Fabric Building FAQ

Q.

What is a fabric building?

A.

  • A fabric building is a type of architectural building design consisting of a metal frame covered by a tensioned fabric membrane.
  • The frame systems of tension fabric buildings are engineered to provide the necessary strength to support anticipated seismic, wind, and snow loads.
  • Fabric structures typically employ a clear span design constructed from lightweight aluminum or galvanized steel.
  • The architectural membranes of tension fabric structures are normally made from synthetic materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE).
  • Architectural fabrics for modular construction come in a wide selection of weights, colors, and opacities.
  • Tensioned fabric buildings can be constructed on a variety of foundations and are considered portable buildings due to their ability to be disassembled and rebuilt at a different location with relative ease.
  • Fabric buildings can be used as temporary structures, semi-permanent building systems, or as permanent structures designed for year-round use.

Q.

Why choose a fabric building over traditional structures?

A.

Fabric BuildingsAlaska Structures® fabric buildings are a great choice if you’re looking for a multipurpose building solution that offers an unmatched level of versatility, portability, and longevity. Our tension membrane structures offer a clear span design, can be easily relocated, and assembled in less time than traditional buildings. Unlike wood-built construction, steel buildings, concrete or tilt-slab buildings, or brick-and-mortar structures, our custom build structures have minimal foundation requirements and drastically reduce construction schedules. Fabric building systems from Alaska Structures are designed for rapid setup with minimal labor, equipment, and tool requirements. Our tensioned fabric buildings are engineered to meet local and international building codes for safety, are made with the highest quality materials for decades of use, are virtually maintenance free, and custom designed to meet specific building requirements. Choose from the largest selection of fabric building designs, sizes, choice of frame materials, fabric membrane types, opacity, and colors. All engineered fabric buildings from Alaska Structures can be configured with any combination of windows, personnel doors, equipment doors, and hangar doors, and equipped with many support packages to increase energy-efficiency and comfort, including: HVAC, insulation packages, power generation and distribution systems, as well as plug-and-play lighting and electrical systems. Click here for more on Why to Choose Fabric Buildings.

Q.

What are the ideal uses for a fabric building from Alaska Structures?

A.

Alaska Structures engineers and manufactures fabric building solutions capable of meeting any challenge - functional or environmental. Our custom build structures are used to support the operations of the mining and mineral exploration, oil and gas, construction, transportation, government, military, industrial, and manufacturing industries around the world. Since opening our doors in 1975, Alaska Structures has manufactured more than 55,000 engineered fabric structures, used in more than 65 countries. No other prefabricated building company comes close to matching our proven level of expertise or experience. Popular uses of modular buildings from Alaska Structures include:

  • Modular Housing for Workforce Accommodations
  • Construction Camps
  • On-Site Warehousing and Storage Facilities
  • Repair and Maintenance Facilities
  • Shelters for Mineral Exploration
  • Man Camps for Mining
  • Aircraft Hangars, Airport Terminals, and Airport Buildings
  • Pond and Raceway Enclosures for Fish Hatcheries
  • Workshops, Fabrication Plants, and Manufacturing Facilities
  • Pipeline and Overland Conveyor Enclosures
  • Recreation Centers and Indoor Sports Facilities
  • Containment Structures for Environmental Remediation
  • Modular Classrooms and School Buildings
  • Dining Halls, Cafeterias, and Student Union Buildings

Q.

What models of fabric buildings does Alaska Structures offer?

A.

Alaska Structures offers many models of fabric buildings. Each modular structure is engineered to meet local and international building codes, and is custom designed to any height or length to meet your specific building requirements. When considering an engineered fabric building from Alaska Structures, please choose from the following:
Denali series buildings in camp configuration - 3D Rendering.

  • SQX Series - A quonset-style fabric building, engineered to meet specific wind and snow loads. Modular buildings for remote camps, and available in the following widths: 15', 16', 18', 20', 22', 24', 26', and 30'.
  • MTX Series - A single-arch, quonset-style, 40' wide, multi-purpose building system used for on-site workshops, vehicle maintenance facilities, and equipment storage facilities.
  • XPL Series - Engineered for rapid setup and take down, the hinged-frame of the XPL Series is designed to create quick-erect shelters capable of being setup in less than 10 minutes. The perfect modular building for portable camps or temporary workforce housing. Available in 12', 14', 16', and 20' widths.
  • GTX Series - Available from 16' to 150' wide, to any height, and any length, our double-arch fabric buildings offer clear span interiors for on-site warehousing, storage facilities, maintenance and repair facilities, aircraft hangars, airport terminals, or large dining halls.
  • Denali Series - The Denali Series of fabric buildings fills a gap between soft-wall shelters and hard-wall buildings to create a 24' wide modular structure capable of providing energy-efficient and comfortable space for workforce housing, modular offices, and modular classrooms. Optional en-suite bathrooms for privacy and increased convenience are available.
  • HGX Series - Single-arch fabric buildings utilize a gable-style design and offer superior protection from high winds and heavy snow loads. Available in 15', 16', 18', 20', 22', 24', 26', and 30' widths, the HGX Series can be custom built to create a portable building perfect for workforce housing, field offices, and equipment storage facilities.
  • GBX Series - The straight-wall design of the GBX Series makes it a very popular modular structure with maximum use of interior space for workforce housing, mobile kitchens, dining halls, field offices, and research stations. The GBX Series is available in the following widths: 8', 10', 12', 14', 16', 18', and 20'.
  • TSX Series - A recessed end panel provides a private and protected covered porch - perfect for gable-style portable cabins of luxury wilderness resorts, guide outfitters, or workforce lodging. The TSX Series is available in 12', 14', 16', and 20' widths. An optional wood floor and adjustable platform is available to increase comfort while reducing the environmental impact.
  • Remote Camp Systems - Whether it is a 4-person exploration camp or a 1,500-person construction camp, Alaska Structures has more than 40 years working with EPCM firms, construction companies, international contractors, and remote camp operators to design and produce custom designed modular buildings for workforce housing, man camps, and turnkey camp systems.

