Built and natural shade working together

Australian Shade News 2019

Welcome to Australian Shade News 2019

Shade sails are an ever-growing part of Australian life. Practical and still beautiful, shade sails are enhancing outdoor spaces across the country. Australian Shade News is here to keep you up-to-date with everything shade sail. Whether you’re planning to invest in a shade sail, or you already have one, Australian Shade News is the authoritative source of all of the news and information that you need.

In this issue

News From SuperExpo 2019

In June this year, the Blind Manufacturers’ Association of Australia and the Specialised Textiles Association joined forces to put on SuperExpo 2019. It was the largest Australian trade show for specialised textiles, blinds and awnings. The four-day event attracted 112 exhibitors and nearly 4,000 visitors to the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. The trade exhibition showcased a range of exciting new products and technologies.


Gale Pacific Dual Shade

DualShade 350 by Gale Pacific

Gale Pacific’s DualShade350 is a bold and unique new fabric. Their revolutionary new knit pattern allows this shade fabric to be a different colour on each side. DualShade 350 is a high-performance, durable and easy to maintain fabric that offers up to 93.6% UVR protection.  In a variety of modern and bold colour combinations, these sails can enhance any space.

SX Transparent Series by Hiraoka

When you need protection from the elements, but don’t want to lose natural light, Hiraoka has a solution. The SX Sundream Series is an innovative new range of heavy-duty waterproof fabrics. They can block harmful UV radiation while still letting light through. The Sundream H blocks up to 99.9% of UV radiation with up to 62% light transmission. It is also available in various colours. The Sundream Cool includes a heat-shielding layer. It reflects up to 30% more infrared light, reducing solar heat gain. The Sunclear is the most transparent fabric that Hiraoka produces. It has 65% light transmission while still blocking up to 99.9% of UV rays.

New Hardware from ProRig

Introducing the latest innovation for shade sail hardware: the ProRig Original Design Ezi Hold Dee Ring With Eye. A D-ring is a key part of any shade sail, it’s stitched into the corners of a sail and used to attach it to the fixing points. This new design, as the name suggests, now includes a retaining eye. The eye stabilises the connection and prevents the sail from pulling over to one side at the corners. Less movement means less wear and a longer life for the shade sail. This high-quality product is made of marine grade stainless steel. It also comes with a machine polish finish for added corrosion resistance.

Community & School Gardens

School gardens and greenhouses are becoming more and more popular around Australia. There are endless learning opportunities, for all ages, in a school garden. Gardens give kids a chance to get their hands dirty and engage their senses while learning. Teaching gardens are not just for helping to teach natural sciences. Taking care of a school garden can also promote cooperation, responsibility, sustainability, a sense of community, and healthy living.

Establishing a school or community garden can seem daunting, especially if you’re not gifted with a green thumb. There are plenty of support and education resources that can help you out. The Queensland Government Healthier Happier initiative has collated a range of helpful information to get your community or school garden started.

Plants need different levels of light exposure to grow at their best. But did you know that there is more to it than light and shade? Plants are susceptible to all parts of the visible and invisible light spectrum. Today’s shade fabrics can filter UV rays and even specific colours. That means horticultural shade fabrics can help you create the right environment for any plant. They can also protect from birds, insects, sunburn and even hail.

Give your new garden or greenhouse plants a head start with horticultural shade netting. So what kind of shade netting is right for your plants? See our handy guide below to get started or give us a call to discuss the colour and weight options that are best for your garden.

Community garden shade sail

Suggested Shade Factor %Suggested UV Block %
Asparagus & Leafage4243
Alstroemeria (Inca Lilies)2635
Beans & Spinach1850
Carnations & Chrysanthemums3030
Nectarines & Citrus1420
Pears, Plums & Apples1620
Pot Plants3638
Seedlings – Fruit & Vegetable3235

How Hot Is Your Playground?

As the Australian summers get hotter and awareness rises, shade and temperature have become two big concerns for parents. Play equipment is often too hot to use, and more and more cases of burned hands and feet are being reported. The temperature and available shade now play a huge role in parent’s decisions. They influence the parks that they visit, and even the school that they enrol their children in.

Creating shade isn’t just about protecting children from UV rays, it is also about lowering the temperature in outdoor areas. The Cool Schools Initiative is based on a research project from Western Sydney University. The study examined the surface temperatures at three outdoor play spaces in early learning centres in Sydney. The hottest surface that they found was a horrifying 105 degrees. Even common playground products like soft fall rubber and AstroTurf were dangerously hot. They averaged temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees, with a peak of 98°C.


Keeping Kids Safe

Playgrounds and outdoor spaces at schools and early learning centres are designed to keep children safe. So how did these surface temperatures get so bad? We know that heat stress affects children more than adults, but, at the same time, minimal research has been done into ambient temperatures and children’s thermal comfort. The research generated from the Cool Schools Initiative is the first close look into outdoor spaces designed for children.

