Fabric Structures: Planning and Design Essentials

In the design process, one of the most important aspects is the concept design. If this isn’t right at the start, the installation, manufacture and design will all be affected by the bad concept, spoiling the performance and appearance of the final result.

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There are a number of things to consider when planning and designing these structures:

The Supporting Structure

The support and anchorages of the structure must be established at the start so as to ensure that the Tensile Fabric Structures can be added onto the sub-structure. Even smaller canopies require thought as these can apply considerable forces to those supporting structures. Allowing for these forces at the design stage is crucial.

The Fabric

Permanent outdoor structures are mostly constructed of PTFE-coated fibreglass or PVC-coated polyester. Should the construction be indoors, various other types of fabrics are available, including stretch fabrics like Spandex or Lycra, synthetic materials and cotton.

Different environmental factors will influence the fabric choice which means various things need taking into consideration before the material is selected. Potential influences include the temperature, humidity level, dust amounts and exposure to rainfall.

The beauty of many of these fabrics is that they’re easy to enhance with lighting including back- and front-lighting. They’re also easy to clean, and fabrics like PVC have fire retardant properties, which is why many companies including at this link www.spatialstructures.com/building-systems-explained have buildings constructed with this material or can build one for you.

The Structural Materials

Just as the material used for the fabric aspect of these structures is important so too is the material and coating used to support the structure. There are numerous options including simple painted steel, hot-dip galvanised steel and marine-grade 316 stainless steel. The deciding factor of which material is most suitable will rest on the environment that the structure is going to be exposed to. As they’re normally exposed to a multitude of weathers, they need to be able to withstand these.

Designing a structure like this requires expertise and shouldn’t be constructed by anyone who doesn’t have proficient engineering experience so always hire an expert. The design needs to be able to endure a number of factors such as eccentricities, winds and so on. However, the structure also needs to be aesthetically pleasing, meaning that all of the various technical details and structural aspects need incorporating into a design that is in-fitting with the brief.