An Informative Guide to DSA Shade Structures

As children play on playgrounds and swings, it is important that they are shaded from the sun especially if they spend hours playing during the day. According to Stanford Children’s Health, overexposure to the sun before the age of 18 is the most damaging to the skin. Therefore, to protect kids from the sun, one solution is to incorporate a fabric shade topper to a playground unit. Another solution is to add a larger, free-standing commercial shade structure. However, if you are looking to add shade to your public school, then the outdoor shade structure must be DSA-approved.

What is DSA?

DSA Shade Structures
DSA Sail Shades add decorative appeal to any college campus!

DSA stands for the Division of the State Architect. Through its four regional offices in California, the DSA provides design and construction oversight for elementary schools, community colleges, and other public state-owned and state-leased establishments. This is to ensure that any new construction complies with all structural, accessibility, and fire and life safety codes. As an earthquake-prone state like California, it is necessary that buildings are structurally engineered to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters.

While playgrounds are not required to be reviewed by the DSA prior to installation, shade structures must be DSA-approved as it is classified as “school buildings”.

Structures that are classified as “school buildings” include:

      • Facilities or structures used for instructional purposes or intended to be entered by pupils or teachers for school purposes.
      • Dwellings for pupils or teachers on the school site.
      • Any structure, utility system or facility necessary to the complete functioning of the school.
      • Any structure on school grounds that could endanger pupils or teachers if it were to collapse.

For more information, visit the Division of the State Architect website here.

Types of DSA Shade Structures

dugout cantilever
Consider cantilever shades for bleacher seating!

The standard, pre-approved DSA shade structures include sizes of 20′ x 15′, 30′ x 25′, 40′ x 20′, and more. The entry heights of the shades can vary from 8′, 10′ and 12′ depending on the area it will cover. Examples of the types of DSA shade structures are:

      • Outdoor eating area shades and shelters
      • Bleachers and dugout shades
      • Parking covers and canopies
      • Walkway shade covers
      • Playground area shades
      • Shades for multi-purpose facilities

The process of DSA certifying shade structures can be lengthy with multiple requirements and reviews from electronic document submittal to project inspection and testing. Depending on the city, in cases of extreme seismic, wind, or snow loads, a custom structure can be engineered to meet the DSA’s requirements.

commercial shade structure
Provide shade coverage for outdoor picnic tables!

Have a Need for DSA Shade Structures?

If you have a private organization, then most likely you would not need a DSA certified shade and thus, you could choose one of our standard shades for a shade solution. However, if you have a public school or a community college, then the experts at Zoom Recreation are here to help you with your DSA shade structures needs. Call us today at 866-234-3392 or fill out a contact form. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for our latest posts!

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