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20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 7GU

Tel

020 3372 4482

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Mob: Call or Text to 07557 966 459

1 Bowerhill Road, Salisbury SP1 3DN

Tel

01722 504818

 

The Bluepools Story

Bluepools is managed by Will Witt a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer who has been working in the Swimming Pool Industry for the last 15 years. He has over 40 years experience in the Design and Construction of major projects.

And Who Is Will Witt?

The Person

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Will is a confident, tall, very laid-back, active runner, single (Two ex-wives), 5 adult children + grandchildren, with blond hair who likes both opera and country music and is very much a child of the 60's when he was a teenager and at university.

Currently lives in Salisbury in the UK and spends some of his time in the western US where he is the President of Bluepools Inc.

Bluepools Inc. designs and manages the installation of new pools in Las Vegas and in California around Los Angeles – yes we are designing pools in Hollywood and Malibu as well as Santa Barbara!

See www.bluepools.com

The Professional Engineer

Will is a Member of The Insitution of Civil Engineers

The website of the I.C.E. can be found here:-

www.ice.org.uk

Will is fully registered as a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (M.I.C.E.) with Membership No 41858410. You can check this by contacting the Secretary at the ICE.

The ICE has strict professional conduct rules and Will has been a Member continuously since being admitted in 1974.

He was also a member of the Institute of Structural Engineers (M.I.Struct.E) from 1978 for about 25 years - until he resigned about 5 years ago because of his exasperation with the unworldy academic focus of this Institution.

Will was educated at Sheffield University where he got an upper second honours degree in civil and structural engineering at a time when only about 2% of school leavers even went to Uni!

He went on to become one of the most experienced, hands on engineers in the world. Became a chartered civil engineer in the 1970's (M.I.C.E.) and has been a practising engineer ever since – that is over 40 years!

His philosophy is that if you cannot prove what you are saying by facts and analytical analysis then you should shut the f.... up!

Was a founding partner of Robert West Limited in the late 1970's – this firm is still very much alive and kicking – just Google them!

 

The Crusader and Altruist

Will believes that Civil Engineers should lead society in terms of planning and managing the infrastructure that keeps us all alive, healthy and prosperous.

He also believes that pool industry serves its customers very badly in general. There are a few firms that care about their customers but for most it is such a struggle to survive that their owners are too worried about keeping afloat to worry about design quality, customer care and after-sales service.

He has also actually been a Pool Installation Contractor for nearly 10 years and really believes that the Pool Build process should be something to enjoy and take pride in.

Sadly the contractual relationship between the parties in the old conventional approach to Pool Installation so often turns into a confrontational war between Client and Contractor.

That is why Bluepools has introduced new ways of getting projects built as described elsewhere on this Website.

The Innovator and Entrepreneur

CLICK ON ANY PHOTO FOR A LARGER EDITION

 

Will set up a firm of consulting engineers with Bob West in 1978 and left in 1985 to set up Pentacon that carried out studies, design and construction of work to a total value of approximately £60.0m for a variety of major blue chip clients. This included being "The Engineer" for the infrastructure of the suburb of Chafford Hundred in West Thurrock in Essex.

This project was very involved and complex. It involved feasibility studies and master planning of roads, drains, large pumping stations, utility services, railway station, schools and shops, on 5000 hectares of abandoned quarries, for a new suburb of 10,000 people - all undertaken over a 5 year period in close conjunction with Thurrock Borough Council.

The project had a very high profile and Will met all kinds of people like Chris Chataway who was a Government minister around that time.

chris chataway pic

All the housing has now been built and occupied and it is now a thriving community. (Just type Chafford Hundred into Google and you will see). It seems strange now but Will remembers sitting in a meeting when the Chafford Hundred name was originally suggested by Don Sharman the project manager from RTZ - who owned a big chunk of the land along with Blue Circle Cement.

This was what the site looked like when we were doing the earthworks that involved the movement of 1.6 million cubic metres of chalk - about 3 million tons in normal speak!

chafford hundred pic

Pentacon was a highly innovative “Design and Build” business. These are very common now but virtually unknown in the 1980's. It grew very rapidly to a turnover of £15m a year – equivalent to over £50m now.

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Pentacon also built offices, warehouses and industrial units for a large variety of developer, retailer and manufacturing clients throughout England.

Such as this one for Copymore in Enfield North London for just under £1.0 million - what would it cost today?

pentacon picture

We also built the Maplin electronics factory near Barnsley as well as DIY stores for Texas Homecare.

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We even did housing development like this renovation of an old water mill in Kent that we turned into 15 apartments.

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Perntacon also designed and supervised construction of large water retaining structures for both water and sewage works - like the very large pumping station that sits alongside the northern portal of the Dartford Tunnel and is owned by the Anglian Water Authority and quite a few concrete shell swimming pools for private clients!

Pentacon developed the Palmerston Business Park in Fareham, Hampshire. In Spring 1990 it was valued at £10m and 6 months later £5m - and the bank pulled the plug and then sold it all on at a massive profit – Will has have never trusted banks or lawyers since - Even though his oldest daughter is a fully qualified lawyer!

So Pentacon ceased trading in September 1990 basically because of the credit squeeze that was imposed by the UK government – f......... politicians again!

