10 Things We Know For Sure About Tension Fabric Buildings
June 16, 2021 | Tension Fabric Structures
Ten years ago, Legacy Building Solutions began to reshape the future of how fabric buildings are designed, manufactured and installed. We bucked a few trends, contradicted some conventional wisdom and innovated ourselves into a position that makes us unique in the world of fabric structures. Along the way, we learned some things. This year is our 10-year anniversary, so we thought it made sense to explain what we’ve discovered along the way.
- Solid Steel rigid I-beam frames solve a lot of problems: It’s hard to go wrong with steel, but when we went in that direction, it opened many opportunities for us. It enabled us to design our buildings using proven engineering and software that were industry standard. Our buildings could face the strongest wind, snow and seismic challenges, and our customers could add things like lean-tos, mezzanines, cranes, doors of all sizes, HVAC and more. We could also customize buildings over 300 feet of clearspan space without central supports. The list goes on, but you get the picture. We love steel.
- Tensioning in the correct sequence Helps Everyone: Getting the tension right on our fabric cladding panels was a real breakthrough for us and our customers. Our system works with the physics of the fabric itself. The result is that when we install a building with our correctly tensioned panels, we rarely need to come back to retension the fabric. That rework is common with other fabric structures.
- Tough Fabric builds Confidence: When we moved to PVC fabric (Exxotec™) from PE, we were able to give a 25-year warranty on our 28 oz. cladding. We’ve tested its strength by driving a skid loader on top of one of our suspended panels. We also achieved Florida Product Approval in 2018, one of the toughest standards in the construction industry. One of many tests required to achieve Florida Product approval is the missile test which involves shooting 2x4’s at the fabric as installed on the building.
- Doing Manufacturing In House helps Eliminate Operational Snags: There’s a strong do-it-yourself vibe at Legacy, and that’s one reason why we do so much of the work ourselves. Of course, doing everything in house helps us with quality control, making sure we are providing our customers with the highest quality end product. We start with raw steel and fabricate that into our beams and supporting pieces. We get the rolls of our Exxotec™ fabric and our fabric team creates the walls and roof panels for every one of our buildings. Because corrosion protection is a priority with many of our clients, we do our own epoxy coatings (Epoxxishield™) in our new Paint Shop. That’s the long way of saying, our schedules depend on doing great work on time…and minimizing the snags created by other suppliers’ scheduling.
- A Dedicated Crew Makes Us look good: We hear it again and again from customers that they can’t believe how fast our crews install a building. We primarily use our own crews for a lot of reasons. We have proprietary installation procedures that require extensive training, skills and experience. We also have very high safety standards and our teams are committed to safety. Even though every building is custom designed, our crews know the way we do things and that expedites construction. Our crews typically show up, work long days, through weekends, until the building is done.
- Serving Many Industries Helps Us Innovate: We serve 16 industries with our tension fabric structures, everything from aviation to agriculture, from the military to the equestrian world. The thing about construction is that every project presents its own challenges, its own opportunities to problem solve, its own learning environment. Our crews, designers and engineers take what they learn and apply it across our future projects. As we get smarter as an organization, our buildings get better and better.
- Addressing Customer’s ever-changing building needs is key: We customize every building we install…every time. That has made us very good at listening to clients and then delivering exactly what they need. We decided early that our buildings don’t lend themselves to prefabbed, off-the-shelf applications. Since we build them to last, we want our customers to have precisely what they want for decades.
- Natural Light is an amazing side benefit: In many of our buildings, our fabric panels on the roof and in the walls let in about 12% natural light. We knew this would be good for the horses when we began serving the equestrian industry, but we are discovering that more and more customers from all industries love natural light. It’s good for horses but it’s also good for people. In many cases the natural light allows the structure to be off the grid, and of course customers save a lot of money on lighting and electricity.
- Enhanced Corrosion Protection is the key to long term performance: Some of the industries we serve are in corrosive environments. Sometimes they are near coasts, sometimes they are storing salt and sometimes they are warehouses for other corrosive materials such as mining concentrates and fertilizers. Whatever the application, we need to protect customers’ steel structure. Our most recent innovation has been to apply epoxy coatings to these projects, what we call EpoxxiShield™. We used to send the steel out for hot-dipped galvanizing—and we still do it if they want it—but our testing has shown that the epoxy coatings provide better corrosion protection.
- Fast and High Quality aren’t Mutually Exclusive: Even though our buildings are all customized, that doesn’t mean it takes longer to get one. In fact, we’ve learned over time that our commitment to improving the quality of our structures also makes our processes more efficient. Consequently, you can get a long-lasting, high-quality building that meets your needs, AND you can get it quickly.
For all of our customers who taught us, challenged us, and loved our results over the last 10 years, thank you. If you need a structure soon, we are looking forward to having you as part of our legacy for the next 10 years.