I once heard one of the most respected pool builders in the UK describe one-piece pools as ‘glorified washing-up bowls in the lawn’.
First introduced in the Sixties and initially scorned by the traditionalists, one-piece pools have still not completely shaken off that Fairy Liquid label.
Yet today’s one piece pool options have evolved into a sophisticated and quality home pool ownership option that give customers ‘exactly what they see on the tin’.
“One piece pools have historically had a bad rap with cheap blue fibreglass pools being the norm,” comments Alex Kemsley of Compass Pools UK.
“With a poor surface finish and the risk of osmosis; a large number of pool builders saw them as the poor man’s pool with a big risk of failure,” says Alex. “Even today there are still some cheap and inferior products on the market,” he acknowledges.
Jeremy West of Sundance Pools agrees: “The early days for fibreglass and the quality of many products available, created problems with osmosis.
“Fibreglass technology has moved on considerably since then; much of this thanks to the marine industry,” says Jeremy.
“All fibreglass boats are expected to spend most of their lives submerged in water, capable of withstanding exceptionally large forces; so the job of a fibreglass swimming pool is considerably less demanding in comparison.”
Steve Martin, of Paramount Pools, the distributors of the Signature Pool range of one piece pools concedes: “We had a rather lukewarm reception in the early days as one-piece pools were regarded as the cheaper alternative and sold at the lower end of the market.
“However Signature changed all this by devising a very highend ‘tiled’ version.
“In fact I would defy anyone to stand in a Signature pool and tell the difference between our system and a conventional concrete pool structure.”
From a consumer point of view, one-piece pools are sold from a price list with no ‘guesstimating’. This is particularly well received by customers who relish being able to change the ‘spec’ and options just as they would when buying a new car.
For the trade, one-piece pools offer a fast track installation method that represents a potentially life-saving injection of cash flow that works comfortably alongside slower, traditional construction methods.
“Speed is the biggest advantage of one-piece pools,” says Steve Martin.
“The average dealers’ installation time including an automatic cover, filled to an operational level is on average ten days,” he continues.
“In addition to the time-saving element, the pool dealer has the added assurance of the pool being leak-free and fully insulated to Part L requirements.”
But for the trade that positive can sometimes be perceived as a negative as Steve explains: “To a certain degree, we became a victim of our success as, like the rest of our industry 2011 and 2012 proved to be very difficult trading years construction wise.
“Trying to promote a pool system that takes a matter of days to install is difficult to convert everyone.
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