There are many guidelines and sources of advice available from government bodies and not-for-profit organisations. They show how to create safe, fun and educational outdoor areas. Shade structures are recommended, but, recently, evidence has shown that outdoor areas are generally being neglected. The trend has been to rely on air conditioners, denying kids time outdoors in summer. This does keep them cool in the short-term. However, in the long-term, we all suffer. This approach often leads to those spaces being overlooked and not maintained properly, which makes them even hotter and unpleasant to use all year round. All of this adds to the worrying trend of children spending less time outdoors and engaging in less physical activity. The Cool Schools Initiative aims to direct change based on current research, and guide further research to help protect our kids.

Cool Schools Findings

The initiative believes that, while significantly more research is needed, there are several things we can do right now. One such thing is to create shade with purpose and careful planning. Just putting up a shelter isn’t enough. The ideal shade should protect key areas that children use at peak danger times. It should be designed using passive cooling principles. This includes allowing for cross-ventilation and choosing materials with low heat transference. The structure should reflect radiation away rather than absorbing it.

The area around the shade structure should also not absorb heat. This can be achieved with specialist paints or ‘cool coatings’ for buildings. Or, in open areas, grass, natural soft fall and low-density vegetation can achieve this. Plastic and metal equipment should also be replaced. Alternatives that are made from natural materials reach lower surface temperatures, and help to keep the area cool.

Natural & Built Shade Working Together

Climate change is hitting Australia hard. The need to protect ourselves from the harsh Australian sun without further harming the environment has become increasingly important. Heatwaves have been increasing in duration, frequency and intensity since the 1950s and are only predicted to get worse. The CSIRO expects that extreme weather events will also continue to become more frequent and severe.

When you’re looking to create more shade, a combination of built and natural shade is a durable and environmentally friendly option.

Why not use natural shade on its own?

Trees can be a great all-round solution. Planting trees can create shade and help to improve the environment. They also look great, and can provide habitat for native wildlife. But, there are some issues to consider. A tree is a living thing, it will grow and change over time. That fact can limit the types of trees that you can use in an area. It can also take years for a tree to grow enough to provide useful shade. Trees can also be expensive to take care of. Most large shade trees need regular pruning and protection from pests and diseases. You may also need to invest in extra fertiliser, mulch and water to support the tree’s growth.

Trees with wide and dense canopies are considered the best for shade. However, these trees will often have matching wide and dense roots, which can damage footpaths and other nearby structures. Overhead and underground power lines can also have an impact on the choice of trees planted. These large trees can additionally become dangerous as they age. Unpredictable and extreme weather can wear them down. High winds, lightning, and too much or not enough rain, can all contribute to these trees dropping branches or even uprooting entirely.


Built and natural shade working together

Built Shade Options

There is a range of built shade solutions; from permanent roofed structures to portable shade, like tents and marquees. Shade sails are a great middle ground. They are cheaper than many permanent structures, and are more durable than temporary or portable structures. Shade sails are also attractive and easy to care for, making them a popular option around Australia.

Many types of shade fabric are also recyclable, they can be reformed into new sails or a range of other products. Shade sails are great at protecting from direct sun exposure, but, with their open sides, they offer little protection from indirect and reflected UV radiation.

Combination of Natural & Built Shade

Creating shade that can stand up to extreme weather is key to a safe and long-lasting shade solution. A combination of natural and built shade can give the best of both worlds. Many of the concerns related to natural shade are because of large shade trees. But, there are many other shade plants to choose from, including smaller trees and shrubbery. These options are often overlooked as they cannot provide large spans of direct overhead protection from the sun. However, these shade plants still have many advantages. These include less invasive roots, flexibility in strong winds, and easy maintenance. There is also a wider variety of native options for different soils and climates around Australia.

With a shade sail doing the hard work protecting you from the direct UV rays, different types of shade plants can be used for protection from indirect sunlight, to break up strong winds, and to lower temperatures. A professionally designed shade sail will look great, and can withstand strong winds, rain and even hail. And complimentary easy-to-care-for plants can add to the aesthetic of your outdoor area, and can provide a home and food for native birds and other animals.

A combined shade solution can not only keep you cool and protected from the sun. It can also enhance the habitat for native animals, absorb carbon dioxide from the air, and enrich the soil. Natural and built shade can work together to help to protect you and the environment.

