & Outdoor Living Expo

May 31

SPASA Golf Day SA

June 8

Queensland Awards of Excellence

June 15

South Australian Awards of Excellence

June 17-18

ARI Conference Peppers Craigieburn

June 29

NSW/ACT Awards of Excellence

July 13

Victoria Awards of Excellence

July 17

SPASA Golf Day Queensland

Jul 29-Aug1

Australian Swim Schools Conference, Cairns

Aug 2

SPASA LeadershipConvention, Adelaide Hilton

Sept 10

SPASA Bob Stanley Memorial Golf Day NSW

Oct 15-18

Piscina, Barcelona, Spain

Oct 16-18

 orld Aquatic Health Conference, W Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

Nov 4-11

Aquanale, Cologne, Germany

Nov 5-8

FSB, Cologne, Germany

Nov 6-8

SETT, Montpellier, France

2020 Jan 13-17

International Swim Schools Spectacular 2020, Singapore

July 29-30 SPLASH! Pool & Spa Trade Show, Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre More details at splashmagazine.com.au. Dates are subject to change and should be checked with the relevant organisation. Send calendar submissions to info@splashmagazine.com.au.

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  13 Britstream Multicoloured MK5 LED Ad 270mm x90_2018mm.indd 1

2/1/19 11:17 AM


news

Expos

Sydney expo exceeds expectations SPASA Australia COO Spiros Dassakis says last weekend’s Pool Spa & Outdoor Living Expo at Rosehill Gardens exceeded all expectations with more visitors than last year, despite talk of a slowing economy and the expectation of two upcoming elections. “We were delighted with the turnout for the event and our members were extremely happy with results from the show,” he says. “New South Wales is Australia’s largest state for everything pools and spas, and it is encouraging to see so many visitors speaking with industry experts before they splash out and commit.” He says all 94 exhibitors reported solid leads and sales and that consumers were the ultimate beneficiaries from the revamped visitor promotion campaign. Visitors were encouraged to bring their house plans and photos for one-on-one consultations,

which enabled consumers to get excellent advice while also proving very valuable in qualifying leads for postexpo inspections. Dassakis says spa companies also had a great response, with consumers taking advantage of expo specials and viewing the many new models on show for the first time. Poolwerx featured a pop-up store at the entrance to the expo which provided advice to new and existing pool owners about products, servicing and upgrading pools and spas. There was a popular interactive walk-through landscape design feature coordinated by the Australian Institute of Landscape Design Managers (AILDM) which allowed sponsors to display their products in a real-life environment while engaging prospective customers. The free seminars were again a highlight of the show and

the A-Z of Buying a Pool or Spa session was standing room only. Other popular seminars included talks on pool design, new technology and energy savings, reflecting the consumer desire to do their research before purchase. The next SPASA Australia Pool Spa & Outdoor Living Expo will take place at the Adelaide Showground from March 23 to 24, 2019.

Cooke Industries’ new northern sales manager Glen Meznaric was introduced to the NSW market

Exhibitors reported strong leads and sales

Expos

Hot weather has consumers thinking pools

A popular feature was the garden which included a sculpture and a splash pool

14 SPLASH! February/March 2019

Melbourne baked under record 41 degree temperatures, but while that may have had some consumers sheltering in their air conditioning, it had others thinking about the benefits of cooling off in their own swimming pool. The result was a good turnout for the SPASA Victoria Pool & Spa + Outdoor Living Expo, with exhibitors kept busy and consumers lingering longer than usual – enjoying what exhibitors had to offer and happy to be away from the heat outside. A popular feature was the garden by MINT Pool + Landscape Design which included a sculpture and a splash pool. A SPASA Victoria spokesperson said they were

fortunate to have some exceptional stands built by members to make the consumer experience much more engaging. “It is easy to see the correlation between a beautifully designed and presented exhibitor stand and the number of consumers milling around and engaging

The Remco stand attracted attention

with the exhibitor. It is ultimately consumers who keep our industry thriving, as more pool and spa sales lead to a bigger and better industry.” The next Melbourne expo will be the Spa & Pool Show in August, with the launch of the Backyard & Garden Show to run alongside it.


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news

Passings

Industry moves Tony Blomfield (formerly sales manager for Newline) has moved on from his Pool Systems role as branch manager, Seventeen Mile Rocks. Darryl Barber, Pool Systems general manager, wanted to acknowledge Blomfield’s 15 years in the industry. “Tony is one of the most highly regarded sales people in the industry,” he says. “Knowledgeable, professional, always willing to go the extra mile – and with a dry wit and laugh that burns! He will be a significant loss to Pool Systems. Tony has one of the most loyal personal following of customers in the industry, which is testament to these qualities, and it has been my pleasure to work with him.” Laticrete Australia has appointed George Andriotis as their Victorian and Tasmanian technical sales representative. Andriotis has a number of years’ experience in the retail side of the tiling industry, working with AVJ Ceramics and Tile in Stile in the Dandenong region. He will report directly to national sales manager Ross McNeil. AIS has appointed Chris Chrysostomou as operations manager. He has more than 25 years’ experience in industrial manufacturing and commercial roles, and is an accomplished manager with extensive project, process and reliability engineering experience under his belt. He is charged with accelerating the company’s already rapid business growth worldwide.

16 SPLASH! February/March 2019

Geoff Bonham passes away Sadly, New Zealand industry stalwart Geoff Bonham has passed away. He was a long-time New Zealand Pool Guild member and a strong supporter of the local swimming pool and spa industry. He passed away on January 21 after a short illness. Larry Ogden, New Zealand Pool Industry Association CEO, says that he served the industry well. “Geoff was a good friend to many of us, was truly liked as a person and admired for his voluntary dedication in representing the swimming pool industry to the government and territorial authorities.” He ran the Leisuretime manufacturing and distribution company for many years and also assisted SPLASH! in establishing the New Zealand expos. In recent years he moved on from his Leisuretime business, but maintained a commercial interest in the field of spa safety covers and automatic swimming

pool covers dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. He was elected an honorary member of the NZ Pool Industry Association Inc in 2015 and remained an on-call member of the executive committee while still participating in the pool accessory field. Bonham served the swimming pool industry from 2004 to 2005 on the NZ Standard 8500:2006, which is still referenced in MBIE pool fencing rules. He also served from 2013 to 2015 on the Auckland Council Pool Fencing Committee while the most recent pool fencing act was developed and introduced as the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2017 and section F9 of the Building Code. “Geoff always maintained that NZS 8500:2006 was a sufficient upgrade of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, and continued to advise MBIE and the Territorial Authorities to simply ‘fine tune’

Industry stalwart Geoff Bonham pictured at a SPLASH! New Zealand expo

NZS 8500 – especially after the introduction of the 2017 Act which dismayed him and many others of us in the pool guild,” says Odgen. “As it always is, it’s a shock when one of our friends passes away. Especially for me, as I had emailed Geoff on January 15th to suggest that we catch up for lunch soon. His response was: That sounds like a great idea Larry, when would it suit you – next week or the week after. Sadly, this was not to be. “A good person, who’s presence will be missed. R.I.P. Geoff.”

Service

Hot summer brings record leads for franchisor Brett Blair, general manager at Jim’s Pool Care

After a late start to the season, Jim’s Pool Care received a record number of customer leads across Australia during December. “These customer leads are a great sign for the pool industry,” says Brett Blair, general manager at Jim’s Pool Care. “The key requests have ranged from green pool fixes,

pool equipment problems and one-off cleans for the holidays.” Blair was excited about breaking a record in customer lead intakes. “Nationally we have had crazy weather patterns, that’s including heavy rainfall combined with periods of extreme heat waves, which has caught pool owners off-guard. Many have required our help to ensure their families were swimming safely on Christmas Day.”

Jim’s Pool Care now has over 105 mobile pool shops across Australia and with several new sites opening up over the next few months, and Blair says the industry is continuing to grow year by year. “I’m so excited about 2019 and the opportunity for our franchisees and customers, with the release of a range of new innovative pool industry products and equipment,” he says.


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news

Community

In Brief Controversial senator David Leyonhjelm has been fined $4300 for failing to register his swimming pool. As earlier reported in SPLASH!, he had claimed he was a victim of gender discrimination because he and not his wife was issued with the court attendance notice, yet they were co-owners of the Drummoyne property. He didn’t attend court when Magistrate Eve Wynhausen threw out the defence that council had all the required details and therefore he did not need to register the pool. The magistrate took into consideration his unexplained absence at Burwood Local Court when issuing the penalty, waiting for 45 minutes for him to arrive before fining him $1800 for failing to register the pool and $2500 for the City of Canada Bay’s legal fees. She noted the statewide pool register was designed for the safety of children and that noncompliance could be tragic. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has issued a safety alert after a concrete pump operator sustained serious injuries when his arm was caught in moving parts within the receiving hopper of a concrete pump. Early investigations indicate the worker was in the process of cleaning inside the concrete pump hopper when a moving component activated and seriously injured his arm. Investigations are continuing. WH&SQ says workers who stand in or place parts of their body in hoppers are at risk of serious injury and should avoid placing any part of their body within the hopper and that a risk assessment should be performed and documented so that adequate controls are implemented to control the risks associated with cleaning the hopper.

Industry leader’s personal fight against domestic violence Elena Gosse, CEO Elena Gosse, CEO of Australian Innovative of Australian Systems on the dancefloor Innovative Systems (AIS), is again raising money for the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) by participating in Dancing CEOs on May 17 in Brisbane. This is the second time she has participated – last year she became Community Awareness Champion and raised $23,472 not understand that violence to help WLSQ provide free was not a way to show someone legal and social work assistance you care.” to women experiencing Gosse says the sad reality domestic violence, complex is that domestic and family family law and sexual assault violence does not discriminate. matters. It can affect anyone, at One in five women in any time, and any social Australia will face domestic or demographic – males, females, family violence in their lifetime, adults and children. and WLSQ assists more than She hopes that by sharing 16,000 women each year. her story she can encourage others to speak out and seek A personal fight help, and also to try and stop On top of the desire to violent perpetrators of help women in difficult the future. circumstances, Gosse has a “As a society, I believe that very strong personal reason to we should encourage men and support this cause – she herself women to connect with their is a survivor of domestic and feelings more and open up family violence. to a trusted family member, When she was a child, her friend or counsellor,” she says. late father inflicted a great deal “I believe that showing that of physical and emotional pain vulnerability can be a sign of on her mother, herself and her immense strength.” siblings. He passed away in May 2018 after suffering Supporting the cause a stroke. This year Gosse is trying to “As he lay in hospital dying, raise $50,000 to help women the dominant monster of the in need, and has asked for past was transformed into a members of the pool and spa gentle man that craved love and industry to support her. forgiveness,” she says. “I began “If you look at the Dancing to understand that my father CEO website you’ll see CEOs had repressed his feelings and representing different professions been so damaged emotionally and industries including legal, for so long that he felt the need banking, health, travel and to resort to violence. He did hospitality. Many of the CEOs

have large national networks to draw upon,” she says. “As the only Dancing CEO from the pool and spa industry, I believe that we, as a largely maledominated industry, can make a powerful statement. We can show our industry and broader community that we have a strong but sensitive heart and are united in making a stand against this insidious issue.” She is hoping that in raising the $50,000, a substantial proportion will come from pool and spa industry support. There are many ways you can help: • By making a direct personal or company tax deductible donation; • By holding an industry event with the profits/part of the profits donated to her fundraising efforts; • By helping spread the word to professional networks, family and friends (you can contact her for a tailor-made media release). Any support will be promoted via AIS’s media and social media networks and her ongoing publicity activities – or if you wish, the donations can remain anonymous. Contact: www.dancingceos. com.au, or go to splashmagazine. com.au for a quicklink February/March 2019  SPLASH!  19


news

Marketing

Narellan’s data-led rebranding strategy

The new logo is one of several changes to Narellan’s new visual identity

Narellan Pools was established more than 45 years ago and has grown to become an iconic inground fibreglass swimming pool brand and global company that spans manufacturing, franchise and construction. However, Narellan’s visual identity had not been updated since the 1990s, and managing director Chris Meyer says it was time to create a contemporary look that represents the innovative brand. “Our fresh look better communicates what Narellan Pools stands for,” he says. “World class swimming pools delivered with local service and a personal touch.” He says that consumer trends are constantly transforming, and it is imperative that Narellan Pools keeps evolving with them. “The previous logo and branding served the company well for several years,” he says. “However, in the same way the company has grown and developed, the logo and branding should do the same.” Meyer says the company wanted to break away from

looking like other pool businesses and establish distinct branding not only in Australia but globally. “We are the only franchise model in the pool builder segment,” he says. “And we have become experts at building a profitable and successful network of pool builders based on a true desire to see all stakeholders successful. With the industry showing growth of 12 per cent over the past five years, Narellan Pools has successfully doubled the business over the same period in the domestic market alone.”

