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This is my first project that requires engineering. Can you give me an overview of the process?
Many cities and towns are now requiring engineering for awnings and shade structures. Their goal is to make sure the awning/shade structure can hold up to wind (or snow loads) mandated in the building code. To get a quote for engineering, the fabricator submits their project by answering a list of questions on the Awning Composer website. The engineer will use that information to estimate the amount of time it will take to run their calculations. The quote is then sent to the fabricator. If the fabricator wants to move ahead with the engineering, then they sign the quote and the engineer schedules the job. When the job is complete, the engineer will provide sealed calculations showing the building code requirements have been met. They may also seal any CAD drawings that were provided or created during the process. These engineering documents are then forwarded to the licensing authority by the fabricator so they can get approval for the project.

Can I test out the engineering service?
Yes. Just click on the “Start a Test Engineering Request” button. Also you will be asked during the script if this is a real or test job. If you submit a test engineering request, our engineer will not be involved but our support staff will follow up with you to provide all the info you need about the process.

What if I am not sure how to answer a question?  
The engineering request system includes detailed help with sample answers at most prompts. Look for the round blue circle with an “i” in it at the end of the prompt.

What happens after I submit a real request?
Our staff will review the request to make sure all info required is provided. If there is missing or incomplete information, our staff will contact you and work with you to make sure all required info is provided. The engineering request will then be sent to the engineer for a quote. Once the engineer responds, a contract with the engineering fee (including state and local taxes) will be emailed to you. You can then sign, scan and return that contract by email to get the job started.

How long does it take to process a request?
Typically a quote is ready for review in 2 business days. After the contract is signed, our goal is to deliver a sealed package in 10 business days for an awning/canopy design and 15 business days for a shade sail design.

Once my engineering request is done, how do I get the results?
When the job is completed, the results of the engineering analysis will be added to the job in your Awning Composer account and a notification email will be sent. To view or download the results, you must pay the engineering fee with a credit card.

It looks like my results are in a .zip file. How do I open that?
If there's more than one document provided by the engineer, we'll combine multiple documents into a single .zip file. All modern systems have built in support for opening .zip files. See the following links for detailed instructions: Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad.

I don’t have my own Awning Composer account. Can I use my boss's account?
You can use your boss's account, but be sure to use your name and phone number in the engineering request in case we need to contact you. You can also get your own account linked to your company by sending an email to

What if I am submitting the request but another person is responsible for payment?
Please include the contact name and email address where the invoice for job should be sent.

I entered some info incorrectly. Can it be changed?
Yes. If you still have the engineering request displayed, then click on the red “Sections” button at the bottom of the page. You can then select any section and return to that section to make corrections. If the request is not currently displayed, then sign into your Awning Composer account and click on “View Account” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Click on the job number to display your request. If you have already submitted the job, there is no need to submit it again.

Why do you require that all info about a job be submitted up front?
Our goal is to not waste time chasing down info since this is one of the biggest cost factors in the entire engineering process. In order to offer reasonable pricing to fabricators, we promised our engineers that ALL of the info they need to do their calculations would be provided in the initial request. That way it is available for the quote step as well as the analysis step if the fabricator approves the quote.

What is done with the info in the request?
The engineer takes most of the info in the engineering request and enters it into analysis software. The analysis software determines if there is a “weak link” in the design. If something falls below the design threshold, then the engineer will contact the fabricator to find out their recommendations on how to improve the design. If just one piece of data is missing in the engineering request, then the engineer may not be able to complete his analysis which forces a time delay in the project.

Why can’t the engineer fill in the missing info?
The engineer is not a fabricator or an architect. Their job is to analyze the design provided by the fabricator/architect and compare it to local building codes. If part of the design fails, then the engineer will provide information on the failure point and how far under the design threshold that element is. The fabricator/architect can then figure out the best way to improve the design based on their experience.

Will the engineer provide CAD drawings?
The engineer will create CAD drawings for an additional fee. You can submit CAD drawings in PDF format from software like Awning Composer, AutoCAD or Sketchup and save the additional fee. If you have questions about creating CAD drawings using Awning Composer, please contact us.

What info is required on CAD drawings?
Most CAD drawings include a top view (or front view) and side view of the awning/shade sail along with dimensions and attachment details. The Awning Composer support staff is available to provide you with samples and helpful hints on creating CAD drawings. There is also a user guide and a video about the page Layout feature that can be accessed from the Awning Composer website or by clicking on the blue question mark in the upper right corner of the Awning Composer screen.