What And How Can Canopies Be Used?

Canopies or roof covers are often important design elements that people want to include in their new commercial or industrial buildings. Our team is often asked questions about the pros and cons of different canopies.

Below is a discussion of the various types of canopies available and how to use them for your building. We have broken down the types of canopies into groups to make it easier for you. 

We will also discuss the design limitations and benefits of each type as well as the relationship between cost per Meter square and the building meter square.

Cantilever Canopies

A cantilevered canopy is able to extend beyond the side of a building and does not require support columns from the outside. Check out the following examples:

There are several ways to do this. You can continue the roofline at the same angle. This is cheaper because you don’t need to flash as much or add guttering. This design is especially suitable if you need weather protection for the openings. The building’s knee height is approximately 5-7m.

This design is best for canopy lengths between 3-7m. Although you can get longer lengths, it is usually more economical to adjust the angle of the canopy so that it goes up. See the image below.

Cantilevered Canopy Benefits 

  • These canopies offer a few benefits:
  • The brace at its top reduces the beam size. This makes canopies larger (10m+) and more economical.
  • Clearance is not an issue as they are inclined upwards.

These canopies require an inner gutter at the back. It is more costly than standard external guttering. They are often designed with purlins above the steel to provide a space for guttering. This can be a good option for birds as it creates nesting areas. This can be fixed by using other joint designs or lining the canopy.


This type of canopy can be used in the following situations:

  • The canopy must be between 8 and 12m in length to provide sufficient cover.
  • The doors are higher than the building. You want weather protection around doors that are frequently open. The doors are only 6.0m tall, but the building is 10m high. The canopy cannot be extended beyond the roof height as it won’t cover the doors enough. A canopy with a clearance of 6.0m is the best option to provide maximum coverage without compromising clearance.
  • For loading, you will need some cover. These canopies are easy to pull under or out of because there aren’t any external columns. This also means that there’s nothing for forklifts. These canopies usually don’t extend beyond 10m and only protect one side of the truck. A wider canopy with support columns might be better in this instance.

Canopies With Supporting Colons

Commercial canopy this type of canopy is ideal when the span must be more than 10m or 12m. It is much more economical to use a column than a large cantilever. Sometimes, it was cheaper to build a canopy 15m wide with a column than a canopy 10m wide with a cantilevered canopy. This also allows for a 50% increase in the area covered.

Canopies that have supporting columns can be used to cover unloading/loading areas or for ‘breezeway’ purposes. A loading area should be at least 12m x 15m in width to allow for the maneuverability of forklifts. Freight companies often choose to have loading areas 18m or more wide in order to minimize damage or loss of efficiency due to congestion.

You should also consider whether storage will be needed in the canopy, either temporary or permanent. Although a canopy 15m in length may seem spacious, if the product has been unloaded from trucks and placed in the canopy before it is moved into the warehouse, it can become very cramped.

If multiple trucks are being loaded simultaneously, it is worth thinking about how vehicles will move within the canopy. Clear openings may be required on the sides of the canopy to allow trucks to pull out from the side when another vehicle is being loaded. For an example, see our ATL Haulage case studies.

Alter Considerations During Incorporating A Canopy:

Water Management

Wind-blown rain and the drips of wet trucks can cause water to build up in canopy roofs. A hardstand is usually used to support a canopy that can be lowered. This allows water to drain from the structure and into the yard.

The sidewall can make canopy construction a bit more difficult. Some people like to lower the canopy to the center sumps. Sometimes it is better to slope the canopy to an exterior wall with a channel drain or strip drain to drain water. To meet the regulations for devan containers, it is important to consider the location and the nature of drains.


A canopy built without walls can usually be constructed up to 3.0m from an imaginary boundary without the need for a firewall. This is why some buildings have a canopy that stops short of the columns outside. The columns are near the boundary, but the canopy roof is 3.0m away.

Every project is unique and has its own dimensions and requirements. 

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