Solar shading, brise soleil & privacy screens

Aluminium solar shading solutions, also known as brise soleil, are at the forefront of eco-friendly and efficient architectural designs, offering both practical benefits and architectural appeal. Using aluminium solar shades is an excellent way to reduce solar gain whilst keeping maintenance to a minimum. Additionally, they are cost effective with research showing a well-designed solar shading system should pay for itself through the energy costs saved within 5 years. 

Whether you’re looking to reduce solar heat gain or enhance the aesthetics of your project, our aluminum solar shading and brise soleil systems provide the perfect blend of functionality and style. You can explore our solar shading systems range below.

Design & Specification Service


Upon receiving project drawings, Dales assigns a dedicated Project Manager to oversee each project. Project managers act as a single point of contact throughout the project’s life, from its initial design to completion. Together with the specifier, project managers establish relevant criteria, such as support methods, material requirements and budget. Additionally, the Project Manager prepares CAD drawings, calculations, NBS Specifications and quotations. Overall, this provides a complete specification service. To further discuss your project’s requirements, you can contact our Project Management Team on Tel: 0115 930 1521.


Dales prioritises client confidence and assurance. Accordingly, we hold full Design/Professional Indemnity Insurance with a first-class security in the London market, which means architects and specifiers can use our products with confidence.


Since 1993, Dales Fabrications has worked within the constraints of BS EN ISO 9001 accreditation. Click here to view our ISO 9001: Design & Manufacture certificate. 

Solar Shades, Building Regs & Fire Safety

Solar Gain & Building Regulations Part L

Building Regulations L1A and L2A (2013 Editions) both require minimising of solar gain in any new residential or commercial building. This is so that the mechanical cooling necessary in summer is either minimised, or eliminated and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.

Dales can assist specifiers at an early stage by conducting  solar gain calculations to establish whether solar shades will be necessary for the building to comply with  Part L requirements. As part of this, Dales offers advise on the size of the necessary projection and different methods of support available for the different shading types. Additionally, Dales offers CPD seminars (RIBA CPD Approved Material), which cover the subjects of solar gain and compliance with the present regulations. Book your seminar here.

New Part L regulations are due, but the process of consultation was only concluded in February 2020. Therefore, it will likely be some time before the new regulations take effect. Dales contributed to the consultation arguing that the new regulations must consider whether solar-shading systems should be compulsory. This is particularly crucial for homes, both new and refurbished, to combat over-heating that results from increased insulation.

NICE has issued guidance on the incidence of health issues which arise because of the poor air quality in housing due to poor ventilation and overheating. The NICE guidance instructs Architects, Designers & Developers to “Adopt a whole-building approach to heating and ventilation, balancing indoor air quality with standards for energy use”.

Solar Shades & Building Regulations Part B: Fire Safety

Following amendments to the Building Regulations Part B: Fire Safety in buildings introduced in December 2018, brise- soleil or solar shades, like balconies, are now defined under Regulation 2 (Interpretations) as Specified Attachments to walls. Accordingly,  they must be either non-combustible A1 or A2 s1, d0 on buildings over 18m high (Reaction to Fire Classification EN BS 13501-1: 2018).

For your peace of mind, Dales manufactures aluminium solar shades which are aluminium and either:
• Anodised and A1: (Reaction to Fire Classification EN BS 13501-1: 2018)
• PPC and A2 s1, d0: (Reaction to Fire Classification EN BS 13501-1: 2018)

Furthermore, the government signalled its intention to further reduce the height of 18m on relevant building to 11m with consultation which finished on 12 April 2020.

The Return on Investment in External Solar Shades

The Building Research Establishment suggests that the install of external solar shading systems is one of the most cost effective and least adverse methods of reducing solar gain, and therefore, emissions of carbon dioxide during building use**.

Using aluminium solar shades is an excellent way to reduce solar gain whilst keeping maintenance to a minimum. Further, research shows that a well-designed solar shading system should pay for itself through the energy costs saved within 5 years***.

