Fabric Canopies

Fabric canopies are a cost-effective means of creating covered outdoor space, while also featuring superb architectural aesthetics. Over the years, Streetspace has developed a range of standard fabric canopy designs that enable a wide range of users to experience the benefits of tensile membrane structures in a complete, hassle-free package from a single source. Fabric canopies have a lifespan comparable to polycarbonate roof structures, and blend perfectly into both traditional and modern architectural environments.

Fabric Canopy FAQs

When looking to introduce new covered outdoor space, whether for additional outdoor dining capacity, breakout areas, connecting walkways, covering a sports area and many other applications, fabric canopies are a great choice. Fabric canopies from Streetspace are permanent structures and can be specified as steel or engineered timber frame.

To look at the advantages in more detail :

Cost effective permanent structures

  • Not to be confused with temporary or semi-permanent fabric structures, fabric canopies from Streetspace can be designed, manufactured and installed for significantly less capital cost than a traditional build, making them an ideal solution for the expansion of school facilities. For example, a school looking to add a covered MUGA could expect the tensile fabric canopy structure option to typically cost around 30%-40% of a traditional build sports hall.

Design flexibility

  • Each Streetspace fabric canopy is bespoke engineered and based around the design principles of a tensioned fabric structure. This is essential for wind and snow loads as well as rainwater management. Within these design parameters, consistent aesthetics and cost-effective canopy structures can be created. ORION Barrel Vault and ORION Shell canopies are designed as linear arranged bays meaning flexibility on canopy length is achievable, often with a one-piece fabric membrane. This type of fabric canopy can be specified as a standalone structure and is suited to locations alongside existing buildings. ORION Hypar, Conic, Star and Shield canopies are individual structures that can be grouped together to create striking design themes.

Reduced project duration

  • With the canopy frame and tensile fabric membrane manufactured in our factories, the project duration on site is reduced compared to traditional build. Although this will depend on the size and complexity of the project, once on site, many of our smaller fabric canopies can be installed in 3-5 days, while a larger more canopy structure could be 2-4 weeks on site. For all projects, once the scope is understood, timelines will be discussed at the design stage.

Natural lighting

  • A frequent concern is that canopies may require lighting underneath. Though this may be the case for specific use types, tensile fabric canopies offer excellent diffused light transmission, reducing the need for additional lighting during the day and helping to provide long-term cost effective use.

Noise reduction

  • Fabric canopies are particularly well suited to busy environments such as sport and play where noise transmission to surrounding buildings or neighbouring properties may be a consideration. Tensile membrane fabrics offer excellent sound absorption qualities, helping to absorb and soften the sound of voices, rain and echo both under the structure and outside.

This depends on whether the canopy project requires a waterproof cover or if shade only use is intended. Waterproof types are manufactured in a 3-dimensional form using an immensely strong architectural grade PVC tensile membrane with a PVDF self-cleaning outer coating. Shade only structure types are manufactured from equally tough shade cloth material, with both fabrics being 100% recyclable at end of life.

The majority of Streetspace fabric canopies are manufactured as a single piece PVC membrane. These are produced with a PVDF outer layer that together with the absence of seams in the membrane, helps to reduce build-up of dirt and grime, keeping cleaning and maintenance to a minimum. Depending on location, cleaning is recommended every 12 months and can be carried out using suitable household cleaning agents. Access requirements are a consideration in the design process to ensure that all corners of the cover can be reached.

Design parameters for fabric canopies are assessed using form finding software. This measures the opposing forces on the tensile membrane and determines the specific ‘weight’ or grams / square metre for the fabric to be used. Linear type fabric canopies such as the ORION Barrel Vault and ORION Shield are designed in bay sections meaning almost any structure length is possible. Large structures such as the Sportspace 365 MUGA canopies can be designed with bay sections up to 10m between columns though for regular sized structures this will be between 4m and 5m. The same reasoning applies to structure span, where upwards of 30m can be achieved though for most canopy applications this dimension will be between 6m and 12m. 

A particular advantage of the tensile membrane fabric canopy design format is that irregular footprints can be accommodated with ease due to the way membrane fabric is tensioned. This enables corners and bespoke canopy shapes to be designed, provided that the required tension can be achieved within the design.

Maximum dimensions for the standalone canopy structures including the ORION Hypar, Conic, Star and Shield is 8m x 8m and these will often be arranged in a series to create larger areas of cover, incorporating rainwater systems within the design.

Planning approval for fabric canopies is the same as for any other permanent canopy structure and requirements for this will depend on project location, size and specification. In certain circumstances canopies can be installed under permitted development and do not require full planning. See permitted development rights for more information or contact our friendly technical sales team for more information.

