A wave of new technology and innovation in the design and engineering of tension fabric structures has made these buildings far more popular for industrial and commercial uses in recent years.
Fabric structures can provide an ideal alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar buildings when used in almost any application. Most provide durable, long-lasting shelter and facilities for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. However, there are a number of manufacturers of heavy-duty fabric structures, so there are several important things to consider before you buy a tension fabric building.
- Strength of materials. Since it’s being used as an alternative for or in replacement of a brick-and-mortar building, a fabric structure in any application must provide reliable shelter relative to that of a normal building. A fabric building’s strength and durability comes down to its materials. Poorer quality metals and thin-gauge steel frames could cause buckling or excess flexing that could completely compromise the structure and even lead to catastrophic building collapse. Galvanized steel is the optimal framing material for fabric structures, followed by the more lightweight option of high-strength aluminum. The frame is enclosed by a tension fabric material made from polyvinyl thermoplastic.
- Foundation requirements. The location, climate, and applicational use for a fabric building will determine the appropriate options for its foundation. Fabric buildings can be secured to a variety of foundation options, providing the ground is relatively level and flat. Concrete, wood, and gravel/earth pad foundations are common, but a fabric structure can also be secured directly into the ground using an assortment of anchoring systems. Some of the most popular anchoring systems include spikes, duckbill earth anchors, lag bolts, concrete wedge anchors, and ballast bars for weight anchors. Bracing with these materials will provide the building with multidimensional strength to counteract tension.
- Proven design and engineering. Like any building, a fabric structure requires a financial investment that is lost if the building cannot withstand poor weather conditions or long term use. While many fabric building manufacturers advertise durability and longevity with their products, it helps to know that your purchase will last with more surety. Alaska Structures designs fabric buildings that are independently tested in the field by third-party companies to provide unbiased assurance of the fabric buildings’ effectiveness, durability, and longevity.
- Resilience in extreme weather. One of the primary perks of high-end fabric structures is their incredible capacity for resilience under the effects of harsh weather and extreme climates. Top-of-the-line fabric buildings, such as the systems Alaska Structures manufactures, can sustain snow loads and high winds and heavy rain and snow loads — even for extended periods in hazardous environments. The thermoplastic fabric exterior is designed for optimal resistance to abrasion and to shed snow, and the galvanized steel framing can be further reinforced with a protective powder coating and/or electrostatic spray for added durability and lifespan. If your application doesn’t require these additional treatments, you can still expect your fabric building to withstand severe weather.
- Meeting building codes. All of our fabric buildings meet the standards of International Building Codes (IBC) for safety, and can also be designed to satisfy additional area-specific building code requirements. If your location has mitigating circumstances that require additional safety and security precautions with your buildings and systems, a specially-designed fabric building may be a preferred, less expensive alternative to constructing a traditional building.
- Energy efficiency. The protective thermoplastic fabric membrane enclosing Alaska Structures systems is not only designed to shield it from the elements and offer optimal snowshed; it is also highly insulating and is resistant to UV rays. Our fabric structures are incredibly energy efficient in a range of ways. We offer additional insulation systems to offer any R-value of resistance to thermal energy, reducing energy consumption even further and improving the efficiency of the internal environment and HVAC systems.
- Versatility of use. Today’s fabric buildings can accommodate far more applications than mere storage facilities or carports. With a near-endless variety of customizations, from flexible sizing and equipment fittings to additional protective treatments and HVAC/electrical systems, a fabric structure is a sufficient (and often, more ideal) alternative to any traditional building. In industrial and commercial uses, our fabric structures are commonly used for storage, maintenance, operations, housing, hygiene, cooking/dining, and even medical treatment facilities. Some common industries that use Alaska Structures fabric buildings include oil & gas, mining and mineral exploration, Arctic exploration and research, industrial storage and warehousing, public works, construction, aviation, and renewable energy.
- Add-on components. With such versatility for applicational use of these buildings, the variety of additional systems and features is unsurprisingly vast. You can fit your tension fabric building system with anything from simple cots for billeting personnel, to highly sensitive equipment for delicate medical procedures. Alaska Structures offers many options for add-on components, including heating, environmental control, lighting/electrical, rail-based rolling, flooring, hygiene, and portability systems.
Alaska Structures excels in each of these areas, providing an ideal option when considering the purchase of a single tension fabric building or a multi-building camp system.