See our work at the Melbourne Zoo

See our work at the Melbourne Zoo

As its school holidays and we are having some nice sunny winter days, why not plan a trip to the zoo and check out some of our handy work from last year.

Last year we had the opportunity to work with JMAC constructions and the LLOYD group on the newly finished Predator precinct, which is the new home to the lions and African wild dogs. This was the second job we did at the zoo after working on the Lemur Island the year before.

The works at the predator precinct involved us building a serious of interconnected ponds and pools which flow through the new exhibit.

It was a challenging site as works were completed during winter and the sheer size of the excavation, combined with the relentless mud presented some real issues.

After the excavation was completed a layer of sprayed concrete was applied to the earth to shore up the excavation and ensure the 4meter high walls didn’t cave in on us.

stabilised pool excavation
stabilised excavation ready for steel work

It was then safe for us to begin the intricate steel work required for a pool of this size. The steel was hand bent and custom shaped to suit the unique freeform look of the pool.

minke pools steel fixing

The Large pool on the project was over 4 meters deep and as such the steel fixing needed to be completed on builders scaffold. The image below shows the large wet wall where the water from the upper ponds flowed over into the main pool. The pool as well as being a visual element to the exhibit also worked as a barrier to prevent the wild dogs from escaping their enclosure.

concrete freeform pool

At the completion of the steel works the steel was inspected by the engineers and then concrete was applied to the steel frame as per a standard swimming pool build. MASTERSHOTCRETE were the specialist pool spray contractors used on the build and concrete works were completed in 3 stages due to the volume of concrete required.

large swimming pool
Stage 1/3 concrete pour

At the completion of the concrete structural shell works, we concluded on site and JMAC landscape constructions took over the job for the final landscape and finish works on the build. It is great to go back and have a look at the finished product after a job of this size and JMAC did a fantastic job on the completion works.

completed pool shot
looking back at the large pool and cascading ponds
feature pool
looking over the pond which spills into the large pool

There are additional works planned for the Zoo and we look forward to working on these projects in the future. We love building pools for people… but there is something special about building pools at the zoo for our furry friends.

2015 Swimming pool design trends

2015 Swimming pool design trends

As the new year takes off and we are busy quoting pools,  I have decided to take a look at the current design trends we are noticing in the concrete swimming pool construction industry and the pool design ideas that we feel take a pool from being just a well built beautifully detailed project,  to a jaw-droppingly, send you guests into shock, amazing pool.

In this blog, I intend to look at 4 details which I think will become more popular in the coming few years.

Those features are the sunken lounge, the bridge, the acrylic window details and the moveable pool floor.

The sunken pool lounge

The conversation pit or sunken lounge was an idea first explored in design during the 1960’s -1970’s. Now the idea has developed and is beginning to be incorporated into pool design. The sunken pool lounge,  built as part of the pool structure and within the pool waterline,  adds a new dimension to the pool area.

Traditional pool decks are great for sun-baking on or relaxing on next to the pool,  but the sunken lounge actually puts the pool user in a dry lounge area, below the pool waterline and surrounded by water.

sunken pool lounge

 The lounge could be used as a dining area, a conversation zone or a  fire pit location and often some stepping stones or small bridge could be used as an entry to the area.
Being surrounded by water adds a certain ambience to the lounge and at night when surrounded by water lit with LED lighting the experience is truely unique.
pool sunken lounge

With current pool fencing requirements, it is important that pool users have areas inside the pool zone to relax, supervise children and ensure the pool is an integrated and used part of the outdoor landscape. The sunken lounge is the perfect spot for a quiet drink while watching the kids as it’s out of the wind and within jumping distance to the pool.

A well designed sunken lounge is a design trend that’s blowing our mind at the moment. We are currently working with a client to incorporate a sunken lounge into their pool design and we excited by the opportunities sunken lounges can add to the pool experience.

The Bridge

That’s right… I’m still on about bridges….

They were popular in pool design in the 50/s and 60,s and now they seem to be making a resurgence. With the improved construction fabrication and building technologies available today slimline bridges can be incorporated into modern pool designs to successfully link two pool areas and further integrate the pool into the pool owners daily life.

pool bridge

The bridge as a connection between spaces ensures that the pool is experienced as a daily used part of the landscape,  not only when swimming in the pool. It has the ability to break the pool into zones and provides a fun element that can be enjoyed by kids as a jumping platform.

lagoon pool bridge

Acrylic pool windows

The acrylic pool window will continue to grow in popularity as it is a unique feature which merges the line between pool and landscape or often pools with a living zone.

