Installation Tips

Installation Guide

Set out below is a guide to prepare for your new lifestyle investment but remember we will have carried out a detailed site survey for you as part of you purchase and for added peace of mind.

Catalina™ is one of the UK’s oldest swimspa brands. First introduced in 1997 it quickly became the brand of choice offering the largest selection of different models and sizes. Our experience and award winning products give you peace of mind in the knowledge you have chosen the best!

Installing a Catalina spa or swimspa is very straight forward but we recommend good planning. This will ensure your installation will proceed with the minimum of fuss. “There are very few things that take such little time to plan and install yet will bring so many years of healthy fun and enjoyment”.

These are some of the key areas you will need to consider before installation:

  1. Location – Is the spa going outdoor or indoor? What should you be aware of? Do you intend to install above ground, part or full in ground or indoors and will it fit into the chosen area? Indoor installation - there will be the need to consider heating and dehumidification.
  2. Delivery /Access - Can you get the delivery vehicle to the site? Will a larger crane be needed and can a crane get access?
  3. Ground preparation – what size and type of base is required? Drainage? How much space should I leave around the swimspa?
  4. Electrical and heating options – general recommendations
  5. Service and maintenance
  6. Bather access, steps and safety
  7. Covers and their removal
  8. Day to Day use
  9. General


  1. Location

Give careful thought to the eventual position of your preferred model and take into consideration the location to the house (and any neighbours). Remember- privacy, noise, trees, wind direction, safety, (overhead cables), access to the finished swimspa, site drainage, fill and empty procedures, removal of covers, access to the equipment for service and maintenance and what the finished project will it look like.

Indoor installations - If the spa/swimspa is to be installed in an enclosure, either stand alone or attached to your home, you must consider the effects of humidity on the structure of the building and suitable floor drainage. If this is not designed correctly the room environment will be uncomfortable to occupants and very quickly causes expensive damage to the building fabric. We have over 20 years’ experience with all aspects of indoor Swimspa and fitness pools installations and will be pleased to give you professional advice and recommendations.  

We offer our own range of humidity control systems specially designed for indoor swimspas and fitness pools. For more information please call 01980 611555.


  1. Delivery/Access

An important factor to consider is the route that the delivery vehicle will use to get to your home and if the same vehicle is to be used for offloading. Can it get adjacent to the prepared base leaving sufficient room (in the case of a Hiab) to extend the support legs?  

The Catalina crane truck system will reach up to 20 metres. The distance and reach of a crane is totally dependent on the weight of your chosen model.

Delivery and Positioning includes delivery to the installation address and lifting within 20 metres of the delivery vehicle. Further distances, lifting over tall structures and road closures will be an additional charge. If the Catalina lift system is not suitable or the location has restricted access, then a crane lift will be required. We have delivered by boat and helicopter! So we are confident we have a solution.  This would be quoted separately.

Please call 01980 611555 to arrange a site survey so we can assist you to schedule the installation so it all proceeds smoothly.


  1. Ground preparation

Ground level - The Swimspa will require a suitable base. It is possible to place the unit onto an existing patio or concrete base, providing it is flat and level and sound enough to take the weight of 10,000kg or more.

Where a new base is constructed the ground should be excavated and where necessary prepared with a compacted hardcore sub base then covered with polythene DPM membrane, turned up at the edges. We then recommend a minimum of 150mm concrete slab and depending on the ground condition we further recommend a layer of steel mesh (A252, 8mm) is incorporated in the concrete. Always ensure that there is a minimum of 50mm of concrete covering above, below and the ends of the steel reinforcement.

The drying time of concrete is 48 hours for light foot traffic but, ideally leave it for at least five days. Formwork can be removed after 24 hours, although it is best to leave it for 72 hours to avoid any possible damage to the edges of the new slab.  It is worth noting that the concrete base will take 28 days to reach its full strength. 

The new slab must be flat and level and have good perimeter drainage. Remember to incorporate any cable ducts if required. Power cables can be installed by drilling through the cabinet rather than through the concrete base.

Below Ground – Our standard swimspa and fitness pools have full depth cabinets and all models can be installed either part or fully below ground.

If you intend to install either full or partial below ground the base must be concrete as detailed above with side walls to the desired height. If the side walls are to support any ground/earth then it is essential that the correct construction technique is used. This might require the walls and floor to be structurally designed.


If a swimspa is being fully installed below ground then the base will need to be up to 1000mm longer and 500mm wider than the swimspa dimensions.

If the surround of the Swimspa/ fitness pool forms an enclosure above the pit then it is important to provide good ventilation to the air chamber below. This is for the long term benefit for the equipment, electrics and structure. It is advisable to ensure the vents are rodent and insect proof. Any decking or surround must be fitted with floor access for maintenance to the equipment.

The pit dimensions must be calculated to accommodate the selected swimspa model and to allow for future servicing and maintenance of equipment.

We recommend a minimum air gap of 500mm around all sides other than where the main plant and equipment is located to allow access for service and maintenance. This will need to be 1000mm. For safety the gap will need to be closed off at the surface. Check the swimspa model for equipment location as some models have end and side access requirements. Call us on 01980 611555

If the swimspa is being positioned close to a wall, future access to side perimeter lights will be difficult or impossible. If the swimspa is part installed in ground then it is recommended to remove the cabinet screws below the deck or floor finish to enable the sections to be removed if required at a later date.