The process

Meyer says that Narellan’s clients are at the centre of everything they do, and every decision they take is about delivering the world’s best and most loved client experience. To ascertain the best way to deliver that result, Narellan looked to hard data. “We are a data-driven business and this re-brand was no different,” says Meyer. “Working

with one of Australia’s top brand strategists over a two-year period, we conducted extensive research on the industry, competitors, non-clients and clients. This research was critical in developing the brand strategy for the coming years.” He says the research provided some significant insights, including that: * Clients place incredible value on the overall client experience rather than just the price; and * Clients expect a good quality pool and don’t want to be bombarded with technical data. “It wasn’t going to serve us well by benchmarking against the pool industry, which has been slow to catch up to global consumer trends,” he says. “Instead we needed to benchmark ourselves against companies that are revolutionising industries and constantly changing the way business is done.” He believes that if the pool industry wants to improve its reputation and level of professionalism, it should shift

away from its focus on product and price, and concentrate more on the client experience.

Visual elements

The logo and the visual aspects of a brand are the first thing clients see when interacting with a company, so it’s important that those elements have been designed to give the right impression and representation of the company. “Our final design is the result of hard work and thorough research,” says Meyer. “It truly represents Narellan Pools’ position as a global leading brand, while maintaining our focus on our clients and supporting local communities.” He says the design communicates trust and portrays professionalism, while remaining approachable to clients. “The changes to our brand are not just about a new logo, but across the board in our marketing we are aligning our brand to our strategy with a focus on the client experience in everything we do,” he says.

20 SPLASH! February/March 2019

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news

Associations

US pool organisations to combine in second shot at unification The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) will unify to form the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. The unification was approved by the boards of directors of both organisations on January 18 and 19, respectively, and work is currently underway to establish and formalise governance, structure and operations. The unified organisation is scheduled to officially begin operations on April 1. The new organisation will operate with The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance as the umbrella, leading industrywide advocacy, alliances and promotions. Trade and foundation activities will be conducted separately for

procedural and legal purposes, under the banners of The Pool & Hot Tub Professionals Association, and The Pool & Hot Tub Foundation, respectively. All three groups will be governed by a single board of directors to ensure sustained unity of mission and vision, and will be initially composed of five members each from the current boards of NSPF and APSP. Those members are: from APSP, Chris Curcio, Scott Frost, Rich Garbee, Andrew Levinson, and Donna Williams; and from NSPF, Rob Butcher, Karl Frykman, Franceen Gonzalez, James R. Mock, and Anita Sayed, Ph.D. “Industry leaders and our members and stakeholders increasingly realised that as our industry has continued to evolve

and grow, there was tremendous, uncaptured potential to maximise our collective investments and talents for the greater good,” says Lawrence (Larry) Caniglia, CEO of APSP, in explaining why the unification is taking place after a similar effort was abandoned in 2016. “We are excited to announce that this potential will now be realised.” Caniglia, who had earlier told the APSP board that he planned to retire in February 2019, has agreed to stay on as interim CEO of the consolidated organisation

until the new board can hire a full-time, permanent CEO; and Mock has agreed to serve as The Pool & Hot Tub Foundation’s interim Executive Director. The new unified Board of Directors plans to hold its first, organisational meeting in midMarch to begin the longer term process of integration, with the goal of beginning the search for a permanent CEO, determining staffing requirements and locations for core services and programs. Integration efforts are expected to continue through 2019.

Education

New program for women leaders SPASA Australia has launched a program to assist women succeed in the pool and spa industry.

business or work for themselves, with this option allowing them greater control over their work and family commitments.

Maytronics is sponsoring the Women in Leadership Program and it will be facilitated by Ros Ronning, a business executive with more than 25 years’ experience in learning and development, and human resources. She has coached directors, CEOs and senior executives in organisational change initiatives, leadership development, change resilience, performance management, managerial effectiveness, corporate communications, interpersonal skills, and cultural change.

“However it is also accompanied by feelings of isolation,” she says. “This may be geographic but is more commonly associated with emotional isolation. Many women in leadership roles feel they must find all the answers for themselves.”

“Although women make up 47 per cent of the workforce in Australia, they remain massively underrepresented in leadership roles, with statistics suggesting as few as 25 per cent of all leadership roles are held by women,” she says. Ros Ronning will be facilitating the SPASA Women in Leadership Program

22 SPLASH! February/March 2019

She says that more women than ever before are opting out of traditional employment options to start their own

She says the challenge is for these women to learn what it takes to be a great leader and where to go to learn the skills required. The aim of the SPASA Women in Leadership Program is to create a community of women leaders, by offering support, education and networking opportunities. It consists of a series of webinars, workshops and forums facilitated by Ronning, who has contributed to SPLASH! and will do so in future with more articles of relevance to business women in the pool and spa industry. Contact: spasa.com.au


feature

Neptune Pools,

the end B

eginning in the 1990s, I found more and more pools being installed on building sites, very often with the concrete shell going in before the house even commenced. Pools were being constructed right on the boundary or with the pool wall being part of the house foundation. From 1995 I found myself dealing with architects and builders on virtually every pool and by 2000 I had a number of those highend builders and architects who would simply advise their clients that Neptune Pools would be building their pools – I had virtually no competition at all for the last eight or nine years.

ABOVE: Cal Stanley TOP: By 1995 Cal was dealing with architects and builders on virtually every pool

The top end

Building at the top end of the market has its own challenges. First, I found that the builders would not enter into a contract. They just issued a purchase order. In time I found this acceptable because even had they signed a contract they would still only pay when they were ready. It also left it easier to make progress claims more often. Waiting 30 days or more for payment can have a serious effect on the cash flow, so the business has to be structured around this. This is where having a good overdraft facility in place can be vitally important – even if you seldom use it. Due to the complexity of the modern mansion, a pool would often get completed some years after the concrete shell was installed. On the site of the most expensive house in Australia (at the time), I completed the contract seven years after signing it. I got pretty good at estimating the building time and including expected inflation in the initial price so the house

24 SPLASH! February/March 2019

builder knew what he had to pay, and I didn’t need to fight for increases they wouldn’t pay anyway. Top end builders are a challenge in other ways – because when they want you, they want you now, not when it is convenient for you. We would sometimes be required on several sites at the same time and I had to employ considerable diplomacy at times to keep them all happy. All these pools came with an architect’s design for the pool. In the early days, architects would simply design the house and indicate a future pool or “pool by others” somewhere in the backyard. Somewhere during the 90s they started designing everything on the entire block. I found that the creativity they often came up with could be amazing at times, particularly with the pool design complementing the house design. Not every design they provided was for a good and practical family pool. I often found it necessary to call for a meeting of the client, the builder, the architects and sometimes the engineer, before I would even quote on the job. It was surprising how much the client appreciated the changes I would suggest. Don’t be afraid to take this course when you see potential problems during construction or for the client after construction. All parties, except perhaps the architect, will thank you and if you make a good case even he will see reason and appreciate any changes. Another reason for this is that early on, I would meet the client for the first time when handing over the pool. Several asked where this was, why haven’t we got one of those automatic cleaning systems, can I have an automatic pool cover installed now, etc. They


feature

were not happy when I had to say: “Sorry, but it was not in the contract and it’s too late now.” Finally, many architects have a warped sense for the size and location of the pool equipment. This became almost the first thing I would look for in a set of plans. Invariably it was far too small and difficult to access. They also have no concept of the size and width required for the balance tank (collection pond) on a vanishing edge pool. All these things need to be ironed out before any pool building commences and ideally before any final price is agreed on.

SPASA

Within weeks, I joined the then Swimming Pool Industry Association of WA (SPIAWA). Within 12 months I joined the managing committee and except for a period of two years, remained a committee member for 38 years. I represented SPASA WA at the national level on CASPA, (the Council of Australian Swimming Pool Associations), was involved in the creation and demise of the first national SPASA, became president – and then had to place it into liquidation. I again represented SPASA WA at the national level when the current SPASA started out as an unincorporated association of state SPASAs. This body transitioned into the current SPASA Australia Ltd wherein I ceased my involvement at the time of the SPASA NSW/SPASA Australia split because I believed in and agreed with their reasons for doing so.

By the time you read this, due largely to health issues, I will have finally retired after more than 38 wonderful and enjoyable (most of the time anyway) years in the pool industry. At the ripe old age of 78 it is time for someone else to fill any void I leave behind. Having said that, I remain available to any SPASA member in WA or Australia who may want advice on any topic which they think I may be able to offer advice or assistance on. The pool industry is great – life is better. Thanks! n SPASA CEO Lindsay McGrath says that Stanley has been a prolific supporter and proactive advocate for the growth and promotion of the industry. "He's a straight shooter who's never afraid of picking up the phone and providing an open and heartfelt opinion - often when I needed to hear just that. On behalf of a grateful industry we wish the best for Cal in his retirement." SPLASH! can inform readers that the operation was indeed a success and the new supercharged version of Cal Stanley is spending plenty of time belting balls around the tennis court. SPLASH! is grateful for his time and effort in providing dozens of informative, engaging and thought-provoking articles. Thanks Cal!

BOTTOM: In the 90s architects started designing everything on the block, with sometimes amazing creativity, particularly with the pool design complementing the house design BELOW: One of his hydraulic seminars at a SPLASH! expo

The end

In 2010 I decided that it was time to get out of the construction of pools, I just did not want to mess with concrete in my 70s. The business had been good for us. Not only did it give my wife Vera and I a good living, we managed to purchase commercial premises, bought and sold land and built two houses. In the end I decided that if I could not sell to another pool builder who could take on the existing business at the top end of the market, then I would not sell into a situation where I would be required to hang around for two to three years and teach someone else. When I made the decision to retire there was good value work in progress and I just finished it all off then sold the commercial property. Since then I have worked casually as a consultant in the area of concrete swimming pools. It has kept me occupied and my mind busy, which was the general idea. I have also spent many hours assisting both SPASA WA and SPASA Australia where I can, and enjoying life generally. Finally the time has come to hang up the shingle. As I write this in October 2018, my health is not the best and I am looking forward to a coronary by-pass operation which I confidently expect will give me a new lease on life. After all, I have been saying for at least the past 10 years that I have another 25 to go. That’s what I am aiming for anyway. I need to get back on the tennis court! This is the 37th and the last article I have written for SPLASH! I hope SPLASH! readers have got some enjoyment and even some good ideas from reading them. I look forward to reading those of my successor who I hope SPLASH! finds soon. February/March 2019  SPLASH!  25


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A

t the most recent Maytronics Elite dealers’ conference in Israel, Lindsay McGrath caught up with CEO Eyal Tryber and asked him some pertinent questions about innovation, marketing channels, leadership and the future direction of the company. Tryber says they planned for this delegation – the largest ever from Australia – for four years, and that the long term forward thinking shows a lot about the way Maytronics thinks. “We are not afraid to dream and we have high expectations in what we want to achieve,” he says. “We try to always be in front of the market and lead it and not be driven by the market, and I think that is part of our uniqueness.”

Maytronics looks to the future By Lindsay McGrath

A changing market

Maytronics is looking at future trends fully aware that the market is changing. Tryber says this awareness involves improving understanding of the consumers’ needs and then delivering tailored solutions through the sales channels. “Pool owners around the world are all different,” he says. “Even in Australia the pool owners in Sydney are different to the pool owners in Melbourne. So our mission is to really understand each pool owner and to bring them the best offering that we can, together with our partners.” Tryber sees engagement with the end-user through Elite dealers as the future for Maytronics. “Basically, what we want to do is create platforms to allow engagement with the consumer and our Elite dealers. We believe that this relationship has a lot of value and it is our duty to strengthen that relationship by using advanced technology to help them understand pool owner behaviour and bring them value.” Maytronics plans to develop a pool-specific platform that will provide detailed information on individual pools, enabling tailor-made solutions for safer, healthier and less expensive pool ownership. “I think that is a win/win situation – the best condition for the pool owner and the best business opportunity for our partners,” he says. “This is the vision and for that we need a lot of technology but we know where we are heading and that’s our dream.”

Leading a business culture

When asked about the innovative business culture of Maytronics, Tryber says he tries to lead by example. “I actually believe that as a leader you need to first of all look at yourself and really try to set the standard of

behaviour. Once you have that, then you can reflect it and expect it from others,” he says. “I don’t believe in ruling from the top and saying ‘I am here today and you must do this and this’. I believe in less talk and lead by example – show the standards of behaviour, show the people that you comply with the values of the company and you’re not just standing on a stage and telling them. “At the end of the day when I have 800 eyes looking at me and my management team – and we have all the market looking at us – you cannot hide and you cannot lie because people see your body language and how you truly react.” He says that at the end of the day, it’s the people and how they behave and how they perform that delivers the company’s values and visions. “So I invest my time to create that culture because I believe that’s at the core of our competitive edge and we need to protect it. As the company grows, it is our obligation not to lose it because if we lose it, we lose something from the Maytronics spirit and vision.” Tryber says not only is he expected to plan where the company is going, but he is always obliged to set the bar a little higher. “You show the way and slowly people will follow. So I think it is a combination of feeling the people, getting the energy from them and trying to give it back – but also setting the next goal so that people know where to walk.”

