Death defying swimming pools are set to become the newest architectural trend in central London, allowing visitors to float over 200 metres above the capital’s skyline.
Pool designers at Compass Pools have developed Infinity London, the only building in the world to incorporate a 360-degree infinity pool.
The concept, also referred to by the Greek lemniscate symbol (∞), features a 600,000-litre pool built right on top of a 55-storey building.
The pool is made from cast acrylic rather than glass, as this material transmits light at a similar wavelength to water so that the pool will look perfectly clear.
The floor of the pool is also transparent, allowing visitors to see the swimmers and sky above.
Swimmers will access the pool through a rotating spiral staircase based on the door of a submarine, rising from the pool floor when someone wants to get in or out.
Other advanced technical features include a built-in anemometer to monitor the wind speed.
This is linked to a computer-controlled building management system to ensure the pool stays at the right temperature and water doesn’t get blown down to the streets below.
Boasting an innovative twist on renewable energy, the pool’s heating system will use waste energy from the air condition system for the building.
The hot gas that is produced as a by-product of creating cold air in the building will run through a heat exchanger to heat the water for the pool.
The pool is also fitted with a full spectrum of lights which will give the building the appearance of a sparkling jewel-topped torch at night.
Compass Pool’s swimming pool designer and technical director Alex Kemsley commented: “Architects often come to us to design roof top infinity pools, but rarely do we get a say in the building design because the pool is usually an afterthought.
“But on this project, we actually started with the pool design and essentially said, ‘how do we put a building underneath this?’
“When we designed the pool, we wanted an uninterrupted view, both above and below the water.
“Swimming in the SkyPool at The Shard, it’s quite a weird feeling to have helicopters flying past at your level, but this pool takes it a step further.
“Pop your goggles on and with a 360-degree view of London from 220m up, it really will be something else – but it’s definitely not one for the acrophobic!”
Infinity London could kick off construction as early as 2020 if all the partners and contractors are confirmed.
It will have a five-star international hotel on the top floors of the building with the pool used by the guests.
Commenting on the design, Alex continued: “We faced some quite major technical challenges to this building, the biggest one being how to actually get into the pool.
“Normally a simple ladder would suffice, but we didn’t want stairs on the outside of the building or in the pool as it would spoil the view – and obviously you don’t want 600,000 litres of water draining through the building either.
“The solution is based on the door of a submarine, coupled with a rotating spiral staircase which rises from the pool floor when someone wants to get in or out – the absolute cutting edge of swimming pool and building design and a little bit James Bond to boot!”
Infinity London’s exact location is yet to be confirmed.
Your swimming pool is a fantastic feature piece for your home and a wonderful place for fun and leisure for the whole family. But if you want to get the most from your pool and ensure a long lifespan, regular maintenance is essential. Here we have created a comprehensive guide to maintaining your swimming pool, covering everything from routine cleaning and water testing to chemical treatments and machinery servicing.
Servicing your pool
It is important that you should have a plan in place for the proper servicing, cleaning and maintenance of your pool. This will include general weekly work that you will have to do while the pool is in use, as well as a servicing for the equipment and machinery involved in the running of the pool.
Proper weekly maintenance is key to improve the lifespan and cleanliness of the pool. Carrying out the small, simple stuff on a regular basis can reduce the amount you have to spend on repair works and other expensive maintenance bills when the small issues have grown into something much more serious.
It is best to get into a routine with your pool cleaning and maintenance, and carrying out the work on a specific day every week. Your weekly tasks should include:
Checking the water level and topping it up if need be
Cleaning the filter/s
Cleaning out the skimmer baskets
Vacuuming the floor of the pool
Brushing the wall of the pool
Cleaning the area around the pool terrace
Checking the pH levels and adjusting the water balance
Checking your pool chemicals and ordering any necessary replacements
Servicing the machinery
It is necessary to have regular servicing carried out on your pool. The equipment and machinery used to run your pool will have a much longer lifespan with a good servicing schedule. For example, boilers and heat pumps need to be serviced according the instructions from the manufacturer, usually annually. Gas Boilers, where fitted must also be checked yearly for leaks under gas regulations.
It’s also worth noting that if you notice anything strange such as an unusual noise in the plant room or the pool not reaching the correct temperature, you should have a professional come out and inspect the equipment.
Chemical treatments are a vital part of your swimming pool maintenance routine. These treatments are important both for ensuring that the water is clean and safe for swimmers, and for the overall health of the pool.