Raising Awareness & Saving Lives

In the 80s, melanoma was the fastest-growing cancer affecting Australians. Diagnoses nearly doubled in men and women. This sudden spike was in part due to public health campaigns urging everyone to get their skin checked. Since then, we’ve learned more about the role that UV radiation plays in melanoma. Now, not only can we detect it; we can also prevent it. We have learnt to slip, slop and slap; and even more recently to seek and slide as well. Protecting ourselves while we’re young is the best way to prevent melanoma later in life. But, sometimes we can forget that this fast-spreading skin cancer can strike Australians at any age.

Early Detection

World Cancer Day this year was focused on improving early detection. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that if melanoma of the skin is detected in stage one there is a 99.2% survival rate. If it’s not caught until stage four, even with today’s technology, that figure drops to 26.2%. So how do we help young people detect melanoma earlier? The Instagram account Call Time On Melanoma is leading the way. This grassroots skin cancer awareness campaign was started by just one woman. Lisa Patulny was driven to start this campaign after her friend was diagnosed with melanoma of the skin. The highly successful account is helping young women to stay informed. It is assisting them to recognise the signs of melanoma, and encouraging them to get their skin checked regularly. With its simple tips in young people’s Instagram feeds, this campaign has already saved lives.

Melanoma Capital of the World

Did you know that New Zealand just beats Australia as the country with the highest rate of melanoma in the world? That being said, if Queensland were its own country, it would win. But while our rates of melanoma diagnosis continue to slowly rise, that’s not as bad as it might sound. The mortality rate has been sharply dropping since 2014. The more deadly variants of melanoma, linked to severe burning and higher UV exposure, are being seen less and less. And more and more people are getting their skin checked and catching melanoma in its early stages. Health campaigns like Sun Smart and Call Time On Melanoma are raising awareness, and, ultimately, saving lives.

Sun Exposure a Double-Edged Sword

From sunburn and premature ageing to cancer and cataracts, as Australians, we are well aware of all of the dangers of the sun, and the harm that UV rays can do to us. While we’re busy remembering to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide, it can be easy to forget that the sun plays a key role in our health. Higher levels of Vitamin D have been linked to a range of health benefits. These include strengthening the immune system, improving heart health, and even reducing the symptoms of depression. Yet, in trials, using supplements to increase patients’ Vitamin D levels doesn’t seem to have the same impact. This has led some health professionals to view Vitamin D as an indicator of sun exposure, and we really have the sun to thank for those health benefits. They are now studying what other effects sun exposure has on us, and how it improves our health.

Personal UV Sensors

The key to a happy, healthy and long life seems to be finding the balance. So how do you know how much sun you need? A team of RMIT researchers has developed a colour-changing, UV sensitive ink. It can be printed onto wristbands and even stickers to indicate how much UV radiation it is being exposed to. The prototype wristbands have four dots printed, with different sensitivities within the ink. As the band and the person wearing it is exposed to sunlight throughout the day, smiley faces appear on each dot.

The scale includes two sad faces that will appear if you are getting too much sun. There are several sensitivity options. These ensure that the sensors are as accurate as possible for different skin tones and genetic backgrounds. Cheap to produce, and with a child-friendly design, the researchers hope to see the sensors used as educational tools. They also hope to see the ink used to measure the UV exposure of outdoor equipment. Making it easy to measure deterioration and improve equipment safety and reliability.


Wearable Tech

If the ink is a little low-tech for you, scientists and engineers at Macquarie University are developing a finger-nail sized sensor that can measure the UV dosage absorbed by the skin. The sensor can distinguish between UVA and UVB radiation. It can warn people when they are getting too much or not enough sun. The university wants to see this sensor in more traditional wearable tech, such as smart-watches. But the scientists and engineers are also working to make the technology small and sturdy enough to be integrated into sunglasses and even swimsuits.

Protect Yourself Now

These new technologies are exciting. But what can you do to monitor your UV exposure right now? You may know that, when the UV index is above 3, it’s important to take extra steps to protect yourself from UV radiation. But the reporting of the UV index can sometimes be confusing, and, in Queensland, the UV index is 3 or higher pretty much all year round. So, what can you do?

The Cancer Council’s free Sun Smart app is here to help. The app makes UV index information easy to understand. It provides 7-day forecasts and sun protection times wherever you are in Australia. You can even set up personalised alerts based on UV levels. This makes it easy to know when it’s fine to stay in the sun, or whether you need to find some shade. It also includes a sunscreen calculator, which can tell you how much sunscreen you need to use and remind you when to reapply for the best protection. The app is available for iOS and Android devices, and is also compatible with some smartwatches.

Fact Check: How Long Do Shade Sails Really Last?

Shade sails are great solutions for creating shade and reducing heat. And they’re attractive additions to any property. But still, some people can be wary of shade sails. Part of that comes from the misconception that shade sails only have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. This idea is based on the lifespan of low-quality and basic shade sails on the market. However, a high-quality tensioned architectural shade sail should last for at least 10 years. Not only is that the case, but proper care and maintenance can make sure that your sail will still be protecting you and looking great for years after that.