With the new timber effect finishes now available from Dales, it is possible to achieve the appearance of timber without the fire-risk or risk of the algae, warp, deviation and regular turning traditionally associated with timber blades.

Useful links:

*NICE Guidance NG 149: Indoor air quality at home: 8 Jan 2020 Full report available here

** BRE Trust Report FB9: ‘Summertime solar performance of windows with shading devices’ – P J Littlefair

*** Comfort without air conditioning in Refurbished Offices’– BRE Case study (BRECSU-2000)




Fire: Aluminium & Finishes

Dales Aluminium Products are non-combustible

Dales manufactures products in either plain aluminium, Anodised Aluminium or Architectural Polyester Powder Coating finishes, all of which meet non-combustible standards (A1 or A2, s1 d0).


Building Regulations Part B: Fire Safety (June 2022 Amendments apply from 1st December 2022) mandates the exclusive use of non-combustible materials that are either A2 s1, do or A1 for specific building elements:

  1. for walls and ‘specified attachments’ of relevant buildings over 18m, and;
  2. on the external surfaces of external walls for all ‘residential’ purpose group buildings over 11m (Groups 1 & 2)

Materials must achieve classification as either A2, s1 d0 or A1 non-combustible under Fire Classification: Reaction to Fire EN BS 13501-1:2018 to be deemed suitable.

A European Commission Directive* forms part of the structure of legislation**, upon which the English Building Regulations, including Part B, rest. It lists construction materials that belong to Class A and do not contribute to fire. This includes steel and aluminium and non-organic treatments of the same (such as zinc-galvanising for steel and anodising of aluminium).

Aluminium, steel and non-organic treatments of the same (including zinc-galvanising for steel and anodising of aluminium) are A1 non-combustible and make no contribution to fire. A European Commission Directive that forms part of the UK legislation that the English Building Regulations including Part B rests upon, confirms this. Therefore, these materials do not require testing under BS 13501-1:2018.

Dales Fabrications Ltd uses Architectural Polyester Powder Coatings from all the major manufacturers including Syntha Pulvin (Sherwin Williams), Interpon D (Akzo Nobel) , Drylac (Tiger), Axalta, Powdertech. These powder coatings are independently tested under Fire Classification: Reaction to Fire EN BS 13501-1:2018 and achieve A2 s1, d0. Independent test classification certificates are available, if required.


Dales Fabrications Ltd has also conducted independent tests (Warrington Fire) – WF 432374 – EN 13501-12018 that confirmed A2 s1 d0 classification for an architectural powder coated Dales Fabrications Ltd system. You can view a video taken during the test above.

Details of the commission decision can be found here 96/603/EC: Commission Decision

**Details of legislation can be found here SI 2019/ 465


See also ‘Solar Shade Systems’ above.

Dales offers RIBA Approved Material seminar on this subject: You can find more information on the full title, content and how to book here.


In regard to all aspects of detailing for fire-prevention and prevention of spread of fire, as with all projects, specifiers, developers and their main contractors should employ and consult a suitably qualified and experienced fire safety engineer. The engineer should ensure that all details submitted, specifically those details which may involve Dales PPC or anodised aluminium products are considered appropriate, suitable and compliant with current building regulations & the overall fire strategy for the project.

Dales encourages Specifiers, Developers and Main contractors to consider the RIBA Fire resources web page.

Dales design liability is limited to the reasonable skill and care of a specialist sheet-metal fabricator.

Quotations that Dales provide include only for the items expressly listed and do not cover the supply (or design) of any supplementary items such as, but not limited to; insulation, plywood, vapour barrier, fire protection, insect mesh or mastic/sealant (other than gutter sealant). Therefore, any reference to bill pages, specifications or drawings is listed for information only.

Colour, Finish & Fire

You can find the details of the colours and finishes available here.

