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School Canopies Designed For High Winds

  • Published on 03/06/2022
  • Written by 123v

School Canopies and High Winds

It comes as no surprise that after the weather over the last few months that high winds and their effect on school canopies was going to be on the agenda.

So what’s going on with the weather? As far as wind is concerned yes it’s been a long period of wind and rain, but that’s what happens in cycles. One year its snow, the next its wind, then long term freezing etc. etc.

Ok this is my point. When a school decides to buy a school canopy they expect it to last for years without problem. They don’t want to hear about “well there was some snow”, or “it was rather windy” when their canopy has been damaged, putting the school property, staff and school children in danger. Search collapsed canopies on Google for an insight.

For now I am going to go through the first stage of designing school canopies for wind loadings.

Designing robust school canopies

The ultimate wind load for an open sided roof structure is considered as uplift, so we do not want it taking off.

The location of the school. I have started here because we cannot change it and it will affect all other design considerations. The following information is how 123v plc. assess the wind loading required at a proposed site for a school canopy or playground shelter.

  • The geographical area of the UK. (V bmap)
  • The height of the site above sea level. This is known as the Altitude Factor (C alt)
  • Weather the site is in the country or the town. This is part of the Exposure Factor (Ce)
  • Distance from the sea. This adds to the Exposure Factor (Ce)
  • Then we add in the height of the proposed canopy structure. (m)
  • From this information we can calculate the wind speed in meters per second. (M/s)
  • This in then converted in to basic Velocity Pressure, this in KN/m 2
  • Then we calculate Peak Velocity pressure this in KN/m 2 (loading per metre sq.)
  • This wind load is broken-down to the different areas of the roof.
  • Only then can the appropriate section, roof covering, fixings and foundations be designed.

Here is an example of the wind loading for a school canopy in Abertillery, Newport, NP133AH South Wales UK, which was fitted some years ago. The design uplift of wind is 387 KN that equates to 37.96 tons.


I know it looks complicated and some might say it’s not required on each School canopy. I say to them you probably don’t know how to do it. 123v plc. do it for all school or nursery canopies. Safety is not an option.

Any school canopies over 30 m 2 need building regulation consent. Any structural calculations that we provide you, we encourage you to have them checked out by your council.

Wind and snow loadings damage many school canopies all over the UK every year, don’t be the next.

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  • 26 Articles Published
  • Joined on 22/09/1997

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