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The Sustainable Management of Public Swimming Pools Mark Sesnan Mark Sesnan GLL, April 2008 GLL, April 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Sustainable Management of Public Swimming Pools Mark Sesnan Mark Sesnan GLL, April 2008 GLL, April 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Sustainable Management of Public Swimming Pools Mark Sesnan Mark Sesnan GLL, April 2008 GLL, April 2008

2 About GLLAbout GLL –A bit of background Swimming Pool SustainabilitySwimming Pool Sustainability –A cant and a rant around the issues The GLL Sport FoundationThe GLL Sport Foundation –GLL helping disadvantaged young people succeed in their sport

3 About GLL The ‘original’ leisure trust established in 1993The ‘original’ leisure trust established in 1993 Industrial and Provident Society (IPS)Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) Society for the Benefit of the CommunitySociety for the Benefit of the Community Social EnterpriseSocial Enterprise Co-operative StructureCo-operative Structure Not Profit DistributingNot Profit Distributing Exempt CharityExempt Charity

4 Extensive Experience Operate 65 leisure and sports facilitiesOperate 65 leisure and sports facilities Operate nearly 50 pool complexes including three 50m poolsOperate nearly 50 pool complexes including three 50m pools London and surrounding boroughsLondon and surrounding boroughs 14 London Borough Partners14 London Borough Partners 5 other Public Sector / Charity Partners5 other Public Sector / Charity Partners £70m Turnover£70m Turnover 4,000 staff4,000 staff

5 Map of London and GLL’s Partnerships

6 Swimming Pool Sustainability

7 Sustainability Issues DesignDesign TechnologyTechnology EnergyEnergy EnvironmentEnvironment TenderingTendering Increasing Operating Costs Health & Safety Programming Staffing Temperatures Chemicals Charges

8 Defining a Sustainable Pool Financial ModelFinancial Model Environmental ImpactEnvironmental Impact Robust ‘lifetime’ design and buildRobust ‘lifetime’ design and build Attractive and PleasantAttractive and Pleasant Right LocationRight Location Intensity of Use, Balance &‘Ownership’Intensity of Use, Balance &‘Ownership’ SafeSafe

9 Design Designed to Use or to Look at?Designed to Use or to Look at? Designed by Operators or Architects?Designed by Operators or Architects? Lifetime costs exceed build costs, but get less priorityLifetime costs exceed build costs, but get less priority We have been designing public pools for over 100 years and we still make basic errorsWe have been designing public pools for over 100 years and we still make basic errors

10 Design (Continued) Good Design Experienced design Team including OperatorExperienced design Team including Operator Architect is Team Member not MasterArchitect is Team Member not Master Lifetime cost is more important than build costLifetime cost is more important than build cost Poor Practice Operator not involved or has ‘back seat’ Designed from outside in (..what does it look like) Capital build cost is more important than lifetime cost

11 Designing for Flexible Use Designing for Flexible Use Easily Moveable Floors, Booms and BulkheadsEasily Moveable Floors, Booms and Bulkheads Leisure Water v’s Fitness WaterLeisure Water v’s Fitness Water Depth profileDepth profile Temperature variabilityTemperature variability Changing configurationChanging configuration AccessibilityAccessibility

12 Environmentally sustainable Intelligent designIntelligent design Heat ReclaimHeat Reclaim Solar / Ground HeatSolar / Ground Heat Pool CoversPool Covers Variable Speed PumpsVariable Speed Pumps Managed pool and air temperaturesManaged pool and air temperatures Brown Water reuseBrown Water reuse

13 Tendering and Procurement CCT abolished by Government, but Procurement Officers happy to use EU tendering rules with vigour …. Why?CCT abolished by Government, but Procurement Officers happy to use EU tendering rules with vigour …. Why? Tendering always ends up focussing on PRICE (..oh and a bit of quality, allegedly)Tendering always ends up focussing on PRICE (..oh and a bit of quality, allegedly) Cut the price in a climate of increasing fixed costs and you end up with….Cut the price in a climate of increasing fixed costs and you end up with….

14 Cut the costs Low paid staffLow paid staff Low motivationLow motivation Poor servicePoor service No cash for repairs and improvementNo cash for repairs and improvement Fewer customersFewer customers Cycle of declineCycle of decline Ultimately less poolsUltimately less pools –Less swimmers –More drownings –More sedentary people –More obesity & health related illness

15 But… We saved a few quid on the tenderWe saved a few quid on the tender (which the Borough Treasurer then gave to another department that was too ‘professional’ to have to save money) Cynical but true!Cynical but true! Why do we do it?Why do we do it?