We would advise that in normal circumstances canopies can be installed under Part 7 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021, Class M – extensions etc for schools, colleges, universities and hospitals, provided they meet the following criteria:

The proposed canopy must not be larger than 25% of the cumulative footprint of the school (as it was on or before 21st April 2021) or 250m² – whichever is greater

The proposed canopy must be located more than 5m from the boundary

The proposed canopy must not be more than 5m in height. (6m height is permissible if more than 10m from the boundary)

 Further information on planning legislation can be found here.

ORION Barrel Vault and the larger Sportspace 365 MUGA canopies are often specified for covered sports applications. The engineering design enables large clear-span play areas to be created and with the canopy apex clear of lattice beam obstructions, there is both the sense of space and sufficient internal height for multiple sport applications.

The single piece tensile membrane increases the efficiency of installed lighting by reflection on the canopy underside, while reducing light pollution outside of the structure.Fabric canopies can offer a superb playing experience with open ventilated structures offering dry, UV-protected and well-lit courts. Both air flow and temperatures match the external environment while variables that can stop play such as rain are no longer an issue.

One of the most common applications for fabric canopies is in the creation of additional covered outdoor dining and breakout spaces for pupils. ORION Barrel Vault, Orion Shield & Orion Hypar canopies provide all weather cover with a style that relates well to adjacent building architecture.

ORION Fabric Canopies can have additional bay sections added over time as separately engineered structures. Technical design solutions can facilitate waterproof seals between the structures as required.

This will depend on a number of factors such as the size of the membrane, the intended use of canopy and whether it is specified as a waterproof or shade only type. The larger ORION Barrel Vault and Sportspace 365 structures will typically have an engineered tensile membrane specification over 800g/m2 for the required wind and snow loading. At these fabric weights, the manufacturing process limits the colour choice to white. Below this design weight, where small to medium structures are concerned there is a good choice of tensile membrane colours though specifying a strong fabric colour will need to be considered in the context of reduced light transmission below the canopy. Where shade only fabric structures are concerned there is a wide choice of striking colours to choose from and the implications of reduced light transmission are reduced due to the sail type design of these canopies.

Highly durable colour powder coatings are applied as the standard finish on steel frame ORION canopies, enabling canopy structures to be matched with pre-existing colour schemes or designed to stand out as statement pieces.

Streetspace fabric canopies are designed with the same long lifespans as all canopy structures we manufacture. All ORION canopies are engineered as a complete structure, meaning that the tensile membrane fabric will achieve the same structural integrity for wind and snow loading as the frame itself.

These high-quality fabrics have an advanced PVDF self cleaning outer layer and have a realistic lifespan of 25-30 years if correctly maintained. Streetspace fabric canopies are covered with a 15yr limited warranty on the membrane.

On a price per square metre basis, waterproof fabric canopies will generally be slightly above that for polycarbonate roofed types though overall very similar. Our Canopy Estimator Tool below enables you to develop your own cost proposals on upcoming projects you may be considering. By selecting canopy design, adding proposed dimensions and a few other project specific details, the online calculator will email you a guide price based on this information. Alternatively you can give our friendly sales team a call or drop an email to discuss options.

When you are ready to progress to a firm quotation, we will arrange for one of our experienced project consultants to carry out a site survey, discussing the options in more details so that we can present detailed proposals for your consideration.

Yes, prices quoted by Streetspace for our fabric canopies will incude full installation as well as groundworks and reinstatement to surfacing all clearly outlined in the supplied quote.

Installation times will depend on the size and complexity of the project. Smaller tensile fabric canopies will take anywhere from a few days to a week to install. Larger, more complex canopies can take between 4-6 weeks to complete all phases of installation work. Our team will work closely with you to produce an install programme that works to meet requirements and dealines.

Our standard lead times are 8-10 weeks from order confirmation to starting works on site. Lead times may vary depending on the size and complexity of the project as well as the time of year.

Yes, external grade radiant electric heaters can be fitted to our ORION canopies to provide additional warmth in colder weather. Heating options are particularly effective when installed as part of enclosed canopy designs

Yes, our ORION Barrel Vault Fabric Canopies can be combined with a range of cladding options including polycarbonate, planar glass, aluminium glazed curtain walling and fabric façade panels, creating enclosed spaces offering substantial weather protection. Enclosed fabric canopies offer a cost-effective solution to maximise use of often underutilised external areas.

Yes, our range of fabric canpopies offer a great balance of shade and shelter and are ideal for creating shaded areas for students to utilise on the hotest days.

The majority of our fabric canopies use an architectural PVC tensile membrane which is completely waterproof making them perfect for use as covered outdoor dining areas, outdoor classroms or play areas. Our shade only structures utilise super tough commercial grade shade coth which is designed to offer 91%-95% block of harmful UV rays.

Try our online tool to get an estimated price for your preferred canopy.

Go to online estimator