Buying shade with confidence

Wading through the complexities of building a shade structure or awning may appear overwhelming at times but with the right installer contractor on your side this process will be far less daunting and much more rewarding. Below are some useful considerations to take into account when selecting a Shade Structure or Awning Installer.

About your installer

Contractor experience
Review contractor’s years of service in the shade industry. Why not ask for a list of projects you can inspect. A quality supplier and member of the STA will gladly share their project history.

Visit the factory where goods are made. This helps identify the work of the contractor and if they are established and likely to be around for after sales service and support. If the contractorhave some work made by others are they local and able to provide long term support.

Should the installer be registered?
In some States contractors need to be licenced to operate. This is very important if there is a structural component to your project ie a shade structure. Rules vary from State to State. The STA offers a Guide on Licencing Across Australia.

Registrations and licencing is handled by Dept of Fair Trading in NSW, The Victorian Building Authority in Victoria, the Queensland Building & Construction Commission in Queensland and The Building Commission in WA.

TIP Check that the contractors name corresponds to the name on the licence.

Insurance Cover
Contractor need Insurances in place to undertake Building works? Public and Product Liability and Work Cover or Sole Trader insurances are a minimum.

Design

A preliminary design proposal or a brochure and site measures should be supplied. After all you need to know what is being proposed and that the required shade is being provided.

Check that post locations do not conflict with buildings, windows, pathways, fall zones in playgrounds etc. Engineering drawings will confirm that footings are deep enough and posts adequate sizes.

Materials

Know the brand name of materials being used to assist with quote comparisons ie “Apples for Apples”. This will also ensure you get the product made using the materials you expect. Warranties offered on materials and workmanship are a big indicator of quality?

Certification

Contracts
A clearly written quotation identifies what is being offered and the terms of your agreement. A basic quote provides contractor licence details, a price, a deposit and a payment schedule.

Engineering Certification
The contractor must provide you with engineering certification of the proposed structure which must be site specific and not simply a generic engineering certification based on size rather than the site and location. Ensure drawings include the specific site address.

Building Permit
Is the product exempt from certification or does it require building approval? You may need to work with your contractor to obtain Building Permit or Building Approval for works.

Approvals often have layers of checking. Sometimes the approvals require contractor’s building registration details and insurance cover for the works.

Health & Safety

Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) documents detail how contractors plan to execute the works and minimise risk. Consider safety in regards to operation of excavation works, working at height and the importance of locating underground searches.

On-site

There are other considerations that go into a smooth-running project and these should be clarified before work commences. Is there free access to the site for vehicles? Are there working hour restrictions? Should the area be fenced off? How will soil be disposed? What happens if a water pipe is hit? Will the structure need final engineering certification? etc etc

Though these questions may seem heady and complicated, a good contractor will be able to resolve these matters to achieve the best possible solution to meet your circumstances. STA members are amongst the best textile fabricators in the world. They will offer support and knowledge to provide you with the very best shade product solution for your needs.