There are a lot of things that you should consider when looking at purchasing a canopy.
What do you need it for? If it’s for cycle storage then a cycle shelter, or cycle compound, is needed to store a large number of bikes.
If you are looking at providing an outdoor classroom, or eating area, then you should aim for a free standing or wall-mounted canopy, as they can be larger and can have side fills for additional protection form the wind and driving rain.
They can also have secure roller shutters to store tables and play equipment out of hours.
If you need protection from the rain, a polycarbonate or waterproof fabric roof would be needed. Also, if you wanted to create a free-flow from the inside to the outside, with full weather protection, then a wall-mounted canopy would achieve this perfectly.
If you want to protect your pupils from the sun, and would like to make a feature of your outside area, then a shade sail is perfect and offers high UV protection. For an outdoor play area then a free standing or wall-mounted canopy is ideal as they can cover large areas.
Will I need planning permission?
This depends entirely on your local authority, the majority of the time planning permission is not required. However, the location of your school and the age of the building are factors they take into consideration (Able Canopies offer free planning assistance and can submit the application for you).
What should you take into consideration when the build is ongoing?
Able Canopies can install canopies during the school day, we fence of the area to make it safe for when children are around and we ensure we cause minimum disruption to the regular school day. We can also install during schools holidays and weekends if required.
How easy are they to maintain?
Maintaining a canopy can be very cost effective as it is something that your caretaker can look after. We advise that the canopies are inspected and washed every three-to-six months with a solution of warm water, a mild detergent and a soft sponge or cloth. The gutters should also be checked regularly to ensure they are free from debris
Are there any sustainability issues?
Choose the quality and materials wisely. Our wall mounted canopies are constructed from aluminium, which can be recycled an unlimited amount of times making it a sustainable product that, if disposed of correctly, will never end up in landfill.
If a canopy is a higher quality and has a longer life expectancy, it will last longer, and you will not need to replace it as soon (our canopies have a 25 year life expectancy).
Our canopies are all made to order so there is not waste which helps the environment. Be sure to go for a company that hold environmental certifications such as ISO 14001 which ensures environmental management.
Timber canopies are a sustainable choice, we source the timber for our timber canopies from PEFC accredited timber merchants, a steel beam takes six times the energy cost to produce than a timber one.
We use Glulam timber which is lighter in weight than similar materials resulting in less transport emissions.
Christine Baines is Marketing Assistant Manager at Able Canopies.