Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Division 10 MasterFormat 2004 Edition: 10 73 13 - Awnings, 10 73 16 - Canopies, 10 71 13 - Exterior Sun Control Devices, 10 71 13.43 - Fixed Sun Screen, 10 73 00 - Protective Covers (Generic). CSI MasterFormat 1995 Edition: 10530 - Protective Covers, Awnings & Canopies.
Modern awnings may be constructed with covers of various types of fabrics, aluminium, corrugated fibreglass, corrugated polycarbonate or other materials. High winds can cause damage to an extended awning, and newer designs incorporate a wind sensor for automatic retraction in certain conditions.
Awnings were first used by the ancient Egyptian and Syrian civilizations. They are described as "woven mats" that shaded market stalls and homes. A Roman poet Lucretius, in 50 BC, said "Linen-awning, stretched, over mighty theatres, gives forth at times, a cracking roar, when much 'tis beaten about, betwixt the poles and cross-beams".
The location of an awning on a building may be above a window, a door, or above the area along a sidewalk. With the addition of columns an awning becomes a canopy, which is able to extend further from a building, as in the case of an entrance to a hotel. Restaurants often use awnings broad enough to cover substantial outdoor area for outdoor dining, parties, or reception.