Can fabric take the place of steel?

MegaDome Structures have a variety of designs. Frames are pre-galvanizing tubing, welded with non-corroding silicon-broze welding and are then hot-dipped for 25 year protection. Cost per square foot runs from $10 to $15 depending on specific requirements. |  MegaDome photo

If you didn’t make it out to Ag In Motion to check out the latest fabric-covered buildings in person, we’re bringing you the information now, in this Special Section.

Canvas-covered structures, known as tents many years ago, have been seen on the Prairies for more than four decades.

In that time, emerging technology left the “tent” stigma in the dust years ago. As the technology evolves and the structures improve, farmers and industry are finding more uses for fabric-covered buildings.

In addition to new technology, a return on investment, or ROI, comparison of fabric, wood and steel is pushing more people toward fabric.

What should farmers know when looking fabric-covered buildings? We’ve rounded up information on 11 of the most popular available on the Prairies. If we missed one, please let us know.

Britespan, Wingham, Ont.; 800-407-5846

Britespan was the first company to erect a building at the Ag In Motion Discovery Farm at Langham, Sask.

Shepherd Creek Farms near Staffa, Ontario is a grain and sheep farm with 1,600 acres of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. Two years ago they put up this 80-foot wide by 252-foot long Brightspan fabric covered building. Farm co-owner Sandi Brock says the 20,160 square foot structure cost $15.30 per square foot, for a total price of $308,000. | Britespan photo

Using advanced modular building designs, Britespan fabric buildings with steel trusses meet engineering and safety standards for strength and durability. Britespan fabric structures can be built in less time than most conventional metal storage buildings.

Corrosion-resistant Britespan steel trusses are hot-dip galvanized after all welding and fabrication has been complete, providing corrosion resistance and durability.

Add chimneys to your fabric structure to exhale warm moist air and increase ventilation and air exchange.

Access is integral to the flow of your operation and vital to design requirements. Door size, location and opening style are key considerations for constructing pre-engineered buildings. Door locations can be in end walls or sides.

Foundation options including concrete, pre-cast, steel I-beams or helical anchors.

Curry Industries, Winnipeg 204-661-1729

Curry Industries has been a leader in developing new and innovative uses for poly-sealing technologies such as their Poly-Fastener and Grain Bag Zipper.

The unique design creates an air and water tight seal for grain and feed.

Poly-Fastener is a two-part plastic fastening system consisting of an outer channel and insert strip that grips tight to flexible materials such as plastic sheeting, fabric and fibreglass screen without damaging fragile materials.

The Grain Bag Zipper is used to seal large grain and silage bags. The Grain Bag Zipper System ensures product is protected from rodents, pests and moisture.

Curry products have been developed in Manitoba and have been tested under extreme weather conditions. The channel and insert strip are reusable for years with proper care and maintenance.

Dura Shelter, Angus, Ont. 705-896-2628

Dura Shelter buildings are known for their very high sidewalls. The structures are often mounted on sidewalls made of concrete barriers. Their double truss fabric units are designed for circumstances where maximum height is required. They are suitable for bulk storage of salt, sand, grain, aggregate or fertilizer. Sizes go up to 60 feet wide.

The container/wall mount series can be mounted on concrete walls up to 12 feet high, thus creating a tall interior.

Dura Shelter also sells corrugated steel buildings for those who don’t want canvas protecting their equipment.

Dura Shelter steel products have four layers of industry standard coating. They first paint the base metal with Galvalume and Conversion coatings, which offer good protection against corrosion. Then comes the Epoxy primer, which has good bonding capacity and produces a good surface finish. Epoxy primers offer excellent adhesion to metals and serve as a base for the final paint coating.

FastCover, Winnipeg 204-224-3269

FastCover Portable Engineered Truss Structures are available in widths from 26 to 46 feet. The portability of these buildings allows them to adhere to the ground with anchors, mounted on concrete blocks, concrete footings, pony walls or held to the ground with concrete blocks in applications where soil disturbance is not an option.

FastCover structures can be as wide as 86 feet, with truss spacing in intervals of six to 16 feet. They are engineered to work with a variety of foundations, including concrete footings, concrete knee walls, concrete blocks, screw type steel anchors, wooden posts or wooden pony walls. Pictured here is a 50 foot wide straight double engineered truss unit. | FastCover photo

For permanent buildings, FastCover 86 foot wide engineered welded truss structure combines industrial-grade steel powdercoat painted frames and engineered fabric.

FastCover engineered truss structures in six- to 16-foot truss spacing meet the same stringent building codes as conventional buildings and are designed to meet or exceed engineer certification.

They’re designed to work with a multitude of foundations including concrete footings, concrete walls, concrete blocks, screw pile type steel anchors, wooden posts or wooden pony walls.

They have standard powdercoat painted industrial grade steel for the structure, along with UV inhibiting, high density polyethylene woven 12 ounce fabric and hi-tension kits. Doors can be custom tailored to meet opening requirements, be it a fabric roll-up door, AccuTrack reinforced fabric door, double door, or your door of choice.

Lindome Structures, Delta B.C. 604-946-7966

Lindome Structures use polyethylene and vinyl fabrics. Polyethylene has a fabric life of 12 years, is fire retardant, mould- and mildew-resistant and blocks harmful UVA/UVB rays.