Q.

What type of options can I add to my Fabric Structure?

A.

Alaska Structures' fabric buildings can be custom designed and engineered to accommodate almost any option available in buildings made from traditional construction materials. We offer hundreds of standard building options. Some of our more popular building options include:

  • Windows: sliding glass windows, clear plastic windows, windows with insect and mosquito nets
  • Doors: personnel doors, sliding doors, roll-up screen doors, equipment doors, metal roll-up doors, bi-fold hangar doors, vertical lift doors, fabric roll-up doors, fabric hangar doors
  • Heating and Cooling Systems: 2.5-, 5-, and 10-ton Alaska ECUs™ (environmental control units), HVAC systems, fuel-fired heaters, air distribution systems, insulated ducts
  • Insulation Packages: Alaska EnerLayer™ and Alaska SuperLayer™ are proprietary insulation packages that seamlessly integrate with any Alaska Structures' fabric building to increase energy-efficiency, meet any R-value, and provide greater comfort in extreme environments (hot or cold).
  • Power Generation and Distribution Systems: 20 kW to 320 kW systems, insulated for quiet operation
  • Plug-and-Play Lighting and Electrical Systems: 50 Hz or 60 Hz configurations, NEC compliant, impact resistant fluorescent and LED work lights, portable light towers, metal halide lighting systems
  • Flooring: Vector-proof vinyl flooring, modular flooring systems, raised and adjustable flooring systems designed for greater comfort and reducing environmental impact
  • Multiple Anchoring Solutions
  • Soft- and Hard-Wall Partition Systems

Q.

How do you insulate a Fabric Building?

A.

Alaska Structures' fabric buildings are insulated in much the same way as traditional metal or wood buildings. We offer several proprietary insulation options, including the Alaska SuperLayer™ and EnerLayer™ insulation systems. Alaska Structures' insulation packages are designed for:

  • Ease of installation
  • Portability
  • Seamlessly integrate with any Alaska Structures' building system
  • Provide any desired R-value of thermal resistance
  • Increase energy-efficiency
  • Lower energy costs associated with heating and/or cooling
  • Provide a greater level of comfort in hot or cold climates

Our insulation systems are made with hypoallergenic, fire-resistant, and non-toxic materials that are designed to resist mold and mildew.

Q.

How much does a Fabric Building cost?

A.

Other building suppliers that produce a handful of models and in limited sizes (largely in mass and made overseas), without attention to the engineering required to meet specific building code requirements, can readily provide a cost per square foot for a fabric building, or from memory - provide the cost of a fabric building, or supply you with a pricing sheet for their fabric buildings.

Alaska Structures takes a much different approach with the pricing of our engineered fabric buildings. Our custom build structures are designed to meet specific customer requirements. Very much like you would work with an architect or team of designers to carefully consider the details of constructing a large commercial building, our in-house team of building specialists and engineers will work with you, project managers, site supervisors, or camp operators to design and price a one-of-a-kind building solution that offers an unmatched level of portability, ease of setup, and durability.

All fabric buildings, modular structures, and remote camp systems from Alaska Structures are engineered to meet area specific local and international building code requirements for safety. Once we have received the final signature on your fabric building design, we manufacture the building and components in the United States, using the latest manufacturing techniques, with the highest quality materials, and strict quality control processes to produce a long-lasting and engineered fabric building system hand-crafted to meet your specific building requirements.

Individuals, businesses, companies, organizations, and agencies seeking a high quality and engineered fabric building system designed to meet their specific building requirement and building codes for safety, are encouraged to contact us for a free consultation by submitting an online inquiry. For urgent building needs requiring an immediate response, please call us at +1-907-344-1565.

Q.

Do I need a permit for a Fabric Structure?

A.

The county in which you would like to erect the fabric structure determines whether a permit is needed. Every county has different standards. Some require complete permit applications that include stamped engineering reports. Whatever the case may be for you, Alaska Structures can help with the process by providing guidance and stamped engineering reports where applicable.

Q.

Where can I learn more about the engineering and design of fabric buildings?

A.

We have assembled additional information about the engineering and design of fabric buildings from Alaska Structures on our Technology and Engineering page. Our Design Services page discusses the fabric building design services we provide. Alternatively, feel free to call us at +1-907-344-1565 to discuss your building requirement, or submit an online inquiry and we will gladly contact you to discuss how an engineered fabric building can be custom designed to create an instant structure for your upcoming construction project, on-site needs, or workforce camp requirement.

Q.

How can I get more information about Alaska Structures?

A.

For more information about Alaska Structures, please read visit our About Us page. If you have an upcoming project that requires a remote camp, modular structures for workforce housing, a large fabric structure for on-site warehousing, or wish to inquire how an engineered fabric building can meet your specific building requirement, complete our contact form, send an email to inquiry@alaskastructures.com, or call us at +1-907-344-1565.