This was Will's first setback and it was a big one! He had given personal guarantees to the banks and was eventually forced into personal bankruptcy in 1992 and he got divorced at the same time - what a year!

 

The Engineer that has seen and done it all before

The early 1990's was a bleak period during the big construction recession and so Will bought myself some tools and started building house extensions and garages etc - and taught himself to do all the building trades. He enjoyed the work - but not working outside in the UK winter!

This was when he first learnt to drive a digger and other types of construction plant as well as carry out the plumbing and electrical work that was to provide such an invaluable background when dealing with the technical problems posed by swimming pool design and installation.

In the mid 1990's the construction industry started to pick up again and so Will put the builder's tools aside and started to work as a in-house consultant to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) - back in the oil and gas business that he had worked in during the 1970's.

Working at KBR turned into a fantastic opportunity and for 8 years he was involved with some of the biggest projects in the world including;

These are pictures of the Flood Protection Works to the Bakerloo line alongside Charing Cross Railway bridge - I was responsible for the Design Concept and Temporary Works design and was then on site as Construction Manager over the 18 months that it took to build the project.

CLICK ON ANY PHOTO FOR A LARGER EDITION

KBR pic

KBR pic

And What About Swimming Pools?

Will had always been interested in the swimming pool business and had carried out pool design work back in the late 1980's - so it was something that he had always been interested in.

Then when he was working in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia in 2001 for KBR he found that there were lots of new houses and swimming pools being being installed there.

And being naturally nosy he had to get involved in swimming pool installation and carried out quite a few pool designs for friends and work colleagues.

This really triggered Will's interest in becoming an expert swimming pool designer - and his fascination with the endless variety of problems and solutions in the pool business has only increased since then.

Eventually Will became a bit jaded from the perpetual travelling with KBR and did his last major project for them in 2004. He then moved to France to invest in and start a swimming pool business called Bluepools SARL with his oldest son Luke.

This was an interesting project we built the pool at the top of a steep bank above the house - only real civil engineers could have done it!

brooks pool pic

France has the biggest pool industry in the World outside the United States and there are two pool types that dominate the market and these are:-

The reality is that all PVC liner pools are very similar and they share the common attribute that they can be built with unskilled labour and so the French pool industry has very little to offer in terms of superior techniques or equipment.

Will built his first two pools there in 2003 and completed about 100 of every type and shape both indoors and outdoors on a total hands on basis between 2003 and the end of 2010- they were 8 pretty tough years for someone more used to working as a Chartered Civil Engineer driving a computer - not a digger and HGV's down very narrow French lanes!

When the disastrous year of 2008 occurred and the phone stopped ringing – the rapid reduction in workload caused another bankrupcy – but this time it was the French company called Bluepools SARL. Will is very proud of the fact that he and Luke finished off every pool that was under construction for Clients when this happened – even though they had to do all the work themselves without being paid – and there were about 10 unfinished pools!!

During 2009 Will first met Derek Miller who was designing and building pools in Las Vegas. Since then they have set up and established Bluepools Inc that designs pools throughout Nevada and California.

Will returned to the UK early in 2013 to set up the Salisbury office of Bluepools Ltd to design and project manage the installation of indoor and outdoor pools for clients across the UK.

 

The Pool Designer

The world-wide building industry is dominated by International Architects - many of them are British or American - and the world-wide civil engineering industry is dominated by British and American consultants

So it is very strange that the world-wide pool industry is dominated by Pool Installation contractors who provide "Design and Build" Services.

Will does not believe that the average contractor knows how to get the Concept Design right! - they are good at the detailed engineering - and that is what they should concentrate on.

But if the basic concept is wrong the project will never be really successful - not matter how good the detailed engineering is!

Will believes that if a Pool Contractor is responsible for the Concept Design of a pool project it will have real flaws that will cause real problems throughout its useful life.....

.... and more importantly its useful life can easily be as much as half of what it would have been if the pool concept design had been done properly in the first place.

Will gets calls every week from people that have problems with their swimming pools

The main reason for this is that most of the people that run the pool installation firms have all learnt on the job - this is great for the detailed engineering that they do so well - but they have never been exposed to the sort of thinking that should go into the concept design of any construction project.

Many British people reading this will have watched Dominic Littlewood and Melinda Messenger clear up the mess left by cowboy builders that have left devastation and dismay in their wake.

It is very very noticeable that the people affected have all been penny wise and pound foolish:-

By not engaging an Architect to get the job right!!

You never ever see wealthy people that have engaged an architect on Cowboy Builders - Architects may add 10% to the cost of a job - but they also add 100% certainty that the job will not be bodged!

And exactly the same thing applies to swimming pools – only more so!!!

The Communicator and Technology Expert

Will has always been the first one to experiment with and use the latest technology and was actually designing his first websites back in the late 1990's.

He uses many different types of software in his daily working life and simply believes that the Internet and modern communications are in the process of completely changing modern industrial society and how it works.

Modern computing and the Internet allows small consultants to do everything for their Clients that would have required the services of quite a big company – just a few years ago.

Bluepools takes advantage of every opportunity to improve its service to Clients and uses Skype, Email and SMS to provide an ever present Advice and Help centre during office hours – and most of the weekend as well!

 

 

 

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