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We were commissioned by a brand new international school being constructed in rural Thailand to provide shade solutions for their planned swimming pool and playground complexes.

Swimming pools

Two swimming pool covering an area of around 36 x 15 metres required shading, the smaller shallow one needing complete shade and the larger pool around 50%. When the outer surrounds were considered the span required across these areas was around 22 metres, inside which needed to be free of obstruction by columns or back-stays.

Our solution involved large sails of around 300 square metres each tensioned to free-standing columns along one side of the pools, and to a planned building on the other, as shown in our design render below.

In the event our engineering work favoured use of columns both sides rather than using the building, shown in the below photograph of the finished product.

Our design proposal included a full set of shade patterns for critical usage times of the day and year. Here is the shade produced by the sails at a specific time and date.

We’ve been working with shade fabrics for over 15 years, and from experience we were confident in specifying Monotec 370 Series HDPE shade cloth from Australia for this project. We appreciate its ability to take and keep tension, and our clients appreciate the long warranties Monotec provide.

These huge sails need to take large loads from wind and rain, and they are built to do just that. Heavy duty stainless steel catenary cables and custom-designed steel corner plates see to that. These forces ae transferred to the supporting columns, and they and their footings need to be properly designed. The steel columns (up to 400 mm diameter) were each attached to four 6-metre driven piles.


The school had ordered new playground equipment and set aside an area for its installation. Our job was to provide shade for it.

The first task was to ensure our design didn’t clash in any way with the playground equipment itself, which required us to work with the suppliers to ensure we understood the precise dimensions and layout.

Again we chose Monotec HDPE shade fabric for this structure, as protection from rain was not required.

Raked steel columns (finished in marine grade epoxy coating from International Paints) are back-stayed with 10 mm diameter 1 x 19 strand marine grade stainless steel cables and connected to appropriately-sized reinforced concrete mass footings.


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