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Proven Toughness in Rugged 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. 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.

S&M Construction on the Alaska Structures Quality Difference

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’ by 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.

“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 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.”

Swapp also 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.”

Mobility, Savings and Service

But there was another must-have for his building system, Swapp noted.

“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.”

Fortunately, 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 retightening 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,” he said. “It’s to be expected.”

What Swapp may not have expected was the level of service that his Alaska Structures fabric building specialist provided.

“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.”

Furthermore, 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 via email until they found the ideal fabric building. Better yet, the Alaska Structures representative found 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, 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.