Anodising vs Architectural Polyester Powder Coating

Anodised Aluminium:

Anodising offers a low maintenance, high performance product with practically no UV fade. Subsequently, it is ideal for aggressive environments, especially locations with high levels of UV light such as marine and coastal areas. Additionally, it offers a wide range of colours and an attractive metallic sheen that changes with the angle of view. All of this makes it a fantastic premium product that many aspire to. While it may stretch, or even break the budget, many clients nevertheless opt for anodised finish over architectural polyester powder coating due to the low maintenance characteristics and lifetime guarantee.

Anodising provides a naturalistic finish, which means every anodised item varies in appearance and the achievement of a consistently uniform finish is almost impossible. This echoes the way pieces of natural stone, wood or slate vary. This is a fundamental characteristic of anodising and represents a primary difference between it and paint finishes such as architectural polyester powder coating. In fact, the variance and shading differences that occur across anodised products of a chosen colour are a primary reason to choose anodising to protect your building. Ultimately, if you desire a uniform colour finish  then anodising is probably not the right finish for you.

Architectural Polyester Powder Coatings:

Alternatively, if you want a low maintenance, robust finish in a staggering colour palette which offers different gloss levels even for relatively small production runs of bespoke products, then architectural polyester powder coating is the solution. The colours and finishes for polyester powder coating develops all the time. Now, there are even special effect powders that simulate timber, stone, corten, verdi gris and more.

Dales uses only Syntha Pulvin powders in their second factory, which houses our Syntha Pulvin Approved Applicator facility. However, Dales are happy to provide our products in Interpon D1036 & D2525, Tiger Drylac, Axalta and Powdertech Special Effect powders using each manufacturer’s Approved Applicator, as necessary.


Dales can usually provide guarantees for products, whether supplied in anodised or architectural polyester powder coated finish. However, this depends on their geographical location and specific environment and is subject to terms and conditions.

Marine specification

Marine Specification

The specifier must include Marine Specification in the contract particulars. To support the specifier, our Project Managers can advise on and provide appropriate NBS Specification clauses.

The comparison between Anodising and Polyester Powder Coating in the “Colour” section above highlights that Dales recommends an anodised finish in locations with high levels of UV light, such as the coast,  purely from a performance criteria. However, budget, contract size, and production issues may mean marine specification polyester powder coating is deemed the more practical choice.

If the intention is to use architectural polyester powder coating in a coastal or marine situation then a marine environment paint specification should be considered, especially in aggressive environments such as industrial and marine environments, i.e.. within 2km of the sea or tidal estuary.

In non-marine environments, Dales applies polyester powder coating to give an average 60 microns paint film to visible faces only, and we can guarantee this for up to 40 years, terms and conditions apply. On the other hand, for a Marine Specification guarantee to be considered, a minimum of 60 microns of paint must be applied to both internal and external surfaces and A2 stainless steel fixings used.

The polyester paint manufacturer or anodiser determines any guarantee they offer on an individual project basis upon completion of a questionnaire by the customer and a possible site visit, both of which must be complete prior to placing any order. It is important to note that if the goods are on the seafront or within 1km of the seafront then a paint manufacture may not offer a guarantee. However, anodisers might offer a guarantee.

Acutely Exposed or Industrial Environments

Further upgrades can be made to acutely exposed marine or industrial environments Marine Specification in several ways, including one or more of the following:
• changing the base aluminium alloy to a ship-building alloy,
• changing the powder coating to Qualicoat 2 specification,
• amending secondary supports to all aluminium,
• changing fixings to A4 stainless steel (provided such suitable fixings are available) or
• moving to an anodised finish.

If you believe your project may be in an acutely exposed marine or industrial environment, please contact one of our Directors or Project Managers to discuss this further. However, please keep in mind guaranteeing products installed in harsh environments is not always possible.


Dales products, whether supplied in anodised or architectural polyester powder coated finish can usually be provided with guarantees. However, this depends on their geographic location and specific environment and is subject to terms and conditions.