TOP LEFT: Chris Papa and Dan Kwaczynski from Maytronics Australia, CEO Eyal Tryber and Australian Ambassador to Israel Chris Cannan ABOVE: The Australian delegation relaxes in (or is that on) the Dead Sea: Scott Allan of Maytronics Australia (left) with Todd Jones from Prospect Pool & Spa

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  27


feature

Snapshots from the keynote In a keynote presentation to the delegation, Maytronics CEO Eyal Tryber outlined the company position and where they are looking in the future. Some interesting excerpts are reprinted below. “We grew dramatically and we increased the value of the company by 1000 per cent. So overall, life is good.” “We have established a global network with three subsidiaries – Australia, the US and France – and have we have representative offices and over 80 distributors, and we operate in at least 51 countries.” “We managed to take a lot of market share in the last couple of years of operation and we increased our market share in the robotic segment.” “We hope to increase the capacity and we opened last year another factory…with over 100 employees.” “We have over 800 wonderful people both globally and locally here in Israel.” “We have also had good sales, our company has been growing in the last couple of years with an average growth of 60 per cent and we are happy with that and I think also our shareholders are happy.” “We find only 20 per cent of pools are being cleaned by robots… this blue ocean is something we need to capture.”

TOP RIGHT: Former Maytronics staff member and "Mr Dolphin" Boaz Weiner (left) enjoying the therapeutic Dead Sea mud with Australian Elite Dealer Owen McCallum (right from Tongarra Pools). Maytronics now includes Dead Sea minerals in their Mineral Swim sanitisation offering

He says Maytronics is lucky at this point of time as they have products in demand by modern busy people looking for robotic solutions. They want technology to save them from mundane tasks, while giving them more time with their families. “The market bucket is huge, the opportunity is great and we have the right products at the right time. I think that helps me as a leader to drive the people because it’s like a force that is pushing everyone to do more, and there is also success – and success gives the right motivation.”

Focussing on both ends

Tryber led the Australian delegation of 140 business partners through the facility on the kibbutz, enlightening them on the manufacturing processes and systems. He says that the manufacturing and backend processes are just as important as company culture and direction, saying his philosophy is to take an overall view, looking at it from A to Z. “I grew in marketing and this where I came from. I can talk a lot again about high standards and using the cloud, creating marketing tools, getting close to the consumer, moving from a push strategy to a pull strategy – that’s great. But if you don’t look at the backend of the business then all we are going to do is disappoint our customers.” He says it’s important to focus on both ends of the business. “One, I’m pushing as much as I can, pushing the dream forward and the marketing. But the rest of my time I’m spending on the back end of the business to make sure that the operation walks two or three steps in front of the marketing.” He says that usually, production lags behind marketing. So they have invested in infrastructure and leaner processes to comply with the demand, control

28 SPLASH! February/March 2019

the cost, and manufacture in the most effective and competitive way possible. “I think the challenge is to make sure that everyone goes with you to the top of the mountain. We have some good climbers that are running very fast but if all the guys who are carrying the water and the food and the supplies are lagging behind, then the company will fail. So I’m putting pretty much the same effort in my mindset and focus on the organisation. “We have the best supply chain, the best support and the best quality, everything to support our dream – so it’s fantastic.”

The view from Australia

Maytronics Australia managing director Dan Kwaczynski led the delegation to Israel. “When I have taken staff here or come here myself, it changes your mind about what Israel means and what it is,” he says. “It helps people connect as a company, better understand the journey and build trust. That’s not all we hope to achieve – it’s not about an early buy, it’s about a connection for life.” Kwaczynski says that the cultures of Australia and Israel are reasonably similar, particularly from the company standpoint. “They are fantastic people, so friendly and their hospitality is amazing and they feed you to the end of the earth. They have been fantastic to be with and to have broken the ‘norms’ of what your expectation is going into a partnership – so that was the other reason for bringing people here, it was to break down the paradox.” When asked about Maytronics’ Elite dealers’ allegiances with various other suppliers, Kwaczynski says he appreciates their independent nature. “They are looking for value and they are looking for people who can join the dots and provide all the benefits of a big network but to keep their independence and freedom. So I think it’s nice that they have all these different ideas from lots of areas, and when they come together from all those spheres, that networking and sharing gives them a real benefit and power. “So I actually think it’s a real power to them that they can do that and they still embrace the idea of networking, that’s what sets them apart from the others.” n


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feature

The pool shop toolbox:

ideas to help improve retail profitability By Izzy Grace

ABOVE: The aim is to attract customers and keep them coming back

T

echnological, cultural and economic changes are shifting the retail balance of power – and now store owners are becoming more agile when it comes to taking care of existing customers and attracting new ones. For example, retailers can now easily track customer data, which provides an important source of consumer research that product manufacturers can’t directly access. But what’s the point of collating data if you don’t know what to do with it? We look at the modern marketing tools savvy pool and spa companies are using to align business goals with a better understanding of their customers, as well as balancing digital platforms with a bricks and mortar presence.

How to tell if your store is shoppable

Pool Systems’ commercial manager Anthony Ramsay says a good marketing strategy begins with how well your bricks and mortar store flows with the consumer. “Is it shoppable?” he asks. 30 SPLASH! February/March 2019

“Pretend you’re the consumer and ask yourself: Does the layout make sense? Does it ‘departmentalise’ by transitioning well from one category to the next? No matter how small or large a store you have, the flow is important. It has to make sense in order for your customers to feel comfortable to browse, shop and buy. “An important note here: you do not always need to remodel or re-rack your store. Many times, all you need to do is reposition a few shelves and create ‘road blocks’ that prevent customers from walking in a straight line. In other cases, you just need to add ‘castle’ items, which are items that grab customers’ attention.” Every retailer needs a well-thought-out plan on how, when, where and how much they will spend on marketing. Ramsay says this is crucial to the success of both brand and business. “Don’t wait for the weather to change to start thinking about spending on marketing,” he says. “I suggest starting off by planning in-store events. Think of these differently than sales — they’re fun events that get your customers to your store.”


Pool Systems’ Anthony Ramsay, seen here at the SPLASH! Pool & Spa Show, says that no matter how small or large a store is, the flow is important

“Pretend you’re the consumer and ask yourself: Does the layout make sense? Does it ‘departmentalise’ by transitioning well from one category to the next?” He recommends beginning with four events, a theme for each and a loose idea of when they may happen (you don’t need an exact day, but a month is helpful). For example: 1. VIP or customer appreciation event (pre-season event) 2. “Kickoff to Summer Savings” event (start of summer) 3. “Summer Saleabration” (in-season event) 4. End-of-season selloff (clearance event to make room for new items next year) “Put together a marketing sheet that outlines what the event is and what products will be promoted,” he says. “Be sure to budget for signage, balloons and other in-store POS. It’s always important to ask for input from the staff and team so they have ownership and want to be involved in these promotions. If you have a service department, don’t forget those customers too!” Ensure suppliers are aware what products you are promoting and if you need their help for the event. “They may pitch in with ‘deals’ or suggestions for ways you can increase the success of your events,” he says. “By keeping everyone on the same page, you have more people in your corner helping you make your events successful.”

Getting on-board with online

So, that’s the physical stores, but what about online stores? “If you don’t have an e-commerce site, it’s time to get on board. According to digital marketing firm Invesp, 51 per cent of people surveyed said they picked up an online order in-store in the past year,” Ramsay says. “Thirty-two per cent did so for convenience, and 30 per cent did so because they needed an item the same day and could not wait for delivery.”

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ABOVE: Instagram provides a highly visual way to communicate with your customers ABOVE RIGHT: Hayward’s Rob Emmett says the amazing thing about marketing today is that you can do so much of it yourself

In addition to an online store, your website needs delivered via their preferred method, be it text, mail, to have rich content about the products and services email or phone call.” you offer. They also want to be rewarded for their loyalty and as “According to MineWhat, an e-commerce firm, 81 Ramsay explains, that includes classic loyalty programs as per cent of consumers conduct online research before well as records of their purchasing history and details of they make a purchase and 61 per cent will read product their equipment. reviews “If they before have an algae making a flare-up “Technology is making marketing much easier.” purchase,” and can’t he says. remember Ramsay what algaecide says to they bought ensure your online presence kept up to date. from you before, you should be able to look it up and sell “Make sure you post current, relevant information, it to them on the spot,” he says. “Retail in general has including detailed product and service information. changed more in the past 10 years. Smartphones, social And encourage your customers to post reviews, which media and emerging technology is changing our world provide third-party verification that you and your rapidly, and it’s our job to keep up.” brand are doing a consistently good job at what you do. “At the end of the day we know that people believe Easy customer engagement online reviews, even when those reviews are not written by with DIY marketing people they know,” he says. Hayward Pool Products marketing coordinator Rob “Today’s consumer wants personalisation. They want Emmett says the amazing thing about marketing today is offers mailed or emailed to them that are relevant to their that you can do so much of it yourself. needs – for example, your spa customers aren’t looking for “At Hayward, the vast majority of our dealers are emails about pool chemical deals. small businesses without marketing departments “In other words, they want you to understand what or big marketing budgets and in the past it’s quite they own and produce special offers for them — likely that they would have had to contract an agency

32 SPLASH! February/March 2019


to carry out their marketing,” he says. “Now it’s very easy and very cheap to generate great marketing yourself – all you need is a bit of creativity, time and a computer.” The quickest and easiest way to engage with customers, says Emmett, is through social media. “The obvious base for any social media activity is Facebook. With over 16 million users in Australia, it’s still the most widely used social media platform and if you only have limited time, this is still the best place to focus your efforts. At Hayward we concentrate our social media efforts on showing the personality of our business and building relationships with customers.” Another great platform for grabbing the attention of your customers is Instagram. “Insta is perfect for the pool industry, being all about great visuals and lifestyle. The incredible pools and beautiful landscapes that Australian builders create are exactly what users of Instagram want to see. With over six million users in Australia it’s easy to reach a large audience and the paid options available actually make it a very affordable way to engage with a very specific audience.” The golden rule of any social media activity is to be consistent with your posting, set up a regular posting schedule and stick to it. If you do this, you’ll see your followers grow and grow. “Technology is making marketing much easier,” he says. “No matter what you want to use to market your business, a computer genius somewhere will have thought of a way to make it cheap and easy. Whether it’s a website, email marketing, branded merchandise or print, there are some really easy-to-use, free programs that you can use to give your marketing the professional look you’d expect from an agency. We use a number of these at Hayward because we don’t want to waste our budget on paying for things that we can do ourselves for free.”

Engagement means customers will stick with you

When it comes to customer retention in this day and age, Emmett says you have to offer more. And by that he means building engagement, so customers want to continue to do business with you. “Think of the coffee shop where they know your name and the coffee you drink. You don’t go back because they’re the cheapest – you go back because you have a relationship with them,” he says. “This is no different in any industry: build a relationship and retention will happen. The key to retention is managing the relationship with your customers and going that extra mile to make sure they feel valued.” When looking to generate revenue streams through the off season, creativity is key. “This is where the depth of the relationship you have with your customers will show through,” he says. “At Hayward we look closely at our customer needs through the off season and tailor our offerings accordingly, I think this applies to any business. It’s also important to know what you can offer your customers through the off season that will benefit them through the peak season. “Getting customers to plan ahead is key here – if you can identify what they use through the peak season and encourage them to spread their purchases throughout the year you can maintain a

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RIGHT: Maytronics’ has undertaken a transformational digital journey that aligns business goals with a better understanding of customers

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steady revenue stream through the off season and reduce some of the pressure of the peak season.” He says it’s important for any business to have a fully coherent and “joined up” marketing strategy so the result is greater than the sum of the parts. “An easy example of this is making sure that all of your marketing is easily recognisable, so whenever a customer comes into contact with your marketing your brand is reinforced,” he says. “It’s also important to choose the right marketing mix to maximise your budget and leverage the benefits of all of your marketing activity. For example, if you have just had a new website produced, to make the most of the investment it’s a good idea to use digital marketing such as Google AdWords and Facebook to send leads to your page, therefor you’ll be making the most of the investment in the website. Concentrating your budget in this way is more effective than spreading it thinly across multiple platforms.”

Aligning awareness and conversion in the sales funnel

As the robotic pool cleaner category has matured in Australia, market leaders Maytronics has made strategic business decisions to integrate the sales-based retail dealership network with a service-based model for marketing and leads-management. Consumer marketing manager Nick Renford says this is underpinned by ethical pricing structures (including fair

margins for dealers who do demos and promote locally), a commitment to sales training and strong technical support on parts and servicing. “That’s why the Maytronics Australia business model has proven so successful,” he says. “Also significant is our progressive approach to trade marketing and, more recently, consumer marketing with the Dolphin and Mineral Swim brands. Since launching its e-commerce platform in 2015, we have explored new media and digital opportunities and refined the sophistication of our marketing efforts.”

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ABOVE: Swimart utilises a number of platforms to ensure it engages with both existing and potential customers throughout the year

As traditional TV audiences splinter, marketing budgets have shifted towards subscription-based entertainment, digital content and video integrated with search engine marketing (SEM) and social marketing. “This has demanded significant new investment in marketing and customer experience systems that can deliver transparency via accessibility, accountability and responsiveness,” he says. Renford says the clearest example of that is social media presence. “This works hand-in-glove with an influencer program that leverages brands in micro-markets based on geography, life-stage and special interests. Maytronics Australia is building better customer experiences through the management of customer data, the integration of web and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, and a respect for social media as a business discipline

“If you don’t have an e-commerce site, it’s time to get on board.” with multiple internal stakeholders – the two main ones being customer service and marketing, which utilise social marketing and CRM to align awareness and conversion within the sales funnel.”

