What steps do you need to go through to install a canopy at your school?
Canopies create additional room for outdoor learning, playing or dining at a school, while providing protection from the sun and other elements. There’s also potential for fashioning extra storage space, protected walkways or dry waiting areas when parents are picking up. Meanwhile, the available array of designs and colours means your structure can look really smart, actively improving the appearance of your school all year round. Plus there’s scope for tailoring a canopy to your own needs and tastes.
With so many potential benefits, it’s hardly surprising that schools are increasingly interested in fitting these structures on their premises. But the process of ordering and installing a canopy can feel like a big project. So people often ask us what steps they need to go through to secure one for their school.
The process of installing a school canopy:
1. Free site visits
The first task is to get this booked in. A specialist surveyor will visit you within five working days of initial contact to assess the suitability of your chosen location for a canopy, discuss your needs and requirements with you and make recommendations. There’s absolutely no obligation at this stage to proceed. You’ll then get a quote plus a bespoke CGI design showing the structure in your school. This gives you a good idea of how the canopy will actually look. Again, you’re still under no obligation at this point.
You’ll need to think through what you will be using your canopy for, whether it will maximise space in your grounds, and whether your vision suits your school’s overall look. Read more about the considerations you need to think about when planning your new canopy here.
Note that not all companies offer free site surveys, so you may need to have photos and dimensions ready to send them in order to obtain a quote.
2. Different school canopy designs
We’ll make sure you have a canopy design that’s absolutely right for your school and premises and what you need your facility for. We’ll chat to you about the range of different colours on offer, plus options like side walls, lighting and different roof types.
A coloured roof canopy, for example, can give playgrounds and outdoor play areas a vibrant, stimulating atmosphere; for other activities, you may want something a little more muted.
Our hardwearing SpaceShade® design is one example of a hugely popular model for schools. It’s made from powder-coated aluminium with the option of side panels for year-round use, whatever the weather. The modular design is great for fitting in hard-to-reach spots such as courtyards, and means you can expand your canopy in the future if you wish.
What’s more, you’ll enjoy a high level of protection from the sun, wind and rain, with and polycarbonate roofs certified as non-fragile.
3. Choose your canopy design
By now, you have probably have been in touch with 2-3 (or more) companies, who have provided quotes for you and may have also met you at the school. It’s time to make a decision.
It is wise to take into consideration factors such as product quality, service levels, reviews and future-proofing as well as price. For example, does the supplier offer full groundworks as well as the installation or will you have to engage a groundworks contractor yourself?
Or did they come to site to do a full survey before submitting a quote? If they didn’t, it’s likely that extra costs for you will come up later because of something that was missed.
4. Apply for planning permission
Generally speaking, most school canopies are likely to need planning permission if they’ll be in place for 28 days or longer, with some exceptions. Most schools will apply for planning before the installation, although retrospective planning may also be possible. We’re ideally placed to advise on this side of things – but learn more here.
5. Installation and groundworks
So you’ve got planning permission now, and you’re ready for the installation to start! Your company of choice will liaise with you on your preferred dates, access to the site, delivery arrangements etc. You will choose whether to have the installation done in term time or in the school holidays.
It can be anything from 5-6 weeks to 12 weeks or more from agreeing an order and paying a deposit to starting on site. The manufacturing period depends on the size and complexity of your chosen canopy design, and capacity in the supplier’s factory (for example in summer lead times may be longer due to high demand).
First, the groundworks must take place. A reputable company will generally carry out a CAT ground scan to check for any pipes or cables that might be in the area. The area will be securely fenced off when digging starts to minimize health and safety risks. Be aware that if your canopy company of choice does not offer groundworks as part of their service, you will have to engage a local groundworks company yourselves.
Like anything else, school canopies need strong foundations. With us at Kensington Systems, groundworks are all part of our service. We also take care of the installation process to us from start to finish. So we’ll be with you every step of the way, from groundworks to installation from DBS-checked fitters, resurfacing and final clean-up. We’ll keep you informed about what we’re doing at every stage, and work hard to reduce hassle and minimise disruption to the working life of our clients.
Our SpaceShade® canopies are solar PV-ready, meaning you can fit solar panels on installation, or at a later stage. This could make a real difference in terms of meeting your school’s decarbonisation targets.
Contact us to get your school canopy installed
Kensington Systems is a leading supplier of canopies and shelters for schools and other clients. We’ve helped many schools over the years and we could help you, too. Get in touch today to learn more about how one of our high-quality canopies could completely transform the daily working life of your establishment.