When the pool is built as part of the house structure acrylic windows can provide a unique feel to an underwater room. Once strictly the domain of the aquarium and high-end hotel this design detail is getting more common as acrylic prices become more affordable,  and architects and builders better understand the reliability of the acrylic technology and waterproofing products available today.

acrylic pool window

When the acrylic faces the landscape a similar effect is achieved merging the pool into the landscape environment. Amazing effects can be achieved at night with pool light floods out of the windows,  and bubblers can also be used further enhance the trickery of the design.

acrylic pool window

Quality acrylic panels are still not cheap but the technology is UV stable and guaranteed so it has come a long way in the last 5 years. Panels also need not be huge to get a good effect. Small windows or portholes provide a cheeky view of the pool and still provide a stunning feature to a slightly elevated pool.

The moveable pool floor 

Don’t be confused. We think a pool should look great all year round, but as our weather and competing use for outdoor space varies I can see a growing need for the moveable pool floor.

moveable pool floor

Big in Europe and the US the moveable pool floor provides the pool owner with a pool which can be a traditional pool or a solid cover concealed into the build can cover the pool to make it a large deck or outdoor space for the kids to play.

Floors can be built into the concrete pool shell and be activated hydraulicly to come up and cover to pool.

Alternatively, the solid base can be built into the landscape design and conceal under a deck. The design is only limited by the creativity of the builder and engineers.

My current favourite is by AGOR engineering and it’s a folding pool floor which becomes a lovely timber feature wall.

check out the vid below.

We are currently working on a concealed pool floor which will retract under a deck next to the pool for a lap pool currently under design. We work with some excellent steel fabricators and engineers and are excited by the possibilities solid covers can provide as far as a landscape and space maximising solution.

The solid cover also means minimal chemical use, heat loss, evaporation and increased safety for your family when the pool is not in use.

Give us a call to discuss your pool design. We love developing ideas.

Photo credit: images are sourced from Instagram and youtube and are not pools by Minke pools. Rather they provide design inspiration and provide examples of discussed topics. Pool builders not known as images freely available online.

My POOL BUILDER is about to finish our pool.. NOW WHAT?

It may have been an exhausting process taking upwards of a year depending on the landscape and other works,  but finally, your pool is nearly finished.

If it’s a Minke Pool it will obviously look awesome, and the process will have been a pain-free delight. It will also have been built to be low maintenance and easy to use.

park orchards

 

The purpose of this post is to explain the responsibilities of the pool owner after we finish the job.

When our baby becomes your baby.

We hope you put as much love and effort into looking after your pool as we have during the construction process.

In the last 5 Years we have monitored all of our completed projects and the pools that look as awesome today, as the day they were finished, are the pools where the client has taken an active interest in their pools operation.

If you are not inclined to look after the pool yourself it is advisable to engage a service company to perform routine maintenance on your pool. BUT, keep in mind the service company may come only once a fortnight for an hour or two. You live with your pool every day, and are therefore the best person to keep an eye on its operation.

HANDOVER:

As a rule, when we finish a pool we maintain it for a minimum of 2 weeks, usually more, whilst we tweak the equipment and ensure optimal pool efficiency. At the completion of this period, we will give you a formal “Handover” where you will receive a folder containing all as-built documentation, equipment warranties, user manuals and an official SPASA handover certificate and booklet. During the initial maintenance period, we will begin to familiarise you with your pool equipment and operation and usually, at this stage, the education process is a question and answer dialogue with the client.

During the “Official” handover we like to go over the complete swimming pool equipment set up as well as showing the client how to vacuum the pool, conduct a water chemistry test and use any specific unique pool equipment functions.

Every pool we build is unique and as a result, the maintenance requirements of each pool is also unique. For this reason, we encourage clients to take notes during the handover that they can understand, in a language that makes sense to them. We like to spend a significant amount of time with the client during the handover. As a guide, 2 hrs would be a minimum period to spend with a fist time pool owner. After the completion of the handover, we are always available to assist with further queries. Often it will involve a second site catch up to run over the finer points of equipment function after a few weeks of living with the pool.

