As a contractor or facilities manager, you will be aware of the plethora of choice when it comes to external canopies suitable for schools and public buildings. Whilst at first glance most look to be equal in terms of price, composition and functionality, there is one feature that has recently been brought to our attention by design managers as setting some apart from the rest: an integral gutter system.
By an integral gutter, we mean that the rain water collection system is part of the canopy frame itself rather than being an add-on to the outside of the canopy in the form of plastic gutters and down pipes.
The first thing to point out is that any canopy with an integral gutter is typically made from aluminium rather than steel. This means the inherent strength of the canopy will never be affected by contact with water which an integral gutter by necessity involves.
The first difference noted is the improved aesthetics. Surface mounted gutters and downpipes on canopies have never looked pretty. Colours fade and gutters particularly tend to twist and warp. Multiple fixing brackets look unsightly. By contrast, a canopy with an integral gutter collects rain water inside the front canopy frame. A plastic downpipe is hidden inside the front posts and can either be connected to existing sub-terrain drainage or exits the post just above ground level. This creates a clean, sleek look which compliments any building design whether modern or traditional.
The other major difference is the fact that an integral gutter reduces ongoing maintenance and the risk of damage. Particularly in schools, canopies with surface mounted gutters are prone to damage from ball games and exposure to the elements whereas an integral gutter is shielded within its own aluminium frame. Bracket fixings on surface mounted gutter penetrate any powder coat finish leaving the structure even more vulnerable to rusting. For contractors, this means fewer snags and defects and for schools facilities managers fewer leaks, fewer repairs and a canopy that is still looking like new in 10, 15, or even 20 years’ time…
To find out what other advantages aluminium canopies for schools hold over against conventional steel framed canopies, download our guide to the WeatherSpan canopy range and view case studies of other contractors and schools that have benefited from installing a WeatherSpan canopy.