Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School shade structure installed by Versatile Structures

Looking for a Brisbane shade structure solution?

 Jamie Howard      In

If you live in Brisbane and surrounds, you would at some point spend time under a shade structure, whether it be at a park, coffee shop, school, shopping centre or one of the theme parks on the Gold Coast.

What are shade structures used for in Brisbane?

The UV index in Brisbane averages around 6, which by the Australia bureau of Meteorology standard is high (see UV index table below).

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Owing to the high UV conditions we live in, shade sails are a common sight set-up to offer sun protection at schools, child care centres, aquatic parks, car parks, swimming pools and everything you can think of in-between.

How much UV Protection do shade sails offer?
It is widely understood that UV radiation is a major cause of skin cancer, eye damage, sun burn and premature ageing and sun awareness needs to be instilled from an early age. Where children play in controlled environments, it is important that they are not over exposed to the sun and UVR. As shade sails cut back between 90 to 100% of UV radiation, it offers the ideal solution for any outdoor environment where people are exposed to the sun and UVR.

Why choose a shade sail over traditional structures?

  • Shade sails breathe. Shade sails pullcooler air from below the shade cloth to replace the heat generated at the top of the sun canopy. Traditional solid structures don’t have this feature and therefore restrict the ventilation.
  • Shade sails can be attractive. They enhance any environment and look good on new and old buildings.
  • Added property value. Shade sails that are properly designed and installed are an investment that will increase the value to your property. 
  • They are robust.  You can expect a minimum of 10 years guarantee on a shade sail installed in Brisbane.


What shape of shade sail is best?

Triangular shaped shade sails are one of the more commonly used shapes this is because they are less likely to sag and balloon up, are used for aesthetic reasons and provide better tension which keeps them in position for longer. Also, multiple layers of triangular shaped fabric shade make for a more interesting visual effect than a solid square. With Brisbane’s humidity ranging from 50% in Winter and 65% to 70% in Summer, using multiple layers of triangular shapes supports more air flow under the shade structure versus a solid roof.

Multiple layers of triangular shaped fabric shade make for an architectural visual effect as is with the sails installed by Versatile Structures for BrewDog in Brisbane.

How long does a shade structure take to be installed in Brisbane?

The short answer is about 12 weeks, but there are naturally factors like rain, the size of the structure and Council approvals that could impact the timeline. For more information on the full installation process, read more about it here.

Do I need Council approval for a shade sail in Brisbane?

In short yes, there are however several situations that you won’t need to get Council approval, for instance if you’re installing a small awning at the back of your residential property. If any part of the shade sail is in front of the building line on the side of the primary street, it requires Council permission.

How much does it cost to have a shade sail installed?

Shade sails costs vary significantly depending on variables like size of the structure, fabric chosen, location (on top of a 10-storey building or an open park) but the starting price is from $6,000 to 8,000 for an average-sized custom designed sail. Most residential installations use two or three sails to get good shade coverage and a crisp, modern look, while larger areas or commercial installations require the involvement of an engineer or architect.


Getting a custom shade structure installed for your customers, team or children is a great solution to reduce their expose to harmful UVR and add value to your property for many years to come.


  • Versatile Structures Headshots

    Jamie Howard - Director

    Co-founder and Director Jamie has been hands-on in the shade and steel industry since leaving school. With over 15 years’ experience in shade, membrane and steel projects, Jamie is excited about the design opportunities shade structures offer in the commercial and industrial sectors. Jamie’s extensive design skills give him a competitive edge in situations with technical design complexity. He has won two personal industry awards for his designs, alongside many company-won awards.