Quality is Key

The lifespan that you can expect from a shade sail depends on several factors. High-quality shade fabric doesn’t amount to much if the stitching and workmanship or the hardware are not excellent as well. Remember, you won’t find quality shade fabric at your local hardware store. These commonly-seen shade fabrics do have a shorter lifespan, and that has skewed people’s perceptions of what a shade sail is capable of. Most architectural shade fabrics have a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. So you can be sure that your shade sail fabric won’t lose its effect or unravel in a few years.

The fabrication of a shade sail is also a highly-specialised skill of an experienced craftsperson. A well-designed and made shade sail needs minimal maintenance. It shouldn’t sag, collect water, or flap around in the wind. A shade sail is designed to be out in the elements, so the stitching on your sail should be strong and weather-resistant too. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) thread is the gold-standard for shade sail threads. More commonly known by the brand name Teflon, PTFE thread is virtually chemically inert, UV resistant, and non-flammable. Shade sails made with cheaper threads will have a shorter lifespan for the stitching. Because we use PTFE thread, we can offer a 10-year warranty on our stitching as well.

Quality hardware is also needed to get the best life out of your shade sail. The tension and pressure on a shade sail means that not just any fitting will do. When the wind picks up, you want to be secure in knowing that your shade sail will not break free and damage the sail, or even your property. Marine-grade stainless steel hardware, and the correct number of fixing points, is essential. That way, you know that the metal doesn’t rust or degrade quickly, and that pressure is evenly distributed to all points.

Maintenance For a Long-Lasting Shade Sail

A tensioned architectural shade sail should last at least 10 years. However, with some basic care, the lifespan of these sails is more impressive than that. A basic cleaning, which you can do yourself, is recommended every 6 months. Using sugar soap and a soft-bristled brush, work the soap into the fabric and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off with your ordinary garden hose. That’s it. Don’t use bleach or any acid-based cleaning products, or a high-pressure hose, as they can damage or discolour your sail. It’s also recommended that you have an annual inspection performed by a shade sail professional, who can perform any repairs or re-tensioning as needed.

A Long-Term Investment

A quality shade sail is not a temporary structure; it is designed to last. Often, people are confused by the price difference between prefabricated shade sails from a hardware store, and custom-made and designed architectural shade sails. People try to compare the two; but they are vastly different. Even though they are both called shade sails, they can’t really be compared. They are different in quality, and they have very different lifespans. A tensioned architectural shade sail is more comparable with solid roofed structures, like free-standing carports or patio roof extensions. Once you know the difference, and realise how long a shade sail can last, it becomes clear why Australians love a good shade sail so much.

Legislation update

Australian Standards Update

In its latest review, Standards Australia has updated its requirements for Knitted and Woven Shade Fabric. They have made changes to the requirements for the classification, performance and labelling of shade fabrics – making it easier to compare the human protection properties of shade fabrics. The key change for consumers was the introduction of the Ultraviolet Effectiveness (UVE) scale.

The Ultraviolet Effectiveness Scale

Using comprehensive testing methods, the UVE scale is the most accurate gauge for sun protection. It ranks products into three categories: effective, very effective, and most effective sun protection. The previous Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) protection ratings had limitations. They didn’t take into account the strength, weave or colour of the sail, as well as a range of other factors. Some shade fabric could have a great UPF or UVR protection rating under test conditions, but consumers did not get those results in real life.


UVE Rankings for shade sails

Why Schools & Daycares Should Know

Government departments across the country use the Australian Standards for shade fabrics. They set clear and measurable guides for how much quality shade must be available to protect children. These rules not only apply to schools and childcare facilities, but also sporting clubs and a range of other community groups. The Cancer Council of South Australia and the Cancer Council of the Northern Territory, along with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), are already using the new standards and the UVE rankings to describe best practices for shade and sun safety. Other government departments and organisations will follow suit soon. Understanding the UVE ratings will be key to interpreting incoming legislation and the terms for shade grant programs.

Are You Eligible for a Shade Sail Grant?

Using high-quality shade is still considered one of the best ways to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. But did you know that providing shade also increases the use of outdoor spaces? And it has been linked with higher levels of physical activity in children and adults. Governments and not-for-profit organisations around Australia are investing in creating shade in schools, playgrounds, sporting facilities, and other community spaces. These funded initiatives come in a variety of forms, including specialist shade grants, public health grants, sport and physical activity grants, and general community grants.