Getting the pH of your pool right is one of the key principles of pool maintenance; pH is the scale of acidity and alkaline, ranging from 0 to 14 where the middle point of the scale at 7.0 is neutral. Anything above 7 is alkaline and anything below 7 is acidic.
The ideal pH rating of swimming pool water is between 7.0 and 7.6. Anything lower than 7.0 and metals and pool finishes can start to corrode, while anything above 7.8 and there can be issues with scaling due to calcium salts in the water and chlorine becoming ineffective.
Safety tips with chemicals
Remember that pool chemicals are usually potentially dangerous and should therefore be used carefully. Here are some safety tips you should follow when working with these chemicals:
Chemicals should be stored in a dry and cool area, in separate containers
Always read and follow the instructions
You should wash your hands after using pool chemicals
You should wear proper PPE when handling pool chemicals
Chemicals should not be mixed together before they are added to the water – when mixed, many chemicals can be very volatile and the process can release noxious gases and even cause explosions
Chemicals should never be stored in a container that was designed for another
Empty containers can be washed with pool water, rinsed out and disposed of
Empty containers should not be re-used for storage of other chemicals
Children should never be allowed to handle pool chemicals
Shock treatments are a key factor in maintain the cleanliness of your pool. This is an excellent way to prevent algae and bacteria from building up in the water – something that cannot always be prevented by standard forms of maintenance.
Many people assume that if there is a strong smell of chlorine around a pool and stinging eyes from the water, it indicates that there is too much of the chemical is in the pool. However this is not the case. In fact, these undesirable effects come from either incorrect pH or chloramines, which form when chlorine in the water mixes with sweat, oils and other bodily fluids. To rid yourself of the build-up of these chloramines you ‘shock’ the pool with a very high dose of chlorine or another chemical.
Shock treatments are not as simple as adding a little more chlorine than usual, and in fact using standard chlorine tablets will not work. You can choose between a number of options including calcium hypochlorite or unstabilised dichlor.
You should follow the instructions on these products – it will usually be at least eight hours before it is safe for you to swim in the pool again. It should also be noted that shock treatments need to take place after the sun has gone down. If you try to carry out the shock during the day, sunlight will burn off unstablised chlorine and the shock will not work as intended.
How often you need to shock the pool will depend on the usage of the pool, and you also may need to carry out a shock treatment immediately after an incident such as heavy wind that has caused detritus to accumulate in the pool.
Testing and monitoring
It is important to test and adjust your pH levels on a weekly basis to ensure that the water is always safe to swim in and that you are not doing any damage to your pool. You can use testing kits with a simple colour comparison or dip strip test – these kits are widely available and you can easily follow the instructions.
You can have automatic dosing systems installed to monitor the chemical and pH levels of your water and most can even sense when there is a problem and automatically release chemicals. If this is not something you are interested in having it can be a good idea to have the water balanced by professionals on a weekly basis.
General pool cleaning
Another important element of pool maintenance is that of the general cleaning that you need to carry out in addition to the chemicals. This includes skimming and vacuuming the pool to rid it of any debris that can get into the water such as litter, leaves and other biological matter. It is important that you should also understand your pool’s filter and the need for a cover.
It is also worth noting that when you are cleaning your pool you should not forget to check potential problem areas such as steps, ladders and diving boards which will need cleaning from time to time.
Any time that you notice debris or dirt in the pool you should skim the surface with a net to remove it as soon as possible. Ideally you should also do this each time before you use the pool.
It is unavoidable that dust, debris and other items will get into the pool water and will sink to the bottom before you can skim them out. Not only will this create an unsanitary swimming environment with a dirty pool floor, it can also lead to a build-up of algae and bacteria if left for long periods. Vacuuming should be carried out on a regular basis, and it also may be necessary to vacuum outside of a schedule in order to deal with debris that you notice on the pool’s floor.
Once the floor of the pool gets very dirty, normally after winter, vacuuming becomes essential and you should vacuum to waste for the best results. This process involves vacuuming as you would normally before stopping the pump and then re-positioning the multiport to the ‘waste’ setting. You can then restart your vacuuming and the water will be sucked out so that it doesn’t need to go through the filter. Note that this will reduce the water level in the pool so it is worth overfilling before you start and keeping the hose running.
