Industry Insights

A Cemented Dream: The Concrete Pool Company

Having spent 15 years as a residential and commercial builder, Ryan McGowan realised he wanted more. He had received a contract to renovate three concrete pools in a holiday park in northern Perth, and from there The Concrete Pool Company was birthed in November 2014 by Helen and Ryan McGowan, the husband-and-wife Dream Team.

They’ve expanded, now with offices in Balcatta, and haven’t stopped growing since.

“We started off with a home office about four years ago, and then after a year we realised it just wasn’t enough,” says Helen.

Helen is responsible for all things design and admin, including creating the initial concept designs for clients, while Ryan and his crew work on the pool from start to finish. And for them, quality is more important than quantity.

“We’re a premium builder, so we want to concentrate on building premium pools; we only do a maximum of 15 pools a year,” explains Helen.

They work on varied projects that mean they have to cover close to 700 kilometres—anywhere between Geraldton, just north of Perth, and Margaret River at the base of Australia, as well as delivering high quality pools over south Western Australia.

Having to cover that vast distance and carry all the tools needed for building a pool, Ryan and Helen needed something sturdy. That’s where the Isuzu NPS 75-155 comes in.

Despite trying other brands and other types of vehicles, such as utes and other 4×4s, Ryan knew he needed something that had the four-wheel drive capabilities of a ute, but with the carrying load and strength of a truck. The Isuzu NPS fit the bill.

“I don’t believe anybody else is doing a truck that size with four-wheel drive capabilities and automated manual transmission (AMT),” said Ryan.

Danny at Major Motors, in Forrestfield, helped Helen and Ryan with their truck selection.

The couple said, “Danny was informative and helpful on the truck specifications, he kept us updated and delivered when promised, which increased the excellent Isuzu experience we’ve had.”

For Ryan, the most important thing in his consideration of work vehicles was the AMT and 4×4 capabilities. Soft sand is a serious problem and is trouble waiting to happen.

Ryan said, “Especially in the summer here, when the ground is dry, the sand is so soft. Without a four-wheel drive, I wouldn’t even get a metre off the curb without getting stuck.

“But with the Isuzu, I haven’t gotten stuck.

This gives Ryan the capability to get right next to the building site, rather than having to park on the street.

“It saves us so much time. If we were carrying everything from the roadside to where we were working, we could end up spending an hour each morning and evening to load and unload,” Ryan added.

“Also, when you’re going over soft terrain, you want manual transmission; but when you’re driving on sealed roads, it’s quite nice to have it in auto and have a nice drive.”

Ryan also needs space for all his tools—long lengths of steel, formwork, pipework and more. Ryan has fitted the truck with custom-built toolboxes, as well as a Palfinger PC 1500 Compact crane and a 4.5 metres by 2.4 metres tray built by Perth Bodybuilders.

The tray gives the company all the space it needs, with some extra. With a gross vehicle mass of 7,500kg, a power of 114 kW @ 2,600 rpm, and torque of 139Nm @ 1,600 rpm, the truck doesn’t complain or groan either.

Ryan shared, “You don’t notice the difference when it’s loaded with weight.

“It doesn’t feel sluggish, even when we pick up natural stone pavers coming in at around 4 tonnes.

“We have no issues with driving the Isuzu truck.”

The business had upgraded to the Isuzu NPS, going from an older truck with no air con—in Western Australia’s constant heat—and springs sticking out of the seats.

Ryan mused, “It’s like driving around in luxury with electric windows and air con and suspension seats.”

The Isuzu NPS 75-155’s multimedia functions are beneficial to the business, too. The Bluetooth phone capability allows Ryan to safely make calls on the go with high quality sound. And with the digital radio, he doesn’t miss out on any of his favourite channels no matter how far outback he goes.

And in terms of reliability, that was one of the biggest selling points of Isuzu trucks for The Concrete Pool Company.

“I know a lot of people who have got Isuzus and swear by them.

“It’s not ideal to be broken down in the middle of nowhere, when we’re possibly four hours south of our home base with all your tools stuck on the back of the truck,” Ryan said.

The business has definitely given the NPS a run for its money, what with 7,000 kilometres clocked in only four months—but it’s still running smoothly with no breakdowns or issues.

“And when it comes time to upgrade, we’ll definitely be getting another Isuzu,” Ryan said.