What goes into installing a canopy 12 stories high?

Posted on | Posted in About Canopies UK

A huge part of what makes Canopies UK great is our team. The people behind our business are among the best in the industry and are always driving us forward with their passion and expertise.

Today, we’re getting to know the people behind Canopies UK a little better with an interview with Stephen, one of our Area Sales Managers. Part of Stephen’s role is designing problem-solving canopies for our customers, so we wanted to find out more about what his job entails and the challenges it presents – including exactly what goes into managing a canopy installation 12 stories high right next to the Tower of London.

Hi Stephen. Can you tell us a little about your role at Canopies UK? What does an average day look like for you?

My role at Canopies UK is Area Sales Manager, which generally involves making contact with enquirers and helping to find solutions for our customers. Day-to-day, I contact customers by phone and email to discuss their requirements. It’s my job to find out the issues they face and why a canopy is the best solution for them. I then help with providing designs and costings to suit their budget.

Another part of my time is spent on the road, going to see customers and meeting new faces, as well as catching up with existing customers. We have recently started attending conferences and shows too, which is great as it gives us another avenue to talk directly to our customers and showcase what we can offer them.

What do you find most enjoyable about your role?

I love the flexibility of my role – I work from home, sometimes from the office, and out in the field. I could pretty much work anywhere in the country.

I really enjoy going out to see potential customers and love the challenge of finding a solution that really helps benefit them long-term. I love working with such a wide range of sectors, from hotels and restaurants to schools, nurseries and colleges, across to offices, factories and hospitals. I really like that although the process for each sector is similar, every customer brings a different challenge and keeps me on my toes.

What’s the most complicated project you’ve worked on? Any big challenges you’ve had to overcome?

The most complicated projects are normally in the hospitality sector. I completed a project close to Tower Bridge (DoubleTree by Hilton, Tower of London) which had many challenges to overcome. Access was probably the biggest challenge as the streets were simply too narrow to fit a mobile crane. A nearby tower crane on another building site had to be used, which brought with it many other challenges.

Recently, we have undertaken work installing a Skyroof system on the 18th floor of The Gantry Hotel in Stratford, East London. Again, access was the biggest issue to overcome as we had to get all the materials from ground level to the 18th floor of a functioning hotel.

I’ve also worked on many walkways in schools, some of which have linked the whole site together, which on a high school with many different buildings is a pretty large task.

What project are you the proudest of?

Over my many years at Canopies UK I have completed well over £25M of canopy projects, and I take great pride in each and every canopy, whether it be big or small. Whilst I have undertaken many large scale canopy projects, it’s often the smaller ones that give the most satisfaction. Knowing that what you have designed is going to be used every day, solving the issues that you identified on the initial visit, is a great feeling.

You already touched on the DoubleTree by Hilton project in London, which was huge. Can you talk us through the process of ensuring everything went smoothly?

The DoubleTree at Tower Bridge was a very big undertaking. I was involved in the project from the very beginning until the very end. To start with, I met with the owners of the building as well as the management team of the Hilton and helped design their solution alongside the project architects. There were many meetings that took place throughout the whole process, which took over 12 months.

The canopy was designed to create an outdoor rooftop venue that could be used all year round for functions such as wedding receptions, conferences, parties and gatherings of any kind. The rooftop at the hotel had split levels, so we needed to create steps in the canopy to overcome this.

We also needed to enhance the light coming through into the space. The retractable roof of the Cantabria came into its own on this project, allowing for incredible views across some of London’s landmark buildings, including the Gherkin and the Shard. I was always on hand to talk with the General Manager of the hotel to make sure that everything ran smoothly in such a challenging installation.

How do you ensure safety and quality for every canopy you design?

I have worked for Canopies UK for over 21 years and both safety and quality are paramount to all the canopies that we install. We are an ISO 9001 approved company. This means that we have processes in place at every step of the journey when designing and manufacturing our canopies. We have accreditations with CHAS and Constructionline to ensure that all of our health and safety processes are thoroughly checked and in line with industry standards. We also have a robust system for health and safety, which ensures that all of our staff and customers are safe at all times.

Finally, we have a consulting structural engineer who is on hand to help design every canopy and ensure its safety. We provide site specific structural calculations for wind and snow loads for every canopy that we install. This could be for something as small as an entrance canopy for a doorway, or for something as large as a loading bay canopy designed to cover lorries. Every canopy gets the exact same rigorous treatment with the structural design calculations.

Do you have any interesting hobbies outside of work you can tell us about?

I do like following football, with a keen eye on the Premier League whilst still supporting Blackburn Rovers. Hopefully one day we’ll make it back to the top! I love spending time with my family after spending time away during the week. One thing we are all passionate about is Formula 1 – we try to watch every race as well as the practice and qualifying sessions too.

Thank you, Stephen!

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Stephen and the care that goes into producing our industry-leading canopies for our customers. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your canopy requirements with the team, please get in touch.