The importance of pool covers
If your pool does not currently have a cover then you should definitely consider investing in one. Pool covers fulfil multiple functions, but most importantly they are a huge benefit to the maintenance and upkeep of the pool. Clearly that one of the biggest issues of introducing dirt to the water is the debris that falls into the pool – having a cover when the pool is not in use can reduce this problem to a minimum.
Pool covers are also useful in the fact that they retain heat in the water meaning that if you have a heat pump, you won’t need to use it as often. Ultimately this not only means you will pay less for heating but also the pool will have a longer lifespan.
The filtration system
It is worth noting here the importance of the filter to your pool’s cleanliness. The filter removes dirt and debris from the water. There are a number of filter types and it is a good idea to understand the differences in order to clean them so they work effectively.
Sand or Glass filter – cleaning a sand or glass filter works by backwashing or reversing the flow of water. These filters work best when they are slightly dirty, and need to be cleaned at least once every other week..
Diatomaceous earth filter – a DE filter is similar to a sand filter and uses backwashing to remove dirt. However, after backwashing, DE must be added to the filter to coat the filter. It should be cleaned a few times per season, and additionally once a year the filter should be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned.
Cartridge filter – to clean a cartridge filter you need to remove the cartridge and then hose off the dirt. The elements should then be soaked for at least 12 hours to remove oil and grease. Finally, give the cartridge a throughout rinse before allowing it to dry. It is good practice to have two sets of filters so that you can change between them, allowing for the lengthy cleaning process without downtime.
The more you use your pool and the more dirt that goes in it the more you have to clean your filters. It just like emptying a hoover bag when you lose suction.
Your pool in winter
Outdoor pools won’t get an awful lot of use over the winter period, so you need to set aside some time to prepare for the colder weather. Firstly, if you are going to do any major work on the pool this is the best time to have it carried out. Secondly, while you may be tempted to remove all the water from your pool this is poor policy without taking professional advice first as can damage the pool.
The first thing you will need is a proper winter cover that will keep debris and sunlight out of the water. It should also be noted that the pool will see need to be treated even if it not being used to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria.
Regular checks on the pool water should also be performed.
In the UK some form of heating system is almost always required to reliably raise and control pool temperature.
A heating system should operate up to and until the water reaches that desired temperature. Specifying a heating system during the design phase of the swimming pool is created in close consultation with the client, and takes into account a number of factors:
Air/water heat pump
Heat pumps are gaining in popularity for heating pools, especially as the costs of fossil fuels continue to rise. A heat pump works by absorbing heat from the surrounding air and transferring it to the pool water. The ambient air doesn’t itself have to be warm though, clearly, the warmer the air, the more heat is available to extract, and the more efficiently the heat pump will operate.
High performance fuel oil heater
The same working principle as with an oil heater, but using natural gas, LPG or butane as the fuel. NB: Propane (LPG) and butane solutions offer the same advantages as natural gas, but the running costs are often considerably higher.
Directly heats pool water via an array of stainless steel or titanium electric heating elements. With escalating electricity prices it is seen as the least viable of the direct heating systems and tends only to be installed in situations where there really is no other alternative.
Renewables – biomass, pellet, and log burners
Many consumers are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and their heating bills in the face of ever increasing fossil fuel costs, and solid-fuel renewable heating systems are gaining in popularity in that respect. The real value to consumers is to those looking to run a carbon-neutral system, as long as the fuel comes from a sustainable and replenished source, of course.
Solar – Evacuated tube
Evacuated tube solar systems are relatively efficient collectors of heat, converting the sun’s energy. Whilst they will collect much greater quantities of heat on sunny days, the point to note is that as long as sunlight reaches them, they still work to a degree, and are not reliant on ambient temperature either. However, as the sun is unreliable in the UK, it should only be considered as a secondary (i.e. back-up) system.
Using a combination of renewable and conventional heating systems the ultimate flexibility can be achieved to maintain all year round heat, cutting heating costs to a minimum.
Compass Ceramic Pools is the world’s leading manufacturer of one-piece composite pools and is committed to building the highest quality, best value pool on the market with the most advanced manufacturing techniques, the finest materials, and the most stringent quality controls.
Alex Kemsley from Compass Pools said: “It’s always great to win awards and being recognised by our peers and celebrating with them is an honour.
“We set up Compass Pools just seven years ago and since then have seen interest in the pools and sales increase above our expectations. We now install all year round across the UK and as far afield as Jersey, Guernsey and France.
