By Nicholas St. Pierre

Civil and municipal construction projects require building solutions that are both functional and dependable. Traditional structures provide functionality, but they are slow and expensive to build. For companies with a steady flow of building projects, it is simply not feasible to construct an entirely new building on every jobsite.

Fortunately, there is an innovative structure that is perfectly suited for civil and municipal construction projects. Fabric structures are a versatile building solution, offering functionality in nearly any application. With innovative foundation options that allow structures to be used on long term projects and easily relocated, as well as cost-saving features and a variety of other benefits, fabric structures are the best choice for construction operations.

Geoff Ching, Director of Sales for ClearSpan Structures, offered some insight on why customers choose fabric structures for their construction operations. Here are five reasons why fabric structures make idea construction buildings:

Stay Permanently or Easily Relocate with a Variety of Foundation Options

Fabric structures can be built upon a variety of permanent foundation options, like concrete blocks and wooden posts, so operations can build their structure nearly anywhere. However, there are also manufacturers that offer innovative foundation options that are cost-effective and allow fabric structures to be easily relocated.

“Fabric structures provide value by offering users a variety of cost-effective foundation options. A helical anchoring system in particular can reduce site preparation costs,” Ching said.

Helical anchors can save operations time and money, but they also offer another huge benefit for civil and municipal construction. Helical anchors drill directly into the ground without the need for poured concrete, wooden posts, or any other foundation component. This feature allows helical anchoring systems to be temporary if necessary, so they can be removed while leaving minimal damage on the building site.

This means that construction operations can reuse a helical anchoring system with the same fabric structure from one jobsite to another, providing a mobile solution that offers the full functionality of traditional construction buildings. Helical anchors can also stay in the ground as long as they are needed, providing the strength and permanence of typical foundation options.

Keep Energy Costs Low with Unique Features

Aside from choosing a cost-effective foundation option, construction operations who choose fabric structures have other opportunities to keep operating costs down. While conventional structures usually require supplemental lighting for adequate visibility, some fabric building manufacturers offer uniquely designed buildings and fabric covers that are energy efficient.

Certain fabric covers are designed to be translucent, allowing them to take advantage of the sun’s natural light. This creates a bright, well-lit environment, all without the need to install supplemental lighting. With the right fabric cover, there is no need to install electrical or run portable work lights, so construction operations can expect to save monthly on lighting costs.

Another area where operations can expect to save money is with ventilation. Poor ventilation can lead to a variety of problems, like a build-up of moisture, which contributes to mold and bacteria development. Traditional buildings require expensive ventilation systems to allow a steady flow of fresh air. Some fabric structures, on the other hand, offer impressive natural ventilation.

“Natural ventilation is always recommended for comfort and cost savings. When building design allows for openings along endwalls or sidewalls, mechanical ventilation may not be required. When buildings need to be enclosed, cost-effective tunnel ventilation systems can be implemented to prevent the need for costly HVAC systems,” Ching said.

Without having to utilize ventilation equipment, operations can expect to reduce energy requirements, lowering monthly utility costs even further.

Improve Jobsite Safety Across the Board

Construction site safety is always one of the top concerns for any operation. Unfortunately, there are many opportunities for accidents or injuries to occur on a jobsite. However, choosing a structure with safety in mind can lower the chances of such incidents occurring. Fabric structures can help provide a safe working environment by improving jobsite visibility and reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses.

“Translucent fabric covers illuminate interiors with a superior natural lighting that provides optimal visibility, promoting safe operations,” Ching said.

The right frame and fabric cover combination creates an environment anyone would feel safe working in. The natural lighting provided by a fabric structure’s translucent cover already contributes to overall improved visibility, but certain manufacturers also offer building frames that prevent shadows. This provides uniform lighting throughout the entirety of the structure, helping to lower the risk of workplace accidents and injuries due to poor visibility.

Another area of concern for jobsite safety is heat stress. During periods of elevated temperatures, heat-related illnesses put construction workers at risk. Fortunately, fabric structures provide a shaded area for workers to cool off, and there are manufacturers who offer climate-sensitive fabric covers. These covers are designed to help regulate temperatures, cooling temperatures by up to 20 degrees during the summer, so workers can keep cool on even the hottest days.

With strong frames and fabric covers that offer natural lighting and temperature control, construction operations can create a safe, comfortable working environment year-round.

Versatility and Functionality in Any Application

As well as creating a safe working environment, fabric structures are among the most versatile building solutions in the world. For construction projects, this flexibility means operations can utilize their structure in any application, whether it is for sheltered workspaces, protected storage for valuable equipment and materials, or anything else.

Structural designs that completely lack internal support posts are available, providing several benefits for construction operations. The primary advantage of clear span designs is the added available space. For jobsite warehouses, equipment garages, material storage, or any other application, the maximum usable space provided by clear span designs allows operations to make the most of their structure’s potential.

Fabric buildings without support posts can also improve workplace efficiency. For construction, being able to freely move equipment and heavy machinery within a structure provides a major improvement to efficiency. The absence of support posts allows much easier loading and unloading of materials, so operations can spend less time struggling to maneuver heavy machinery and more time completing the project at hand.

A Durable, Dependable Building Solution for Long Term Projects

Not only are fabric structures versatile, but they are also a durable solution for construction operations, meaning they can be used year after year on multiple projects. Construction operations should work with a manufacturer who produces high-quality, reliable structures. There are fabric structures that match the durability of conventional buildings, and the leading manufacturers offer warranties that protect buildings for several decades.

“Whether it’s a permanent or temporary structure, the strength of a welded steel frame provides maximum protection for the workers and materials enclosed,” Ching said.

Triple-galvanized steel frames are desirable, not only because of their immense strength, but also because they require minimal maintenance due to their corrosion resistance. When choosing a manufacturer, customers should look for frame warranties that last upwards of 50 years. A longer warranty indicates confidence in the lifespan of the structure, so construction operations can utilize the same building on every project for years to come.

Durable fabric covers are another vital component of long-lasting structures. Many manufacturers use composite materials, like polyethylene, to create their covers. Polyethylene is noted for its incredible strength under tension, making it ideal for use in fabric buildings. Some manufacturers also offer covers exclusively designed for ultra-durability, so operations can choose the cladding option that is right for their construction project.

The Ideal Building Solution for the Construction Industry

The reasoning behind choosing a fabric structure for construction projects should be clear. No other structure can provide the same benefits of a fabric building at an economical price. The ability to be easily relocated from one jobsite to the next, as well as improved safety and several cost-saving features distinguish fabric structures from traditional buildings, so a fabric building should be the go-to choice for any construction operation in need of a building for future projects.


Nicholas St. Pierre is a Junior Copywriter for ClearSpan, which specializes in innovative building solutions. For more information, visit www.clearspan.com or call 1.866.643.1010 to speak with a ClearSpan specialist.

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