Elliptical Blades inc Span, Weight & Corner Units

Shadex Elliptical Blades

Dales designs Shadex blades to give large maximum spans, minimising the need for supports. When Dales first began to design Solar Shade Systems over 30 years ago, it was decided to minimise site fitting times. Dales achieve this by supplying our systems as finished cassettes, which are then lifted into position, before adjusting and final fixing. Designing our extrusions for maximum span, and supplying them in complete cassettes, reduces errors, particularly at corners. Additionally, it reduces site time which allows for rapid installation.

Cassettes can be created with blades as a horizontal projection, with horizontal blades that are then stacked or installed vertically. The three largest section blades tend to be installed horizontally in a vertical stacks or running vertically up the building.

  Blade Pitch mm   
Max. Shade:VE
Blade/m projectionMax. Span/mBlade Kg/m
Cut-off 62⁰
Cut-off 45⁰

Corner Units

For most projects Dales supplies solar shades in prefabricated cassettes that fix directly to the first fix brackets or to the structure. Typically, Dales supplies corners in cassettes as well; however, due to the geometry, we may instead supply them in two half-corners.

For larger spans, corner units may require additional support in the form of brackets along the mitre of the corner. In such situations, due regard needs to be given to ensuring adequate support across the mitre of the corner is achieved. Early on engagement with our project managers during preliminary design is the best way to avoid encountering problems with available support at a late stage.


Methods of support

Fitted to curtain wall mullions

Dales frequently designs solar shades that are supported from the curtain-walling. Dales first fix brackets are fitted to isol8™ chocks that incorporate a thermal break and fix to the mullion. Dales can supply the isol8™ chocks in either stainless steel or carbon-fibre. The isol8™ chocks and Dales first-fix brackets may be fitted to the mullions during manufacture and the mullions may need to be strengthened to accept the loading from the solar shade system. It is therefore necessary for the various parties to consult at an early stage.

Curtain walling and Brise Soleil support




This two-stage process separates the shading unit from the cladding, which allows for independent fitting of the shading unit. Care and attention must be paid to the issue of cold bridging is important. Fortunately, there exists a variety of solutions.  For more information please call our Project managers on Tel: 0115 930 1521.

Structural Frame: Through Cladding



The alternative approach with cladding and solar shades is to fix the solar shade brackets or side frame arms of the shade unit to the structural steel through the claddings, using ‘bobbins’ to prevent the solar shading unit crushing or otherwise affecting the cladding.


Structural Frame: Surface fixing and Cladding




Where design loadings allow, it is possible to face fix directly to the masonry using either expanding bolts or resin anchors. Dales standard practice is to liaise with the Structural engineers to ensure that all parties are content with the potential loadings and fixings to be used.

The issue of fixings is particularly important when required into the edge of concrete slabs. Dales use resin/ chemical anchors or expanding bolts, depending on the characteristics of the slab/ masonry type and loading values.

Direct to Concrete or Masonry




Whether for aesthetics or merely for a particular design appearance, struts or ties can be introduced.

Additional Supports

Vertical Fins, Visual Screens & Perforated Solar Shades

Vertical Fins and Visual Screens

Placing a vertical-stack cassette in front of windows can reduce the effects of reflected solar glare that large expanses of south facing glazing sometimes create. However,  this type of arrangement is sometimes used purely as a privacy or visual screen.

It is possible to install larger solar shade blades vertically, which creates a visual screen because it limits sight lines from one side of the window, and again, one may use the same arrangement to create shade and limit glare. Ultimately, each design is unique and Dales therefore recommends early discussion with our Project managers. You can contact them on Tel: 0115 930 1521.

Vertical fin


Perforated Panel Solar Shades & Light shelves

When required, Dales can manufacture perforated panels for solar shades. These offer a lightweight solution when the support available is reduced. Light shelves produce shade which reduces solar gain yet reflects light back up into the ceiling, which helps provide greater natural light in larger rooms. Subsequently, this can reduce carbon use because it lessens the length of time that electric light is required through the year.

