Fabric Structures: Engineered Solution for Any Construction Site
Priyanka Templeton, Contributing Editor
Construction sites can be full of potential dangers and uncertainty, especially when taking into consideration weather conditions, site location and the equipment being used. That is why it’s imperative that construction companies and the equipment they use are always kept safe and secure.
Job site injuries can occur, if better safety options haven’t been considered. Since these sites are a temporary place of work, equipment can be left in a disorganized manner or stacked up to save space. These can be serious tripping or falling hazards for workers.
Equipment can also be ruined or damaged if not secured during less-than-ideal weather conditions. Integrating a fabric structure into a company’s plans can solve these issues.
In fact, fabric structures are the perfect, engineered building solution for just about any construction company, because they promote safety and security; can be customized to meet any company’s most specific needs; and, when utilized correctly, can actually increase profitability.
Safety and Security
The safety of workers is paramount when considering how hazardous job sites can be. Although it may seem like these structures are not as sturdy or permanent as steel buildings, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fabric structures are meant to be long-lasting and especially advantageous for any long-term projects spanning different seasons. Many companies offer structures that are strong enough to be permanent, but can easily move as projects dictate. This allows them to benefit from both the safety and security of a permanent structure and the benefits of a temporary, mobile structure.
Fabric structures have the room, strength, capacity and safety that’s required for any major jobsite, especially if they need to adhere to any regional building and safety codes. These structures can be engineered to follow any municipal codes, snow loads and wind requirements. This ensures a dependable workspace that provides workers the utmost structural safety.
Besides the ability to engineer these structures, they are also often designed to deter wear and tear. Take the fabric cover for example; any reputable company will offer a rip-stop, weaved cover that eliminates deterioration and also provide a 20-30 year warranty on the cover.
For the frame, companies should look for galvanized steel. This will allow the structure to withstand corrosive environments. Users should also look for a warranty of 50 years. Following these guidelines will allow companies to feel secure in their investment.
Back to safety; many fabric structures feature flame-retardant covers that should be an industry standard but aren’t offered by some companies. These are especially convenient when it comes to jobs on construction sites that use flames, other extreme heat sources or maybe just have a number of workers that regularly smoke. Welding or using flammable tools in a fabric structure doesn’t have to be a safety concern at all, since the flame-retardant material cannot catch fire.
Fabric structures can be customized for any kind of construction site. From sizing to special tools and accessories, like conveyor systems, companies can meet their precise needs with a fabric structure.
One aspect of fabric structures that appeals to construction companies is the number of available foundations. Such options let companies customize the structure to their unique needs; perhaps the most widely used foundation for construction companies is the helical anchor foundation. Helical anchors drill directly into the ground and create a secure foundation that can be used permanently. To utilize helical anchors, very little sitework is required, so they are the most versatile foundation option and can be used just about anywhere.
The best part of helical anchors is that they create a structure that is strong and dependable enough to be permanent but, since they can easily be removed from the ground, the structure can be quickly moved as projects dictate. This allows companies to benefit from the safety and security of a permanent structure and the mobility of a temporary structure, and makes fabric buildings a great option for companies with long-term projects.
A number of companies are also opting to customize their structures by building on container foundations. Often, construction sites can be hectic and disorganized, with equipment being left around, making it vulnerable to potential theft. Container foundations are a practical choice for construction sites, because expensive equipment can be locked away safely at the end of the day, mitigating the occurrence of stolen equipment.
Construction companies also opt for container foundations, because they add extra clearance within the structure at little extra cost. Instead of being mounted to the ground, the structure is mounted to the top of the container. This allows larger machinery and vehicles to be stored or operated within the structure’s threshold.
Of course, foundations are just the beginning of customizing a fabric structure for construction sites. Fabric structures can also be customized to include required entryways, HVAC systems, insulation, artificial lighting, fans and much more.
Let’s start with how they can lower costs. First and foremost, many fabric structures don’t require artificial lighting during the daytime hours. The fabric cover lets natural light filter through, creating a well-lit environment in which it’s easy to work. By eliminating the need for artificial lighting, companies can save significantly on their electrical costs. Most companies will also be able to save time and money by not having to spend the man-hours wiring the building for lighting.
Garrison and Lauren Engineers & Constructors, Inc. have been using a ClearSpan Fabric Structure for their business for nearly ten years. Facilities Coordinator Glenn Garrison said, “The natural lighting is perfect, even on cloudy days.”
Garrison also went on to explain another benefit. “The inside temperature in the summer is a minimum of 10 degrees cooler, which is good when you have the 100-degree summer days we experience here,” he said.
Some fabric structures have climate-sensitive covers. These covers create a superior working and storage environment, because they actually make the building’s interior cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This, combined with the natural ventilation that fabric structures provide, allows companies to reduce the money spent on HVAC costs.
Fabric structures are also a great way to improve efficiency on any jobsite. Choosing a structure that doesn’t rely on internal support posts allows for the interior to be laid out in a way that most benefits the jobsite. This enables managers to create an efficient workflow, where more gets done in a shorter time.
Fabric structures really are the perfect engineered solution for construction companies. No matter how they are utilized, they can inevitably solve some of the jobsite’s most common problems. Since fabric buildings can improve safety and be customized to meet any construction need and help companies increase their profitability, business owners and managers should strongly consider integrating one into their business plans. WMHS
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