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Going Modular

Putting portable, inflatable pools to shame, the clever modular design has made waves in the industry, providing Australians with a nifty alternative to the sometimes more cumbersome and expensive concrete and fibreglass options. Kirrily Ireland speaks with Joel Stern, managing director of Stern’s Group – the parent company of Stern’s Pools
– to discuss the benefits and stylistic options of having a modular pool.

Sterns Pools

Modular pools get their name for being simply that – modular. Similar to a piece of flatpack furniture, the pool is made up of separate components that are then put together to form a sturdy shell for pool water. Although once made only for above-ground placement – thanks to its ability to stand on its own without any additional support required – companies like Stern’s Pools have adapted the design for semi-above and in-ground installation, offering homeowners a wealth of flexibility for their backyard.


If you’re considering making an upgrade to your outdoor space this summer and a modular pool has yet to cross your mind, it’s certainly worth thinking about. While concrete and fibreglass pools undoubtedly come with their benefits, modulars are unique in that they have a sense of impermanence, yet still provide the same luxuries of a permanently installed pool.

“A little-known advantage of a Stern’s modular pool is also the capacity for it to be moved to new premises or sold on the second-hand market – perfect for downsizing or even rental instances,” Stern affirms. “Due to its flatpack nature it can easily be dismantled or assembled on-site and suits instances where a non-permanent structure is needed – [avoiding complications with] sewer lines for

instance.” This is particularly useful for those who don’t own their own home but desire the privilege of having their own pool, or even those who aren’t ready to commit to their current property and are hesitant about locking in such a large and expensive structure without being able to take it with them in a couple years’ time.

Due to its more portable nature, “the modern modular pool enables families to get a pool into their backyard in a much more timely and economical manner”, making it a great choice even for homeowners who plan on sticking around. Australian-owned and -made, Stern’s Pools always has the components on shelves, meaning if you suddenly decide it’s time for a pool, the team can have a pool kit ready in as little as a few hours, and no longer than a few days.

“Modular pools are very popular today, given that they tick so many boxes in terms of budget, versatility and speed of installation, but their popularly has reduced [since] the ‘90s due to stricter enforcement of regulations,” Stern says, although he assures readers that this not a bad thing. Modular pools can pose just as much risk as any other pool, especially now that they can be placed in-ground. With proper safety regulations now in place, you can rest assured that your family can enjoy pool time in a safe and compliant environment.


The best part about modular pools is that little to no construction is required on-site. Since it’s more of a product rather than a built structure, you and your backyard can avoid lengthy, potentially disruptive, construction periods. Modular pools are generally manufactured in a factory and then simply assembled on-site. Stern says, “To assemble our pools, there is no need for concrete or any other reinforcement as they are designed to be self-supporting.” However if you find that the surface of your yard is not level enough, a concrete slab is a good solution. “For sloping sites, we would normally cut into the slope to create a level site to put the pool on.”

Site access and the assembly itself pose “no more challenges than a normal pool – in fact it removes many normal obstacles”. “Given the flatpack nature, we can access sites that aren’t suitable for pre-made pools,” Stern says. “The rule of thumb is that if you can walk to site then you can get the pool parts to site.” Once you know that you can easily get all of the parts to your backyard, it’s important to consider how you want the pool installed. “The most common [way to] install our pools is semi-in-ground with a deck surrounding the pool. This makes entry to the pool area as simple as a few timber stairs or [a] ramp if needed for accessibility issues.” Stern explains that if you want it fully aboveground,
timber cladding can be built around the structure to help it blend into the landscaping in a more aesthetic way. However, with their more flexible design, “probably 60 percent of these pools get installed partially or fully in-ground”.

Sterns Pools
Sterns Pools
Sterns Pools

Manufactured to a high level of quality, homeowners and the like can trust that the components of their modular pool are just as sturdy and water-proof as any other kind. “The structural frame is made from heavyduty BlueScope steel with non-structural components either made in-house [from] steel or outsourced [from] resin,” the expert says. “To hold the water in we use a PVC membrane called a liner that is cut by a robotic cutting machine, so sizing is perfect every time. The liner is then welded by hand to ensure the quality finish that is expected of a Stern’s pool.”

Again, just like any other pool, “general maintenance of the water chemistry is the same”. Going modular doesn’t mean making compromises on either the quality or the experience of having a pool. Modular pools are an easy solution for above-ground, but are also more than appropriate enough if you’re seeking the in-ground experience. Speak with an expert and learn how you can get your hands on one today!

Images Courtesy of Sterns Pools