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How long does it take to install a shade sail?

Once of the first questions we get asked when clients are looking to move ahead with a project is, how long will it take to install my shade sail?

The short answer is that from the day you sign, through to the day you get to use your new space, you should allow approximately 8-10 weeks.

In this article we outline what happens in these 8-10 weeks, and what factors can impact these timeframes.

1. Sign the Contract

The first thing you’ll do once you’ve chosen your contractor is sign on the dotted line so your project can get underway! In this stage you will agree on contract terms and finalise the selection of colours (both steel coating and fabric colours), as well as discuss timeframes for completion and when installation will work best for you.

Typical time taken: 1 week.

2. Architectural Drawings

The next stage is architectural drawings. These drawings will be created by your contractor to give you a graphical representation of the scope of works that you have agreed to in the contract, and will be sent to you for approval. Architectural drawings include detailed set out dimensions, structure dimensions, and elevations/heights. 

Typical time taken: 1 week.

3. Engineering design

An engineer analyses the design to find the correct post sizing and connection details. Greenline uses a third-party engineer, so you can have peace of mind that it is structurally sound and suited to your site conditions. 

Typical time taken: 1 week.

4. External approvals (if necessary)

Depending on where your project is located, and the type of project it is, this stage may or may not apply. The most common permits needed are:

  • NSW: a construction certificate
  • VIC: a building permit
  • ACT: building approval

You can look after these approvals yourself, or you may have this as part of your scope of works in the contract.

Typical time taken: 1-1.5 weeks.

5. Metal fabrication 

In this phase, your physical project gets underway! Metal fabrication refers to taking the raw lengths of steel and processing it to create your shade sail posts. 

Typical time taken: 1 week.

6. Surface Coating:

The next stage is the surface coating of your steelwork which protects it from corrosion. There are a few options for this including hot dip galvanising, power coating, and two pack paint.

Typical time taken: 1 week

7. Foundations and post installation

Your shade sail is taking shape! The area will be fenced off while foundations are excavated, the posts are placed, and concrete is poured. The concrete will take around two weeks to cure (set). 

Expected time taken: 1-2 days onsite 

8. Sail manufacture

Once your posts have been installed, the exact measurements from post to post are taken and your sail is patterned and manufactured to fit.

Expected time taken: this will happen during the 2 weeks that the concrete is curing.

9. Sail install

The final step is the installation of your fabric sail. The sail is brought onsite and tensioned in place.

Expected time taken: 1-2 days onsite

Here are some of the most common factors that can impact your project timeline:

  • Supply Shortages – some materials or labour may take longer to procure than expected. This can impact both the fabrication and installation stages.
  • Inclement weather – unfortunately windy or rainy weather will stop shade sails being installed. Typically, this would only move the install dates by a few days.
  • Contaminated soil – when contractors come onsite to dig the foundations, contaminated soil can extend this process, and typically has additional costs associated with disposal.
  • Specific requests for installation dates – if you request a particular time (for example a weekend or holiday period) this will most likely increase the timeline of your project as they are often popular times to choose for install.

The prefabricated approach is the most effective way to reduce the time the contractor spends onsite. By minimising time on site, we also minimise the disruption to your space. You can be assured that even when you choose an install date during relatively high use time, you will only lose access to it for around 4 days (2 for post install, and 2 for sail install).