By Rory Bagley

Before construction projects can begin, one of the first steps that is necessary is to set up on-site facilities for the crew to use.

Smaller construction projects may only need facilities for storing tools and materials. For larger projects, facility needs may include fabrication shops, warehouses, on-site offices, and more. Many governing agencies even require on-site restrooms or sanitation facilities regardless of project size.

Whatever types of facilities are necessary, the challenge is that construction crews cannot begin work on the actual project at hand until these structures are set up.

On-Site Structure Options for Construction

Construction project managers are faced with a dilemma when deciding what kinds of structures to use for these facilities.

Typical construction methods such as wood, metal, or brick and mortar are too time-consuming and cost-prohibitive, adding to timelines and budgets, and can’t be relocated easily after the project is complete. Off-the-shelf tents and pop-up canopies — while cheaper, quicker to set up, and easy to relocate — are generally too flimsy to withstand harsh weather conditions or prolonged use, jeopardizing whatever you’re storing in them and increasing expenses if they must be replaced.

Fabric structures provide an ideal alternative that combines the durability of typical construction with the efficiency and transportability of off-the-shelf options.

However, construction project managers should keep in mind that not all fabric structures are created equal. Many fabric structures claim to meet specific wind and snow loads and other challenges, but only engineered fabric structures can be relied on to follow through on their claims.

Quality, of course, costs money. Designing a fabric structure to meet the unique challenges of your construction project and endure decades of use requires the highest-quality materials, proven engineering, and field and laboratory testing — and will naturally cost more than a nonengineered fabric structure.

So, where do the savings come in?

How Engineered Fabric Structures Reduce Construction Costs

While specific cost savings come down to the manufacturer of your engineered fabric structure, engineered fabric structures typically save you money by reducing costs related to transportation, installation, and maintenance.

For example, engineered fabric structures from Alaska Structures® reduce construction project budgets with the following cost-saving benefits:

  • Lighter weight and smaller cube size, enabling more efficient and cost-effective shipping
  • Minimal foundation requirements so you can install the structures on virtually any level surface
  • Less preconstruction and site preparation required
  • Minimal equipment or tool requirements
  • Ability to be installed by unskilled labor — no need for expensive supervisors, setup crews, or experienced builders
  • Significantly reduced construction schedule
  • Plug-and-play lighting, electrical, and HVAC systems that you can install yourself
  • Virtually no maintenance required once the structures are set up
  • Energy-efficient structure design and built-in energy-saving systems, such as insulation packages and skylights

What’s more, these engineered structures can be left in place for as long as the construction project lasts and then easily stored or relocated to your next project. If your construction project needs grow or change, the structures can be expanded or reconfigured without purchasing a new solution altogether.

Fabric Structure Options From Alaska Structures®

Alaska Structures® offers fabric structures for all kinds of construction projects, with hundreds of designs, sizes, and configurations to meet every need.

Choose from storage structures for tools, materials, equipment, and vehicles, fabrication shops, workshops, warehouses, and mobile offices, or complete off-site camp systems for remote construction projects.

Alaska Structures’ building experts work closely with construction project managers to custom-design a structure that meets local building codes and wind and snow loads. Contact the Alaska Structures team today to request a quote or learn more about how their fabric structures can save your construction project money.


Rory Bagley is an experienced structural architect who now consults with companies and writes about various engineering topics.

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