Why Bunnings prefer custom designed shade sail solutions
Working with Woollam Constructions, the Versatile Structures team were commissioned to fabricate and install a custom shade structure of 1,230 m2 at Bunnings Bundamba in Ipswich, in the outer western suburbs of Brisbane.
As Australia and New Zealand’s retail leader of consumer and commercial home and lifestyle products, this may then pose the question why Bunnings, who supply to project builders, commercial tradespeople, and the housing industry, choose to outsource this project to a specialist shade sail provider instead of using the shade sails they stock?
The answer is easy: not all shade cloths are made equal and even though Bunnings sails may suit most homeowners’ budgets, they are not made from the same quality shade cloth as professional commercial shade solutions and will therefore not perform as well in the great Australian outdoors in the long run.
Commercial Shade Structures when designed and installed correctly, should go up first time and last forever, irrespective of UV and weather impacts. Some suppliers claim a fabric is UV resistant and able to withstand Australia’s harsh weather conditions, but it’s a proven fact that many cheaper second-tier fabrics and materials just do not cut it with prolonged sun, wind, or rain exposure, especially in Australia.
Shade sails need to be viewed as an investment in your property and therefore deliver a return on your investment. And therefore, the leader in lifestyle products chooses to outsource their shade solutions to a quality commercial shade system supplier like Versatile Structures, who not only meets stringent Australian exterior standards but also specialises in using high spec European and Australian materials that give a better-quality finish and guarantee long-term performance.
Thanks to advancements in fabric manufacturing, materials available, and R&D progression, fabrics now come with longer lifespans of up to 15 years minimum. Good quality fabric, combined with a regular maintenance program that includes visual inspections, annual re-tensioning, and repairs caught early will maximise the lifespan of any shade structure investment.
But it’s not only in the fabric. You also need to consider the quality of seam threads and manufacturing process that are used.
Conventional seam threads on shade sails and other outdoor fabric products suffer from exposure to UV, wind, and weather. After a few years they become brittle and break. We prefer to use Gore Tenara sewing thread for our double locking stitch process, as it is UV protected and long-lasting. It does not deteriorate from exposure to elements – not even when exposed to UV radiation! – and greatly enhances outdoor and marine solutions. Some manufacturers even offer lifetime warranties to match the life of the shade cloth.
As for the manufacturing, we use the latest computerized cutting technology that results in 100% high frequency welded seams, edges, and reinforcing and all our structural designs meet AS/NZS1170.0, AS/NZ1170.1, AS/NZ1170.2, AS4100, AS3600 and AS1170.4 standards.
Another benefit working with an expert shade supplier like Versatile Structures, is that they can offer a complete end to end design, construct, management, and installation service that cover all areas of the project, from functionality consideration, initial design concepts, site specific requirements and shading efficiencies, wind regions, engineering, building approvals, structurally sound installations, as well as the commissioning of electrical aspects.
Equally important is the access to their understanding and expertise of how to deliver aesthetic results that ensure a visually bold and appealing structure that ensures you are noticed for the right reasons.
The design specifications for the Bunnings Bundamba project install consisted of six individual shade sails that overlap to cover a total area of 1,230 m2. (Our award-winning shade structure at Noosa Botanical gardens which you can read about here had a similar approach.) Measurements had to be 100% accurate to ensure the design would create adequate tension to withstand imposed loads. Using 3D modelling enabled us to pattern the shade cloth to exact specifications and we utilised stainless steel 316 grade cables to pattern the shade cloth correctly. We are proud to say the installation were completed ahead of time and on budget, which is a reputation we live by.
For the Bunnings Bundamba project we chose Premium Hortshade shade cloth – an extremely high-quality, knitted shade cloth that provides optimum performance in any climate and making it ideal for horticultural, agricultural, and commercial applications, as well as car park covers, gazebo and pergola covers, privacy screens and wind break protections.
Made from UV-stabilised High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) with sun block factors of up to 77%, this recyclable fabric is highly resistant to sun damage water absorption and rotting, while providing good weather and pest protection, and overall a more efficient growth environment for plants. Premium Hortshade cloth also does not tear or fray when cut.
Contact our team if you have a commercial shade structure project that you would like to discuss.
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.