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As we move towards spring and longer days and there is some lingering concern around infection, school canopies and shade tents remain helpful and relevant in the modern educational setting.

Problem is – or at least can be – that cycle racks and canopies are not what you would call DIY products and need a proven, DBS checked, and qualified installer and the good ones can be booked up many months in advance!

This can lead to all the funding, design, planning, and so on, being done and ready but during the holiday times of year, when school canopies are often installed, there simply isn’t the labour available to complete your outside classroom or dining area project.

The Challenge With School Holidays

It is most important to work with an experienced contractor to install your canopy needs but there is only a limited number of these due to many schools and colleges wanting work done at the same time during the holidays.

Not only is installer availability challenging, but both the flexibility of the contractor in completing the task on-time and potentially the cost can be affected adversely by strong seasonal demand.

Good quality and experienced fitters are frequently booked months in advance for popular holiday times like Easter or July.

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The Holidays Are Ideal Because…

As well as the obvious advantages of contractors not being near to school children while working on school canopies, there are also considerations around speed.

When pupils are not in the equation, there are aspects of the project that don’t need to be scrupulously tidied up each day and being able to make more mess safely can allow an install to proceed faster and with less costs of hoarding to keep the construction site separate.

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The Pros & Cons of Fitting School Awnings in Term-time:

Let’s say you haven’t used the installer before, so they are somewhat an unknown quantity; if the install turns out to be a nightmare, delayed, mismanaged and so on, it is easier for this headache to happen in the holidays rather than during term time.

School canopy with exposed gutter and downpipe
Cons: 

  • Schools and local authorities need to know the fitter, are they competent for this type of work?
  • The over-run and costing risks are greater if the work is not correctly planned or executed
  • If the work obstructs doors or pathways and causes disruption this can impact on teaching time and school procedures, PE, and may require more paperwork and risk assessments.
Pros: 

  • Greater flexibility for desired install dates.
  • A shorter lead time could result from a term-time install.
  • Availability of contractors that are eager for the work.
  • Avoid holiday surcharges.
  • Keeps holidays clear for other refurbishment tasks inside the campus buildings.
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Best Practice for Term-time School Canopy Installations

Taking advantage of many years of working on these projects we have put together a brief checklist of points for bursars and caretaker staff to consider:

  • Use only quality fitting contractors that are fully DBS checked.
  • Check for use of neat and careful workers with a demonstrated history of excellent housekeeping skills.
  • Physical site segregation is important, solid hoardings (not Heras fencing) to separate workers from pupils.
  • The project duration for shade tents for schools varies from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Demand for good quality school canopies has grown with the recent pandemic and they do represent a great investment for your facility but as with any trade there are peaks and troughs that need to be considered.

Often it is well worth arranging for fitting of school canopies, shade tents, and walkway structures during term and at Kensington Systems we are keen to work with you and assist in every way possible with the project.

For more information on our Spaceshade system
Download our Spaceshade brochure and contact us today

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