Window Reveal Pods & Oriel Windows

Window Reveal Pods

Window reveal pods are frequently designed to project a short distance proud of the main wall, while the window is recessed due to the increased levels of insulation now required. These designs sometimes reduce solar glare. To discuss your requirements please call us on Tel: 0115 930

Associated products


Dales offer a wide range of decorative and functional gutter profiles.

With complete eaves systems, hidden gutter configurations provide a more contemporary appearance and accommodate the use of more imaginative fascia profiles.

Rainwater pipes

A range of rainwater pipes including contemporary, traditional (Cast collars) and secret fix systems are available here.

Fascia Profiles

Dales designs and manufactures fascia profiles to almost any shape, size or proportion including curved and elliptical designs. As part of our specification service we can prepare preliminary drawings which you insert directly into your own drawings. Dales designs all systems on an individual project basis. 25 year guarantee may be available, subject to terms and conditions. Example drawings can be downloaded here.

Soffit Systems

Dales offers a wide variety of different soffit types, from secret fix panels to secret-fix planks, more details are available here.

Rainscreen panels

Dales designs and manufactures aluminium rainscreen panels on a bespoke basis to suit each individual project, more detail available here.

Support Systems

More information of the various support systems that Dales can provide is available here.

Wall Copings

Dales designs and manufactures aluminium wall copings on a bespoke basis to suit each individual project, more detail available here.

Durability, Loadings & 3D Modelling


Dales designs our systems to give a low maintenance life of 60 years in rural and suburban conditions & up to 25 years in industrial conditions. However, this depends on the exact environment. For marine environments see above.

Operation & Maintenance Information

As part of the Dales Project Management: Design & Specification Service, we issue a full technical guide to site that includes A3 copies of all Dales detail proposal drawings in full colour and generic system fixing instructions as a comprehensive Technical Guide. Furthermore, the guide also includes a comprehensive ‘Fixings Identification List’ that identifies where each fixing is meant to be used. The detail proposal drawings also notes this information.

It is the customer’s responsibility to request a full O&M pack from Dales, which includes a complete detail drawings pack and the relevant generic fixing instructions complete with the maintenance schedule and any guarantee originally requested in the original customer order.

Loadings: General

Dales designs both gutter and fascia soffit systems to accommodate loadings in excess of those induced when the gutters operate at full capacity. Dales recommends snow guards where sliding snow may cause impact loading in excess of normal design criteria (see BS EN 12056-3 2000). For wind and other specific loadings, please contact our Project management team on Tel: 0115 930 1521.

Loadings: Finite Element Analysis FEA/FEM Modelling

As part of the overall design process, Dales may need to provide a computer-generated Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or similar report. This report may indicate whether a system Dales designs is likely to withstand specific wind or other loadings. In the case of wind-loadings, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that they correctly inform Dales of the “local wind pressure design cladding load for the specific element of the works” as well as the height and location of the detail that Dales are to supply.

Please note that Dales reserves the right to pass on any costs incurred in producing any such report or calculations. This also includes any additional product costs that the conclusions from the report deem necessary. Since it is not possible to fully predict all the dynamic factors that may arise, any report Dales generates through a computer-model will always be limited to some extent in its ability to predict real-life outcomes with absolute accuracy.

Therefore, it is the customer’s design and financial responsibility to ensure that any such FEA/ FEM report that Dales may provide is deemed adequate, sufficient and compliant with the project design specification by the Project Structural Engineer in terms of the; model, loadings and physical properties of the materials used.

3D Modelling

Where Dales are required to design their systems, for whatever reason, using 3D modelling software, typically AutoDesk Revitt, lead times for the preparation of detail design drawings (Dales proposal drawings) or 3D models may increase. In turn, this may affect overall lead times for providing of manufactured products and Dales are not liable for any costs however they may arise due to any increases in design time that results from the need for 3D computer modelling. Dales reserves the right to charge for any such increased design time incurred in their design office that results from the need for 3D modelling.

