CATEGORY:Building & Construction
PRODUCT: ZINCFORM® steel
Unable to source a required steel product locally, and facing prohibitive import costs, Albatross Pools found itself in a dilemma. BlueScope Distribution took up the challenge and solved the problem by developing the exact product needed.
One of Melbourne’s leading pool builders, Albatross Pools, this year celebrated its 50th anniversary – its longevity a testament to the strong foundations set by husband and wife team, Ben and Judith Van Der Haar, who started the
company in 1969.
Over the last half century, Albatross Pools have built in excess of 16,000 pools, and whilst a lot may have changed over this time, one thing hasn’t: the company has stayed true to its three founding principles of using quality materials, listening to customers and offering value for money.
Today, Albatross Pools remains a family business with sales and marketing operations overseen by granddaughter of Ben Van Der Haar, Peita Otterbach, who explained some of the features that set Albatross Pools aside from many
“Quite different to a concrete and fibreglass pool, an Albatross pool is constructed from custom fabricated steel
panels, which are assembled together and interlocked in place with a concrete beam and floor,” Peita said.
“Once the landscaping and fencing is complete, a sanitised commercial grade Aqualux PVC Membrane is vacuumsealed into the pool shell resulting in a durable satin smooth non- slip pool interior.”
The pre-engineered swimming pool concept was developed in North America back in 1948 as an alternative to concrete pools, which because of their rigid structures, tended to crack, warp or even pop out of the ground when faced with freezing ground conditions.
While freezing is rarely a problem in Australia, many areas particularly in Victoria, experience constant ground movement and soil volatility (especially in newly developed estates).
“Albatross pre-engineered pools can be custom made to almost any shape and size. Unlike alternative options in the marketplace, they are designed and engineered for volatile soil conditions and are less likely to crack, warp or pop
out of the ground,” Peita said.
While pre-engineered pools account for around 70 per cent of the global swimming pool market, here in Australia the technique is less popular. In this sense, Albatross Pools is something of a pioneer.
As Peita explained, the steel used in pre- engineered pools requires a specific protective coating that until recently, was not manufactured in Australia. For that reason, for many years the company sourced the material from Canada.
“About a year ago, our import costs went through the roof. We needed a local alternative, so we approached BlueScope Distribution to see if they could help us out. We gave them a sample and asked them to develop something similar if not better,” she said.
BlueScope Distribution accepted the challenge and, following a 10-month development process, delivered Albatross Pools with ZINCFORM® Z720 steel, a product that incorporates the required Z720 coating.
“We were delighted with the result. There were no red flags at any stage throughout the entire process. Communication was always open and transparent, and we were always confident of the outcome,” Peita said.
“To receive a locally made product that met our specific needs, and to do so with a brand that is as well-known as BlueScope Distribution was a major win in our eyes. It ticks all the boxes for us and our customers.”
Innovation has been a crucial element in the Albatross Pools success story. Innovation allowed the company to thrive, while other Australian preengineered pool manufacturers fell by the wayside. And innovation is what drives Michael (Ben and Judith’s eldest son), Peita and her husband Justin, to travel the world in search of the latest products and techniques.
“We’re very much focused on the next phase of our business, which will involve seeking new opportunities with ZINCFORM® Z720 steel – this new Australian-made product in which we have 100 per cent confidence,” Peita
“For example, we plan to increase our exports, particularly to Japan, a country that already holds Australian products in high regard. Having a company of the calibre and reputation of BlueScope Distribution behind us will be a huge benefit.”
For more information visit www.albatrosspools.com.au
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