NVC Precast is diversifying its creative portfolio by partnering with Plungie to add a twist on the conventional swimming pool.
With expertise in precast, piling and construction, NVC Precast is constantly looking to expand its capabilities from its base in Kilmore, Victoria.
This is why the company’s interest was piqued when Plungie, an Australian manufacturer of precast concrete swimming pools expressed its interest to establish manufacturing in Victoria.
As a Brisbane-based company, Plungie develops a variety of pre-cast swimming pools, which are available in four designs.
NVC Precast Quality Engineer Manoj Piylla says that since the first meeting between the companies back in January 2021, the partnership has grown by leaps and bounds.
“Plungie started producing pools in Brisbane and grew rapidly,” he says. “We have extensive experience in precast manufacturing and application, so we can provide a platform for them to grow right across Australia.”
Both parties were interested in developing a long-term partnership, a staple of NVC Precast, which prides itself on the strength of its established relationships with contractors and customers alike.
As Plungie COO Brendan Hawes explains, the formation of a partnership with NVC Precast has improved the dynamics of product delivery interstate.
“When our discussions commenced, we found that there was a natural synergy hitting both these aspects, so a natural relationship formed over several meetings. NVC Precast was responsive and keen to explore the opportunity,” he says.
“We didn’t take this opportunity to an open tender process. Plungie has been built on the framework of partnerships and entrepreneurial spirit. The logistic environments in Australia in terms of freight were becoming challenging, and the natural destination for Plungie’s expansion was Victoria.
“It’s critical with freight costs that Plungie offer an Australia-wide solution to our market. NVC’s location provides us with a gateway and solid base to our Southern states.”
Due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, production on the first pool didn’t begin until February 2022, with the first product also acting as meaningful training for the NVC Precast team.
Discussions between NVC Precast and Plungie paved the way for the first ‘mud map’ layout, which detailed the ins and outs of the precast pours.
NVC Precast was able to utilise its experience for the pouring and casting required for the basic pool construction, while Plungie provided additional training on the final finishing required, such as the application of multiple coatings, as well as the installation of the spa connections and light fittings.
As part of the partnership, the ‘Max’, ‘Original’ and ‘Studio’ Plungie pool models will be manufactured in quality-controlled facilities.
Hawes says demand for a cost-effective solution for pool construction is increasing globally.
“As residential lot sizes get smaller, the need for an efficient pre-cast solution with fast lead times becomes even more important,” Hawes says. “The NVC partnership has definitely provided us with a model and framework to grow Plungie, not just here in Australia and also globally.”
Step by step
Production on the first two pools did present its challenges for both NVC Precast and Plungie.
NVC Precast’s team also had to become accustomed to the manoeuvring of the pool during production.
The production process also requires specifically designed equipment to finish the pools, all of which were new to the NVC precast operation.
Despite these challenges, both NVC Precast and Plungie worked to ensure the technical requirements were satisfied following the construction of both products.
This process included an audit by NVC Precast’s engineers to assess the technical data, concrete mix and technical drawings during production.
For Piylla, the partnership has presented a unique opportunity for him and his team to increase their own knowledge and capabilities, which he says can now be applied to NVC Precast’s day-to-day operations.
“Previously as an engineer my focus has been on the structural and stress factors of concrete for projects such as bridges, and how a structure can withstand a certain load. Now my focus has shifted more towards the finishing, with new aspects such as colouring and plumbing,” he says.
“NVC is always looking to take on new precast-related projects and we’re open to facing these challenges.”
Hawes says the learnings from the first two pool constructions will be instrumental to the future success of the partnership.
“We are continuously working with NVC to identify areas for improvement. Plungie is a growing manufacturer, but we were novices in precast compared to NVC’s experience We value the expertise of NVC’s history and experience, as well as their ability to adapt designs, and suggest improvements to our processes. We’ve learnt a lot from each other,” he says.
Taking a plunge
Piylla says the future is bright for NVC and Plungie, who are hoping to make a splash in Australia’s conventional pool industry
“Right now, we’re moving towards setting up an operation that could cater for an expected influx of orders. I believe NVC is capable of producing 100 pools a month,” he says.
Hawes agrees, saying Plungie is excited to continue the partnership well into the future.