Frequently asked questions

Please find below answers to questions that are commonly asked. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for please get in touch and we’ll do our best to give you helpful guidance.

How long will my canopy last? Does it come with any warranty?

Our steel canopies have a frame warranty of 25 years.

Our glulaminated timber canopies have a frame warranty of 25 years.

Opal 60 and Ferrari roofing fabric have a warranty of 10 years.

Polycarbonate roofing has a warranty of 15 years.

All warranty information, as supplied in your proposal, will also be supplied with your Operations and Maintenance manual at the handover stage of your project. It is important you follow the steps included within the manual to ensure correct maintenance of your structure, allowing you many years of protection as designed.

Steel frame finish options

Fordingbridge steel canopies are finished with powder coating or galvanising to ensure longevity of the structure and to give great visual appearance. Each finish prevents corrosion of the steel structure and ensures that your canopy maintains its structural integrity and visual appearance for years to come.


Hot dip galvanizing is a well-established and highly effective anti-corrosion treatment for steel. The process is inherently simple where coatings are metallurgically bonded to the base steel, forming an impervious barrier between the substrate and the corrosive environment

The process conforms to BS EN ISO 1461:2009, which requires the zinc coating to be an average of 85µ thick on steel components above 6mm thick.

Polyester Powder Coating (PPC)

Powder coating is the process which gives colour to a steel structure. The finish not only protects against corrosion; it also provides colour to match or stand out from existing finishes on project sites. The steel is thoroughly cleaned to remove any grime followed by the application of a hot metal spray. The steel is then powder coated using an electrostatic charge and heated in an oven to harden and complete the process. Hot metal spraying acts to prevent corrosion and is the longest lasting method available, after galvanising. There are other, cheaper processes on the market however these are of a lower quality and mean that rusting is more likely to occur in a much shorter timescale

Our specification is: shot blasted SA2.5; Thermal zinc sprayed min DFT 60µ; PPC minimum DFT80µ. This finish comes with a 10 year guarantee.

Colour options

The range of colours available can be found on our RAL colour chart. Please note, the chart on your screen or print out can only act as an indication due to colour rendering variance. Our sales team have RAL colour charts which they will bring to your site visit to show you the true colour or colour match with existing finishes. Please note that certain colours are subject to surcharges.

Please click here to view the chart (PDF)

Why do you use steel for your construction?

Steel is a very strong, efficient and durable material. Part of our service to you is to provide you with the best engineered and most attractive canopies to make the most of your environment. The way we design our steel structures allows for larger spans than many of our competitors. This means that your space is uninterrupted by intermediate posts making it much more flexible and easy to use. In addition to these factors, Fordingbridge benefit from having all our steel frames manufactured in our own factory. This makes for a seamless transfer of information from our drawing office to manufacture, meaning you get exactly what you require.

Steel is available in a galvanised finished or can be polyester powder coated to a colour of your choice.

What is Opal Fabric?

Opal has been developed exclusively for Fordingbridge in response to customer requests for a UV stable fire retardant canopy fabric. It is available in two versions: Opal 60 and Opal 20.

Opal 60 is ideal for areas where higher light levels are required as it lets through 60% of natural light. Opal 20 is ideal where a greater element of shading is required, such as for hardware sales and utility areas, and lets through 20% of natural light.

Both Opal fabrics are simple to maintain, have high tear strength, are UV protective and have good resistance to UV degradation. Our Opal fabrics are covered by a 10 year guarantee.

Technical data sheet PDFs are available on our Downloads page.

What is Polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate is an attractive, durable and easy to install roof covering for our canopies. We use 16mm triple walled polycarbonate which is designed for extreme weather conditions and lets through 32% of natural light.

Polycarbonate is more resilient than Opal fabric. Our polycarbonate clad canopies conform fully to Building Regulations and are Class B non-fragility tested. Our polycarbonate cladding is covered by a 15 year guarantee.

Technical data sheet PDFs are available on our Downloads page.

Are people under the canopy protected from the sun’s UV rays?

Opal fabric fully cuts out harmful UV A and UV B rays. This means that our canopies fully comply with OFSTED requirements and are ideal for outdoor spaces from early years to beyond.

Will it be dark under the canopy?

Our Opal 60 fabric lets through 60% of natural daylight and polycarbonate lets through 32% of natural daylight. This means that the space under your canopy will be light and bright. If you have a problem of overheating in classrooms caused by sunlight on glass, canopies adjoining these spaces can act to reduce heat gain in these spaces whilst still letting through plenty of natural daylight.

Can I use the canopy all year round?

A Fordingbridge canopy will protect you whatever the weather. Our durable roofing options are fully waterproof and flashings over doorways can be included with your canopy to ensure that there are no gaps between your building and your canopy. Our structures are permanent and durable meaning that whatever the weather, they will protect you from the elements and will maintain their structural integrity.

How quickly after I have placed my order can I have my canopy installed?

Once you have ordered your canopy, our drawing team will draw and issue final construction drawings for your approval. This process usually takes two weeks. The lead-in times for your canopy install start once we receive approval of the drawings we send to you.

