We’ve Got You Covered: Trends in Service Station Canopy Design
Benefits and considerations when installing a service station canopy.
When building a gas station, many owners debate whether or not they should include a canopy as part of the design. Yes, a canopy will add to the construction costs; but it is important to weigh the costs against the considerable benefits.
Benefit 1: Protection from the elements
The first benefit is obvious: the main purpose of a weather canopy is to protect your customers from rain, snow, sleet and sun when they are filling up. If it’s pouring outside and your customer has the choice of a gas station with a canopy next to one without, which do you think he or she will choose?
Benefit 2: Customer security and safety
Poorly lit gas stations can scare away customers at night. Canopies are ideally designed to provide ample lighting to create a safe, secure and welcoming environment. This is important, as “safety” consistently ranks among the top reasons customers consider when choosing a gas station.
Benefit 3: Super sized advertising and awareness
Time and time again, our major gas station clients confide their canopies are their best and most effective form of advertising… ahead of even Main Identification (MID) signage.
No wonder. The average canopy stands at a height of 4.5 m, with direct site lines to passing traffic on multiple sides. The long, wraparound design is visible from great distances and from multiple angles. They are made of bright colours and are backlit to serve as impossible to ignore beacons at night.
If you don’t have a canopy, your station is that much harder for passing motorists to see. Or by the time they do see your sign it’s too late.
Okay, now you’ve seen the advantages to installing a canopy. At this point, CTM can work with you to make your canopy a reality. There are several factors we need to consider as we move forward.
- Lighting: We want to take advantage of the canopy’s structure to maximize lighting so your customers can see what they’re doing, while feeling safe and secure. Nearly all of the major gas stations are making the switch to new overhead LED lighting systems that use 80% less energy and last up to 20 times longer than High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting. Ever notice that the canopies of every major gas station feature white pillars and ceilings? This is done to better reflect the lighting for improved visibility (and provide a brighter, cleaner look).
- Engineering: Your canopy will need to be engineered to withstand wind and snow loads and factor in rainwater collection and drainage. CTM engineers will also advise you on the appropriate foundation, based on your site’s soil structure. Typically piles or footings are used.
- Permits and approvals: Service station canopies are treated as freestanding structures, and are regarded like buildings by most municipalities. You will require development approvals for setbacks and proximity to other structures and property lines. The municipal transportation department will have regulations around stacking and traffic flow. CTM helps you stay on top of all requirements.
- Coverage and height: CTM will design your canopy with sufficient overhang to protect customers no matter which pump they are using. If your pump area includes access lanes between pumps it will increase the area you need to cover. As a rule, you need to ensure a tanker truck can fit under your canopy as they may need to drive under a portion of the canopy to access your fuel tanks.
- Signage placement: Based on the location of your canopy and the sight lines to passing motorists, CTM will recommend the optimal logo positioning to ensure maximum visibility.
The decision whether or not to install a canopy is entirely up to you. We do believe that canopies not only help protect your customers, but can protect your investment by providing safety, security and a can’t miss marquis to attract traffic on even the darkest, dreariest night.