Slides, Sprays and Structures


Tuesday, 05 March, 2013



Slides, Sprays and Structures

Established in 1985, Infinite Fun® is a global water park equipment brand, headquartered in Mumbai. The group has more than 250 employees including 30 engineers and over 50 technicians. With equipment installed all over the world, Infinite Fun water park equipment established in Australia two years ago. Pool + Spa spoke with Scott Pendlebury, Managing Director of Infinite Fun, about water play structures.

When considering water play structures, products fall into three broad categories:

1. Water slides - large format slides and theme park water rides for commercial theme parks and large holiday parks that are usually custom designed and manufactured. This includes the latest thriller rides.

2. Water play structures - structures that integrate platforms, stairs, water slides, tipping buckets, and many interactive water features and sprays to provide a fully featured water playground. These are pre-designed but manufactured to order to meet the clients' colour preferences and to include any required theming (e.g. a pirate theme, or sea-adventure theme).

3. Spray park equipment - water spray equipment that is typically fixed to a 'splash pad' to create a 'spray park' or 'splash park'. Suited to younger children the equipment can incorporate tipping buckets, sprays, showers and fountains that the children can interact with. These are pre-designed items that are made-to-order to the clients' colour preferences. They are often installed with automatic switches so the sprays turn on and off randomly to excite the children.

Infinite Fun do receive some interest from the residential market and there is no reason why a new pool couldn't easily incorporate a splash pad or single feature adjacent to the pool designed so the water returns to the pool. However, our equipment is usually solid stainless steel and designed for the commercial market, so the costs might be too high for the average residential pool builder.

In the commercial pool sector, Infinite Fun is always willing to consider the client's objectives and existing situation rather than simply offering only 'new site solutions'. All water park equipment requires a body of water to service it, as well as the pumps, plumbing and filtration. Sometimes there is already an adequate body of water already in existence along with suitable services - the existing pool. Integrating with the existing pool can sometimes save on significant supporting infrastructure costs. The issues are complex, however, and we usually need to seek the professional opinion of an experienced pool hydraulics engineer who can assess these issues.

If a council is planning a new public pool with a water park my best advice is to plan for all the equipment upfront. That way the filtration, plumbing, water storage and throughput can all be done to accommodate both the pool and the equipment. Staging it can require expensive upgrades later to meet regulations and minimum flow requirements.

The water park equipment is going to be the key attractor - so place it so it is visible and prominent from the road. Whilst it is really a pool designer's domain, it is important to think about child supervision - the adult has to be able to monitor the children from both dry areas and the pool.

For facilities in enclosed spaces (like public pools) I would suggest that councils consider the water play structures more. They service a much wider age group than just a spray park and they can be installed in a shallow pool, which helps to slow excited children down.

Infinite Fun products can be added to council pools in retrospect, however, it can be complex to assess if upgrades are required to the supporting equipment. In this situation, Infinite Fun would seek the professional opinion of an experienced pool hydraulics engineer who can assess these issues. If the existing pool is large then it can be economical to utilise it as the water source for the equipment. Obviously, plumbing can be a big job, but removing the need for new underground storage tanks and filtration is a big saving.

Some councils choose to install spray parks in public spaces as an alternative to a normal playground. In these circumstances, they are often overly focused on the water park equipment and its cost, however it's the "pool build" that is usually the key cost. This includes the underground water storage, the concrete 'zero depth splash pad', the filtration and pump equipment and their housing. Other key considerations specific to the attraction are soft-fall surfacing (rubber based padding for the splash pad) and automation - both are required as these facilities have to be highly safe and operate without an operator. And, like any public space attraction there are many other considerations such as security, shade, seating, amenities, landscaping, parking, and lighting.

The most common question we receive from clients is 'How much is a water park and when can you install it?' Unfortunately the answer is always site dependent. Even a green fields site can materially vary in costs. Obviously the soil composition and differences in preparatory earth works to prepare the site can significantly affect cost. Also, costs of local concrete and qualified labour vary around the country. Remote locations attract a premium as the equipment has to be transported from a port of entry - and Australian road transport is expensive. Access can also be a consideration. For more information visit www.infinitefun.com.au

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