“All our pools are built off site which is a huge plus point for our customers. It means we simply transport them ready made and install direct into the garden. In just eight working day we can turn a back garden into a luxurious pool area.”
Compass Pools UK specialises in the installation of Compass Ceramic Pools, both indoors and outdoors. The parent company, Compass Ceramic Pools was set up in 1981 in Australia.
Over 3,000 pools are manufactured each year in Australia, Europe and the US, with 30,000 pools installed since launch.
To install an inground pool doesn´t have to be hard, if you exactly know what you are doing. See our short picture manual of JAVA pool installation.
Compass ceramic pools can be installed in two ways, depending on the bottom type: flat or sloped.
Pools with a sloped bottom are installed on the gravel bed, placed both under and around the pool. The pool subsoil is made of washed river gravel (round pebbles) of 8-16 mm size.
Pools with flat bottom can be installed on the conrete base plate. Once settled, the sides are filled up by moistened concrete.
You can see the construction process on pictures – it shows how the Smokey Quartz coloured Java pool with sliding roof system is built.
1. Complete manual and construction drawings
If you decide to install Compass ceramic pool, you will receive detailed documentation for constructing company.
After a careful measurement the excavations begin.
3. Preparation of the pool subsoil
The excavation bottom is filled with a subsoil layer of washed round gravel, poured on a geotextile and rammed. It´s also possible to prepare a concrete base plate, but Compass ceramic pool installation doesn’t require it, gravel bed settles the pool sufficiently.
Once the skimmer, inlet nozzles, lights, hoses and pipes are fitted, the pool is gradually backfilled around by dry concrete mixture or gravel. At the same time pool is filled by water to balance the pressure exerted on the walls.
The space under the stairs is always filled with dry concrete.
FIG. Ceramic pool installation and back filling by dry concrete mixture
6. Technology installation in the shaft
Once the pool is settled, the pool technology installation begins – either in the pool shaft or in a room designated for this purpose (garage, basement, garden shed).
7. Pool roofing
Roofing rails are settled onto the concrete pool ring (if they are going to be embedded at the paving level), or are settled after the tiles are laid.
8. Tiling around the pool
9. Roofing installation
10. It´s done…
… let´s go swimming.
See how the pool is moved from the street to the construction site.
Natural pools have been slowly gaining popularity over the last few decades. Usually chosen as a chemical-free alternative to a traditional, chlorinated pool, they offer the same luxury lifestyle and aesthetic.
If you’ve been planning to invest in a swimming pool for your home or business, you’re probably wondering how to tell if a natural pool is the right choice. How do they work? What are the drawbacks? We’ll cover these questions, and more, in this post.
What is a natural pool?
A natural pool is simply a swimming pool that uses an organic filtration system, rather than chemicals, to stay clean. Taking inspiration from nature, a natural pool features an area that’s filled with carefully-chosen water plants and reeds that filter your water as it gets pumped around the pool.
How does this keep the water clean?
The reeds and plants in this ‘regeneration zone’ feed on the water, acting as a physical filter for debris and producing both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to maintain the cleanliness of your water. You will still need a pump to keep the water in constant motion through the plants, but you won’t need to add man-made chemicals or salts to disinfect or sterilise it.
As a bonus, the constant water movement prevents the pool from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Why do some people prefer a natural pool?
The lack of chlorine or man-made chemicals in the water makes a natural pool very appealing for swimmers with sensitive skin, or those generally concerned about ingesting chlorine from extended use of their pool. Natural pools are also a good choice for those who are conscious about exposing the environment to chemicals, as well as themselves.
Others appreciate the visual aesthetic that a natural pool offers. Available in a wide range of contemporary and rustic styles, the common factor is that every natural pool comes with a beautiful water garden, helping it blend seamlessly with its surroundings and create a focal point for landscaping.
Finally, natural pools are lower maintenance and cheaper to run than a conventional pool. There’s no need to keep buying chemicals and salt, nor do you need to maintain a chemical filter, check the pH balance, or deal with most of the other costs involved in keeping a normal pool clean. You will still need to occasionally skim the surface and run the pump system (although this can usually be run on solar power).
What are the drawbacks of a natural pool?
The biggest drawback of a natural pool is that they generally cost more upfront than a conventional swimming pool. However, the lower ongoing costs mean that you make your money back over time (and can sleep easier, knowing that you’re not putting more chemicals into the environment).