We recommend that if the swimspa is being installed indoors that the unit is test filled before the area is enclosed.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR WHEN THE SWIMSPA PIT WILL NOT SELF DRAIN – the new pit must be fully self-draining. If a free flowing drain is not possible and ground water is present the pit will need to be waterproof and fitted with an automatic sump pump, wired to its own power supply and ideally not the same supply as the Swimspa. The pump will need to be installed into a sump that is lower than the finished slab level. The sump should be sufficient size that pump float switch will operate and not be restricted. Note in high water tables the pit will need to be tanked and waterproof. 


  1. Electrical Supply and Heating Options

Your Catalina spa will require a suitable single phase power supply (Please see model Amp rating guide). The supply must be installed by a qualified electrician in accordance with current legislation. The power supply connection is not included in the cost of the swimspa installation.

It is a recommendation that the supply is isolated locally for any future service and maintenance. Your electrician must make the final connection to the swimspa. Once the work has been completed your electrician should provide you with a compliance and test certificate

Our dual temperature models are fitted with dual controls and equipment packs and will therefore require either two separate power supplies run to the swimspa or one large one that can be terminated and split into two at the swimspa location.

The electrics must not get wet! If you are in any doubt we recommend you seek qualified help especially if you are planning to put the swimspa into a pit or below ground. We can offer additional guidance on this if required.

Power supply – All models have a 3kW inline electric heater (two 3kW in the case of dual temperature and Atlantic pool models). If the electrical loading of your preferred swimspa / fitness pool exceeds the available power supply we offer equipment modifications that will reduce the overall loading. Although our special swimspa control systems do not allow all motor equipment to start up at the same time we can, for an additional cost, fit motor soft starts.

Other power saving options includes the use of a heatpump(s) for water heating or heat exchangers to utilise either the domestic heating system or biomass boilers. It should be noted that dual temperature models will require 2 auxiliary heat sources. Independent gas or oil boilers can be used. Ask our technical team for more information 01980 611555

All models are supplied pre-plumbed for auxiliary heating. Where auxiliary heating is required we can fit a convenient ‘change over’ switch to enable the unit to run on its integral heater(s) if required. Charges will apply to any ‘special’ upgrades.

In ECO or amperage control mode the heaters can be set to switch off when one or more high speed pumps are running.  

Please call 01980 611555 for more information


  1. Service and maintenance of your Swimspa/pool

The equipment and control systems of your Swimspa/exercise pool will require periodic service and maintenance and therefore must be accessible. All of our products are quality controlled and undertake rigorous factory testing.

If the unit is being installed into a location where full access to all sides is restricted, we recommend that to check no damage has occurred during transportation, lifting or maneuvering, the unit is filled and water tested on site before installation.

If in the event any future warranty/service work is required it is the responsibility of the client to ensure access is available to all components and plumbing. We only use LED lights this is due to their long life expectancy and low cost of running. However if one should fail service/replacements can only be fitted where access between the Swimspa shell and cabinet permits. Any warranty work can only be completed if full access is available.   


  1. Bather access

We can supply a range of steps to access the spa. These will be a similar match to the cabinet but it should be noted that as the steps are manufactured by a different supplier they will not be a perfect colour match to the Catalina swimspa cabinet.  When designing your swimspa surround or concrete base you will need to allow sufficient room for the preferred steps.

Important - Any decking or floor surround finish should not pose a trip or entrapment hazard.

  1. Covers and Cover Lifting Devices

We supply all our models with a lockable, tapered UL listed rigid high density insulation/safety cover.

Covers - Spa and Swimspa covers are supplied with the purchase of an model.

    Cover lifters – we can supply different options of cover removal systems, these include to popular versions of;

    • Base mount - where the mechanism is fixed to the base of the spa, these can be fixed to either end but will require approx. 100mm gap along 800mm the sides to allow room for the lift arms to move back and forwards. 
    • Top mount cover lifters - are ideal for below ground or partial below ground installations, these fix to the cabinet sides at high level and will lift the folded cover into the vertical position. They are gas assisted to easier removal of the cover. They have that advantage of providing extra privacy and reduce wind exposure.
    • Cover shelves – these are fixed in pairs at the end(s) of the swimspa and swing out, away from the swimspa to form a shelf that the folded covers can either be pushed or lifted on to.
    • We do offer electrically operated cover lifters, with a remote control these lifters will automatically remove the folded hinged covers from the swimspa and stow in the vertical at low level.

     Our specialist team will advise you as to the best option for your installation - call 01980 611555


    1. Day to day use and maintenance

    Your new spa will be supplied with a chemical starter kit, it is important to maintain the correct sanitiser levels and pH. Our engineers will have provided you with full instructions on the day to day use and how to carry out the simple water testing and dosing requirements.

    We do offer alternative methods of sanitation that include; fully automatic dosing of sanitiser and pH reducer (acid) or salt systems using electrolysis to produce a sanitiser from salt water. For more information please call one of our technical team on 01980 611555


    1. General
    • Planning permissions and building regulations are not generally required unless the spa is going into a building. In conservation areas or if going in front of the building line it is always worth checking with your local authority if planning is required.
    • At Catalina we do not mass produce our spas or swimspas. Each swimspa is hand built and the cabinet hand finished, so dimensions might vary. If build dimension are critical please call us for accurate measurements.

    For more information or for any queries please contact us 01980 611555.