Utilising innovative, accessible and re-configurable cloud-based systems

Maytronics also maintains an explicit goal of ensuring its dealership network – in other words, its critical

business customers – are the beneficiaries of the brand’s ability to build direct-to-consumer relationships that can impact retention. “As with many manufacturers that have undertaken a transformational digital journey that aligns business goals with a better understanding of customers, Maytronics Australia may encounter some resistance,” Renford says. “Change is fundamentally challenging, but adaptability is essential to survival. This critical change is aimed at assisting dealers by targeting consumers for mutual growth. This can only be successful where manufacturer and dealer goals are aligned. This calibration is a strategic priority for Maytronics Australia.” Renford says consumer marketing increasingly challenges the company’s ability to adapt, grow and merge the best aspects of brand marketing with digital channels that connect with more people while raising the bar on transparency and responsiveness. “At a technology level, it’s almost a continualprototyping challenge. We need to be in-market now so that means we need to utilise innovative, accessible and re-configurable cloud-based systems that work today, not tomorrow,” he says. “It sounds like it’s come from a gobbledygookgeneration app, but it’s a reflection of modern marketing – our leads are triggered by paid, earned and owned social media and we need an ROI quickly.” Keeping an eye on big media – like riding cricket’s move from free-to-air to pay TV – while building an adaptable web team for fragmented digital campaign management, are important parts of the marketing mix. “As an example, today we’re using MongoDB Cloud Atlas (databases) with MongoDB Stitch (microservices), February/March 2019  SPLASH!  37


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RIGHT: Testing water is still a mainstay of the pool shop

Google Cloud Services (for geolocation), Twilio SMS services, Zapier Service Connector for marketing automation and Netlify to generate static sites using serverless hosting under a React JS JavaScript framework,” he says. “These may change next year, but they’ll drive leads today. Our analytics will evolve. We will adapt and learn with the landscape. However, one thing we won’t do is wait and see, because it’ll change under our feet.” At a product level, Maytronics globally has ambitious growth plans based on some exciting innovations. “We’re planning on taking our dealers and consumers on that journey with us,” says Renford. “One of the most exciting innovations in the pool industry today is ozone technology – adapted from proven commercial sanitation technology for domestic pools.” [See SPLASH! Issue 121 for an article on ultra-fine bubble and ozone]. “Maytronics is already vested in Mineral Swim, the only 100 per cent natural Dead Sea mineral swimming

pool system married to the additional water purification of Ozone Swim. The system works beautifully with Dolphin robotic pool cleaners to provide swimming experiences in crystal clear, safe and healthy water,” he says.

The organic and paid social mix

Clark Rubber develops, manages and implements a multi-channel national marketing strategy on behalf of its franchisees, with the two key areas of focus being the acquisition of new customers and the retention of existing customers. “For Clark Rubber, social media is all about creating engagement with customers and potential customers,” says general manager marketing Andrew Senyard. “We undertake a comprehensive schedule of organic and paid social media activities right throughout the year, on both national and local store levels.” The path to purchase from social media activity is not always linear or direct. “We continually reach out to those who have engaged with us via social media using techniques like re-targeting to ensure both the brand and products remain top-ofmind and assisting in moving towards a conversion to a sale,” Senyard says. Technology also plays a critical role for Clark Rubber in attracting and retaining customers. “A recent example is the national deployment of our best-in-class pool water testing technology, which

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provides a quick and easy testing solution for our customers,” he says. “Importantly, this technology also tests for multiple parameters, providing our in-store pool experts with full insight into the health of their customer’s pool water, allowing them to provide the right combination of pool care products.”

Staying organised

SPASA Australia CEO Spiros Dassakis says there are two main pieces of technology that should be at the centrepiece of any small business: customer relationship management (CRM) software and financial programs. CRM platforms offer a powerful database functionality that contains critical information on customers, stakeholders, employees, business partners and suppliers. “CRMs also have the ability to monitor real-time dashboards, sales prospects and other business data tasks, bookings and meetings,” he says. “CRM platforms allow you to stay organised and quickly source the information a small business needs to stay connected with its customers.” Financial programs such as QuickBooks, Xero and MYOB give small businesses complete understanding and awareness into their financial health. “Every small business has specific needs due to the way they operate and transact,” he says. “This may range from online to physical retail premises. While sales are important, the success of a business is not just selling

products. Business owners need to have access to ongoing accurate accounts.” Using accounting software to its full potential is essential to running a successful business. Some examples include: • Recording all transactions; • Comparing sales and cost variances; • Recording purchase orders and receipts; • Staying on top of tax requirements;

ABOVE: Technology plays a critical role for Clark Rubber in attracting and retaining customers, including their “bestin-class pool water testing technology”

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“While the pool season is a key trading time, product categories such as foam and rubber provide franchisees with strong revenue streams right throughout the year,” he says. Clark Rubber has a high-frequency advertising and promotions schedule, with campaigns taking place right throughout the year. They key to maximising the impact and benefit of these campaigns, Senyard says, is integration across multiple promotional channels. “Our campaigns utilise traditional tools such as catalogue, TV and radio advertising, but supplement these with social media, eDMs and other digital channels for maximum reach and impact,” he says. The responsibility for success of its advertising and promotions campaigns is shared between the marketing team, franchisees and their store teams. “In-store merchandising is a daily focus, but becomes even more critical during promotional campaigns,” says Senyard. “Clark Rubber provides its stores with the guidance and support materials to ensure that all promotional offers are clear and highly visible to customers in-store.”

Visual strategies

ABOVE: PR expert Lisa Llewellyn works closely with Swimart’s marketing team to get people talking about the brand BELOW RIGHT: External branding is important, as seen here at Clark’s Darwin store

• Payroll, annual leave etc; • Staying on top of cashflow. Dassakis says if your pool or spa store has won an award, that fact can provide a small business with powerful marketing advantages. Winning an award enables you to: • Shine above your competitors; • Be positioned as the best of the best; • Obtain recognition of your efforts; • Celebrate awards with your staff; • Showcase projects and your commitment to excellence; • Generate positive media coverage.

“Social media is all about creating engagement with customers and potential customers.” “It’s important that you share your award win with local news outlets and not just your team,” says Dassakis. “This will inform prospective clients of the calibre of your work and hopefully entice them to pay you a visit.”

More on CRM

Clark Rubber operates a sophisticated CRM program on behalf of its franchisees. Through the collection of customer contact data at point of sale (both in-store and online), it has the ability to manage a customer’s lifecycle with the brand. “We understand the types of products that a customer has purchased, as well as how often and how recently they have shopped with us,” says Senyard. “This type of information gives us the ability to target tailored marketing communications and offers directly to our customers, with the aim of retaining them as active Clark Rubber shoppers. As the experts in “everything pools, foam and rubber”, Clark Rubber trades across multiple product categories. 40 SPLASH! February/March 2019

Vortex Leisure’s head of global marketing Kenneth “J” Norness Jr says Spa World’s marketing strategies are heavily visual because they help build the dream of spa ownership, while sharing some of the technical aspects of what is involved in owning and maintaining a spa. “Spa World’s philosophy is that owning a spa is about relaxation. Our stores and our sales process are designed to be a relaxing experience,” Norness says. “We want customers to experience that philosophy from the moment they walk through the door.” The company’s marketing team uses Instagram and Facebook to share customer stories through imagery about how their lives are changed by owning a spa. “We take inspiration from our customers and their stories. We hear time and again how spa ownership has enhanced their lives, whether the spa provides a place for simple relaxation, a family area for reconnecting and bonding, or as hydrotherapy for fitness and recuperation,” he explains. “We use Facebook also for calls-to-action messaging and to talk to the community of spa owners to share their stories of spa ownership with potential new customers.” Spa World, which has been refining its marketing strategies since it launched in 1985, uses the Google marketing platform, a proprietary CMS with an added best-in-class CRM system, and Zendesk for customer support. In regard to customer retention, acquisition and relationship management, Norness says the company’s high-quality customer support program includes 10 customer care specialists providing seven days a week service. Norness says they have an unrivalled level of customer care. “Spa World’s five-star service has resulted in high


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ABOVE: Keeping the customer satisfied

customer retention rates and helps with customer acquisition as well through positive word-of-mouth. We also provide consumables and spa parts at very affordable prices. Other customer acquisition strategies include digital advertising, trade shows, and our showrooms.” Spa World has also expanded its offering to include infrared saunas from Vortex Spas. “Which means there is not much of an off season for our company. We also have a number of brand offerings from US-made Viking Spas, winners of the Consumer Digest Best Buy award, the world’s largest selling spa brand HotSpring Spas,” he says. Spa World’s digital-first strategy is optimised regularly to ensure its advertising methods dovetail with its business strategy. “Digital allows us to more accurately target potential customers, measure the effectiveness of our marketing, and smartly allocate our budget,” he says.

Bolstering social marketing efforts

Swimart franchise marketing director Nathan Hallahan says the 35-year-old company utilises a number of

“Think of the coffee shop where they know your name and the coffee you drink. You don’t go back because they’re the cheapest – you go back because you have a relationship with them.” platforms to ensure it engages with both existing and potential customers throughout the year. “With the consumer top of mind, Swimart prides itself on providing a safe and enjoyable swimming experience,” he says. “Utilising the line marketing strategy, we aim to educate consumers about the expert advice we can provide to a pool owner to ultimately improve their swimming experience. Our marketing mix incorporates a variety of channels to ensure we are top of mind for consumers looking for expert advice and help with their pool.” With the digital ecosystem becoming more relevant – and readily accessible – to the everyday consumer, Swimart has bolstered it efforts around social and search engine 42 SPLASH! February/March 2019

marketing to educate consumers about how to maintain their pool, the products and services it offers, and the backyard lifestyle it can help the consumer achieve. “We continue to enhance our digital presence by delivering value to our target audience by educating them about their pool and what we offer through products and services,” he says. “Using in-house brand research, mystery shop and review mechanisms, we continually look to ensure we deliver on the promise of expert trusted advice to the consumer.” “This is what essentially creates our loyal customer base and helps us grow as a network,” Hallahan says. Swimart partners with agencies to deliver content across a range of platforms including TV, PR, social, website and radio. The role of their public relations agency, Llewellyn Communications, is even more vital in an age where disruption is the new normal. “We work closely with Swimart’s marketing team and other partners to create compelling campaigns and ideas that get people talking,” says principal Lisa Llewellyn. “It’s a collaborative relationship that helps Swimart and its franchise partners achieve their business and communication objectives.” The key takeaway from all of this is that if you market your business effectively, you’ll bring new customers through the doors and keep them coming back. There are more tools available than ever before to help you do this and most of them are easy to use and in some cases, free. As Rob Emmett from Hayward says: “Get out there and give it a crack. What have you got to lose?” n

Contacts: Clark Rubber: www.clarkrubber.com.au Hayward Pool Products: www.hayward-pool.com.au Llewellyn Communications: llewcom.com.au Maytronics: www.maytronics.com.au Pool Systems: www.poolsystems.com.au SPASA Australia: www.spasa.com.au Swimart: swimart.com.au Vortex Leisure: www.vortexspas.com.au


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Pools shine in the Best of Houzz 2019 Awards

ABOVE: Trend Group Australasia TOP RIGHT: Bayon Gardens photographed by Tim Turner Photographer RIGHT: sw-Architects photographed by David Sievers Photography

H

ouzz has released its list of winners in the Best of Houzz (BOH) awards, selected by its community of online readers. “Best of Houzz is a true badge of honour as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring home improvement professionals for their projects,” says Houzz country manager Tony Been. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favourites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.” The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Pools featured prominently in many of the awards including Bayon Gardens, sw-Architects and Trend Group Australasia, all pictured on these pages. You

44 SPLASH! February/March 2019

can also see a special gallery of swimming pool winners via a link at splashmagazine.com.au. Design awards honour professionals whose work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users globally on Houzz. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including a professional’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2018. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognised with the Photography award. A Best Of Houzz 2019 badge appears on winners’ profiles to help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals on Houzz locally and around the world. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in Sydney, London, Berlin, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Contact: houzz.com.au n


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The evolution of stainless steel swimming pools ABOVE: Michael Walsh, president and CEO of Natare Corporation RIGHT: Marina Bay Sands, the most recognisable elevated stainless steel pool in the world

S

tainless steel structures are used around the world for public swimming pools, competition pools, backyard pools and home spas. One of the pioneers of stainless pool construction, Mike Walsh of Natare Corporation, visited Australia as part of a global tour, in part to meet with Australian partner and agent State Wide Pool Services. While he was here, SPLASH! caught up with him to discuss stainless steel, filtration and all things pools. The name Natare comes from the Latin verb “to swim”. As well as having a long history in the US swimming pool industry and leading a number of segments there, the company also reaches into the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Korea, Canada, Latin America, Mexico, China and the Caribbean. The company’s stainless steel vessels have become famous thanks to a number of spectacular swimming pool projects – the best known in our region being the towering Marina Bay Sands elevated swimming pool in Singapore. “Marina Bay Sands has been a wonderful project for us,” says Walsh. “The coverage was great and we got wonderful publicity for it. Just yesterday I was sitting with Mark

46 SPLASH! February/March 2019


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Avery, head of MEP construction – he’s now working for Crown Resorts –– and we were commenting on the fact that MBS has really stood an incredible test of time.” The MBS pool features a staggering 500,000 custom-fired tiles attached to the stainless steel by a special epoxy mastic system. Walsh says that since the build in 2010, not one tile has come off. “The adhesion system is a two-part 100 per cent solids epoxy. If it’s applied properly through our builders, we give a longer warranty than you can give concrete. The expansion rates aren’t that far apart if you use proper mastic system with it – you require some jointing as you do in any environment. It works, as does no tile, or polymer interior finishes, or PVC membrane finishes. So there’s a pretty wide palette to choose from. “It’s amazing how geographically bound ideas about pool interiors are,” he says. “In the Mediterranean and Latin American countries, it is absolutely a given that it’s going to be ceramic tile. In Northern Europe – Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, it’s very much stainless steel. They want that look with nothing on it, polished stainless steel. If you get into the southwestern US, there’s a lot of tile. In north-eastern US, stainless steel.”