Shade structures are highly versatile, with a range of benefits; and good quality ones can be expensive for small community groups. This makes them great projects to seek funding for. There is a range of annual grant programs available across Australia that can help to ease the cost of installing a new shade sail. The Cancer Council Queensland offers the Sun Smart Shade Creating Initiative every year, which will match funding for shade structures. The New South Wales State Government has the annual Quality Learning Environments program. This grant is for community preschools and early childhood centres, to help them to improve their learning environment. Even local councils offer a variety of programs, including the Brisbane City Council’s Healthy and Physical Activity Grants. This local grant scheme provides funds to local community groups to help improve participation in sports and physical activities and increase health. The Sunshine Coast Council has several grants programs, all designed to fund projects with broad community benefits as well.

There may be plenty of grants out there, but more groups are applying for funding. These grants can be highly competitive, and may not be open for very long periods of time. It’s important to be on the lookout for programs that can help your group, and to get your application in quickly. If you are looking to improve your shade sail funding application, try the Australian Shade News’ Specialist Grant-Writing Service. With an expert writer working with you, our service can help your organisation stand out from the crowd. For a superior grant application that will help your organisation gain the funding you need for a shade sail, contact us today.

Your FAQs

Replacing a damaged shade sail through insurance

Each issue, we strive to answer your questions about anything shade sail. This time, the question is: “Is my shade sail covered by my insurance?”

Australian Shade News Answer:

“This deceptively simple question isn’t so easy to answer. Our best advice would be to check with your insurance provider. They can tell you if your shade sail is included with your policy, and how it is covered.

The key thing to do is find out whether your insurer covers a shade sail as part of the home or contents. Some insurers specifically mention shade sails and how they’re covered. But what do you do if your insurer doesn’t cover your shade sail? You might consider your new shade sail to be a permanent part of your home, but your particular insurer might not.

Most insurance companies include ‘permanent fixtures’ as part of the building policy. But what makes a fixture permanent? Generally, it is defined as something that cannot be removed without causing damage to a structure. In that case, the sail itself would be categorised as part of the contents of your home. But the sail mounts themselves, and other fixtures, could be insured under your home insurance.

Once you know how your shade sail is insured, it should be covered for everything in the applicable policy. It is important to check your PDS for any exclusions for shade sails so that you know exactly what is covered and under which circumstances it is covered. For example, your sail might be covered by your building policy, which could include impact cover. In that case, if there are no exclusions for shade sails, and a tree falls and damages the sail, you can make a claim for the damages.

If your sail is considered as part of your contents, there can be more exclusions. Some policies will refuse to cover anything left outside. However, other policies may cover items designed for outdoor use, such as shade sails. But they may have a reduced payout for replacing or repairing those contents.

Your best option is always to speak with your insurance provider. They can provide you with more exact information for your circumstances. They can even alter your policy to get you better coverage for your shade sail.”

If you are looking for more answers, please contact us to submit your question or take a look at our previous issues.

How to choose your shade fabric

Choose Your Shade Fabric

How to Choose Shade Sail Fabric

There are so many different shade fabrics out there, and they all have different features and properties. So how do you choose shade sail fabric and figure out which fabric is right for you? To help you get started here are a few things to think about when you’re choosing your shade fabric. Remember every project is different so it’s always best to seek professional advice for your situation. 

How to choose your shade fabric

What do you need?

Start by thinking about what you need from your shade sail. Answer a few questions for yourself:

  • What do you want to do under your shade sail and when?
  • Do you need waterproofing?
  • How much area do you want the sail to cover?
  • Are you protecting people or vehicles or both from damaging UV rays?

If you’re looking to create shade to protect your family, the Cancer Council Queensland has a range of resources to help you. The QUEST program provides strategies, resources and ongoing support for sun safety and health and wellbeing for organisations. These resources can help anyone plan the shade they need. These standards will make sure you can get the best sun protection for you and your family. 

Remember the sun moves across the seasons, it’s higher in the sky in summer than in winter. It’s important to consider your property and what kind of shadows are cast around the year. You don’t want to create a cool and shaded spot for summer that is dark and cold in winter. Knowing what you need is the first step towards figuring out which fabric will be the best for you.

How are you installing the sail?

Are you fixing it to free-standing posts, a wall or roof, or covering a pergola? Your fabric choice informs the installation and design of your sail. For example, if you’re looking at a waterproof sail you’ll need a sharper angle to allow the water to run off easily. You’ll need to consider those fixing points and if you can create the angle you need. If your sail doesn’t need to be 100% waterproof a tightly-woven shade fabric can still minimise water coming through and won’t need as much pitch.

Maybe you’re revamping an old pergola or another structure and want to roof it with shade fabric. Think about if the sail will catch or rub and how you can avoid or counteract that. You might consider altering the structure or using a higher GSM or heavier duty fabric.

