The Belgian Federation of Pool and Welness Professionals (BFZ), operating in the swimming pool sector, brings together the contractors involved in the construction and renovation of pools, swimming pool and SPA manufacturers, and distributors of various products related to the pool world. In our interview, where he evaluated the Belgian pool industry, BFZ President Joeri Dils explained the activities they carry out as a Federation, Turkey’s position in the European market, and 2022 evaluation for the Belgian pool industry to the Havuz&Sauna magazine.
Could you tell us about the establishment of BFZ (Belgische Federatie van Zwembad- en Wellnessprofessionals) and its contributions to the Belgian pool industry?
The two Belgian associations active in the swimming pool sector – de Groepering van Algemene Aannemers van Zwembadbouwers and The Belgian Swimming Pool Association – have decided to join forces by creating the Belgische Federatie van Zwembad- en Wellnessprofessionals (BFZ). The BFZ brings together contractors involved in the construction and renovation of swimming pools (both traditional pools and swimming ponds), the manufacturers of swimming pools and wellness spaces and the distributors of the various products associated with the world of swimming pools.
This merger is an important step in a market that has grown rapidly in recent years.
It was therefore a natural evolution of an increasingly professional sector.
“Belgium, despite being a small country, is in a very advanced position in the pool industry”
Belgium has an important position in the European market in the swimming pool and SPA sector. What is the biggest factor in the development of the swimming pool and SPA sector in your country? How do you evaluate this development?
Although Belgium is a small country, we are very progressive in the pool industry. We have several important local pool material distributors and manufacturers of pool covers, prefabricated swimming pools in thermoplastics and composite, pool lights and heat pumps. In the next years there will be a strong focus on durability and lowering the ecological foorptint of swimming pools.
BFZ brings together manufacturers of swimming pools and wellness areas, as well as product distributors and contractors in the pool area. Can you tell us about the work you have done in this context? What innovative approaches do you develop in this regard as the Federation?
In a small country it is not difficult to bring the important actors (manufacturers, dictributors and contractors) together. Frequent meetings, seminars and training courses are the best tools for consultation and information exchange. On top of this we use newsletters to keep everyone informed about the projects we work on.
What is the importance of swimming pool in Belgium? Can we talk about the effect of the sector on the formation of swimming culture?
Private swimming pools become more and more popular because of wellness home, cocooning and the positive effect on the physical and mental health a private pool in the garden will also increase the value of the property.
“We are working with local authorities to find and train pool installers and technicians”
As BFZ, do you have training courses in the swimming pool sector to provide vocational employment? Can you tell us about the work you have done or are planning on this subject?
As in most European countries we have difficulties filling vacancies. Most pool companies are in need of skilled staff. We organize yearly training days in cooperation with the French School of Pierrelatte. Furthermore we work together with local authorities to find and train motivated pool installers and technicians. As pool building is a profession that needs many different skills, it’s a real challenge.
As BFZ, how do you evaluate Turkey’s position in the European and world market, in the context of the pool and SPA sector?
Turkey has a long tradition of pools and pools are widely spread in this beautiful country. It has the perfect climate for private and also many commercial pools for tourists spening their holidays. We see Turkey as an important partner for further developing the European and Middle East markets.
“Turkey offers an excellent sauna and hammam experience by combining modern technology and traditional design”
Have you had a pool, SPA or sauna experience in Turkey before? Or can we talk about such a plan? Can you evaluate the pools, SPAs and Turkish baths in Turkey in terms of functionality and design?
Unfortunately I haven’t had a Spa or sauna experience in Turkey before. Turkey has a long tradition of hammam, sauna and pool. We still see this in the functionality and design you’re using. It’s a combination of traditional design combined with modern technology offering the perfect bathing experience.
“Expensive energy costs accelerated the use of “neutral energy” in pools”
How do you evaluate the year 2022 for the Belgian pool industry? What are the current problems you are currently experiencing?
After several years of continious growth with often exceptional figures, we expect the pool business to slow down this year and probaly in 2023 as well. Compared to the figures before Covid we still do well, but high energy prices, inflation and the war in Ukraine make people reluctant to invest in a privat pool now.
Other problems for the industry are the lack of skilled staff.
On the other hand, the high energy prices have triggered the proces of making pools “energy neutral” So existing pools will be upgraded with (solar) covers, heat pumps and other low energy consuming features such as variable speed pumps, LED lights and solar collectors for pool heating.
Do you have any final things to say?
We look forward to futher cooperation with our turkish and other EUSA partners.