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shade structure

One of the largest shade projects ever undertaken in a school is at Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgon.

Lavalla set about covering 2 basketball courts with shade cloth, a formidable task.

Yarra Shade Co Pty Ltd, being one of very few companies capable of this scale, designed and installed this fantastic double igloo structure with the assistance of their contract engineers and fabricators, all local Melbourne businesses.

The poles are ready for a third igloo over the last court at a later date.

This impressive structure is built from Hot Dip Galvanised steel and Comshade 90 Heavy Duty Commercial shade cloth. It is 40 x 40m and almost 7m high.

The poles are 219 & 273mm heavy wall pipe and the foot-ings are up to 2.6m deep. There is 3km of galvanised cable in the structure and the canopies.

Big Gear – No place for Toys or Cowboys

Shade structures are fantastic for providing high quality shade over areas from 16m2 to 1600m2 like the Lavalla unit, or more.

Although a cheap price is attractive, they are susceptible to wind damage when built too lightly. Most school shade structures are very light as demonstrated by two structures at a south eastern suburbs primary school where Yarra Shade Co replaced both the canopies and frames after they collapsed in strong(ish) wind. Fortunately without children underneath!

There is no substitute for over-engineering, particularly in public spaces. It is a false economy to use a cheap, light and probably uncertified design, common in schools and play grounds.

Moving to a curved rafter member is part of the solution. Unlike the traditional Hip & Ridge design with straight members, it is very difficult for the wind to bend or invert a curved rafter, collapsing the structure.

Cool things about this job

  • Over 0.4 acres of shade cloth
  • 3 km of 10mm galvanised cable
  • 5m3 of concrete in the footings
  • Largest post is 273 x 6.4 pipe, 4m high

Take Outs

  • With the right engineer and vision, the sky’s the limit with shade structures.
  • You get what you pay for. Recent winds would have razed a cheaper, lighter structure.
  • Only use a Registered Commercial Building practitioner—Shade Structures, protect yourself.

Tips

  • Curved rafters are stronger than straight.
  • Structures require smaller footings than shade sails

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