If you’re looking at a particularly large sail you’ll need more supports and fixing points to take the weight of it. Think about your space and where you could attach the sail to your home or where posts could go. Posts in the middle of your sail can help support it but that might not be an option over a pool or playground. You can use a stronger fabric or reconsider the design. For example several smaller sails or a hipped structure.

Maintenance and Lifespan

A quality shade sail is an investment that should last. Depending on the fabric supplier, sailmaker and installer your warranty can vary. There isn’t usually one warranty for everything, the fabric itself, stitching, hardware and installation can all have different lifespans. It’s important to check what the different warranties cover and for how long.

Some fabrics are also easier to maintain than others. Think about what kind of maintenance you would do yourself or if you’ll pay for maintenance services. Balancing how long you want it to last, how you’ll maintain it and your budget can help you narrow down your fabric options.

Government Requirements for Schools

There are several state and local government shade guidelines and regulations designed to protect children from overexposure to UV radiation. These guidelines apply to education and care providers, like schools and daycares. They can also affect sports clubs and other community groups.

The Queensland Department of Health outlines design considerations and local councils also have their own policies on shade structures. These specify the fabric’s level of UV protection, but can also include further requirements for the fabric and overall design of the structure. Most shade sail grants, including the SunSmart Shade Initiative, reference these standards as well. It’s always best to check with your local and state government bodies for the exact details. For more general advice see our articles on school shade regulations and the Australian Standards for shade fabric.

Compare Shade Fabrics

There is a wide variety of shade fabrics that suit a range of purposes. Whether you want bright attractive colours, light transference, heavy-duty sun protection, easy maintenance or anything in between Northside Shade Sails can help. With a range of fabrics and years of experience, we can help you find the shade fabric perfect for you and craft it into a fully customised shade sail. Contact us today for your free design a quote.

Insurance & Your Shade Sail

Will my shade sail be covered by my insurance? It’s a question we get asked a lot, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you understand insurance and your shade sail. We know that making sense of your insurance policy can be difficult at the best of times and we’re here to help, but there are a lot of policies out there and they’re all different. For detailed information on your policy, it’s best to talk to your insurance provider.

Is a shade sail insured as part of the home or contents?

Some insurers make it easy by specifically defining or naming shade sails in their policy documents. For example, the RACQ includes shade sails as outdoor items they will cover as part of your home. However, most insurers don’t do this, in fact, many don’t even consider your shade sail a permanent part of your home. Insurers generally include permanent fixtures as part of your home building insurance. But what makes a fixture permanent? Generally, a fixture is defined as an item permanently attached to your home that can’t be removed without causing damage. By that definition, your shade sail itself isn’t covered by building insurance and so becomes part of the contents of your home. 

If there is sail hardware attached to your home or garage, those could be part of your building policy. Any additional structures for your shade sail are also usually covered by your home insurance. There can be exclusions though so check your policy for the different kinds of structures covered and the limits for them.

When is the shade sail insured?

Once you know how your shade sail is categorised by your insurers, the hard part is over. Next, check your policy for any specific inclusions or exclusion for shade sails in insured events. At Westpac, their storm cover includes loss or damage to a shade sail if it was professionally installed within the last 5 years. Whereas RACQ specifically excludes loss or damage to shade sails under flood and storm surge cover. Where your policy doesn’t list shade sails it generally means that your sail is insured under the policy. If your sail is covered by your home building policy then those protections for insured events apply. For example, if the policy included impact cover and a tree falls and damages the sail you’ll be able to make a claim.

There can be some exclusions and limits if your sail is part of your contents. Some policies won’t cover any contents left outside. Even though shade sails are designed to be left out in the elements, damage to your sail won’t be covered. Other policies make exceptions for items designed for outdoor use, but these can be limited. They may refuse to cover some insured events, such as theft or storms, they could cap the payout at a fixed amount or reduce it by as much as 80% for contents that are left outdoors. Remember to speak with your insurer, you don’t always have to change provider to get better protection, many companies have tiers of insurance or optional extras that can increase the coverage for your shade sail.

What’s the right insurance?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here, your insurance needs are unique to you. If your shade sail and structure are covered under a building policy it will usually have broader protection. If it’s insured by both your home and contents policies, there can be exclusions you need to watch out for. Stay informed and understand your policy, and you’ll quickly see if your insurance is working for you and your situation.

Remember we’ve only looked at general home and contents policies here. Specialised cover options are also worth considering, many insurers adjust policies to account for high-value or specialist items. Talk to your provider and you might be able to get an altered policy that better caters to you and your shade sail.

Insurance repairs and replacements with Northside Shade Sails

If your shade sail has hail, wind, storm or fire damage and is covered by your insurance policy we can help. Northside Shade Sails can provide an insurance quote to replace your shade sail. Our local expert installers are committed to delivering insurance replacements for your shade sail quickly and within your budget.