16 Financial Model The perceived wisdom: Pools cost moneyPools cost money Health, Fitness & Dry Sport generates moneyHealth, Fitness & Dry Sport generates money Combined they should break evenCombined they should break even

17 Of course it is more complex! Estimated that the true cost of a swim is £4 - £7, although the average paid by adults is £2 - £3 and even less by childrenEstimated that the true cost of a swim is £4 - £7, although the average paid by adults is £2 - £3 and even less by children The cost per swim increases if the building is old or new and badly designedThe cost per swim increases if the building is old or new and badly designed What is the role of any subsidy?What is the role of any subsidy?

18 Offsetting the Cost Maximising the pool programmeMaximising the pool programme –Rationalised opening hours –Back to back sessions Optimising the pricingOptimising the pricing –Can pay should pay (with ‘Robin Hood’) –Direct debits? Collocating ‘dry’ facilitiesCollocating ‘dry’ facilities –Add Revenue positive cost centres such as Health and fitness Gyms, Spa etc and fitness Gyms, Spa etc

19 A Balanced Programme Coherent Public timetableCoherent Public timetable at regular and popular times: –Commuter, Lunchtime, Evenings, Weekends –Fitness (Lane) Swimming, Fun and Leisure –Women Only, Families Only –Schools, Clubs, Lessons –Beacon Club, Swim 21 etc –Water Fitness (aqua-aerobics)

20 All Things to All People? The Fitness SwimmerThe Fitness Swimmer Clear lanes, speed segregated, no kidsClear lanes, speed segregated, no kids The Swimming ClubThe Swimming Club Exclusive UseExclusive Use Children and FamiliesChildren and Families Fun, splash, swimFun, splash, swim Special GroupsSpecial Groups No viewing, No male staff, specialist equipmentNo viewing, No male staff, specialist equipment

21 What the Customer Wants Easy to park car, bike or busEasy to park car, bike or bus Accessible timetableAccessible timetable Friendly, efficient receptionFriendly, efficient reception Fair priceFair price Clean, bright and safe changing areasClean, bright and safe changing areas Working, good sized lockersWorking, good sized lockers Clean water, low/no chlorineClean water, low/no chlorine Intelligent lifeguardingIntelligent lifeguarding Space to swimSpace to swim

22 Do we always live up to this? Many pools are Dickensian in look, feel and operationMany pools are Dickensian in look, feel and operation Pool programmes are often dominated by self interested groupsPool programmes are often dominated by self interested groups Do the Customers have to ‘wipe their feet on the way out!’Do the Customers have to ‘wipe their feet on the way out!’

23 Challenging Ourselves Drive up standards for pool designDrive up standards for pool design Drive greater understanding of swimming needs and customersDrive greater understanding of swimming needs and customers Drive pool usage and utilisation to financially appropriate levelsDrive pool usage and utilisation to financially appropriate levels Drive the ‘case’ for swimming as the flexible physical activity and sportDrive the ‘case’ for swimming as the flexible physical activity and sport

24 The Latest Round of ‘Issues’ Health and Safety culture generallyHealth and Safety culture generally –we must find someone to blame –all accidents must have someone at fault –the ‘crime’ can be just not having an adequate risk assessment! The need for ever increasing staff levelsThe need for ever increasing staff levels The litigious CustomersThe litigious Customers The Pools ‘safety’ culture is killing off enjoying yourself and diving – what next?The Pools ‘safety’ culture is killing off enjoying yourself and diving – what next?

25 H&S -How did we end up here? Nobody would drown in our pools if we closed them all!Nobody would drown in our pools if we closed them all! [Of course a lot more people would drown in canals and open water] canals and open water] Nobody goes to work to cause a tragedyNobody goes to work to cause a tragedy [But you can go to prison if one happens on your watch] (..unless you are an H&S officer of course) (..unless you are an H&S officer of course)

26 Ensuring the future for Swimming Recognising the role of swimming in an Active SocietyRecognising the role of swimming in an Active Society Forging ‘added value’ partnerships between the ASA, Clubs and the wider communityForging ‘added value’ partnerships between the ASA, Clubs and the wider community Sharing best practiceSharing best practice Promoting accessPromoting access..and Income needs to cover costs!..and Income needs to cover costs!

27 GLL Sport Foundation


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