Planning shade solutions
This is not a definitive guide, but an overview of some key steps you should consider and links to other resources which provide more detail on some of these processes.
Keep the big picture in mind when designing any kind of public shade.
- Shade creation is an ongoing activity rather than as a ‘one-off’. Enhance existing facilities where you can. Use temporary built structures while newly planted trees grow to size.
- Use any existing plans, for example master plan, neighbourhood plan or asset management plan. A consistent and planned approach to solar UVR protection will avoid a piecemeal and costly approach to providing protective shade.
- Your strategy should coordinate present needs with potential future initiatives.
Encourage user participation
Participation and involvement of relevant stakeholders should be an essential part of any shade creation project so that it is shaped by the user needs and priorities, not just technical and legal requirements.
Broad involvement in the early planning stages also helps to gain commitment from stakeholders.
Stakeholders can help to promote sun safe community spaces or facilities and to extend your sun safe messages into the community
The key to minimising conflicts is to establish priorities through a structured process of assessing needs.
These priorities then become the basis for all decisions. Broad participation in the planning process can also reinforce the knowledge and practice of sun safe behaviour by stakeholders.
Identify shade needs
Properly defining your shade needs lays the foundation for all later planning for effective UVR protection.
An initial assessment will help you decide the location and design of your shade system by identifying if:
- Current shade areas are adequate for those who use the setting
- Current shade areas encourage sun safe behaviour
- Any new approaches would improve choice and availability.
Resources and tools
- Pre-design planning—assessment templates can help you document the information you are gathering. This is a series of templates that help you define:
- Site data (including an analysis of any observation areas)
- Overall site analysis
- Patterns of use and user profiles
- Assessment of existing shade.
- A shade needs assessment: step-by-step guide helps you evaluate existing shade and assess the need for creating more. A site plan may be helpful when completing this assessment.
- Natural shade checklist provides tips to help you assess your existing vegetation and to plan your future needs
- Built shade materials and structures helps you assess existing built structures and to define your requirements
- Climate and comfort checklist gives you some information on things to consider in each of Queensland’s main climate zones.
Create a site plan
A site plan should clearly show the constraints and design possibilities of the prospective shade site. It should include:
- A north point showing the orientation of open spaces, buildings, storage area, paths, existing trees and other vegetation.
- Height of all features so that extent of shadows can be determined for particular dates and times.
- Location of all services (both above and below ground) such as water, gas and electricity supply, stormwater, sewerage, and telecommunications cables.
- Other environmental features: direction of the prevailing winds, contour lines to indicate slopes, the location of any surrounding buildings or vegetation that have an impact on the site's climate, and ground surface conditions.
- Consideration of whether the climate is too cold or hot for the anticipated activities.
- Potential for damage by flood or other natural disaster.
- Sightlines and views to retain.
- Future expansion plans for the facility.
Resources and tools
- Existing scaled site plans for the site or facility may be available from council.
- Example of an annotated site plan
Write a design brief
Your brief should clearly define:
- Background information about your requirements for effective UVR protection
- The type, quality and extent of shade required
- Your shade creation project aims and outcomes (short and longer term)
- Relationship to other relevant council plans or policies.
It should reference the information you gathered about your existing site in earlier stages:
- The results of any public consultation
- Your assessments of your existing shade and your shade needs
- Site maps and plans.
The final document will be useful when consulting architects, builders, or suppliers.
Resources and tools
- Writing a shade project design brief outlines the topics your brief should cover and what type of information you should provide.
- Design criteria for UVR protection lists factors and desirable qualities that you can try to incorporate into the requirements documented in your design brief.
Consider at least two possible design solutions to the defined shade problem - the best solution will come from considering all elements of the brief.
Use the brief to put your ideas and needs onto paper in the form of preliminary plans. For community groups or private operators, it may be worth engaging an architect to help at this stage.
Properly prepared documents will eventually be needed if building approval is required from council.
Resources and tools
Find guidelines and recommendations to help you when planning shade solutions specifically for public facilities:
- Considerations that are specific to common public facilities - read more about public pools, beaches and parks as well as ways to minimise vandalism.
- Technical guidelines for shade provision in public facilities - detailed recommendations for the provision of shade at all types of public facilities.
Look closely at the break-down of costs, including material and labour costs, consultant's fees.
Consider long-term costs of operation and maintenance to discover the true cost of the shade system.
If the proposal exceeds your budget, consider conducting the project in stages to allow some shade provision while grander plans are being funded.
Alternatively, consider other design options that do not forego the original aims of the project.
Always keep in mind the relation of initial cost to long-term costs such as maintenance and life span.