The early days

Natare, headquartered in Indianapolis, was started by Walsh and a partner in 1970. “We started being a sourcing and supply company for swimming pool and aquatics equipment. In the late 60s early 70s there was nothing like a mail order provider of equipment and systems. If you were in a major town you’d have a pool supply store, but if you were in Lost Forks North Dakota, it was a long hike. Then if you start talking about the commercial public pool sector – nothing. “There was one large company called Ocean Pool Supplies. We published a catalogue and thought we could do better and it started from that. In addition to that we had one of the early pool facility management companies in the United States, called Recreation Associates – we cut our teeth on actually running facilities, providing everything from lifeguards and learn-to-swim to handling memberships – and we did that for a number of years until the big insurance scare in the late 70s when the premiums went up significantly.” Then they combined a number of businesses into an entity called the Recreonics Corporation, which over the next 20 years grew to be one of the

The first major pool completed in Australia in partnership with State Wide Pool Services was built as part of the University of South Australia’s $50m cultural and sporting facility, Pridham Hall

largest specialist pool equipment distributors and manufacturers in the world. But by 1992 they realised that doing everything was too much for one company, so they divided into two entities – one was the residential catalogue side of the business, the other was the manufacturing and commercial equipment side of the businesses. “Natare was formed to be the commercial systems manufacturer and to concentrate on stainless steel pools, PVC membrane systems and filtration equipment. Stainless steel pools grew out of our stainless steel perimeter gutter. Which is something that’s not particularly prevalent in Australia but we hope to change that. We – and a couple of other companies in the US – developed it in the late 60s/early 70s as a renovation system.” At that point the US had thousands of very old, very large pools that had been built by the employmentgenerating Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression.

TOP LEFT: One of Natare’s most notable projects in the US was the Texas-shaped pool featured in the 2017 Houston Super Bowl. Built on top of the Marriott Marquis hotel next door to stadium, it was basically a long lazy river designed to replicate the meandering Texas border

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  47


ABOVE: Perched 35 metres above street level, the Texas shaped lazy river was a monumental undertaking by the engineers. The river is 1.1 metres deep and flows with a gentle current that carries guests around the state in less than 15 minutes. The pool holds half a million litres of water and if straightened, would be 155 metres long

“The public works program built these massive concrete pools just to keep people busy,” says Walsh. “Give them 25 cents a day to build a pool. They would have walls approaching a metre thick. Huge monstrous things. But all the piping systems were done with galvanised pipe or black steel. Here’s these massive structures that has been moving and will no longer hold water and the piping systems are shot and the perimeter gutters are shot. “So the idea developed to cut off the top to 450mm to 600mm and put in a complete stainless steel gutter that includes a filtered water supply and an overflow system with the water coming over the gutter returned into the filter. Then you can just abandon the old pipes. “The next evolution was to incorporate a PVC membrane system. Because then the concrete that’s kind of spalled and the expansion joints that are gone are no longer a leakage problem. So for about 15 per cent to 25 per cent of the cost of a new facility you could renovate the existing one.” After that success, they started trying to think of other ways they could effectively use stainless steel. “It came first with really troublesome sites,” he says. “Sites with extremely bad soil conditions, or on other areas that really didn’t lend themselves to concrete construction. It gave rise to the stainless steel wall systems that incorporated a gutter to full stainless steel pools in many applications, primarily because of durability and longevity.”

48 SPLASH! February/March 2019

As a result, they made a very significant investment of millions of dollars in equipment, and started making and marketing stainless steel pools.

Types of stainless steel

Walsh says the grade of stainless used varies depending upon its application, but the standard is now 316L. “Maybe 20 years ago the standard was 304L which is a few grades up from the basic 18/8 which is a 302.” Stainless steel includes chromium and some carbon and L designates low carbon. “In the welding process you need to limit the amount of carbon in the steel. Otherwise you can get what’s called carbide precipitation in the weld joint, and that can be a precursor to corrosion. “Today I think the standard has become 316L. I think if you were to talk to a number of people in the pool industry and in the water containment industry as a whole, there seems to be a common belief – I’m not sure I can endorse it or deny it – that the stainless steel has changed somewhat over the past X number of years and it’s not quite as corrosion resistant. “I’ve heard all kinds of theories put forward by the metallurgical community – all the way from, that’s nonsense were operating differently or we’re using more aggressive chemicals, to the idea that so much stainless steel today is made with reclaimed material – there’s a lot of recycling. Nothing definitive. But we in the


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industry have for the most part now adopted 316. And I think Australia/NZ/UK and Germany were ahead of the US on that.”

Salt and stainless

BELOW: Tempered glass, stainless steel underwater windows are made for both the swimming pool and aquaria industries

“The system eliminates the need for a surge or balance tank – and they are becoming problematic because you have to get in them to clean them, and they’re a confined space.”

Walsh says salt is the natural enemy of any metal, but salt chlorination is only problematic if you go above about 4500ppm. “The problem is as you increase the saline content, you’re increasing the TDS and as you increase the TDS, you increase the conductivity. You actually measure conductivity by TDS. Now at the end of the day, all corrosion is basically electrical in nature. It will flow from an anode to a cathode. If you facilitate that flow, you tend to increase the propensity for corrosion.” Stainless steel is stainless because of the passive layer formed by chromium oxide. “It is a self-propagating, autogenous protective shield that develops when you expose a metal alloy that has chromium. With stainless steel you form chromium oxide on the surface, whereas in mild steel you form ferrous oxide. The difference being chromium oxide is a passive state of stainless. So it’s highly resistant to corrosion. But the salt breaks down the passive coating and establishes an area that is no longer protected by the chromium film and you get pitting – and as soon as you get pitting, you can get corrosion. So at the end of the day you have to control the salt.” He points out that this is not a problem that’s limited to stainless steel and that high TDS environments are also dangerous to everything from tile to plaster. However, the issues tend to be much less of a problem for residential applications. “The difference is that single family residential pool, lightly loaded and lightly used, has a very low oxidiser requirement. So you don’t have to use that much salt. But in the public commercial pool environment you can

end up with high saline levels and high TDS levels, and that affects railings and other things around the pool as well. Straight electrolysis from tap water or brine water tanks is all fine.”

The Australian market

He says they’re looking at bringing in a number of products to the Australian market, from stainless steel perimeter gutter through to stainless steel wall systems to stainless steel pools. “There are many reasons why stainless pools make sense,” he says. “Costs are equivalent to cast concrete but you get a dramatic increase in construction time benefits particularly with what we call unit-ties or modular pools. You can bring the product to site in large sections and complete the installation on site.” He says the Natare product is different to other well known stainless steel pool systems. “We actually have two products,” he says. “One is what we call an AWS system which is an acronym for all welded stainless steel, the other is an SPS system which is structural panel system. “The AWS systems are a pretty heavy grade of stainless steel that have complete wall sections up to five metres tall, manufactured in sections and brought to site. Those sections can be upward to six metres of length. “The advantage is in the reduction of construction time. The time on a project is a huge cost and the extent that you can reduce that build time gives you a tremendous benefit.” He says that with a 25-metre eight lane pool, you could go from a hole in the ground to swimming in one month. “You’re looking at about a 90-day period of all construction if you’ve got a fast builder. That includes all the hydraulics and everything.”

Vacuum filtration

The other component of their system is the filtration plant. “We manufacture the MicroFlo vacuum sand filter. It’s a large self-contained filtration plant. It comes to site fully plumbed, fully piped and with everything needed to set it in the ground with drain, gutter connection, return connection and power. Turn it on and you’re ready to go. “Our standard filter is a permanent media filter using a special grade of sand. We can get particulate removal down to five microns, which is a little better than DE and perlite. The big aspect of this is that you take an otherwise challenging bit of work – putting together a mechanical plant room – and you substitute it with one filter with almost 15 square metres of filter area in one system.” He says the vacuum filtration adds some electrostatic benefits that enable them to take out very fine particles, but the biggest thing is the February/March 2019  SPLASH!  49


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“Marina Bay Sands has been a wonderful project for us.”

ABOVE: The Marina Bay Sands pool features an incredible 500,000 custom-fired tiles attached to the stainless steel by a special epoxy mastic system RIGHT: Natare is a pioneer in moveable bulkheads

reduction in water usage, because they backwash using high pressure air. “Backwashing traditionally means you have to reverse the flow of the water at the full rate for upwards of ten minutes for bed expansion to get the debris out,” he says. “But we use a pulsed burst of air that very rapidly expands that entire bed, breaks it apart and gets all the debris loosened up so that a two- to three-minute flow of water basically flushes it out.” He also says that while it’s not a typical regenerative filter, it does in effect have a regenerative process, because once a night the filter regenerates to release trapped air, rearranging the upper layers of the media and presenting a new media bed. “We’re generating a pulse that has between five and eight times the kinetic energy of water flow. And we’re oxidising the organic matter that is getting trapped in the filter. That is the stuff that normally it is very difficult to get out. We guarantee you never have to replace the sand media in one of our filters – in fact we say if you do, we’ll give it to you. “The system eliminates the need for a surge or balance tank – and they are becoming problematic because you have to get in them to clean them, and they’re a confined space. And they are nasty if you’ve ever cleaned inside a balance tank.”

50 SPLASH! February/March 2019

Other products

Among the other products Natare markets are stainless steel bulkheads – in fact, they’ve been an innovator in moveable bulkheads for 40 years. “We invented the first easily moved moveable bulkhead back in the early 1970s,” he says. “All of our bulkheads are stainless steel and are built in one piece for North America, or in multiple sections that are shipped and assembled on-site. We probably have more world records on our systems than any other manufacturer combined. Very stiff, very


The components are welded together on site

durable. Competitive swimmers love them because they don’t flex. They also have specialty products such as dive sparger systems and stainless steel and tempered glass underwater windows. “In Australia, we’ll have the stainless steel pools but we’ll be trying to combine the pools with the filtration because that’s when we get tremendous functionality,” he says. Already the partnership with State Wide Pool Services has netted one major project completion – the swimming pool at the University of South Australia as part of a new $50m cultural and sporting facility. n

ABOVE: A stainless steel spa LEFT: The underwater windows in situ

Contacts: Natare Corporation: www.natare.com State Wide Pool Services Australia: (08) 8169 9512; www.swps.net.au

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  51


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to make a commitment to reducing drownings in swimming pools to zero,” he says. “It’s not sufficient for us to rely on state and national government initiatives to address swimming pool drownings in Australia. Every initiative we instigate or support will go some way to reducing swimming pool drownings and near-fatalities.”