Our superior quality shade sails are made with hard-wearing fabric and marine-grade stainless steel fittings. They’re designed to be resilient, stable and long-lasting in the unpredictable Queensland weather. With our unrivalled 10-year warranty on the fabric and stitching, your insurance replacement is in safe hands with Northside Shade Sails.

School Shade Regulations

What’s New: School Shade Sails

As Queenslanders, we are always working to better understand the dangers of UV radiation and learn how we can best protect ourselves and our children. Local, state, and federal governments have a range of regulations and recommendations to ensure that schools, early learning centres, and other childcare facilities are doing everything to protect children from the Australian sun. With new research and best practices constantly being developed here are some recent changes to school shade regulations affecting shade sails around Queensland.

The Ultraviolet Effectiveness Scale

Standards Australia recently updated their documentation on shade fabrics, including adding a new way of measuring the UV protection: the Ultraviolet Effectiveness (UVE) scale. See our article dedicated to the UVE scale to learn more about it and what it means. Government departments use the Australian standards for shade fabrics to set clear measurable guides for the quality of shade, and how much of it must be available to children at schools, and other education and care facilities.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is already using the new standards and UVE rankings to describe best practices for shade. Other government departments are expected to follow suit soon, and high UVE ratings will go from a recommendation to a requirement.

Shade Sails vs. Shade Structures

Currently, the Queensland Government leaves most of the specifics of shade structures to the discretion of the local government and the school or childcare facility. The Queensland Department of Health outlines design considerations for local councils when it comes to creating shade. Recently many schools and local councils have been looking for ways of making shade structures safer and less likely to be vandalised.

The South Australian Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) has phased out shade sails entirely in favour of independent roofed structures. These can still use shade fabric as the roofing material, but rather than a sail fixed to several posts, the shade structure is a permanent, freestanding, ridged or hipped construction. These structures require fewer posts, don’t need guy-wires, can more effectively shade large areas, and are usually distinctly separated from other structures, such as buildings, making it more difficult for someone to climb up onto the sail. The Queensland Government and local councils could be looking to South Australia to improve the safety of our school’s shade structures.

Safety and Risk Assessment

Shade structures are designed to protect children from harmful UV rays, but if not designed, installed and maintained properly they can create another hazard. Local and state government bodies have requirements and best practises to ensure children are safe outdoors. Assessment of the risks associated with a shade structure being accessible from play equipment or adjoining structures such as fences or buildings, including potential fall heights, fall zones and impact-absorbing material should be completed. The goal of these practises is to prevent the climbing of shade structures as much as possible and lower the severity of potential injury if someone were to fall from the structure.

Compliant school shade structures from Northside Shade Sails

Northside Shade Sails understands that a lot of work goes into creating safe environments children enjoy learning and playing in. Our custom shade structures are designed to fit into your space and provide the shade you need while meeting government requirements. With a range of high-quality and easy to maintain UVE ranked fabrics and local expert installers, we make it easy to put safety first. Northside Shade Sails also offers ongoing repair and maintenance services to help keep your shade structure compliant and looking great for years to come.

Council Approvals for Shade Sails

Do I need council approval to build a shade sail?

If you’re planning on getting a shade sail, it is important to consider the council approvals and planning permissions you’ll need. Your local council will have rules surrounding development approvals in your area. Whether you need council approval for your shade sails and what kind of permissions you need is dependent on a range of factors including the design, size and placement of your potential sail. If you don’t gain the appropriate permissions your council could demand you remove it, or it will cause other troubles for you later on.

In Queensland, your local council asses development and building requests in line with the Queensland Development Code and local council City Plans or other building and planning schemes. Generally, shade sails are considered domestic outbuildings of either acceptable or assessable development depending on the size of the sail. While there are state guidelines, local councils all have their own rules. It’s important to check with your local council for their exact regulations as they have the final ruling.

When you need planning permission

Heritage, Conservation & Priority Development Zones 

If your building is a listed local or state heritage site, or part of a protected or conservation zone you must speak with your local council before building your shade sail. Even if your sail is a free-standing structure that won’t damage the building, heritage restrictions may still consider it as changing the appearance of the building.

Priority Development Zones are subject to different rules as part of their specialist state programs. Other protected zones, may have specific design requirements to assist in the preservation of nearby flora and fauna or protect properties along the foreshore or in high-risk bushfire and flood areas. 

The sail is too large

Depending on the size of your property, zoning and council the maximum roofed area varies. For example, in the Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) area, on a general residential lot of less than 600m2, where the total roofed area of all outbuildings is 50m2 or less the structure is an accepted development and no planning permission is required of the council. It’s important to note that an outbuilding is defined by the MBRC and many other councils as any Class 10a building according to the Australia Building Codes Board. So in this example, the 50m2 is shared across other structures on the property such as other shade sails, garages or sheds.

