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Fabric-covered Fabrication and Maintenance Workshop

Proven Toughness in Rugged Mining Environments

The conditions around an Arizona copper mine present plenty of challenges to a structure’s longevity. The sun blazes, monsoon season dumps buckets of rain, and sustained winds of 30 mph or faster carry acidic dust that strips away paint and causes metal to rust.

Toughness isn’t an option in that sort of environment – it’s a requirement. That’s why S&M (Swapps) Construction chose Alaska Structures® when it needed to build an on-site maintenance and fabrication shop.

American-Made Quality

S&M cofounder Dennis Swapp said he’s seen fabric buildings from Alaska Structures and other companies at work in the field for the better part of a decade and the difference in quality is apparent.

“They’re pushing 5 or 6 years old now,” Swapp said. “You can see an obvious difference in the different manufacturers of the structures. There may be some variable as far as how they’re installed and things like that, but you drive by two or three of the other structures, the fabric is just torn off the building. But the four Alaska Structures that are still here, the fabric is still tight.”

S&M went with a custom build for its 30’ x 40’ gable-style fabric building. Instead of installing the structure on the ground, S&M anchored it to a pair of refrigerated trailers on box trucks.

Mobile Maintenance Workshop for Heavy Equipment

“We parked them side by side about 25’ across from each other and then put the Alaska Structures fabric building in between the two,” he said. “The Alaska Structures fabric building is like a maintenance bay for our heavy equipment so we can pull our machinery in there and work on it. We’ve got access to all of our welders, electricity, and all of our parts, hardware, bolts and stuff like that.”

Fabric-covered Fabrication and Maintenance Workshop Interior
Interior View of Fabrication Shop for S&M Construction

Swapp said he customized his structure with a 20’-wide equipment door in one of the shelter’s end panels. The shelter offers 13’6” of vertical clearance.

“I needed the workshop to be taller, and I also wanted a 20’ door in the front to help me with moving the equipment in and out,” Swapp said. “We also do fabrication in there and I wanted to be able to move sheets and structures in and out easily.”

Swapp said there was another must-have for his building system.

“The idea behind this is, we wanted something mobile,” Swapp said. “I was going to just build a shop, but … if we needed to go to a different job we could move the structures and the van trailers. … We never know for sure if we have to move or not so we try to keep everything on wheels.”

Easy Installation for Mining Equipment Storage

Swapp said a three-man crew was able to quickly install the fabric structure using easy-to-follow instructions and well-labeled parts. The portable maintenance shop has been up for a little less than a year.

Swapp said the only regular maintenance he’s had to do is re-tightening his shelter’s tensioned fabric membrane after inclement weather with winds of 30 to 35 mph.

“It specified in the instructions that some additional tightening of the tension cables was going to be required after a high-wind storm,” Swapp said. “It’s to be expected.”

Fabric-covered Fabrication and Maintenance Workshop
On-Site Maintenance and Fabrication Shop

What may not have been expected was the level of service provided by Swapp’s Alaska Structures fabric building specialist.

“They worked a lot with me on the prices and the models,” Swapp said. “Naturally, my mind was focused on thinking bigger. I wanted something like a 125’ long structure, but I also didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it.”

Swapp said his fabric structure specialist worked with him to create a building solution that was the right size for his needs and one that he could afford. They conducted their business over the phone and through email until they found the ideal fabric building. Better yet, the Alaska Structures representative was able to find a closeout model within Swapp’s budget.

“They gave me a really good deal,” he said.

About S&M Construction

Founded in 1986, S&M Construction is a diverse contractor for the mining industry, including reclamation and cleanup. S&M also specializes in crushing rocks for aggregate. For more information about S&M Construction, fill out this online contact form, email or call +1-928-865-1315.

For more information on how Alaska Structures can provide maintenance and fabrication workshops with enclosures proven in the world’s most extreme climates, call +1-907-344-1565, email or contact us online.


Alaska Structures
Alaska Structures® is the world's leading provider of engineered fabric building and turnkey camp systems. Our modular buildings are proudly made in the U.S. and designed to meet area-specific wind and snow loads required by local codes or the International Building Code (IBC) for safety. No other fabric-building provider comes close to matching our level of expertise or experience.

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