Measures for assessing the durability of your commercial outdoor canopy before you make the purchase

With a multitude of options available on the market, choosing a structure that provides secure and weatherproof protection which enables businesses to establish sheltered spaces outdoors can be a tough decision. Moreover, setting up these buildings can be a significant investment for businesses.

The emergence of modular outdoor canopies for business applications has offered organisations a superior alternative to constructing traditional buildings which cost businesses a fortune both in terms of time and money, even though the performance of these traditional buildings often do not match up to their more modern and versatile modular counterparts.

However, not all commercial canopies are created equal, some cheaper structures may not meet the desired standards for quality and may cause more problems than results for businesses. Whether sheltered spaces are required for secure raw material storage, workspace extensions, or maintenance bays, choosing a durable canopy is crucial.

As durability is a crucial factor that determines the effectiveness and returns delivered from integrating any commercial outdoor canopy in businesses, we’ll discuss the main factors to consider when assessing their durability along with how Shield Canopy and OPUS meet and exceed these standards.

Features of your chosen commercial outdoor canopy that need to be assessed

Understanding the components and materials used in the fabrication of the structure

Strength of the frame

  • Material of the frame: Shield Canopy and OPUS by McGregor Structures uses the most robust galvanised heavy-duty steel that offers superior strength when compared to other metals such as aluminium. These are robust and offer excellent stability to maintain structural integrity over the long term. Galvanisation also provides them resistance to rust, making them ideal for frequent setup and takedown.
  • Thickness and gauge: Thicker and higher gauge steel provide better durability. Look for commercial canopies that use high-strength in the construction of their frames. The hoops should be resistant to deformation.
  • Joint and connector quality: Pay attention to the joints and connectors. Reinforced joints and high-quality connectors reduce the risk of frame failure under the continued stress from adverse weather conditions.

Roof sheet quality

  • Roof sheet material: Common materials include polyester, vinyl, and canvas. Each has its pros and cons. Polyester is lightweight and water-resistant, vinyl offers superior water and UV protection, and canvas is known for its durability and natural appearance. However, the best weatherproof protection can be obtained by opting for a commercial outdoor canopy that delivers the best of both worlds with PVC-coated fabric roof sheets.
  • Denier rating: This measures the thickness of the fabric fibres. Higher denier ratings typically indicate stronger, more durable fabric. For commercial canopies, a denier rating of at least 500 is recommended. McGregor Structures that include Shield Canopy, OPUS, and Agri Span use 600GSM PVC roof sheets.
  • Coatings: Look for fabrics that are coated with materials for UV resistance and water repellency. These treatments extend the fabric’s lifespan and enhance its performance in various weather conditions. PVC-coated fabric is used in most high-quality modular commercial canopies that are built for the outdoors.

Evaluating the weather resistance of the structure

Wind resistance

  • Wind rating: Wind can be a significant threat to the stability of a canopy; therefore, look for canopies tested to withstand wind speeds of at least 30 mph. For businesses operating in areas with extreme winds, checking the Beaufort rating of your canopy is crucial. The Beaufort scale quantifies wind force, ranging from 0 (calm) to 12 (hurricane-force winds). It is important to look for a structure with a Beaufort rating of at least 9. McGregor Structures are rated to a Beaufort rating of 10 and 12 in the case of OPUS Midi structures. These ratings ensure that your canopy won’t succumb to fierce winds that could otherwise cause significant damage.
  • Anchoring systems: Effective anchoring systems, including stakes, weights, and guy lines, are crucial for maintaining stability in windy conditions. In the case of Agri Span, the modular livestock houses use 1.6m ground screws to anchor the structure. With Shield Canopy, the superior fastening/clamping to the shipping container base requires no additional anchoring systems. Similarly, OPUS uses a concrete-bolted base frame to securely fix the structure to its interlocking Legato block base.

Water resistance

  • Waterproof rating: The roof sheets of outdoor canopies should have a waterproof rating, often measured in millimetres. A rating of 1000mm or higher is generally suitable for commercial use. In addition to water resistance, commercial modular canopies by McGregor Structures are rated to withstand snow loadings of 600N/M² – 900N/M².
  • Seam sealing: This sealing ensures seams are sealed or taped to prevent water from seeping through stitch holes. McGregor takes an innovative approach to weatherproofing and efficient drainage to offer optimal protection from the elements.

UV protection

UV rays can degrade materials over time and pose a health risk to those working underneath the canopy daily. Check for an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. A UPF of 50+ provides excellent protection, blocking over 98% of UV radiation.

Figuring out the setup and portability

Speed and ease of deployment

The speed at which commercial outdoor canopies can be set up is their main advantage over traditional buildings. Choosing a provider who can promptly ship the structure to you and the ease of installation will save time and money during the set-up. McGregor Structures are held in stock, and ready to be shipped. Moreover, they can be deployed in as little as 48-72 hours by a small team without the need for specialist skills or equipment.

Ease of disassembly, portability, and reassembly

Commercial canopies that are welded onto their bases can be difficult to disassemble and relocate, often damaging the base or the canopy during the disassembly. McGregor Structures can be easily stripped down to their basic components without damage and by a small team for easy relocation and reassembly.

Maintenance requirements

Consider the maintenance demands of your chosen commercial outdoor canopy. While paint or other treatments can delay rusting in cheaper structures, they often require frequent upkeep. Opting for a canopy with minimal maintenance needs ensures hassle-free ownership and consistent protection. Opting for a top-tier canopy from a reliable provider ensures that the maintenance requirements and costs will be kept to a bare minimum.

Reputation and expertise of the provider

History and experience: Providers with a long history, solid track record and decades of experience in manufacturing commercial canopies are typically more reliable than lesser-known brands that may offer commercial canopies on the market for cheaper prices. Their level of expertise ensures that your investment will pay off in the long run. McGregor Structures, with 45 years of experience, has mastered the manufacturing of industry-leading modular structures that excel in a wide range of business applications.

Country of origin: It is recommended to choose a reputable domestic provider so that they can be more responsive and offer better support. Choosing a UK-made commercial outdoor canopy will in most cases guarantee better performance levels and long-lasting results than low-cost alternatives from abroad. McGregor Structures manufactures top-of-the-line container canopies, supremely weatherproof material storage bays, and high-welfare livestock housing to the highest production standards using the best quality raw materials in two dedicated production facilities in Hampshire, UK. 

Industry recognition and certifications: Certifications for innovation and engineering as well as recognition in industry associations can indicate a reliable commitment to quality. Engineering and innovation are at the heart of product design at McGregor Structures—being bestowed the highest certifications for engineering and design multiple times.

User reviews and testimonials

Look for reviews on multiple platforms, including the manufacturer’s website, third-party retailers, and independent review sites if ratings are available on the structure you plan to deploy. Pay attention to any recurring issues mentioned in reviews, such as frame weaknesses, fabric tearing, or difficulties with setup. Speak to a specialist in the field of modular shelters for businesses for valuable guidance and insights on making your choice based on your requirements.

Work with a specialist provide

Work with a specialist provider of modular structures with decades of experience catering to commercial shelter requirements across the UK and around the world

Call or request a callback from the McGregor team and explore the best commercial outdoor canopy for the specific requirements of your business. With a solid track record for delivering exceptional performance and unwavering quality, our team of specialists can guide you through the process of selecting the right structure for you.