In the first of a regular UK tour of pool companies, we get things off to a strong start in Scotland…
With other well-known names north of the border, like Eagle Leisure, Kinniburgh Pools, to name but a few, Scotland is a land rich in culture, history, whisky, haggis and, you guessed it, pools.
With more than 50 years’ experience, Glasgow-based Barr + Wray leads a distinguished Scottish pool building dynasty.
B+W is much more than a home pool builder. The company has gained worldwide recognition as a leading provider of pool and spa design, engineering solutions and the supply/install of pool and thermal suite facilities. With offices in UK, Hong Kong and Dubai, B + W’s customers come from all over the world.
The B+W team has delivered cutting-edge design and exceptional build quality in prestigious hotels, spas, water parks and leisure centres in more than 40 countries. While nearly all the company’s customer base is commercial, the company occasionally works on spectacular residential projects.
In recent months, responding to market demand, they have focused their attention on the quality and ease of their maintenance provision. Craig Steele, B+W’s sales and estimating manager for pools explains. “Operators are always looking for ways to reduce running costs, as it allows them to stretch their budgets as far as possible,” Craig says. “We’ve focused a lot of attention on identifying easy and innovative solutions which will help our clients extend the lifespan of their aging plant.
“Alongside this, we continue to offer our clients designs that incorporate the best technology available in the industry,” Craig continues. “Variopool moveable pool floors, for example, make a pool suitable for a wide range of activities – increasing the number of bathers, revenue and, ultimately, the long-term viability of their facilities.
“Myrtha technology offers several benefits to the main contractor and end client. They are unrivalled for low lifecycle costs, whilst providing finishes that are modern, clean and robust.” Barr + Wray has recently been awarded contracts for three high schools (Lossiemouth, Alness and Queensferry), as part of Scotland’s Pools for the Future programme. Each of the pools utilise B + W’s Myrtha technology. Alness has added benefits, thanks to a moveable pool floor. Other notable project awards for the international contractor include Leicester City FC’s new training ground and Ponteland School and Leisure Complexin Northumberland. Craig adds: “Between these two projects alone, B + W are responsible for the design, supply and installation of eight pools. Each pool utilises our Myrtha pool shells, a Variopool moveable floor, thermal cabins, water play features and filtration plant. Established in the mid-Eighties, Aquality Leisure, based in Forfar, is a family-owned business that offers a design, supply and installation service which is tailored to suit client’s individual requirements. Led by managing director Stephen Booth, the team at Aquality Leisure works with a wide range of projects: from modest domestic pools to high-end commercial pool developments – including hydro pools.
“We’re experiencing a rise in demand for updates to existing pools. Just updating the pool’s surround on its own is enough to breathe new life into it,” adds Stephen. “Our clients, however, are looking for more than a new look. By listening closely to their needs, whether that’s to elevate the user experience or reduce costs, we work with them to find the most effective solution.” This can be a significant challenge when working on projects in somewhat isolated locations, such as which can be a challenge when working with businesses on projects in somewhat isolated locations, such as the islands. For more than 31 years, Aquality has enjoyed a great working relationship with the owners of the four-star Auchrannie Country House Hotel on the Isle of Arran. Stephen explains: “Since we undertook phase one of their wet leisure facilities all that time ago, both the times and the owners’ faces have changed. But, thanks to our commitment to delivering outstanding customer care, there’s never been a cross word spoken.” In December, a team of 20 engineers from Aquality made the journey by ferry to the island, where they worked hard for more than five weeks to complete the next phase of work. The major refurbishment included a reduced water depth, new pipework, retiling of pool surrounds and upgrades to the filtration equipment and automatic chemical dosing. There were some new additions, too, at the award-winning hotel, including a sauna and steam room, experience showers and heated loungers. “A project like this requires careful planning – not just in terms of your team and accommodating them, but your materials, too.Everything had to be shipped via ferry. “However, it’s all worth it when you see how very, very happy they are with what’s been achieved.”
The company has experienced an increase in demand for its bespoke control panels from clients and architects who have been (or are) in the process of a pool build with another pool contractor. “We are happy to work with clients, architects, main contractors or other pool contractors to design traditional (as pictured) and touch screen control panels for their project.” says Carol Hollier who takes care of marketing for the company. “We have also found a small increase in the number of designonly contracts. We provide both a 2D and 3D design service, including full ductwork designs and are happy to work with clients throughout the UK including other pool contractors, whatever size of the project,” she adds With an increasing number of buyers researching pool construction online, the team at Seymour Pools has found that inaccurate or incomplete information online means that, on occasion, clients have unrealistic expectations which need careful management. Online pricing is another area for concern, as Barry explains: “Comparing prices from online suppliers is like comparing apples with pears. Occasionally, we find people who wonder why we don’t offer products at the same low cost. “Take a liner sold by a supply-only online shops. These sorts of websites are usually run by individuals with no industry knowledge or installation service. By explaining the added value we offer customers and reminding them of the top-to-toe service they receive from a pool company, such as warranty for product and installation, we can normally resolve the issue.”
Based in South Lanarkshire, Seymour Pools is a creative pool design and installation company priding itself on delivering some of the finest pools in Scotland.
Barry Seymour, the companay’s managing director, was first introduced to the pool industry in the early 1980s at the age of just 14, by his mother who launched Seymour Pools, one of Scotland’s first pool construction companies at the time. Now a seasoned professional, Barry is a skilled design engineer.
Barry has been a member of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers since the mid 1990s. He surrounds himself with a team comprising installation engineers, design consultants and technical and administrative backup, with more than four decades of industry experience behind them. This ensures that Seymour Pools can offer good quality pool and spa installations, where pool design, ductwork design as well as all filtration and ducting work are completed in-house. Seymour Pools covers the entire UK. However, most of the company’s high-end domestic and commercial pool and spa installations can be found in Scotland, Northern England and, on occasion, Ireland. “At Seymour Pools,” says managing director Barry Seymour “We get involved as early on in the process as possible. It is not untypical for our involvement to start prior to planning being granted. We work with architects for the initial design and attend meetings to discuss options with the client.”
At A Glance
16% of hotel and resorts offer pool facilities (Source: TripAdvisor)
57% of holiday rentals include pool facilities (Source: AirBnB)
47 leisure centres and waterparks (Source: Daysoutwiththekids.co.uk) 2 of the UK’s 10 Olympic long-course swimming pools can be found at Aberdeen Aquatics Centre and Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow).
Stonehaven Open Air Pool in Aberdeenshire offers 50m of open air swimming… in heated seawater.
TEL. 01307 490171
BARR + WRAY
TEL. 0141 882 9991
TEL. 01555 666123