Why Choose Fabric Buildings Over Traditional Structures

GTX fabric building installed on rolling rail system

Alaska Structures Fabric Buildings

From commercial industries like construction and aviation, to industrial mining and arctic exploration, fabric structures offer some significant advantages over brick-and-mortar buildings. In addition to providing long-lasting shelter and space for operations or storage, a fabric building is preferred over traditional structures due to the reduced costs and increased efficiency and portability of these versatile structures.

Alaska Structures®, a division of AKS Industries, Inc., designs and manufactures the world's most popular and widely used fabric buildings and remote camp systems.

When comparing a fabric building to traditional structures, industrial and commercial operations can appreciate the following advantages of tension fabric structures:


Portable Building Design

Fabric buildings from Alaska Structures® employ a proprietary architectural membrane that is tensioned over high-strength galvanized steel or lightweight aluminum frame system. Depending on the application, the fabric structure may have a concrete foundation, or the building may be secured via other methods in cases where the duration of the project makes a full concrete foundation unnecessary. The materials and prefabricated nature of these engineered fabric buildings make them incredibly transportable and easy to relocate.

Fabric structures are far more portable than brick-and-mortar buildings, and easy to relocate and transport from site to site. The foundation requirements are minimal with fabric buildings. These structures can be quickly and easily installed on virtually any level surface, including precast or cast-in-place concrete, wood platforms, pilings, helicals, and more. Fabric buildings can even be installed on an existing permanent foundation, and then dismantled later for relocation.

Fabric Structures Designed for Versatility

Fabric building used as vehicle maintenance building

Fabric Building Used as Vehicle Maintenance Facility.

The wide variety of products and sizing options available with fabric buildings make them incredibly versatile and ideal for nearly any application. Not only are they engineered for decades of use in any climate -- even extreme environments and weather conditions such as high winds and heavy snow loads -- they are effective buildings for a variety of common and unique commercial and industrial uses. Alaska Structures fabric buildings are ideal for storage and warehousing, vehicle maintenance facilities, modular office buildings, modular buildings for workforce housing and camp systems, arctic exploration and research facilities, and even movable airplane hangars.

We offer these structures in hundreds of sizes, styles, and standard packages, with add-on systems for HVAC, environmental control, power generation and distribution, and more. The common building customizations include specialized dimensions, an elevated or offset peak, and/or adjustments to roof pitch. Our building specialists will also help to create fabric buildings that are designed specifically for more creative applications and odd-sized lots. All of our structures can be fitted with any combination of our product options, including heaters, additional insulation, lighting and electrical systems, rail-based rolling systems, special flooring and foundations, restroom and shower facilities, and even furniture and equipment packages.

Free Span Structures Maximize Interior Useable Space

Fabric Structure Sports Arena

Alaska Structures' Fabric Building as Sports Arena.

The free span design of our engineered fabric structures mean there are no internal posts, pillars, columns, or beams. The high ceilings and unobstructed design of our fabric building’s interior maximizes useable space. Our fabric roof buildings maintain plenty of clearance for storage of strangely-shaped equipment or machinery such as a helicopter rotors or impact crushing equipment. The tension fabric on our free span structures also creates more stacking space if the building is used for warehousing. The absence of internal pillars or posts in a fabric roof building creates the most floor space for operational use.

Most brick-and-mortar buildings require rigid support posts inside to support the heavier roofing materials. Pillars or columns, and sometimes additional beam supports are necessary to keep the roof from collapsing. Since fabric buildings are lightweight and made from materials that don’t require this kind of support, there is no need for internal posts or columns.

Engineered Fabric Buildings Offer Reduced Construction Times

Conventional building construction projects generally require months or years to complete. Since there are far fewer materials involved with installing a tensioned fabric building, and because the structure is engineered for quick and easy setup, fabric buildings from Alaska Structures require far less lead and construction time.

When your building takes days instead of weeks, months, or years to construct, your construction time and costs are drastically reduced. With fabric structures, there is the added advantage to get your operations running far sooner to capitalize on this efficiency. Alaska Structures' building systems are designed for extremely rapid setup, our instant structures can be fully operational in less than a week and only a couple of hours in some cases, depending on the size and scope of the structure. Our quick-erect shelter systems are engineered and designed to be setup and completely operational in less than 15 minutes. Additionally, they do not require skilled labor or special equipment to install, further reducing construction costs.

Increase Energy Efficiency with Prefabricated Structures

Sunlight entering translucent roof of fabric structure building

Natural Light Illuminates Fabric Buildings.

Prefabricated structures from Alaska Structures are far more energy efficient than brick-and-mortar buildings. Our fabric buildings can be fitted with our proprietary Environmental Control Units (Alaska ECUs™) to provide ideal climate control and optimize energy consumption. While traditional buildings can be difficult to heat or cool, fabric structures naturally stay approximately 10 degrees warmer than outside temperatures during cold times and nearly 20 degrees cooler than outside temps during the heat of summer -- and that is without HVAC! Additionally, we offer EnerLayer and SuperLayer insulation to increase the building’s energy efficiency even further.

The different materials used for fabric buildings are more environmentally sustainable than those used for construction of traditional buildings, and some can even earn LEED points. The thermoplastic-based membranes used by Alaska Structures, are engineered using a proprietary blend of materials, manufactured using the latest techniques, with strict quality control process to create the longest-lasting architectural membranes available. Considered to be low in toxic emissions, our membrane structures provide an additional environmental benefit over traditional structures. Our skylight material, made of the same high-quality membrane, can be used in the design of fabric buildings and offers translucency of up to 12 percent, which helps cut operating costs and energy consumption for electricity and lighting. This allows the use of natural day light to illuminate the interior living and working space.

Fabric Buildings Engineered for Durability

Engineered fabric buildings offer greater strength to withstand heavy snow loads and high winds. The frame systems of fabric buildings from Alaska Structures is either high-strength galvanized steel, or aircraft-grade aluminum for applications that require a more lightweight design. The galvanized steel and aluminum frames are treated to resist corrosion. Optional powder-coated frames are available to increase corrosion resistance against rust, oxidation, humidity, sea-spray, or the storage of corrosive materials. Our fabric membranes are designed with longevity and durability in mind. They are UV stabilized for prolonged exposure to high solar loads, resist mold and mildew, will not rot, and exceed the fire safety requirements outlined in the California Code of Regulations for membrane structures.

Fabric buildings buried in deep snow

Fabric Buildings Withstand Heavy Snow Loads.

Longevity and durability are key advantages of Alaska Structures’  fabric buildings. Our building solutions are are independently tested and verified for proper design and construction, and have been proven in the field to withstand extreme weather and climate. Additionally, our fabric structures are designed to meet or exceed local and regional building codes for additional reliability as durable shelters and/or operational facilities.

When used for either temporary or permanent applications, engineered fabric buildings from Alaska Structures will reliably withstand high winds, heavy snow loads, and other extreme climate conditions. Their durability can be relied upon for decades, whether they are installed permanently or relocated frequently.

Fabric structures offer a clear advantage over brick-and-mortar buildings, due to their increased durability, efficiency, cost-savings, versatility, and portability.

For more information or to order your Alaska Structures fabric buildings today, call +1-907-344-1565, email inquiry@alaskastructures.com, or contact us online.