DON’T BE SCARED:

Initially, the pool equipment may seem overwhelming but don’t be scared. Pool equipment is generally very easy to operate and maintain but the best way to fully understand your gear it to become familiar with it. Ask questions, read user manuals and understand the basic purpose of each piece of your pool equipment. The Pool owner who does this will be confident in their pool operation and more importantly, they will know instantly when something may not be right and requires some expert diagnosis or potential warranty related service claim.

Typical pool and spa equipment set up example
Typical pool and spa equipment setup example

FOLLOW UP:

We provide a free 6-month major pool service to all our completed pools. This service is designed to give the client another opportunity to run through pool equipment maintenance, and it also allows us to check up on our Baby.

SEASONAL ADJUSTMENTS:

Every pool runs a bit differently and has to be seasonally adjusted. The run times and chlorine or sanitizer production will also need to be monitored and adjusted over the course of the year. To run your pool cost effectively you want to minimise equipment run times and hence power usage. so you won’t really fully understand your pools needs until you have lived with if for a year.

BE ON THE LOOK OUT:

As you live with your pool and get to know it keeps a watchful eye on her.
Keep and eye on water colour and clarity. It should be crystal clear so any change in water clarity or colour will more than likely be an indicator that something is not right.

Pool water

Have a keen ear for any change in noise levels. If pumps become noisy or your pool begins to make strange slurping sound something is not right. It may be related to flow rates or water operating levels but a keen ear will often identify a potential problem in its early days.

FINALLY:

After all that it has to be said that modern pools are very easy to maintain. The inclusion of in-floor cleaning systems, robotic cleaners, modern salt chlorinators, automatic water levellers, L.E.D lighting and numerous other hardware items makes pool ownership a relatively easy, low commitment and high reward investment in you home and your lifestyle.

The idea of this post has been to simply emphasise that the more effort you put into understanding your pools operation, the more that investment will be protected for a lifetime to come.

Happy swimming and enjoy your pool.

NEW POOL AND SPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Concept to Concrete

We have just sprayed our latest pool shell and i though it would be a good time to demonstrate the evolution of a project from concept to concrete stage…

This is where the bulk of the impact takes place as a site progresses from a blank canvas to a raw structure.

The latest project is sure to become a showpiece pool .The planning and design work that takes place before breaking ground, combined with quality workmanship during the build and integrated quality control procedures ensure the shell is built to last a life time.

The initial conceptual design is drawn up and finalized. This plan becomes the blue print for the entire project.

Landscape design

After engineering and all  plans are completed the project begins. Excavation is completed and formwork begins.

Steel-fixing and plumbing installed and passed by building surveyor.

Then after three weeks of intensive works the concrete shell is poured.

As you can see its a great relief when a concrete shell is poured… Especially in melbourne ….in winter where there is the constant risk of catastrophic cave ins.

This pool will be:

Approx 11 x 6 with 3 full length entry steps

Fully tiled in a white Bisazza tile.

Mineral sanitation/infloor cleaning/gas and solar heating.

The surrounding coping will be white large format marble pavers..

There are 2 waterfeatures on the boundry wall that will spill into narrow aquaducts before returning to the pool.

There are 5 new generation “em”series spa electric led lights in the step side of the pool.

There will be fiber optic lighting running under the steps and coping on the entry side of the pool as well as on each side of the aqua ducts.

Now the concrete shell is complete the works around the pool can begin. The pool company is usually the first to start on a site, as all the other hard landscaping elements usually tie into the pool.

We are also usually the last to finish on site. When a pool is being fully tiled it is important to protect the tiles once the works have been completed so for this reason we like to tile the pool once all other works are almost complete. We like to hand over the pool as the clients take possession of the the project as a whole.

We’ll keep you posted on the project as it develops so stay tuned…

BEST POOL BUILDERS IN MELBOURNE…but why?

We love what we do and we continually strive the build the best pools in Melbourne. This is our mission and our goal.
I  have been reflecting lately on why we love building pools so much. It is hard dirty work, hot in summer, wet in winter, dusty, muddy and dangerous. For me,  my answer is as follows.

Growing up with pools

Growing up we did not have a pool, but some of my best memories are of days and nights spent at friends pools.

