Stanford Plaza car park shade structure installed by Versatile Structures

Everything you need to know about commercial car park shade structures

 Jamie Howard      In ,

After reading this article on commercial car park shade structures you will have a good understanding of the various kinds of car park shade structures.  The team at Versatile Structures have worked on custom shade structures for a single park as can be seen here,  this article however will focus on commercial applications.

Why car park shade structures

Before you start designing the structure you are after it is good to first look at why you want to install a car park shade structure. Have your team complained about the damage to their car standing in the sun all day or have you seen a drop in sales on those rainy days. Maybe you need to give the tenants in your building a reason as to why you are increasing their rent.

Selecting the right solution will communicate the right message to your intended audience. For example a car shade structure that just covers cars but doesn’t keep a client dry while walking to your store doesn’t solve the challenge of keeping clients dry. A double bay structure with walkway using a waterproof fabric would have been an option for the above example. Once you know your why we can move onto options.

Car park shade options

Every car park has different needs, different sizes and a different audiences so the below will mention a couple of the most common options however at the end of the day the shade supplier you are working with needs to deliver a custom solution for your needs.

  • Single bay
  • Double bay
  • Double bay with walkway
  • Full cover

If you want to read more about the above the list you can see images and a description of the options here.

There are also cantilever type structures for space saving or limited space areas, waterproof tension membrane structures providing a complete waterproof solutionshade fabric structures with the highest UV block rating, rolled hoop to compliment design aspects of buildings, Flat top for space and view saving design aspects, V type structures, including many more.

Fire rating

As a commercial entity you know how important it is that you look after the safety of your clients. Older shade fabrics haven’t had the best reputation when it comes to being flame retardant. Most fabric now must pass a number of tests and be compliant with government regulations. You can read more about the standards and regulations here.

Shade or waterproof

Deciding between just doing a shade protection or offering shade and rain protection will be determined by your why you are wanting to install in the first place. The main differences you need to know is that waterproof shade structures are a little more expensive this is because wind can’t pass through the fabric which means there is more tension on the structure itself which means deeper foundations and more engineering to create a stronger structure overall. Waterproof fabrics also have fewer colour options. You can have a look at all the various colours here.


Added options

Apart from choosing whether or not you’d like your car park shade structure to offer shade or shade and rain protection, you can also include some extra options like adding lighting, security or even optimise the structure to provide electricity to your facility and create a solar top structure and be part of helping to reduce the need for fossil fuels. If you are interested in a solar power car park shade structure have a read through this article.

Quality hardware

A significant differentiator to look for when selecting your shade structure installer is the quality of hardware they use to hold the fabric in-place. The fittings used need to be rust proof, corrosion resistant and be able to withstand an immense amount of pressure. To read more about what kind of quality fittings to look out for have a read through this article.


There are numerous elements to consider when selecting a supplier and installer for a commercial car park shade structure. The most important is to start with your why. Then find a supplier and installer that you can ask questions about the fabrics they have available, hardware used and their compliance.


  • 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.