Steel canopies have a lead-in time of 4-6 weeks.

Timber canopies have a lead-in time of 6-8 weeks.

Please note that these timescales are indicative and can be longer for installations during school holidays – if you are working to a particular deadline, call us to discuss your individual requirements.

How long will it take to install my canopy?

Dependent upon size, our pre-engineered kit-of-parts canopies take as little as one day to install, excluding groundworks.

How long will your quote take?

From initial enquiry, we endeavour to call you back within three working days and have a quotation to you within one week. Please note that these timescales are indicative – if you are working to a particular deadline, we will endeavour to meet your individual requirements.

How much will my canopy cost?

All of our canopies are designed to suit your specific requirements. Contact us now to get your free quote.

Can we pay in instalments or do you offer financial assistance?

Fordingbridge do not charge any part of your project cost before your project is completed.

If you require financial assistance to procure your canopy, Fordingbridge are happy to advise you of possible project partners who are able to do this. Call us on 01243 554455 to discuss options available.

Are you able to send me brochures or materials samples?

All of our brochures and technical information is available from the downloads section of our website. Please call us on 01243 554455 or fill out our enquiry form if you would like any of these or our materials samples sent to you.

Would you make a presentation to the project stakeholders?

Fordingbridge are happy to present our proposals to your school and project stakeholders, be these school Governors, pupils, community groups, PTAs or other funding bodies.

Can you do an artist impression for me?

Your satisfaction with your Fordingbridge experience is paramount to our success. To enable you to visualise our proposal for your project and if you are presenting our proposals to your colleagues, we can offer you a free artists impression of your canopy. If we are unable to produce a visualisation in the timescale required, we will provide a selection of images of similar canopies which will help you and others visualise our proposal.

Can I view some local installations before I order?

Fordingbridge structures cover the country. View the location box on our homepage search installations local to you.

Do I need planning permission?

Planning regulations vary across the country, however as a guide, all canopies (not just ours) that will stay up for more than 28 days will require planning permission. Ultimately the decision lies with your local planning authority, and we can make an enquiry on your behalf if you wish. Pre-planning advice can also be sought from a ‘Self Help Surveyor’ at your Local Authority to discuss things further.

If your project does require permission, Fordingbridge are pleased to offer a full planning application service to you, at cost. Planning can take up to 12 weeks to gain approval so do ensure that you leave plenty of time before you want your canopy installed, to investigate this requirement and make an application if necessary.

Alternatively if you would like to handle the planning application yourself, we can supply a drawing of the proposed canopy together with a site plan and block plan to go with your application.

What are Building Regulations, do they affect me and will your canopy comply?

Building Regulations are standards set by Local Authorities to which new buildings and construction works have to conform. Regulations are referred to by terms such as ‘BS 5438:1989’ and are regularly updated. All of our canopies and buildings conform to or exceed current legislation, meaning that you can be confident of the quality of your project.

Note that canopies of less than 30 square metres do not normally require Buildings Regulations approval.

Can you build during term time?

Fordingbridge take pride in pioneering a ‘kit of parts’ construction method. This allows fast and tidy installation on site and minimal disruption to the everyday workings of your site. In this respect, whilst many schools prefer work to take place outside of term-time, we are able to work in term-time and at weekends, whatever the time of year. All of our installers are DBS checked and our in-house health and safety management coordinates our works with your site to ensure safety and customer satisfaction are our top priority.

Are your site teams DBS checked?

Fordingbridge place the safety and wellbeing of our customers at the centre of our work. To ensure complete customer satisfaction, all of our team are DBS (previously CRB) checked.

Can we install our canopy ourselves?

The installation of our canopies is a specialist task. Fordingbridge will install your canopy for you, to ensure that the installation is fully compliant with its design and health and safety requirements and to ensure the safety and security of your site. Installation is included in all quotations.

Do you carry out ground-works?

We are happy to carry out the groundworks for your canopy, making the project fully turnkey, giving you peace of mind that everything is under control.

If a separate contractor is appointed to carry out the groundworks, we will design foundations to suit the structural requirements of our canopy and will provide a ground plan for the setting out of the foundations.

How is the maintenance of a structure handled?

Fordingbridge design and build all products to an exacting, pre-engineered high quality. In line with periodic maintenance as per your Operations and Maintenance manual, a warranty will cover every element of your canopy or building for a substantial period of time. If you wish to replace any part of your canopy, we are happy to update elements such as roof coverings at any point. Equally, if your canopy is subject to damage, just contact us and we will happily come and inspect the damage and rectify it accordingly.

Do you offer a maintenance service?

Fordingbridge design every element of your canopy to be as efficient and low maintenance as possible. We will provide all of our customers with an Operations and Maintenance manual which will outline the maintenance required.

Can we extend our canopy in years to come?

Fordingbridge canopies are constructed such that they can be extended, although it is useful if we are aware of future plans at the design stage. This is ideal if you don’t have the finances for a larger canopy at one time. An example is available to view here.

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