As a child, it was the days playing around the pool,  pool games such as Marco Polo and handstands. Swimming underwater from end to end and holding your breath as long as you could while fetching sunken objects off the pool floor.

As a teen it moved to jumping push bikes into pools, launching of roofs into the deep end and eventually long nights sitting in the spa drinking beers with friends.   Very rarely did it involve laps, but it was always great fun.

Now an adult and homeowner I see the value of a swimming pool in a different light. When I jump in a newly finished pool now I get a feeling of complete luxury. What a joy and luxury it is to be able to have the space to dive into your own backyard pool and splash around. Your own oasis where you can relax and entertain without any interference from the outside world. The kids and their friends will never be far away on a hot day or balmy night because where else would they rather be.

The Pool as an idea

Building pools now I realise I have had a long love affair with the idea of pools. The Hollywood movie pools and movies about pools have always been a favourite for me. Although they were before my time I like to “The Swimmer” with Burt Lancaster is a real showpiece of American pools in the 60’s as he swims from the river to his house doing laps in every backyard pool he passes on the way.

Also “Don’t make waves” the 1967 Tony Curtis film where Tony plays Carlo Cofield a Malibu-based swimming pool salesman. The movie is based on California beach culture in the 60’s and showpieces some great pools and real estate from the era.

The idea of a pool is really what drives the demand for pools. The idea that you can own your own piece of paradise.

Your own oasis or holiday destination where you need only travel to your back door.

The idea of a design feature in your private landscape that could be seen in a magazine or on a movie set, or in a music video clip with bikini clad girls. if that’s the idea.

The idea is different for everyone and it is very emotional. The great thing with pools is that although the idea is one of extreme luxury it is attainable. There are many options to suit varied budgets. So the dream can become a reality.

Pushing design and innovation

My passion for pools has now moved to a new stage where I am literally addicted to them. I love the intricacies in design and the behind the scenes working of a pool. To the owner, it has to be simple to operate and clean and polished in design but to make this happen there is a lot of thought and construction knowledge required to ensure it is built well. Structurally and hydraulically there is a lot that can be done wrong when building pools and one mistake at the construction stage is one too many.

I now enjoy researching cutting edge pool designs from around the world. Following architects from today and the past in their design and integration of pools into landscapes and home designs. I enjoy watching trends in pool design come and go and keeping note of what seems to be timeless.

Famous Lautner edge pool @ Goldstein residence

At Minke pools we really enjoy the challenge of complex designs in pool and spa construction. I find the pool with even one small design feature that may be a point of a difference a joy to build, and I love watching an idea sketched out on paper becoming a full-scale construction and finished product of exceptional quality.

A lot of pool companies build pools as a soulless business concern.They focus on numbers and turnover and have a primary focus on costs. What it will cost them to build it ..and how can we cost in some additional variations.

We believe we are the best pool builders in Melbourne because we love what we do. We love the process and the result and most of all I love being able to provide a client with a pool that meets their Idea of what a pool is, and should be, to them and their family. To meet the need created by the idea.

Latest completed swimming pool renovation

The pool inside a pool renovation project is now complete.

1. This is what we were first greeted with. Massive old pool in good condition but far too big and very dated.

BEFORE.

Originally a large pool the pool was shortened to become more of a courtyard feature.

Infloor cleaning, spa jets, solar heating was all incorporated into the new design.

2. This is at the concrete stage with the old pool still visible behind.

@ Concrete

The pool is fully tiled in an Italian 200 x200 ceramic tile with 200 x 50mm rectangular tiles used to tile the curved walls.

Entry steps are finished in travertine to match the coping and the pool surrounds and paved in a feature cobble style paver.
A water tank was put in the old part of the original pool shell as part of the water conservation plan.

3. Tiled about to lay travertine.

Tiled

4. Complete… the dawn of a new pool. Photos were taken at daybreak this morning.

The pool is finished and ready to provide years of family fun and entertaining.

Landscape design by Paul Bangay and pool designed by Minke pools in conjunction with SJB architects.

The pool was built in conjunction with Krongold Constructions.

We are very happy with the result. Our hands-on approach to building pools ensures we maintain our uncompromising high standards on every project we do and the result, even on the closest inspection, will not disappoint.

Stay tuned more completed pools to come in the next few weeks.