Lindome Structures use polyethylene and vinyl fabrics. Polyethylene has a fabric life of 12 years, is fire retardant, mould and mildew resistant and blocks harmful UVA/UVB rays. | Lindome photo

Single-wall and double-wall options are available. Fabric is 25 to 30 ounces per sq. metre. Nema4 water resistance is also available. An additional airtight feature is available to allow for heating, and an insulating liner can be added for further heat retention. Sheet metal sides are available for increased security.

Lindome fabric doors and partitions have been designed for any industrial setting. Soft partitions, fabric curtains and fabric walls are an economical solution for inside use. Partitions can be used as welding curtains, retractable spray booths and containment of air-borne contamination, such as grinding dust, saw dust, odours, fumes, and paint overspray

MegaDome, Chilliwack B.C. 604-794-3628

Megadome uses a woven polyethylene Powershield fabric covering with high tensile strength and excellent tear resistance.

Frames are constructed of pre-galvanized tubing with non-corroding, silicon-bronze welding or hot-dipped steel for 25 year protection.

Shelters are available in widths from 30 feet to 125 feet in any desired length. Supplied and installed, the cost will range from $10 to $15 per sq. foot, depending on features and design options.

A MegaDome is typically constructed in two weeks. A comparable-sized wood frame building may take months. Construction costs are usually 30 to 50 percent less than other building systems. A study by the Kemptville, Ont., Agricultural College suggested there could be a saving of 50 percent in capital and annual costs.

Norseman Structures, Saskatoon 306-385-2888

All fabric-covered buildings are typically about 10 degrees cooler inside during summer without air conditioning, and 10 degrees warmer inside during winter months without heating.

Norseman fabric shelters are made up of a high quality PVC fabric that has the strength to lift a pickup truck, engine included.

This fabric is carefully welded in Norseman Structures’ manufacturing facility. In the event of a puncture, the material is tear-proof. A fabric building puncture can be repaired with patch tape or by welding on an additional piece of fabric.

The steel frame of a Norseman building is made up of a variety of metal components designed for strength and durability. The steel trusses can be made up of wide flange steel, hollow structural steel or a combination of the two. These components are then coated for corrosion protection with a prime paint or galvanizing, and can further be coated with an epoxy paint for additional protection.

Although fabric -covered buildings can be built to last as long as conventional buildings, they can also be designed as a temporary or movable structure.

A fabric building can be erected or disassembled in a matter of weeks or days.

Sprung Structures; Aldersyde, Alta. 587-800-3344

Sprung’s tensioned fabric structures were developed from its patented fabric membrane building technology.

Sprung fabric shelters meet the strict Miami-Dade County Hurricane Compliance Code. The only building structure left standing in Buras, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a Sprung tension fabric building.

After designing and constructing the NASA Space Shuttle housing facility in the early 1980s, Sprung’s reputation for making the world’s most advanced tensioned fabric structures became known globally.

Substructures are made of aluminum for a high strength-to-weight ratio, superior malleability and excellent corrosion resistance.

The tension system uses individual 15 foot membrane panels that are tensioned both vertically and horizontally. The fabric membrane structures have an R-25 to R-30 energy efficiency rating, which outperforms other types of construction.

If you want more insulation, you’ll also get a high-strength, rip-stop interior membrane that provides a complete finished interior. There is no need to add additional drywall or buildout.

Weather All Shelters: Edmonton 780-448-9659

The structure of Weather All buildings is 2-3/8 inch diameter round tube with a 0.79 inch wall thickness. The tubing is GatorShield galvanized steel. Widths are 18, 24, 30, 38 and 48 feet. Any length is available.

The structures have metal-sheeted door or end walls with a shiny smooth finish. Structure meets engineered specs A, B and C Schedule. The building cover is 12-ounce NovaShield 400 Series. Fire retardant options are available, as are insulated packages.

The fabric is -60 C cold crack resistant and has increased UV resistance. A variety of colours are available.

Whiteline Shelters, Aldersyde, Alta. 403-652-1135

All buildings have 30 percent more steel than competitors. The steel itself is Allied Gatorshield tubing, a domestic product that’s corrosion resistant. Standard fabric weight is 12 ounces and is available in regular and fire retardant.

Whiteline offers turnkey with insulation, heat, concrete slab, lights, power and overhead doors.

Single arches widths are 20, 24, 30, 35, 38, and 42 feet. All buildings are available in both standard Quonset shape or with a straight wall. The 42-foot is available in only standard Quonset shape. They can be any length in five or six foot increments. They come with either auger anchors or cross anchors to secure the building into the ground, with no need for a concrete foundation. Pipe and ratchet and high tension kits are used to keep the building cover tight and ensure the maximum longevity of the fabric.

Winkler Structures, Winkler, Man. 204-325-9548

Winkler Structures was started in 1978 by Dave and Eileen Dyck. Since then, the company has sold more than 10,000 fabric structures, and has 60 dealers across Canada, and also sells direct from the factory.

Winkler Structures has long been in the busienss in Western Canada. Its tension membrane buildings meet or exceed national building codes related to wind, snow and seismic loads. | Winkler Structures photo

All of its tension membrane buildings meet or exceed national building codes related to wind, snow and seismic loads.

Winkler buildings follow all engineering standards set by the International Building Code and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Winkler Structures was one of the first fabric building manufacturers to be A660 certified with the Canadian Welding Bureau and CSA Standard W47.1. By using third party engineers to stamp all of our buildings, there is no chance of a biased in-house engineer stamping an inferior design.

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