Policy last updated
4 October 2021
The department has opened a grants program to fund new shade sails over outdoor learning spaces. For information regarding this program, including how to apply, refer to School Shade Sails .
This policy sets the requirements for schools to construct and manage shade sails.
- Built shade structures must be constructed in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Building Quality Standards Handbook .
- Schools do not require a planning permit to construct shade sails.
- Schools must visually check shade sail support structures at least once every 3 months. A registered structural engineer must undertake structural inspections every 3 years.
- Shade sails are not allocated in the School Facility Schedules and do not attract Student Resource Package funding. Schools may use their global maintenance budget to maintain shade sails.
- Shade sails must be recorded in the Victorian School Building Authority’s asset register as non-cleanable facilities and surplus to a school’s area allocation.
- This policy falls within the 'Build' stage of the School Asset Lifecycle.
Shade is one of the most effective sun protection strategies schools can use to protect students and staff from overexposure to UV. The department’s Sun and UV Protection Policy requires school councils to ensure that there are sufficient shelters and trees to adequately shade the school grounds.
Shade sails must be constructed in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Building Quality and Standards Handbook.
Schools do not require planning permits to construct shade sails. However, the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) recommends that schools consult with local councils and other relevant bodies where appropriate to minimise the impact on any heritage overlays.
Schools seeking to construct built shade structures must obtain approval for the work and a copy of the certified structural computations from a structural engineer.
Shade sails must be recorded in the VSBA’s asset register as non-cleanable facilities and surplus to a school’s area allocation in line with the School asset drawing changes checklist .
To ensure shade sails remain safe and functional, schools must visually check shade sail support structures at least once every 3 months. A registered structural engineer must further investigate any visual signs of distress, wear or tear.
Schools must engage a registered structural engineer to undertake structural inspections every 3 years to assess the safety of the support structure.
Shade sails fall outside school area allocation and do not attract Student Resource Package funding. Schools are responsible for ongoing maintenance and audit costs, and may use their global maintenance budget for this.
Schools, after considering their history of security incidents, may take down shade sails during holidays.
School Facility Schedules
The School Facility Schedules indicate the spaces required for a school to deliver its curriculum for a certain number of students.
The Schedules are tables that set out the number and type of learning spaces and/or square metres of space that are required for a school of a certain size and type – for example, primary, secondary, special and special developmental. For more information, refer to the department's Capacity and Area Allocation Advice.
For information about grants available for the installation of shade sails, contact:
School Grants Unit
For general questions about this policy, contact:
Victorian School Building Authority
1800 896 950
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.
- Asset Drawing Changes — Shade sails must be recorded in the VSBA’s asset register as non-cleanable facilities and surplus to a school’s area allocation in line with this checklist.
- Building Quality Standards — sets the minimum quality criteria for all Department of Education and Training (DET) capital projects, including new construction, refurbishment and maintenance works. Shade sails must be constructed in accordance with the requirements outlined in this handbook.
Reviewed 26 March 2020