Winning initiatives

Industry can play leading role in safety promotion ABOVE: This year, more than 350 Australian swim schools participated in Learn2Swim Week

A

ndrew Kidd, Poolwerx chief operating officer, says that the swimming pool and spa industry has an important role to play in promoting safety in and around water. “As members of the pool industry, we are in an enviable position within the retail space, as we are supplying goods and services that enhance the leisure activities of Aussie consumers,” says Kidd. “It’s a positive industry to be a part of and every day we are working with our customers to enhance their enjoyment of their pools and spas. “However, as with any water-based activity, pools and spas do carry a safety risk, particularly

This year, more than 350 Australian swim schools participated in Learn2Swim Week, offering free swimming lessons for kids under five for the most vulnerable of users – the under-five age group.” Last year 33 Australians lost their lives as a result of pool drownings: 12 were children under the age of five. “These sobering statistics demonstrate that there is a clear opportunity for us in the pool industry 52 SPLASH! February/March 2019

This year Learn2Swim Week and April Pools Day water safety campaigns were recognised by the Franchise Council of Australia with Poolwerx winning the national Franchisor Social Responsibility Award. “Our annual April Pools Day and Learn2Swim Week water safety campaigns have now been running for several years and are integral parts of our yearly strategic business planning activities,” says Kidd. “Significant time and funds are spent at a corporate level on research and the development of industry partnerships and marketing strategies to promote the campaigns. Our franchise partners play a key role in the campaigns at a local community level.” The April Pools Day safety campaign aims to improve resuscitation skills, after research found 75 per cent of people were not confident they could save a loved one’s life. The program aims to remove the perceived barriers for parents to obtain life-saving CPR skills and involves free CPR demonstrations instore with Australian Red Cross as well as free online CPR course valued at more than $100. This year, more than 350 Australian swim schools participated in Learn2Swim Week, offering free swimming lessons for kids under five. The campaign’s ambassador was once again Kids Alive founder, Laurie Lawrence, a long-term Poolwerx partner and a high-profile water safety campaigner. “We know that this campaign is helping raise awareness among parents about the importance of teaching their under-fives lifesaving water skills,” says Kidd. “Last year, 60 per cent of parents who participated in the program indicated their child was now enrolled in ongoing swimming lessons. These lessons teach kids how to get themselves out of trouble in the water and could mean the difference between them surviving an incident in the water or not.” Kidd says these campaigns are an extension of the work franchise partners carry out every day in backyards and in the retail space, including reminding pool owners to check their pool surrounds on a regular basis and to flag safety issues such as faulty fences or gates or the absence of a CPR poster. He says effective social responsibility is something we should practice every day. “The goal is to be better safety partners with our local communities and to make water safety a key feature of our corporate profile. The task of reducing drownings in swimming pools may seem daunting but there’s a role we can all play in making pools safer for swimmers.” n


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The modern home that saved the pool

ABOVE: The monumental lines of the retractable roof make the pool courtyard the centre of the home

T

he owners of this house wanted a strong modern statement for their new home, but needed the structure to embrace the existing swimming pool. The designers came up with a concrete home that satisfied their requirements and made the pool the focus of the new indoor/ outdoor space.

The concrete has been left exposed both internally and externally for floors, walls and ceilings as a homage to the owner’s much loved material Project designer Ian Bennett was tasked with envisaging a contemporary property that would make better use of the existing site than the previous red brick cottage. “The clients own and operate a formwork business,” Bennett says. “Which in turn has garnered them a great love and appreciation for 54 SPLASH! February/March 2019

concrete and they wanted their new house to feature this throughout.” Due to previous struggles and delays with council, the clients wanted Bennett to use the complying development approval system to expedite the process. The CD process requires buildings to meet strict standards to ensure fast-tracked approval. The process applies to construction such as new homes up to two storeys, renovations or extensions to an existing home, granny flats and swimming pools. Bennett’s challenge lay in designing something quite contemporary that fulfilled the brief and highlighted the existing pool, without any flourishes that would make the home non-compliant – all on a modestly sized site. “Once we understood the exact parameters of the complying development controls we worked on ensuring the indoor and outdoor living spaces related well to the existing pool location, as this couldn’t look nor function like an add-on,” he says. “Due to the modest size of the site we devised the solution of enabling the indoor and outdoor areas to work seamlessly as one – and with the retractable glass


LEFT: The concrete creates a balanced, liveable and lowmaintenance home BOTTOM LEFT: The streetscape shows the design is dramatically modern by comparison with the streets, but in keeping with the scale of the other houses BOTTOM: The open lifestyle, including the existing pool incorporated into the concrete courtyard BOTTOM: The fuss free interior

roof, this space can be enjoyed as an extension of the internal living space year round.” The construction of the house is predominately concrete for both structure and finish, and the concrete has been left exposed both internally and externally for floors, walls and ceilings as a homage to the owner’s much loved material. The clients’ brief specified a relatively maintenance-free house – and the combination of concrete and alucobond cladding is not only visually appealing but provides a striking house that requires little to no maintenance. n

Concrete house Design and documentation: 9 months Project Team: Ian Bennett Construction: 16 months Structural engineer: NB Consulting Site Area: 460.4m2 Floor Area: 230.0m2 Contact: studiobenicio@studiobenicio.com, www.studiobenicio.com, (02) 9997 5039

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  55


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Conversely, identifying your busiest periods means you can try to maximise your profits when you have the biggest projects. Fixed costs will be there all year round, so the more money you can put away during your biggest-paying projects, the better. Putting money away while you’re at your busiest will minimise the impact of seasonality for your business.

Repeat business

Keeping small business cash flow consistent By Chris Strode ABOVE: Chris Strode says putting money away while you’re at your busiest will minimise the impact of seasonality

C

ash flow is the lifeblood of any business, and without it, you’ll be hard-pressed to function. As a small business owner, it’s important you have enough cash to support your business and yourself through significant and sometimes unexpected expenses, as well as quiet periods and annual leave. While cash flow can suffer due to any number of things, one thing that can make it all-the-more unpredictable is waiting on payments from slow clients. In fact, small businesses tend to be the last to get paid, especially when the invoice is quite a large sum. This can hurt cash flow and put you in a sticky situation during slow periods.

Think about the best ways you can keep customers engaged after you do business with them. This could be occasional email updates about your latest projects, or tips to keep their pool or spa in the best condition possible. First, it’s necessary to study and understand how your business ebbs and flows over the course of a year. Analysing slow periods can help guide you when it comes to planning major expenses, acquiring more equipment or scheduling larger projects.

Second, aim to build repeat customers. Develop and nurture client relationships wherever possible and show them that they are more than just a source of income for you. Building a good rapport with your clients will make them more likely to return to you for more business in the future, and encourage them to refer your services to friends and colleagues. Think about the best ways you can keep customers engaged after you do business with them. This could be occasional email updates about your latest projects, or tips to keep their pool or spa in the best condition possible. For pool builders, the one-off purchase nature of the business means the clients may not require your services again (or at least for a while), but your outstanding service will be at the top of their mind when it comes to referring you to a friend. Further, offer convenient service all the way through to payment. A difficult payment process at the end of a project is often the last impression clients have, and the part they remember the most, no matter how smooth the project was. Don’t make it difficult on your customers by making them jump through hoops. Ensure the paperwork side of things is as seamless and professional as the rest of your work. Offering a wide range of payment options helps ensure you can accept every way they expect to pay. This will not only remove friction, but can also help you get your invoices settled faster. Providing convenience and meeting each and every expectation gives customers another reason to want to work with you again. Mobile invoicing apps give you an easy way to create professional estimates, invoices, and accept all the forms of online payment people expect. Finally, build an emergency fund. Ideally, it will be three to six months’ worth of expenses you can use to cover rent, utilities and other costs during slow periods. Although this does take time to build up, you’ll be grateful when business slows and you have reserves to see you through. Consistent cash flow will hold you in good stead when it comes to weathering unexpected expenses and quieter periods. While it can take some time to develop, good practice when it comes to money management will eventually become second nature, and you’ll be able to rest assured that your business is financially stable year-round. Chris Strode is a small business owner from a family of tradespeople who created mobile invoicing app Invoice2go out of frustration with the lack of previously available, simple invoicing options. Contact: invoice.2go.com February/March 2019  SPLASH!  57


29-30 JULY 2020 Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

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Largest pool & spa show in Southern Hemisphere Expanded exhibition area now encompassing all available expo space in Convention Centre New education format with training outside of expo hours Enhanced SPASA Awards Increased collaboration with other aquatic industry sectors


commercial news

Safety

Commercial

news River-friendly design for Yarra pool. . . . . . . . . . . 62 Cirque du Soleil gets into the waterpark business . . . . . . . . . . 63 The many ways for swim schools to find success. . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Be a superhero to your kids, says new council pool campaign The City of Canterbury Bankstown has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging parents and carers to be their child’s superhero by activating their “super-vision” when visiting leisure and aquatic centres. The campaign is focused on ensuring parents know they are primarily responsible for their child’s safety when at a local pool, and reiterating the role of lifeguards. “Lifeguards are an important safety feature at our centres, but they do not replace the close and active supervision of parents/guardians,” says City of Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour. “Not all superheroes wear capes and that is what we want to try and emphasise with this campaign, that parents and carers play a vital role in protecting their children from drowning.

Canterbury’s campaign plays on the pun of supervision and “supervision”

“We want kids to know they will be kept safe because they have their own “superhero” looking out for them at all times.” Asfour says the startling statistics around drowning was a large factor in kick-starting the campaign. “It only takes seconds for a child to drown. Not one minute, not ten minutes, seconds,” he says. “According to the Royal Life Saving Society, drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five, and a lack of direct supervision by a parent of carer is believed to be a contributing factor in 70 per cent of all drowning deaths at public pools.” Over the past 25 years, 965 children under the age of five have died from drowning. “That’s 965 lives gone in a flash, and thousands more family and friends’ lives ruined,” he said. He says they are running a great campaign, and encourage parents/guardians and their children to have some fun with it – while staying swim smart and swim safe of course. The campaign includes life-size superhero cut-outs and 300 give-aways of limited edition red towels with the Super Vision theme. The campaign complements the council’s Keep Watch @ Public Pools Policy, which is: • For 0-5 year olds and non-swimmers, a parent or guardian must be in the water at all times (within arm’s reach) of the child; • For 6-10 year olds, a parent should be close enough to make eye contact with the child; and •For 11-14 year olds, a parent must regularly check on their child by physically going to the point where they are in or around the water. Contact: cb.city/leisure.

In Brief The siren cry of worried mermaids is closing in on Western Australia’s parliament house. After the ACCC and RLSWA warned of the dangers of children using mermaid tails, amateur mermaids have taken the fight to government for acceptance of the tails. Mermaids have been turned away from WA pools after RLSWA warned about children using the monofins. But a RLSWA spokesperson told ABC news that as far as they were aware no research has been conducted on the safety of mermaid tails for use by adults, and they made no recommendations in that regard. They recommended public aquatic centres consider developing their own monofin policies if they are concerned about their use. A major leak in one of Auckland’s biggest public pools halted swimming during the summer. Stuff NZ reports that West Wave

60 SPLASH! February/March 2019

Pool and Leisure Centre, the only public pool servicing West Auckland, leaked and flooded the wave pool area, plant room and main reception. As a result, the wave pool, paddling pool, family and adult spa areas were closed off to repair the damage. A judge dismissed indictments against three individuals and two corporate affiliates of Schlitterbahn, the company that built the 17-story Verruckt water slide in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that a judge said the Kansas Attorney General ‘irreparably tainted’ a grand jury with prejudicial evidence to obtain indictments against several Schlitterbahn employees and associates involved in the design, construction and operation of a water slide that killed a 10-year-old boy in 2016. Judge Robert Burns then dismissed indictments against three individuals and two corporate affiliates of Schlitterbahn.


Events

ARI at Peppers The Aquatic and Recreation Institute (ARI) has announced the keynote speakers for its 55th annual conference which will be held on June 16 to 18 at Peppers Craigieburn in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. The theme of the conference is Creating Value in Aquatics and Recreation, and will feature: * Successful Inclusion by five-time Paralympian, marathon champion and nominee for Australian of the Year, Kurt Fearnley: * The Art of Networking, and Building Capacity by international motivational speaker, author and life coach Jen Harwood; and * Collaborating to Win by record-breaking adventurer and renowned international speaker James Castrission. Other presenters include Alex Burrows, CEO of ActiveXchange who will talk about the 2020 fitness and leisure blueprint, as well as presentations from peak industry bodies, the mentor team challenge and the annual awards of excellence. Contact: www.arinsw.com.au

Events

ASSA Cairns program announced The Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA) has announced the program for its 2019 national conference to be held in Cairns from the July 28 to August 1. The annual event has the theme The Gateway to Re-education, Re-engagement, Revitalisation and the Reef and follows the success of the inaugural ASSA Conference in August 2016 and the International Swim Schools Spectacular on the Gold Coast in 2018. There will be eight guest presenters from the UK, USA and Canada. Bob Hubbard from Hubbard Family Swim Schools (USA) will present Moments of Impact in your Business; Lynn Ledford, from Cal Elite Kids(USA) will talk on Essential Systems for a Stronger Swim School Business; while Theo Millward from SwimTime (UK) will present on Bringing Big Data to the Pool. There will also be presentations on workplace culture, customer experience and crisis management for experienced and up-andcoming national leaders in the industry. Australian Keynote Speaker of the Year, Bruce Sullivan, will also be in attendance, emceeing the fourth annual ASSA awards gala as well as running a number of panels throughout the week. Conference 2019 will include a dedicated small swim schools stream, which will see small swim schooler from the USA, Jeff Purchin, present on the keys of his success. Brooklyn Speechley of Rackley Swimming will show how lessons went from 200 to more than 800 in her first year as a swim school manager. There will also be presentations from the recipients of the Coutts Family Scholarship and Australian Swim Schools Excellence Awards. Post-conference, a masterclasses on Marketing to Mums by marketing guru, Katrina McCarter; and another on Child Protection Practices will be run. The main conference will be held from July 29 to 31, preceded on Sunday 28 by a tour including a number of swim schools and the Atherton Tablelands. Contact: australianswimschools.org.au

R-410A

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  61


commercial news

Developments

Business says the Yarra needs a pool – now they have a river-friendly design Yarra Pools has teamed up with Melbourne-based architecture firm Wowowa and the National Gallery of Victoria to come up with a design for Melbourne’s northern riverfront, complete with a river pool and wetlands. The design incorporates a 50m lap pool, wetlands, cafe, changing facilities, community pavilions and a kayak launching spot. The aim is for it to transform part of the Yarra’s underutilised north bank. Michael O’Neill, president of Yarra Pools, says that the design

is the culmination of two years of research into what Melburnians want the pool to be. “It focussing on a diversity of uses and maintains an array of native vegetation – creating an oasis for recreation and a water-focused meeting place for the community. With the city’s population growing by more than 100,000 per year, there is an urgent need for quality open space that caters for active recreational uses,” he says.

