From intricate urban marketplaces to offices and affordable housing solutions, shipping containers across the country have been given a new lease on life lately.
And, as heat waves have become more common, they’ve even become appreciated swimming pools.
Since 2017, Abbotsford, British Columbia-based Modpools has helped the cooling down cause of customers across North America with its sleek shipping container backyard pools.
It was during a trip to Palm Springs back in 2016 that sparked the modular pool concept for Modpools owner and CEO Paul Rathnam.
“Paul has a company called Modpro which has been modifying shipping containers into various industrial enclosures, offices, and bathrooms for years,” says Modpools’ marketing manager Brad Fontaine. “He thought why not try and make them into a pool as well, and worst-case scenario he will end up with a pool in his backyard.”
Of course, he ended up with a lot more than a new backyard toy. And especially with the pandemic -- a time that inspired a massive demand for swimming pools -- business is booming.
“There has been a huge increase in demand for our product during the pandemic seeing as how so many people can't travel; instead, they are using that saved vacation money to create a ‘staycation’ in their backyards and spend more time with their families,” says Fontaine. “During the pandemic, we have doubled our sales from the previous year.”
Though the company is based in BC, it ships across the United States and Canada. According to Fontaine, there are six Modpools in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), about a dozen total in Ontario, and 10 currently being built for Ontario owners. He says that someone in Toronto who ordered one today could get it delivered as soon as mid to late November, citing a 16-18-week lead time.
In addition to a conversation starter at backyard parties, Fontaine highlights a handful of factors that make Modpools a sound choice both financially and in terms of quality for swimming pool-seekers.
“Modpools are self-contained units, unlike many conventional swimming pools, meaning you don't need a separate pool-house on your property,’ says Fontaine. “They're also very portable, saving you the high cost of a brand new pool the next time you move. All you need is a crane and a flat deck truck, and you're good to go.”
The swimming pools are custom built to order available in a variety of sizes (including 12-foot, 20-foot and 40-foot options) and can be installed above ground, in-ground, and everywhere in between, making them much more versatile than a traditional pool. “Another layer of versatility is our hot tub/pool hybrid component, where there is open-ended seating on one side of the Modpool, with a lightweight divider wall that can be easily slipped in and out,” says Fontaine. “This helps save time and money when heating the Modpool, as you're isolating the heat to the spa area and not the entire structure.”
Constructed from high-quality steel that has been sandblasted, treated, and meticulously coated in a marine-grade epoxy primer, the sturdy structures are designed to last, reducing any unexpected costs down the road.
“This protects our pools from oxidation (rust) and the elements. Steel can flex and is easier to maintain, while typical concrete/gunite pools are porous and will crack,” says Fontaine. “A large enough crack can mean paying an exorbitant amount of money for a visually unappealing plaster job.”
Fontaine points to unique features you can’t get from conventional installations. “In addition to the signature Modpool window add-on (above-ground pools can feature a side window), all of our pools come standard with color-changing LED lights and a Wi-Fi kit that allows you to control all the pool functions from your phone,” says Fontaine.
The pools are also an environmentally-friendly option. “We convert used shipping containers that are in mint condition, recycling used material while simultaneously providing a top-quality product,” says Fontaine.
As for the installation process, it’s relatively seamless. Modpools arrive fully built with a ready-to-go mechanical room; furthermore, the company’s model is built around accommodating a previously unfamiliar installer with ease, as 95% of Modpool installations are done by a first-timer. The four main areas to cover are land prep, crane/forklift offloading, running electrical, and connecting a gas line.
Potential customers are invited to custom design and build their perfect pool with a 3D pool builder on the Modpools website.