Tension Fabric Structures and Buildings
Architecturally innovative, fabric structures are fabricated fibers that provide end users a variety of building designs that do not have to conform to traditional building structure. Custom engineered fabric structures are custom-made and fabricated to meet worldwide requirements of natural force and structural stability and have flame retardant and weather-resistant properties. Selecting appropriate material for the structure, engineering and fabrication of the correct design elements and proper anchoring and installation are essential A fabric structure’s material selection, proper design, engineering, fabrication, and installation are integral building blocks to delivery of a structurally sound fabric covered building.
The Advantages of Fabric Covered Buildings
There are many benefits to forgoing traditional building materials and using a fabric structure instead. A combination of traditional building materials such as glass or metal and a fabric shell usually engineered under high tension creates several environmental benefits.
Fabric structures use less materials than traditional structures and they are lightweight, so they are transported easier and more efficiently. These structures are portable and expandable, enabling continued use, even if the function or location needed from the structure changes. Engineering and installation of fabric structures can be done more efficiently than traditional structures.
Fabric structure materials are lightweight in nature so they greatly reduce the requirements of the supporting structure and the structures leave zero footprint when the operations change.
Additional Benefits of Tension Fabric Buildings
- Relocatable – Fabric structures can be installed with permanent use in mind, however because they do not require a foundation they are portable and can be moved from location to location.
- Economical – Eliminating the costs associated with using a construction crew, fabric structures don’t require a foundation or the need to build a structure from the ground up, so a savings of the costs related to building a traditional structure are gained.
- Weatherproof – Fabric structures are designed and engineered to withstand constant winds of 90mph with a utility load of 8 pounds per square foot (psf) per the International Building Code (IBC). High wind Gust Kits are available for wind loading to 100+ mph and snow kits of 20 psf ground snow are available to meet high building code demands.
- Clearspan – Clearspan or free span fabric structures have no internal columns or supports, so they create exceptional volume. Clearspans range from 20 feet wide to 300 feet wide, and virtually any length.
- Quick Installation – Traditional buildings can take months to construct but fabric structures can be installed in hours or days. The equipment for installation is minimal, as is the cost associated with installation.
- Permanent – Fabric structures can be installed for permanent use and still retain their portability if there is ever a need for them to be relocated. Airports, marinas and other industries utilize fabric structures as permanent structures due to their ability to withstand wear, quick and easy assembly and low-cost.
The frame of our fabric structures consists of a series of identical arches, with connecting purlins and cables. The arches or beams have rounded eaves and an apex with snap button connections. Frame components for the beams are a hollow oval-beam design made from extruded corrosion-resistant, anodized, lightweight 6061-T6 structural grade aluminum. The extrusion for the beams has integral inner and outer rope edge channels to accommodate exterior (fabric shell) and interior (liner) tensioned fabric panels. The extrusion is designed to allow rapid attachment or relocation of lighting, rigging and other accessories without drilling or welding. Interchangeability / Modularity: Structural components are such that like components can be exchanged within or between like structures. Purlins and shear cables are located on the inside of the fabric shell. Base Plates are anchored prior to frame installation for safety. Beam assemblies snap together on the ground and are tilted up to position after attachment to base plates utilizing a hinge-pin design. Purlins are also attached prior to lifting beam and are set from the ground. All structural fasteners are galvanized steel ASTM A325. Anchor bolts conform to ASTM A325 or ASTM A193, Grade B7. Tech screws and other non-structural attachments are standard commercial quality and finish. The structure can be equipped with a high-wind kit for increased wind loading and snow-load kit for increased snow loading in extreme conditions as needed, which does not require welding or drilling into the frame.
The fabric shell is flame resistant as defined under NFPA 701. It is coated PVC material weighing at least 22 oz/yd2 and strong enough to meet the performance characteristics required of the structure. The fabric shell is tan on the exterior and white on the interior. The fabric is opaque/blackout. Fabric panels for the bays of the structure are designed so the installation and removal can be accomplished with all personnel on the ground. The fabric panels become integral with the frame during installation so that unexpected winds during installation cannot sail the fabric away from the frame. Fabric shell panels and optional inner liner fabric panels are capable of being installed, replaced or removed individually with the structure erected and operational.
Modular configurations can be open ends, gable ends, round ends, full width doors (to accommodate fixed wing aircraft or helicopters), vertical hangar doors and can incorporate vestibules and corridors. Our systems allow for expandable widths and lengths, and it is easy to change or add configuration options. Interoperable parts are standard, with interchangeable pieces available, including: base plates, curves (apex and eaves), and roof straights.