The Yarra Pools concept was first announced in 2016 with the core principles and objectives of: being usable all year round, having a positive environmental impact, accommodating a wide variety of uses, and celebrating the unique cultural values at the site. The proposal is backed up by business modelling which shows there is a definite need, predicting such a facility would attract 350,000 people per year,

A 50m lap pool is part of the wetlands concept

The 55th Annual ARI Conference

FEATURING: ■ 5-time Paralympian, Marathon champion and nominee for Australian of the Year

Kurt Fearnley:

Successful Inclusion

‘Creating Value in Aquatics & Recreation’ Peppers Craigieburn, NSW Southern Highlands 17th-18th June 2019

for swimming alone, with the numbers growing to 550,000 by 2036. The pool utilises a naturally occurring filtered water process, using wetlands and the submerged water plants to filter and sustain clean and clear water. Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly is a fan of the proposal. “If we want people to protect the Yarra we need people to engage with the river,” he says.

■ International Motivational Speaker, Author & Life Coach

Jen Harwood:

The Art of Networking; and Building Capacity – How to Build Support and be GREAT! ■ Record Breaking Adventurer & Renowned International Speaker

James Castrission

will present a 2-part session:

Collaborating to win ALSO FEATURING:

■ Alex Burrows – CEO ActiveXchange - a 2020 Fitness & Leisure Blueprint ■ Presentations from Peak Industry Bodies ■ Mentor Team Challenge Delivery ■ Annual Awards of Excellence ■ New look Interactive sessions with commercial suppliers

For full program & registration details visit www.arinsw.com.au

62 SPLASH! February/March 2019


commercial news

Waterparks

Cirque du Soleil gets into the waterpark business Cirque du Soleil will perform 15-minute evening shows that take place at the same attractions guests enjoyed during the day

Canadian theatrical entertainment behemoth Cirque du Soleil is teaming up with Canadian designer and manufacturer, WhiteWater, to bring an extravagant splash of showbiz to the waterpark world.

Cirque du Soleil has created a unique water park entertainment concept, consisting of 15-minute evening shows that take place at the same attractions guests enjoyed during the day. The productions will feature Cirque du Soleil performers and run a few times every night, allowing guests to pick and choose which ones they’d like to enjoy and in what order. “The result is a waterpark that entertains visitors both in the day time and after sun down,” says Su Ann Quah of WhiteWater. “In the day, visitors enjoy a range of thrilling and innovative water rides and slides, while at night, they’ll have the chance to experience a completely transformed environment. The water park morphs into a festive venue with music, specialty food and drinks, and picturesque illuminated trails which intertwine the main features of the evening program.” She says that Cirque and WhiteWater have crafted a concept that encourages repeat visitors, and the lengthened operating hours increases revenue while using the same infrastructure. “In essence, this entertainment concept is the ideal anchor for premium global destinations as it seamlessly complements hospitality, retail and resort venues, which welcome guests at all hours of the day.”

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The many ways for swim schools to find success ABOVE: Gullivers Coomera has always focussed on the swim school, but often many other activities have helped keep the bottom line healthy

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ucceeding in the competitive world of running a swim school involves excelling at a number of different skills including technical, financial, marketing and client relationship management. Here we look at a number of swim schools to find out how they found success and discover many different routes to a winning outcome – but all requiring dedication, hard work and creative thinking. We also ask social media expert Loren Bartley to offer some useful advice for promoting swim schools in the online world.

Gullivers Coomera: thinking outside the square

Terry Gulliver says the successful formula behind his swim school and multi-activity centre, Gullivers Coomera on Queensland’s Gold Coast, has been thinking outside the square and setting trends Originally planned as simply a swim school, the centre has evolved over the past 20 years and now caters for a variety of activities to meet community demands including before and after school care, dance and gymnastics. Facilities include an indoor eight-lane 25-metre training pool, a teaching pool half that size, a coffee shop, and a double storey multifunction area that houses one of the biggest school age care programs 64 SPLASH! February/March 2019

in south east Queensland as well as the gymnastic and dance programs. The centre is spread over nearly a hectare and incorporates a quarter-hectare outside play area. There is also car parking for nearly 80 cars as well as the centre’s eight buses that move up to 160 children to and from the venue before and after school and during vacation care programs. “When we started just over 20 years ago there was nothing here,” says Gulliver. “We were way ahead of our time and even for me it was risk moving to what was then beyond the extremities of the northern Gold Coast. Coomera has been a boom suburb over the past 20 years, but back then was just a plan on a very distant horizon. In those days it was just us and the kangaroos and very little else.” Gulliver started with the bare essentials: an outdoor teaching pool and a training pool, a reception area and amenities. “The southeaster would howl across the pool and make things extremely unpleasant,” he says. “We were struggling to gross a thousand dollars a week and we started to have doubts, but I always believed in the adage: build it and they will come! “We took the punt and sold our beachfront home and covered the pools just as the area started to take off.”


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BELOW: Ongoing community focus has undoubtedly contributed to the success of Nepean Swim and Fitness’s two centres

Even so, they had to resort to innovative ideas This was followed by the government giving money to help swell the coffers, including adding a game to schools to build assembly halls which then doubled invented by Gulliver two decades earlier – Waterball. for their own after-school care. “I had seen Waterball grow to 100 teams a week “Suddenly our million dollar investment didn’t at an earlier venue. It is a team game with a mix of look so smart,” says Gulliver. “We needed to find our rules from netball, basketball and water polo. At point of difference to survive. We hit back by offering its peak it featured a free swimming lessons, free numbers of high profile gymnastics and free sports skills sporting identities from sessions – and the after school He set about various codes and teams program took off.” developing the including the Brisbane In fact, it took off so well Bullets. We had men, that Gullivers became the pilot more humane women, mixed and junior program for the government’s and child friendly competitions running five now highly successful Active After methods which were nights a week.” School Care program, and they They also hosted ladies’ had to buy eight buses and employ the forerunner of lunches – which sold out. more than 50 staff to cater for the modern day baby “We cooked and numbers. lessons. prepared the lunches But the core business had in a cupboard sized always been the swim school. kitchen and utilised Gulliver started teaching the car park a lot of the swimming at the age of 14. In time. It was definitely outside the square but it those days lessons were run by mostly overweight was fun and kept us in the game in the early days swimming coaches who took 10 pupils at a time and when the population was just not there.” conducted lessons from the side of the pool. Gulliver saw how things could be done better by A snap decision joining his young charges in the pool. Later in the Originally they planned for just a swim school, but mid-70s, faced with the task of teaching his own eating lunch with the builders one day they decided young toddlers to swim, he was horrified by the on the spur of the moment to add a second level above methods being used at the time. the reception area. Suddenly they had a gym and a He set about developing the more humane and second income stream. child friendly methods which were the forerunner of “We opened the gym way before the days of one of modern day baby lessons. every street corner. Together with the ladies lunches Last year the Australian Swim Schools and the Waterball, it helped prop up a slow-growing Association recognised his ongoing contribution by swim school,” he says. inducting him into the Hall of Fame as a pioneer of “As insurance against a dip in clientele in the winter the swim school industry. months and the possibility that the area might not fully support a swim school we started an out of school Nepean Swim and Fitness: getting hours care program. It seemed like a good idea at the involved with the community time but then the government changed the goal posts, Eva Borys Swim School and Nepean Aquatic Centre forcing us to spend a million dollars on a double storey are very different but complementary centres run addition to meet the requirements for indoor space.” by Nepean Swim and Fitness (NSF) in the western suburbs of Sydney. NSF owners Karen and Alan Bentley both have a strong personal history with Eva Bory’s Swim School in Emu Plains. Karen learned to swim at the facility as a child in the 70s and Alan swam in squads there from 1980 to the mid-90s. Karen became a swimming instructor at Eva Bory’s in 1986, with the Bentleys managing Eva Bory’s Swim School from 1992-1994, then again from March 2002 to the present day. Nepean Aquatic Centre was conceived by Alan and Karen Bentley after recognising the need for a first class aquatic facility in Penrith, and opened in March 2011. It is the newest and largest private facility of its kind in the region, featuring a six-lane 25-metre lap pool (with two lanes extending to 50 metres), a separate learn-to-swim pool and modern amenities. The two learn-to-swim centres see thousands of families from the local region through their doors each week. Having lived in in the Penrith area all their lives and worked in learn-to-swim locally for more than 30 years, the Bentleys have always been committed to February/March 2019  SPLASH!  65


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Monthly CPR courses are offered at Nepean Aquatic Centre with instruction by a Royal Lifesaving Society qualified trainer, with other safety courses such as Bronze Medallion and Pool Lifeguard also offered throughout the year, as well as Austswim training courses, so that members of the local community have these course options on their doorstep, rather than having to travel larger distances to access aquatic safety education and qualifications. NSF has recently partnered with a local real estate agency to provide free CPR courses and free swimming lessons and water safety information to people who buy or rent a house with a pool to encourage these vital lifesaving skills. “Every member of the community should know the principles of aquatic safety and have the chance to learn to swim,” says Alan Bentley. “It is so important that swimming lessons are available to as many people as possible and we are committed to making that happen, and to giving back to the fantastic community we are a part of in Penrith. We started as a small family business, and although we have grown over the years, the ethos remains the same – a business run by family, for local families.”

One size doesn’t fit all ABOVE: It’s important to consider all age groups because a single approach can’t satisfy everyone. Image by NSF

community involvement as a way to communicate the swim schools core messages of safety, quality swimming lessons for all, and swimming for life. This ongoing community focus has undoubtedly contributed to the success of both centres. Over the years the business has grown, but the family focus has remained, with community engagement at the heart of both centre’s activities.

Educational reach

Community education is a huge priority. NSF provides a swim safety column for the major local weekly newspaper and a column for the monthly publications nearest their two locations. All articles relate to an aspect of water safety, with the articles also appearing on websites, the news blog and the Facebook page for greater readership. In 2016 the company’s educational reach was expanded through water safety visits to a large number of preschools and childcare centres each year – with company mascot Paddles the Platypus – to read, talk, sing, dance and play with the children to spread the swim safety message. This service is free of charge, and all leave with handouts, books and other resources to continue discussions about children’s water safety, using the great resources on offer from the “Kids Alive, Do the Five” program. In 2018, these Water Safety Visits were successfully extended into primary schools, as well as the introduction of a nine-week swim safety curriculum for year 7 to 10 students, utilising resources from Royal Life Saving Australia and delivered by an NSF staff member. In addition, members of NSF staff provide seminars at local hospitals for midwives regarding the efficacy of pre- and post-natal aquatic exercise, and the importance of early swimming lessons once baby is born. 66 SPLASH! February/March 2019

NSF has tailored programs to different demographics. Popular adult group lessons were introduced in 2018 as a more social and cost-effective alternative to private lessons. Also introduced was the NSF Achievers Program – a subsidised program for children with special needs, providing one-on-one private lessons for less than the usual cost of a group lesson. They recently partnered with a local childcare centre to allow the childcare staff to bring children of timepoor working parents to swimming lessons within the hours they spend with their childcare provider. “At the end of the day it’s all about getting as many children to learn to swim as possible, to keep them as safe as possible,” says Karen Bentley. “It’s up to us to remove as many barriers to participation as we can, and get the message out to the community at every opportunity.” The centres offer aquarobics for all ages and fitness levels, and offer discounted aquarobics for seniors all year round, free aquarobics and public swimming during Seniors Week, free trial Aqua Natal classes to pregnant women, free Aquarobics on International Women’s Day and many other incentives to come and try something new, which is often the push needed to start a new healthy and social habit. Operations manager Terry Spinks says they are providing one of the most important community services there is in this country. “Parents trust us with their children each and every week. Much of our success is down to the trust we have built in the community, by being authentic, by being consistent with our messaging, and by always keeping in mind why we do what we do. “It all comes back to safety,” he says.

