Depending on your location, playground shade installation may require a building permit. Here’s why.

Permanent, in-ground shade structures larger than 10’x10′ must be building code compliant in some states. This is often due to environmental factors including seismic activity, high wind speeds, and drought conditions. Due to extreme drought conditions, the state of California, for instance, requires shade fabric to be pre-approved by the State Fire Marshal prior to installation. In addition, installation of shade structures larger than 10’X10’ must be performed by a licensed contractor.

Another example lies in the state of Florida, where wind load requirements are among the strictest in the nation to protect against high velocity hurricane winds. To ensure compliance with Florida building codes, impact tests conducted on building materials, including playground shade, are measured and tested through three separate testing application standards.

Permitting authorities verify planning, fire and safety codes by assessing the proposed playground shade’s proximity to property lines, easements, and other existing structures. Height and square footage and occupancy classification are also examined to ensure compliance. Design specifications for shade structures and footings must also be building code compliant. Similar to other construction, final inspection is required prior to use or issuance of occupancy permits.

When installing shades for playgrounds, additional factors come into play, such as the importance of protecting children’s skin from overexposure to the sun. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Public Playground Safety Handbook recommends providing playground shade “for bare metal slides or to use other materials that may reduce the surface temperature such as plastic or coated metal.” The handbook recommends incorporating shaded spaces into the design of play structures, installing man-made shade structures and/or utilizing existing natural means of playground shade to significantly reduce the risk of sunburn in children.

Installing a commercial playground shade or metal shelter can be a difficult task, requiring knowledge of construction principals and engineering, and in many cases, the use of heavy machinery. Additionally, almost every shade structure or shelter requires both permitting and engineering to make sure that it is safe and building code compliant. Our shade structures are made of the highest quality materials and workmanship, capable of standing up to heavy wind loads, UV and more. We offer all-hip steel shelters, custom sail shades, hexagon shade structures and more for all your recreational needs.