Thermal movement

Dales designs all systems to accommodate the extremes of temperature typical in the UK. For overseas projects, please contact Dales to discuss the requirements of your project.

Curves, Modulation, Access Panels & Fixings

Curved Systems

While technically demanding and costly, the visual effect of a finished curved system always gives a finished project a ‘landmark’ quality. Dales has a long heritage of designing and manufacturing curved products since the business was first established in 1977. When specifying curved eaves systems, Dales recommends that one of our Directors or experienced Project Managers meets with the project design team to discuss the possibilities. To reach us, use the chat facility or call us on t.0115 930 1521

Dales may manufacture curved eaves systems to a pure radius, whether the fascia is a bullnose or more usual rectangular section. In many instances, a curved front fascia with a facetted soffit can be a (relatively) cost effective and intelligent solution to the curved system requirement.

Examples of both fully curved blade systems and those where only the extrusion at the front has been curved can be see on our project pages.

Modulation to Grid or Curtain-walling

Dales can design solar shade systems to modulate with grid or curtain-walling mullions. If modulation is required, it should be identified in the NBS Specification clause which, our Project Managers can assist you with.

Access Panels & Off-site Assembly

Dales can adapt solar shade panels at relatively low cost during manufacture to provide large or small hinged access panels to allow cleaning or other access.

It is important to ensure that  such requirements are integrated into the contract specification, since it can be costly to incorporate such a requirement after installation.

Dales can design solar shades cassette panels to allow rainwater pipes to pass through unhindered. Further, off-site assembly can be utilised to integrate LED or other lighting and other components. To discuss specific requirements please contact our Project Management Team on Tel: 0115 930 1521.


Fixings present a potential weak link in any system. As such, Dales take the process of fixing selection as seriously as the design of the system itself. Therefore, we select all fixings after careful consultation with manufacturers and rigorous testing for both ultimate strengths and potential incompatibility issues. We supply all necessary fixings as part of the complete package from Dales.



Dales operates within the constraints of BS EN ISO 9001 accreditation and and have done so since 1993. Our ISO 9001: Design & Manufacture certificate is available to view here.


Dales Fabrications work within the constraints of BS EN ISO 14001, having gained certification in December 2023. Our ISO 14001 certificate is available to view here.

Aluminium: The sustainable choice

Aluminium is recognised as one of the most sustainable materials for use in the building industry. This is due to the vast natural deposits of bauxite (aluminium ore) and product longevity, alongside low recycling costs. Around 98% of the aluminium used in UK construction projects is recycled.

Environmental Policy

Our environmental policy is available to view here.

Responsible Sourcing

Our Responsible Sourcing policy is available to view here.

Preferred Installer Network

Our network of carefully selected preferred installers are on hand to provide a full supply and fix package. These companies specialise in the installation of our materials and fit them on a regular basis and vary in size from large facades installers to smaller eaves and rainwater goods specialists.


Solar shading brochure

Request a sample

Request a sample

Profile, colour and surface finish samples available to order.

Visit our factory


Dales welcomes all specifiers, engineers and clients to see our solutions being manufactured first hand.

Send your drawings

Send your drawings

Involve our design team early for optimum solutions by uploading your 2D drawings or provide a link to your 3D model here.

Request a site visit

Request site visit

We can bring our experience and expertise directly to you at your site.

Request a sample

Request a sample

Profile, Colour and surface finish samples available to order.

Request factory tour


Dales welcomes all specifiers, engineers and clients to see our solutions being manufactured first hand.

Send your drawings

Send your drawings

Involve our design team early for optimum solutions by uploading your 2D drawings or provide a link to your 3D model here.

Request a site visit

Request site visit

We can bring our experience and expertise directly to you at your site.

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