Why is the Gemünden luxury swimming pool business booming?

When it’s as hot as it is today, many want to dive into cool water. And if the outdoor pool closes again due to a lack of staff, those who have their own pool at home are in luck. Here, at least for a few, comes the company Gemündener Stahl- und Metallbau Karl-Heinz Bock GmbH. A few years ago, the company expanded its portfolio with swimming pools and pool covers made of stainless steel, opening a completely new, exclusive group of customers. The swimming pool in Gemünden is intended for the luxury segment and, including the coverage, technology and installation, costs no less than 100,000 euros, says owner Markus Bock.

As a medium-sized metal construction company, it has been building mainly warehouses, landings and staircases for decades. The company became more famous in Gemünden when it built a steel bridge in 2016 to replace the demolished wooden bridge over the Saale River in Mühltorviertel. Bock says the classic business with industrial customers is more objective and technical, with price in the foreground.

“2020/21 was brutal so we couldn’t start processing applications.”

Markus Bock, head of the steel construction company Gemünden

In turn, swimming pools are the result of an intensive exchange with customers and are a very emotional product that employees are proud of. Because the 42-year-old steel structural engineer who took over the company founded in 1985 from his father seven years ago has a soft spot for design and likes to swim, he pursued his own goals in the pool area. In 2017, the idea was born at the request of the architect. This is how the company came up with its first stainless steel swimming pool and canopy. The field has continued to expand ever since.

“2020/21 was brutal,” says Bock, “so we couldn’t start processing applications.” Christian Pachner, in charge of the pool area, adds: “Since there are not too many manufacturers, customers want to wait a long time.” Gemünden is currently the only manufacturer that offers customers the complete pool package, cover, technology and service (winter storage, pool cleaning). In deciding whether to become a stainless steel pool manufacturer that sells its products through specialized resellers, Bock quickly realized that specialized sellers were only interested in price. It was out of the question for him. “The customers we have usually have one problem: lack of time,” says Markus Bock. Therefore, they are happy if they only have one contact person for everything.

Last year, twelve pools were built in the halls of the steel and metal construction company. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much, but the stainless steel pools manufactured in one piece at Gemünden have a maximum size of 4 by 16 meters and weigh up to four tons. Bock talks about the difficulty of making stainless steel pools: “Treat the pool like a raw egg, you can see every scratch.” After moving from the steelwork hall to the stainless steel workshop, workers must change their footwear to avoid introducing normal steel chips that could lead to corrosion. In the halls, the welds are protected against weather conditions, while other manufacturers weld the pools at the customer’s site.

And the production of the pool itself is not enough, according to Pachner, the company also installs it and often the entire exterior is also planned. Almost all customers wanted a counterflow system, multiple massage jets. The swimming pool enclosure by Gemünden is made of galvanized steel and is basically a terrace with bottom insulated floorboards that can be slid over the pool on rails so as not to lose as much heat. This is also available separately for existing pools. The company also offers things like steel fences and outdoor showers, as well as conservatories with outdoor kitchens in collaboration with partners, and small sauna buildings. This results in very complex designs. According to Bock, clients are often entrepreneurs or board members.

“You have to treat this pot like a raw egg, you can see every scratch.”

Markus Bock on the production of stainless steel pools

So far, 90 percent of the pool has gone to private customers throughout Germany. Some inquiries come from customers who have seen such a stainless steel pool in a wellness hotel in Austria or South Tyrol, where they are already more common. In the meantime, according to Bock, there are also inquiries from hotel customers for larger swimming pools. In order to be able to do this with the available space, the Gemünden-based company is also planning segmented pools in the future with prepared segments.

The steel construction company is slowly approaching its limits. It can produce a maximum of 20 pools per year as well as up to 50 pool covers. Expand or keep the size? “We think we prefer to do 20 great projects a year,” says Bock, whose father continues to do metal and steel calculations and his mother does the accounting. But not only are production and storage capacities limited, the company is also desperately looking for employees – in steel and metal construction and swimming pool technology, a heating engineer is also on the wish list.

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