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    Fabric Structures for Power Plants

    Tension fabric structures for power plants or the oil and gas industry
    August 17, 2021 | Advantages of Tension Fabric Structures, Construction Management, Oil, Gas & Energy Building

    Power plants are currently rethinking what their future looks like. Typically, one of the most stable industry sectors, utilities are undergoing rapid change and looking for new opportunities to conduct operations in innovative ways.

    When people or industries are changing the way they think, it’s often a good time to introduce them to fabric buildings. If planning for a traditional structure with traditional materials has got you stuck, let us introduce you to the tension fabric structure. It’s a rewrite of the old fabric buildings you may already be familiar with, and it might open up some opportunities for you.

    Shorter Construction

    Buildings take a long time, right? Not necessarily. Once we determine what you, the building owner, wants, our designers and engineering team will quickly draw up the plans. Once those are finalized, those same teams can walk about 20 feet down the hall and hand them off to our fabric team. Another copy can be delivered about 50 feet away to our steel fabricators. When the frames need to be primed and painted, perhaps with epoxy coatings, that’s another 100 feet away on our campus.

    Then all the materials are loaded on trucks and delivered to our crews—Legacy typically uses our own crews—at your site, and they install it. Our crews have many extensive experience installing tension fabric buildings, so they often surprise customers at how quickly a very large building can go up.

    The mistake some people make is that they assume a building that goes up quickly is just temporary. With our structures, nothing could be further from the truth. Our track record attests to the durability and longevity of our buildings.

    Customizable to any footprint

    We start from scratch with every building that we get. There are no catalogs, lists or cookie-cutter designs. Your building begins with you and your needs. The process ends with us delivering exactly what you order.

    It’s not just about making the structure fit in the space available. Because we use proven engineering when we design the solid steel frames, we can also make your structure more operationally functional. Need a crane to move equipment inside the building? We can engineer our roof beams to support that. Want a conveyor? We’ve done a lot of buildings that support conveyors, some of them quite heavy. Need to have a space for offices or break rooms for personnel. Our designers can factor those into the final product. Don’t settle for “what you can get.” Get what you want with no compromises.


    We use the most durable materials—solid steel and a proprietary PVC fabric—to construct our buildings. That’s a good start. Then we construct them using our own crews. They are trained in our methods so the building is installed according to our specifications. That’s important because we use a patented process for attaching and tensioning our fabric panels, and our crews get it right. When a fabric exterior is attached using the correct tension, it actually increases the longevity of the building. Our fabric is tensioned so it doesn’t rub against the frames during high winds and weather. That reduces the wear on the fabric panels, so they last for decades (not years).

    Because we build all over the world, our engineering must abide by all local and international building codes. We build, for example, in Florida where we received Florida Product Approval. We also build in the Andes Mountains, where seismic movement needs to be factored into the structure. Our buildings in northern Alberta, as you might guess, need to be designed for both snow load and wind. When you buy a building from Legacy, you receive engineered drawings detailing snow load (pounds per square foot), wind resistance (miles per hour) and seismic codes (A through D). These tell you what your building can handle.

    Minimal Maintenance

    One of the properties of our fabric cladding, ExxoTec™, is that the final exterior layer is lacquer. That makes the surface of our structures very slick, making it difficult for dirt to adhere to it. Often a good rain or snow will completely clean the exterior of the whole building. Otherwise, a quick spray with a pressure washer once or twice a year, and you are good to go.

    With traditional materials such as wood or metal, painting and rusting costs can add up over the years. Let us take that off your plate for the life of your building.

    Energy Efficient

    In terms of energy, fabric structures can help with both heating/cooling and lighting. Our fabric cladding is thermally non-conductive, meaning the temperature inside the building is generally cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In contrast, a traditional metal or wood building transfers a lot of heat or cold into a building over the course of the seasons.

    Fabric buildings, especially the way Legacy constructs them, create a very tightly enclosed envelope over the frame. That means less air leakage. Don’t worry, our passive ventilation helps control humidity inside the structure.

    On the lighting side of the equation, our white ExxoTec™ fabric is 12% translucent. That means our fabric roof panels and wall panels allow natural lighting inside of an uninsulated structure. The benefits of natural light for your workforce are well documented, but foregoing lighting inside the building for most of the day can save you money on electricity right away.

    If you are looking for a new structure—and a new way of thinking about your future buildings—we hope you will consider a Legacy tension fabric structure. They can be adapted to many of the needs of a traditional power organization and are ideal for new directions in the future. You can get the whole picture by scheduling a consult with one of our specialists.

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