Hills Swimming: a childcentred approach

After young paediatric occupational therapist Julie married accomplished swim coach Deny Zancanaro


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and started helping in at his successful swim schools, she decided she needed to learn to swim properly. From 1987 she quickly proceeded to a lifeguard certification and then to learn how to train teachers for the rapidly expanding swim school. Julie had trained in developmentally based therapeutic approaches in early childhood education and health, and was shocked to see swim programs where babies and young children were forced and distressed. She sought guidance from the international learn-to-swim community. Virginia Hunt Newman’s book was a refreshing change, as was the guidance of Laurie Lawrence, Forbes and Ursula Carlile, Sharron Crowley and Rob McKay. She could not understand how force had any place in learning to swim, and strongly believed in childcentred approaches and learning through play. After publishing numerous articles on developmentally based approaches, Julie was soon being asked to speak at swimming conferences and in 1995 she presented at her first international conference in Melbourne. She was the Australian delegate to the World Conference in Oaxaca in 1997; and a speaker in Toulouse 1999, Wellington 2008 and Vancouver 2010. The attack on the World Trade Centre prevented her from presenting in Argentina in 2001. She was a major contributor to the two Australian accreditation courses for baby and preschool swimming, a contributing author of the first Austswim manual for infant aquatics and the more recent Swim Australia Teacher of Baby and Toddler Swimming. Since 2014 she contributed to the first curriculum and teacher training program for indigenous Pacific Islander people, Let’s Swim. Julie produced a video on a developmental approach to baby swimming in 1998, and has directly facilitated the accreditation of thousands of swim teachers in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and the Pacific. In 2001 the Zancanaros built Hills Swimming, a customised indoor swim centre to cater for children from three months to national swimmers, focussing on world’s best practice in early childhood aquatic education. Of the 2500 students each week more than half are under five, and many have individual learning programs to cater for sensory processing disorders and other learning challenges. The team of 65 at Hills Swimming allows her time to assist national accrediting bodies to raise standards in early swimming. In 2016 Julie was the inaugural inductee into the Australian Swim School Hall of Fame for contribution to swimming education and she has recently been appointed to the board of advisors of the International Swim School Association.

Jump! Campbelltown: familyorientated workplace

Jump! Campbelltown is independently owned and operated by Erin McMullan, her husband Daniel and their three small children and was opened on 15 September 2015. Their open day saw more than 300 people through the site. The initial 90 students increased to more than 250 within six months.

A family-orientated workplace, they now operate six days per week with 14 staff, and see more than 600 students each week for lessons. “We believe that our service is unique in our region as we provide smaller classes, which allows the swim instructors to develop positive relationships with both parents and children. As our service is more intimate it allows the teachers to be able to focus on each child and gain trust and confidence which will enhance their swimming ability,” says Erin McMullan. The Campbelltown site was the tenth Jump! centre to open nationally and the second in New South Wales. Erin says all Jump! centres are private facilities and reliable customer service is always provided. When asked about the issues in the media surrounding Jump! franchises and delays in finding locations, she says none of that had any impact on their business and they have not had any problems with the franchisors. “We pride ourselves on having the most qualified, professional staff base in the Macarthur region with all of the staff being Austswim qualified and the large majority holding the Teacher of Infant Aquatic qualifications,” she says. “The staff within the centre pride themselves on knowing the names of each and every child that comes through the door to swim as well as their parents/ carers and siblings,” she says. “The aim is to create a warm, loving environment where all of the students are part of the Jump! Campbelltown family. The centre has been nominated every year since its open for the local Small Business Awards, as well as the Small Business Awards Championships, and staff at the centre have received numerous nominations for Austswim awards, as has the centre.” Erin has almost 20 years of industry experience, running both small swim schools and larger leisure centre programs and has been an active water safety advocate throughout her aquatic career. She is heavily involved with Smiles 4 Aria – a charity setup in honour of Aria Dunn, a former student of the swim school who tragically lost her life in a backyard drowning incident at her home at the age of 20 months. She says staff discuss water safety with parents and children in every lesson, attend school fetes with the

ABOVE: Nepean Aquatic Centre’s main pool

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  67


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ABOVE: NSF’s mascot Paddles the Platypus enlivens water safety visits to preschools and childcare centres RIGHT: Nepean Aquatic Centre’s second pool FAR RIGHT: Erin McMullan preparing for one of Jump! Campbelltown’s community CPR courses

68 SPLASH! February/March 2019

sole purpose of promoting water safety and run regular resuscitation and first aid courses for the community. They also attend local preschools as requested to do water safety talks. Erin is a committee member of the Australian Recreation Institute, and the swim school is a member of both Austswim and ASSA.

Promoting swim schools to time-poor parents

Loren Bartley is the founder and CEO of Impactiv8, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses to use social media, Facebook ads and email marketing to generate profitable leads and sales. She says that most swim school owners face a constant battle of trying to fill their classes for maximum profitability. “While some families will stay with a swim school from babies through to squad, unfortunately this is not the norm and turnover from term-to-term can be a real issue for many swim schools, particularly during the cooler months,” she says. To combat these ebbs and flows, Bartley says it’s important to constantly build brand awareness with your community while demonstrating your value. “It’s tough times,” she says. “Because you are not only competing against the swim school down the road and the plethora of other sporting opportunities on offer for children these days, but in many cases, you are also competing against longer commute times for parents who have less disposable income. That can significantly impact your marketing efforts.” She says that setting up a pop-up stand in the local supermarket used to be the way to get in front of parents of a weekend, but what about all those people who are trying to buy back time by doing their shopping online? “You used to be able to reach those people by posting to Facebook. However, that’s not working as well these days, as organic reach has been declining over the years as Facebook continues to tweak its algorithm in favour of content shared by individuals rather than by Pages.” She says that these days, if you are looking to create a constant stream of leads and sales from Facebook, then you need to invest in Facebook Ads. “You can still achieve some level of success organically, but in most cases, it is not predictable, it is often not repeatable, and it is definitely not scalable. Not unless you start putting some ad spend behind your Facebook marketing strategy. This way you can overcome the bad news with Facebook’s algorithms –

as the algorithms Facebook uses when choosing who to deliver ads to are second to none. “As users of the platform, we give Facebook so much information about ourselves,” she says. “That’s pretty freaky when you think about this as a user, but brilliant when you think about it as a marketer of your swim school. “You can use all of this data to get in front of new potential customers, as well as re-target those who are already aware of your swim school.” Facebook’s Ad targeting algorithms have become so well refined you can target people who live or travel within the catchment area for your swim school and your ads are seen by those most likely to take your desired action. The algorithms look at who has engaged with your business on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. It also looks at who has visited your website (provided you have the Facebook Pixel installed) or subscribed to your business via email (provided you upload a list of your customers). It then uses this data to build a profile of your ideal customer and goes in search of other Facebook users who have similar interests, behaviours and demographics to show your ads to – a great way to reach new audiences. This means there is little wastage in your budget, because you know you are talking to the right people.


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Strategic approach

“However, randomly spending $30 to boost a post here and there won’t fill your lanes,” says Bartley. “You need to have a strategic approach that allows you to generate leads and sales on a consistent basis over time. “I regularly hear people saying ‘I tried Facebook Ads and they didn’t work for my business’. Whenever I dig a little deeper into what they have done, I discover that they didn’t work because they didn’t do them properly.” Facebook advertising has become far more complex than before and to achieve success, Bartley says you will either need to have someone on your team learn how to create and manage your Facebook Ads effectively (which requires a continual investment in training for them to stay current in their knowledge as Facebook Ads are continually changing) or you will need to pay an agency to do it on your behalf. She says successful swim school Facebook Ad campaigns usually comprise the following features: 1. An audience that targets users mainly by location (try to target any further and the audience will be too small); 2. A compelling offer;

3. Copy that calls out the suburb(s) you service and the benefits of your program; 4. Emoji’s to add personality ; 5. Engaging visuals – preferably videos of your swim school in action, otherwise images of kids in your classes enjoying their lessons (please don’t use stock images); 6. A call-to-action that links to a highly converting landing page that enables online enrolments (preferably your swim school booking page that ABOVE: Loren Bartley, founder and CEO outlines the benefits of joining – not just of digital marketing agency Impactiv8 a booking form). “If you get this right, it won’t be long before you start getting members of your swim school tagging their friends in your ads and your return on investment will start to go up.” She says that once you have tested a few Gullivers Coomera: www.gulliverscoomera.com.au options and learnt what works best, you will Hills Swimming: www.hillsswimming.com be able to turn your highly converting ads Impactiv8: impactiv8.com.au on during the quite periods and pause them Jump! Campbelltown: jumpswimschools.com.au/ when your classes are starting to get waitlists. campbelltown “Facebook Ads can help fill your classes at a low cost in relation to the lifetime value Nepean Swim and Fitness: nepeanaquaticcentre. of your customers, so it is well worth the com.au; evaborysswimschool.com.au investment – if done right!” n

Contacts

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  69


For Safety. For Fitness. For Family Fun.

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Swimming lessons reduce the risk of fatal and non-fatal drowning by 88% among children ages 1–4

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new products

Enduroshield is now pre-applied

Pool glass fencing keeps families safe and looks beautiful, but keeping the glass clean can be time consuming and difficult due to salt and chorine build-up. EnduroShield says its easy-clean protective coating for glass can reduce cleaning time by up to 90 per cent while shielding the glass against staining and etching.

Minimalist Italian wet edge drains

Modulartem says their grids have redefined the concept of design for infinity pools, with taut lines reproducing a minimalist appeal not achieved by conventional drain systems. Made in Italy from a special composite acrylic polymer, they come in numerous colours and four styles: Porcelain Stoneware, Marble, Cotto Fiorentino Terracotta, and Teak.

Now, EnduroShield is pre-applied by leading pool glass fencing and balustrading manufacturers – so the pool owner won’t even need to apply it. They can just relax, sit back, and enjoy the pool with their family. Contact: www.enduroshield.com; 1300 720 050

Modulartem grids are non-slip, and resistant to staining, freezing temperatures, UV light, chlorine and salt. They comply with UNI EN 1433 for anti-entrapment and static load resistance. They are suitable for new builds or retrofitting. Contact: modulartem.com

February/March 2019  SPLASH!  71


new products

Easy chemical mixing and drum recycling

Former aquatic centre manager and safety officer, Doug Ward, has developed an innovative new product to reduce the hazards and hard work involved in triple rinsing chemical containers for recycling. His new TripleRinser unit reduces the labour inputs in pool dosing, reduces water waste and minimises contamination of the workplace environment.

Jim’s Pool Care has partnered with Maytronics to offer an official Jim’s Robotic Pool Cleaner.

Chris Papa, business director at Maytronics Australia, says the premium cleaner has been called one of the best Dolphin pool cleaners ever made, built on a brand new and a highly advanced robotic platform.

“Having experienced the physical workout of mixing chlorine, then cleaning many drums to achieve the voluntary ‘triple rinse’ industry standards for drum recycling, I felt there had to be an easier way that eliminated the repetition and the dangers,” he says.

“We have known about Jim’s Pool Care for some time and have always had a close relationship with the team, and thought it was about time we collaborated together and got some cool products out to the market,” he says. Maytronics started their journey in 1982 with the invention of a robotic pool cleaner by Peter Rasch from South Africa. Just a year after this invention, Maytronics launched the world’s first domestic and commercial robotic pool cleaners under the Dolphin brand. Today, they celebrate their 35th year as the premier robotic pool cleaning company.

“As any pool worker knows, the less time required to get the pH balance right is a godsend.” Contact: www.TripleRinser.com.au

Contact: www.jimspoolcare.com.au

Protect Pool, Protect Your Your Pool, Protect Kids Protect Your Your Kids View our online video showing common pool fencing faults and how to spot them at View our online video showing common pool fencing faults and how to spot them at www.kidshealth.chw.edu.au/projects/drowning-prevention/swimming-pool-fencing www.kidshealth.chw.edu.au/projects/drowning-prevention/swimming-pool-fencing

KIH1025/0811/SC KIH1025/0811/SC

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Jim’s partners with Maytronics


new products

Simpler, smarter mineral chlorinator

Waterco water specialist Victor Quijada says their new Electrochlor energy saving mineral chlorinator makes swimming pools smarter by automatically operating filtration and auxiliary equipment so homeowners don’t have to. It features four intelligent, independent timers which conveniently control the pump, pool lights and auxiliary equipment from one easy-to-use unit. “Electrochlor not only activates equipment like variable speed pumps but also enables you to control their speed. You can even set the pump to low speed during filtration to maximise energy savings or manually activate it via Electrochlor during a pool service or backwashing. You can schedule it to change the speed of the pump in conjunction with an actuated valve to activate a water feature or pressure cleaner or just program its secondary power outlet (GPO) to turn on the pool lights.” Contact: www.waterco.com

POOL HEATING PANEL

Customised decorations for aquatic flooring

Life Floor has released new customisable die-cut designs for its aquatic flooring. They say that as these designs are cut tile and not paint, they are long-lasting and fade-resistant. There is a variety of die-cut designs to help aquatic facilities look different including sea creatures like starfish, sea shells, and small fish. Life Floor’s in-house studio can also create die-cuts to suit specific needs. Life Floor is an anti-slip non-abrasive foam rubber tile made especially for aquatics with more than 30 colour combinations. Contact: lifefloor.com.au

The Eco-therm panel is manufactured by Aquatherm Industries in the US, who have been manufacturing pool heating panels for over 30 years, and its fluted design gives more surface area to achieve one of the highest heat transfer ratings in the Australian market. The strategically placed slots in the webbing prevent moisture build up under the collector and allow pressure relief during high winds. Of all the options available to heat your pool, solar energy is the most cost effective and environmentally friendly method available.

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ecosolarpoolheating.com.au February/March 2019  SPLASH!  73


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Profile for The Intermedia Group

SPLASH February-March 2019  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....

SPLASH February-March 2019  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....