Awnings and canopies provide additional space beside a building. These can be an important piece of space for some buildings, especially those of school buildings. A school canopy is usually a permanent fixture that provides shade for outdoor equipment, benches, and chairs.
These can be used by students for studying between classes, or for eating their snacks outside of the cafeteria. These canopied spaces can provide much-needed rest areas where students can study or talk amongst themselves.
Most canopies are fixed and allow for shaded areas all year round. In a tropical country, where the sun shines for most of the year, a permanent canopy is necessary to provide sun protection. In places where there is plenty of rain, the canopy also helps keep people dry and away from the rain.
Fixed awnings and canopies are also cheaper to install and maintain since there is no mechanism to retract them. Of course, since it is permanent, it also gives a distinct look to the school. For the school, it can provide an addition to the building with a distinctive colour and design.
One disadvantage for permanent canopies, however, is that during rains or storms, the canopy may be damaged or destroyed due to strong gusty winds.
Traditional permanent awnings use tensile fabric and steel frames. Modern fixed school canopy systems use aluminium frames and triple-wall polycarbonate. It has an integrated drainage channel allowing efficient rainwater management with a 65 kg/square metre snow-loading capacity. This leads to a low maintenance solution, which is more cost-efficient than traditional solutions.
Today’s canopy requirements include snow and rain drainage, light metals, and strong plastic capable of UV protection. Large canopies are sometimes required, depending on the school or the building. At the same time, modular designs allow a phased implementation where the user installs only the canopy needed with options to grow later.