Another factor to consider is that the water in your natural pool won’t be a bright, artificial blue like it would be in a chemically-filtered swimming pool. The water should still be fairly clear, although some natural algae growth may give it a slightly brown tint. By their design, natural pools will include some organic debris and sediment – it’s perfectly safe, even if it isn’t the sparkling blue shade we’ve come to expect.
For a natural pool that is beautiful, low-maintenance and safe to swim in, it’s essential that you choose an experienced installer. At Compass Pools, we have worked on many natural swimming pool projects from concept to completion, so would be more than happy to discuss your ideas, answer your questions, and bring your dream swimming pool to life. Simply contact your nearest Compass Pools office today.
We all know that the British weather can be unpredictable and hot summers can never be taken for granted. So, if there is a heatwave where you live and have a swimming pool in your garden, you should make the most of the facility! Here are 5 fab and fun ideas of how to get maximum enjoyment from your pool when summer is here.
1 – Keep fit at home
Regular exercise is what we should all be doing but when it’s 30 degrees outside, who has the energy? Your outdoor pool is the perfect solution – you can work out while keeping nice and cool all at the same time! Whether you’re swimming laps or doing water exercise routines in the pool, it’s easy to keep fit in the water where the lack of gravity means less stress on your body.
Why not invest in some aqua fitness equipment to help you get the most out of your water workout? Strengthen muscles, improve tone, burn fat and increase your cardiovascular health with the help of belts, weights and buoyancy aids specifically designed for use in the pool.
Water exercise can be more fun in groups, so grab your partner or a group of friends and get fit this summer.
2 – Invite your friends and have a pool party
Who says pools are just for swimming? Having a pool in your garden on a sweltering hot weekend is exactly what you need to turn an average garden party into a summer spectacular! Get everyone to bring swimwear, towels and sunscreen and enjoy splashing around in the water.
For added excitement, why not invest in a few inflatables to put in your pool? From novelty pool floats to water slides, aqua runs and bouncy castles, there’s hours of fun to be had in the water.
Swimming always makes everyone hungry, so make sure that someone is in charge of the BBQ and ideally ask your guests to contribute to the food – they can bring burgers, a salad or a pudding – and bring a bottle too.
Finally, no party is complete without music and party lights. Whether you create a party playlist on Spotify or hire a DJ for some proper entertainment is up to you. The important thing is to create the right atmosphere for everyone to have a great time!
3 – Enjoy the peace and tranquillity
On the other hand, a hot sunny afternoon is perfect for enjoying the peace and quiet of your garden in blissful solitude. You don’t even have to get wet – well maybe a teeny bit. Take a favourite book or magazine and sit by the edge of the pool, perhaps with your feet dangling in the cool, refreshing water.
For a more immersive experience, why not invest in a comfy pool float, recliner or island, so you can read while you’re floating around the pool? Reading, of course, is optional. You could just as well use your precious ‘me time’ for meditating, sunbathing or snoozing.
The important thing is to switch off from the constant stimulation that is normally all around us. Leave your mobile devices indoors and focus on the here and now. Just make sure you’ve applied plenty of sun cream lotion, wear a hat and sunglasses!
4 – Have fun with the family
If it’s summer holiday time but you’re not near a beach, why not have fun in the water with the kids at home? Rather than randomly splashing about in the water, and if your children are old enough, why not try one of these popular pool games?
Underwater Treasure Hunt – diving for coins, stones, toys or anything else that takes your fancy as long as the items are heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the pool.
Noodle Jousting – line your warriors up on inflatable rafts and give them pool noodles for weapons. Now let the fighting begin.
Submarine Races – for competent swimmers who are comfortable underwater, hold your breath and see who can swim the longest before coming up for air.
Shark in the Pool – a pool version of ‘It’ that gets better and more hilarious the more variations and rules you add to it.
Float Race – find the pool float of your choice – inflatable dolphin, dinosaur or unicorn, the more ridiculous the better, and see who can ride across the pool the fastest.
5 – More swimming lessons
Finally, why not take the opportunity of the excellent weather to start your little ones of with swimming lessons in the comfort of your own pool? It may be less daunting than going to group lessons in unfamiliar surroundings.
If your kids can swim already, now may be a good time to develop their water skills and build technique and endurance in all four swimming strokes – front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. Snorkelling or diving lessons and basic water safety first aid are also a great idea.
Everything is more fun when the sun is high in the sky, so the next heatwave may be a great time to find a private swimming instructor to come to your home.