Within the MBRC, you will also need permission if any part of the sail will be over four meters tall or the mean height will exceed three and a half meters, measured from the ground or the floor level or whatever surface it’s constructed on, such as a deck.

The location of the sail 

If any part of your shade sail will be in front of the building line on the side of the primary street, you will need to gain council permission. If your home is on a corner block, your primary street is usually the street named in your address. If you have another approved outbuilding that is in front of the main house, the building line is moved forward to the front edge of that structure. 

The distance your shade sail needs to be from the boundary lines around your property in order to be exempt varies. Depending on your home, the size of your property and the surrounding buildings these rules can differ so it’s best to check with your council.

Other considerations

Planning permission is not the only kind of council approval you might need. Your council might have different local requirements, so it’s always best to confirm with your council exactly what kind of approvals you need. Many local governments including the Brisbane City Council are making it easier to see the zoning, overlays and planning conditions for your property online to help make the process simpler.

If your shade sail is an accepted development, for example, the council doesn’t need to approve your sail, but they can still ask for proof that you are complying with all the state and local standards. If you have an accepted development subject to requirements or an assessable development within the Somerset Regional Council, for example, you’ll need to submit a building application.

How we can help

Our local team can help you ensure that your new shade sail design will fit within your council’s guidelines and help you through the approval and certification process. Northside Shade Sails has extensive experience designing and installing a variety of custom shade sails in Brisbane’s North. Call us today to start planning your new shade sail with a local expert.

New Standards for Shade Sail Fabric

Changes to Australian Standards for shade sail fabric and why they’re important

Shade sails are a great way to protect yourself and your family from the harsh Australian sun’s UV rays so you can enjoy the outdoors even in Queensland’s hot, humid climate. There is a huge variety of shade fabrics out there and it can be difficult to know how much protection they offer. In its latest review, Standards Australia has made some changes so it’s clearer and easier to compare shade fabrics and understand how much sun protection your shade sail will provide. Shade fabric is now classified using the Ultraviolet Effectiveness (UVE) scale.

Why the Ultraviolet Effectiveness scale?

Unlike the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) protection ratings UVE takes into account the strength, weave and colour of the sail. This provides a more accurate rating of how much a shade sail will protect you.

Under test conditions, some shade fabric could get a high UPF or UVR protection rating but due to a range of variables including the design and installation of the shade structure, you might not get those same results in practice. The Ultraviolet Effectiveness scale takes this into account in order to rank shade fabrics into three categories: effective, very effective, and most effective sun protection. 

The new UVE ranking might affect Schools and Daycares

The Queensland government has a range of regulatory requirements and guidelines designed to ensure education and care providers are creating a sun safe environment and protecting children from overexposure to harmful UV radiation. These requirements cover a range of shade systems and the materials they’re made of including shade sails. Understanding the new Australian Standards for shade sail fabric and the UVE protection scale can help you ensure you are complying with state and local government policy.

These guidelines not only apply to schools, daycares and early learning facilities they can also apply to sports clubs and other community groups. The UVE rankings can also help you know which shade fabrics would be covered by sun safety funding and grants.

How Rainbow Shade Z16 sails rank

Rainbow Shade has over 25 years of experience, developing its shade products to provide the ultimate in solar protection. More than 80% of the Rainbow Shade Z16 colour range has received a UVE ranking of Most Effective or Very Effective. The broad range of modern and punchy colours means you can create a unique and stylish statement without compromising on protection. The Z16 range is one of Australia’s most popular shade cloth fabrics, known for its durability and quality.

The range consists of high-performance, low-maintenance shade fabrics that not only provide highly effective UV protection, they also reduce glare and heat. Rainbow Shade Z16 fabrics are proven to outperform other shade cloth fabrics for UV protection over a 15-year lifespan. They are an ideal choice for a range of shade solutions including for carports patios, decks, outdoor retail and dining areas, commercial facades, playgrounds, sporting facilities and swimming pools.

Northside Shade Sails can help

At Northside Shade Sails, we custom-make shade sails to ensure they are the perfect shade shad solution for your unique needs. Our artisan shade sailmaker has been designing and hand fabricating shade sails for the Australian market, and Australian weather, since 1988. We are entirely Queensland owned and operated and our team of local experts have been manufacturing and installing shade sails for many years across North Brisbane. Our shade structures can also be designed specifically to promote airflow in and around your property to keep you cool even in the Queensland heat.

Our combination of high quality, hard-wearing fabric, durable shapes, high-strength stainless steel fittings and perimeter cable means our shade sails are highly resilient, stable and long-lasting. Our unrivalled 10-year warranty covers the shade fabric and stitching so you can get on with enjoying the outdoors with peace of mind knowing you’re covered.