Custom shade sail for Sir Lew Edwards Park, Ipswich City Council by Versatile Structures.

Questions we’re often asked

Whether used for commercial, industrial, or residential purposes at entrances, entertaining areas, sports and recreation areas, schools, hospitality, retail or vehicles, a shade structure is defined as a freestanding or fixed roofed structure for the purpose of providing UVR protection, shade, and shelter from the weather.

What sets Versatile Structures apart is our custom design shade solutions and here are answers to the questions we get asked most by customers who engage us for commercial and car park shade structures and shade sails in Brisbane, Noosa and surrounds.

What are shade structures called?

Shade structures are also known as pergolas, awnings, solid roof structures, blinds, pavilions, shade sails, screes and sunhoods, patio umbrellas. With so many shade structure solutions available, our article on shade structure styles covers it all.

How tall should a shade structure be?

A shade structure should be at least 2.4m from the ground on two of the sides. For maximum effectiveness, most shade structures are between 2.4m and 3m tall, and 3.6m for big structures, with the edge heights kept as low as possible to reduce the impacts of UVR being reflected from surrounding surfaces. There are also various Australian Standard protocols to follow regarding clearances playgrounds and car parks, as well as NCC (BCA) and other AS requirements, but a seasoned shade structure supplier will take care of it all for you.

How far apart should posts be for shade sail?

Posts sizes are determined by the size of the sail/s attached to it, what sides they are attached and the height they are attached. When it comes to custom designed shade sails, the shade structure supplier will take care of it all for you.

What type of construction is a shade structure?

The class of a building or structure is determined its purpose. According to the Queensland building standards, a shade cloth structure is considered a Class 10a building, while a metal or fibreglass roof structure is Class 1 building.

What are the two types of shade?

There are many types of shade, but it ultimately it comes down to is the structure a residential, industrial, or commercial waterproof shade structure or not, i.e., pervious roof material (shade cloth) or impervious (metal or fibreglass).

Do shade sail posts need to be angled?

For sure! The angle should be away from the shade sail and installed at a 10-degree angle for steel and a 20-degree angle for timber posts.

How do you stop shade sails from sagging?

Shade sails that are installed by professionals like Versatile Structures should never sag and includes a 10-year warranty on both fabric and stitching. However, the reason they sag is because the tension that is applied at each attachment point is not distributed evenly in the sail, creating areas of concentrated stress around the corners. Using quality hardware, especially corner hardware is the most important source of tension in a sail. And so is prevention. Proactive inspections are the best approach to ensure maximum life and minimal disruption, as they highlight potential issues before they occur that can be actioned proactively to keep costs down before a failure eventuates.


  • 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.