Establish the Whole-Life Cost of Your Canopy

In making the case for your school’s canopy installation, you’ll need to clearly outline all the related costs, which extend to more than just the price of the purchase.

Of course, the initial outlay will be the biggest expenditure (remember to factor VAT and delivery into this figure), with less significant costs to consider throughout the canopy’s lifespan; though it is still important to consider those smaller costs and include them in your plan. This will avoid any surprises at a later date, help stakeholders to assess the overall worth of the purchase, and even assist with investment initiatives, through fundraising or bursary schemes.


establish-the-whole-life-cost-of-your-canopy-Image-1The benefit of your canopy must outweigh the cost, with the real value evident from the rewards seen after installation. A school canopy fundamentally provides one of three things:

  • An experiential learning environment for children
  • An alternative teaching space for staff, or
  • Shelter during outdoor pursuits

Various potential advantages include improved school results, negating the need (and cost) of building work, easier accommodation of an increasing number of students, meeting national and school curriculum delivery targets, and better school ratings as a result.


establish-the-whole-life-cost-of-your-canopy-Image-2The costs of maintaining your canopy may be something you’ll need to research a little further, but they should still be minimal. A good supplier will offer a cleaning service as part of their aftercare programme; it is worth remembering that free-standing canopies reduce the amount of cleaning required, as there is only a roofed area to maintain.

Suppliers should also offer canopy MOTs that incorporate repairs; any potential extra costs here can be confirmed by speaking with various companies. A quality canopy should come with a guarantee, as testament to its durability and assurance that you will receive support if anything ever does go wrong.

Secondary Costs

establish-the-whole-life-cost-of-your-canopy-Image-3There are other indirect costs related to your canopy purchase which require a little deeper thought to ascertain, as with most renovation projects. One of the most common secondary costs to consider with building work is heating. Will your canopy purchase affect the heating in the interior of building? For example, the blocking of sunlight which will keep children safe from UV rays could mean that the adjoining room becomes cooler; will it require extra heating in colder seasons?

There is also the more immediate cost of outdoor furniture and equipment for exterior classrooms and dining areas. You will need to establish the quantity of chairs, tables/desks, outdoor storage and any other teaching aids which will need to be purchased for the space, and research the individual prices of those items. You could outline how often they will need to be replaced too.

The additional space provided by the canopy may also necessitate extra teaching costs, such as for after-school activities or for accommodating increasing demand on student intake numbers.


establish-the-whole-life-cost-of-your-canopy-Image-4Your canopy should ideally last throughout a couple of lifecycles of school intakes if cared for properly. However, to provide a complete overview of associated costs, you will need to factor in what will happen once it has either reached the end of its lifespan, or the school undergoes further renovation which will require the canopy to be taken down.

You should check whether your supplier will take down the canopy when it is no longer of benefit, otherwise you will need to establish estimates of average prices to include in your case.

To summarise, take the following steps to plan all costs involved in your canopy project and you will end up with a clear and considered case for making the purchase, with all eventualities considered:

  • Outline the benefits that a canopy will provide and how this will outweigh the cost.
  • Make clear what it will cost to maintain your canopy and maximise its lifespan.
  • Plan for any secondary costs including heating, furniture and equipment, and extra staff requirements.
  • Get an idea of the cost attached to taking your canopy down when it has reached the end of its lifetime.

Next, read all about who to collaborate with and why, in order to present your case and make your school canopy project a success.