Interview with BK Projects Gauteng Sales Director, Shane Lewis
Shane Lewis is Sales Director of BK Projects, an established fibreglass swimming pool installer in Johannesburg. He has been working in Fibreglass Pool Installation business in Gauteng since 2001. BK Projects is the company he restarted after the drought, first in Cape Town and has since extended to Johannesburg.
Where do you operate from in Gauteng?
We operate from Springs, and while most of our pools are installed around Pretoria and Midrand, we install pools all over Gauteng, from Vereeniging up to Pretoria North, parts of Mpumalanga such as Secunda, Bethal, Witbank, Limpopo (areas around Ellisras) and even as far as Clarens in the Free State.
What makes you different from other installers in the Johannesburg area?
Customer service is our strong point as well as the speed of our process. Also our experience. I am a 2nd generation and my son is the 3rd generation pool builder in my family. So we really do have a lot of experience. My dad had his own company in the 1980s in Johannesburg and was chairman, at the time, of an organisation called SAFPBA, South African Fibreglass Pool Builders Association, like the current National Spa and Pool Institute.
Do you do all types of pools in the Gauteng area?
We install concrete, fibreglass and fibreglass shell pools.
We usually install concrete pools in the areas with a high ‘D’ rating (intensity of dolomite) which is a lot of Centurion, Midrand, Kempton Park, due to engineering specifications, where custom-build pools are required. The problem with the dolomite is if you have a lot of water drainage from a swimming pool or a leaking pipe, it washes out the sand between the dolomite boulders, leading the boulders to cave in and create sinkholes. We have known of incidents where two houses caved in because of dolomite problems. An engineer will not sign off fibreglass pools based on D ratings, It can be an expensive thing to acquire if your estate for example hasn’t already carried one out.
Which fibreglass pools are the most popular in Gauteng?
Rectangular pools with angled corners are most popular, often with a half-moon on the side of the patio. Johannesburg trends currently are the smaller pools (from 2.5m up to 5.3m) due to spaces available in complexes.
Can these pools withstand the harsh weather conditions of Gauteng?
The fibreglass pools can handle any type of weather. There are areas like Secunda around Mpumalanga, where you get heavy turf and need ground stabilisation. Other than that, and obviously any dolomite which you take account of when installing, the fibreglass pools withstand any conditions.
What do you think the advantages for the Gauteng customer would be for fibreglass pools vs concrete pools.
Basically, the time of installation can be scaled down from a month to two weeks and it’s definitely more cost-effective. There may be people in Johannesburg who build concrete pools for cheaper than fibreglass, but those pools won’t be up to standard from an engineering perspective (MPA levels will be low, no reinforcement etc)
What is your technique for installing the pool?
We work with a mix of sand, cement and ash. We create a sand and cement mixture of approximately 3 MPA, a very low strength mixture. It creates a sandstone base, it’s very porous so that water can actually fall right through it – it’s also not as strong so if you do get a lot of movement, it can disintegrate and regroup afterwards. This helps with any movement of the pool and lets water filter through without washing sand and creating bulges in the pool.
The most dormant component that you get in terms of movement is ash, the type that comes out of the furnaces of most of the mines and power plants. We use this for ground stabilisation. So the ground will move into the ash, but it’s extremely dormant so it won’t move any further. It’s just like a shock absorber.
Every soil structure has a different method of installation. So for turf areas like Secunda, major ground stabilisation must be carried out. We will decouple by approximately a metre then carry out ground stabilisation with dolerite (a type of gravel). We then bag it up about 500mm right around with dolerite, and 300mm down. From there we fill with sand and/or ash.
Any advice on Installing Fibreglass pools in Gauteng and Johannesburg generally?
The nice thing about Gauteng is that we have dealt with every structure and every scenario, we know what to do. We also obviously know where we’re allowed to do fibreglass pools and where we’re not.
Many people don’t create plans for swimming pools in Gauteng. It is a necessity, however. Not only can you get into trouble with the council, but you really need to consider the ground conditions in your area and the quality of the installation if you want your pool to last.
BK Projects Install Pools for Africa fibreglass pools in Gauteng. Choose a fibreglass pool here and select ‘get a quote’. If you are in a BK Projects area you will be contacted by BK projects for a quote. Alternatively, contact BK Projects directly on 087 55 00 936.