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Want a splash in a readymade pool?

Ready made swimming pools are installed as per clients' requirement on case-to-case basis, writes K.S. SUBRAMANIAN


ANOTHER OPTION: View of a readymade swimming pool at Mermaid showroom on East Coast Road.

Times are changing and with it the people's preferences too. In a growing metropolis facing land crunch big bungalows with fancy accessories like a large swimming pool are relics of the past. "Flat culture' is eating into urban space leaving no room for such accessories for family and children. . Yet novelties keep hitting the market.

Concrete swimming pools are known and established all over the country. Those who can afford it built it inside large flat complex and houses. It is a question of available space, maintenance and the cost. Builders made it part of the package in mega projects where a swimming pool of certain dimensions was provided in the complex. In a buyers' market options show up on the horizon.

Mermaid, a 12-year old firm, has recently gone on aggressive marketing of readymade pools. They have installed ready made swimming pools as per clients' requirement on case-to-case basis. These pools can be put up as "in-ground" and "above-ground."

"Stern brand readymade pools" are imported from Australia. Frames are of heavy duty galvanised BHP steel with the walls manufactured in wood grain color bond. UV stabilised heavy duty liners are provided in sky blue, midnight blue and print.

These pools also have an exclusive 170mm non-slip top coping. They are carefully designed to ensure strength, durability and without sharp edges to ensure safety for users.

There is a filtration system with motor and pump, moulded safety ladder, cleaning equipment and test kit. With a functional filtration system water can be used for years without need to refill.

"It is a sensible and economic alternative to an in-ground concrete pool" says Sekar James, MD, Mermaid and also of a firm called Master Plan. "Pools are designed with great consideration to look appealing and also be functional. Readymade pools will make a paradise in your backyard for your family. And worth investment. "

James has an encore of projects to his credit - residences, condominiums, retail and commercial spaces, hotels and resorts. He has worked on projects for big firms including Infosys, Wipro, Polaris, Cognisant, Ford India Limited and Hyundai among others.

Asked why he preferred importing these pools from Australia instead of making them here, he shot back " A successful businessman is not a manufacturer." Assembling a pool does not take more than three days and can be dismantled or shifted.

Mermaid has already done it for Actor Kamal Hasan, Prakash Raj and a beach resort in Goa.

"From being a rich man's preserve the pool has become easy of access to many now. Plumbing is a meticulous job but shell work can be done overnight." Mermaid also offers oval or capsule shaped pools of 8ft x 12ft having 3.5 ft deep water with "whirlpool effect."

There are swim jets to create a vortex of current in one spot from where a swimmer need not go to the other end of the pool.

Price of Ready made pool

Minimum size: 18 x 10 ft Cost: Rs.2.25 lakh

Maximum size: 33ft x 16ft Cost: Rs. 3.65 lakh

Price of concrete swimming pools of similar size

Size: 18 x 10 ft Cost: Rs.2.75 lakh

Size: 33ft x 16ft Cost: Rs. 6 lakh

"All pools will have 4 ft deep water for one to stand and have a chat. It could accommodate a minimum of four persons. There is no threat of any one suffering palpitation or cramps."

James also spoke of "budget pools" of size between 350-500 sq. ft with decorative brick walls, aimed at targeting the residential or commercial spaces. "It is not meant for a Club and will be offered in oval or capsule shape for structural stability."

Above ground pools are safer and 50 p.c. cheaper than the concrete kind. Water evaporation is a meagre 3.5 per cent and therefore a discountable factor.

All pools have a lining of vinyl sheet with pre-coated corrugated metal and timber finish.

"India is 80 per cent behind in pool technology" says James.

"The pool has high rate sand filters and gives no scope for rusting."

Mermaid has introduced for the first time water softening using permanent ceramic magnet. "Magnetising water is good for skin as chlorine is cut down by two-thirds. Minimum chlorine content is retained to kill germs. With deactivation of calcium carbonate water becomes soft leaving no scales in the pool" says he. In India till now chemicals has been used for water softening.

However it is difficult to gauge public response to it. K. Raghuraman, a Chennai-based landscape architect and environment planner, sounded sceptical about its safety and longevity.

Primarily they are meant for parties and for fun, he says. He wondered whether the plastic sheets used in it would withstand water and soil pressure.

"Chennaites normally approve a product in terms of its longevity."

According to him, another grey area is the availability of spare parts since they are mostly imported from Australia and China.

That begs the question - any product has to undergo the barometer test of durability and environmental impact. Readymade pools are no exception.

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