Knowledge Bank Main Contractors & Clients

We have an exceptional track record in delivering bespoke architectural tensile fabric structures

Our team has the creative and technical capability

From the uniquely challenging Up at The O2 roofwalk, to the striking entrance canopies at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and the landmark fabric structure at the Lords Cricket Ground, our team has the creative and technical capability to realise even the most bold and complex builds. Also, because we’ve tried and tested most concepts over the years, from large-scale cantilever canopies to retractable roof systems, we can identify a design’s feasibility at the outset. By injecting our specialist design knowledge upfront, we ensure your project is realised – not compromised.

Service wise, we offer the complete solution from design to installation. Taking full responsibility for your project, we apply the same level of expertise, care and quality control at every stage of the process, guaranteeing you a structure that's built to last.


  • Zero incidents on a project this complex in very taxing weather would be a remarkable achievement for most companies, but it’s all in a day’s work for Base Structures. The prescient approach brought by the team - smoothing the way to keeping the building operational, despite developing design during the contract due to pre-construction access restrictions – made it a pleasure to work with them all. It’s rather sad we don’t expect to see them back for 25-30 years (on this job anyway!)
    Mo Blane (CDM-C/Architect)
    EICA roof replacement
  • Thank goodness we were working with Base Structures. They have an incredible ability to deliver complex projects under duress and extreme timescales. Their collaborative approach and innovative thinking was outstanding, and their approach to safety on such a difficult project was second to none. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with Base again – they are a trusted partner and worked seamlessly with us throughout
    Matthew Birchall (Director, Sports and Lightweight Structures)
    Buro Happold on Up at The O2
  • We were extremely impressed by the ingenious problem solving methods of work that were employed by Base. The hard work ethic is also very prevalent within Base’s organisation from Director level right through the work force.
    Jon Clayden (Senior Construction Manager)
    ISG on Up at The O2

Pre-qualification information

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We offer a one-stop shop - from design, manufacture, installation and through to after sales maintenance support. We can supply everything above foundation level - ie the steel frame, tie rods etc – and even glazing and cladding if these are closely integrated in the design.

A useful comparison is with other types of translucent roofing. A fabric structure over a shopping mall or school internal street could be half the cost of a toughened glass roof - particularly as the steel frame can be much lighter as it only needs to take a fraction of the dead weight.

However, bespoke fabric structures would struggle to compete with clear triple wall polycarbonate. The cost, of course, also needs to be weighed against the application and the appearance. View our fabric matrix and you can see how the various types of structure compare in cost.

Every structure we design satisfies the British Standard Codes for wind and snow loading (BS 6399 parts 2 & 3). We will also take into full account its location, height and surrounding buildings and if it is designed for permanent or just seasonal use.

Please be aware that some companies offer sail shade structures that are inevitably lower in cost, but are not engineered for year-round use. If this is what you require, this will need to be incorporated into the specification.

This will depend on the materials used. So 35-40 years if you specify a PTFE or silicon coated glass cloth - otherwise 15-30 years for PVC-coated polyester fabrics. The rest of the steel frame and cables will be good for 50 years. To keep the structure looking at its best and operating safely, some routine maintenance will be required, and we can advise on this.

This will be determined by the application. For external structures we work with PTFE coated glass, Silicon coated glass, TENARA (PTFE coated PTFE) and PVC coated polyester. We also offer an ETFE cushion system and single skin ETFE framed ‘glazing’ system.

For internal structures there is a wealth of choice - from sunscreen meshes and lycras through to polyesters and synthetic silks.

All are fire rated and all the external fabrics are supplied with the manufacturers warranty.

A full comparison chart is available here.

Tensile Fabric structures are probably the most efficient method of achieving long span enclosures. Compared to conventional steel frame and glass alternatives the embodied energy is significantly less. Conversely, though, tensile structures usually require larger concrete foundations due to the tensile loads.

One of the biggest contributions fabric can make environmentally is in the overcladding of structures where savings of up to 40% in the energy required for cooling have been recorded.

For more details on the merits of each fabric check out our fabric matrix.

Translucency is one of the major benefits of tensile structures, so keeping them clean has to be an advantage. But compared to glass, the cleaning regime is substantially less demanding - usually amounting to an annual wash down with soapy water and soft brush.

Most structures can be cleaned from cherry pickers with telescopic brushes; but with deep plan canopies, trained rope-access operatives should wet wipe the canopy with the help of water filled backpacks. The frequency required will depend upon the location, with structures in high profile city centre sites benefiting from a six-month cycle.

Canopies under trees need particular attention as accumulating leaves can cause discolouration.

Yes we do. We have installed projects in the USA, Europe, the Middle and Far East. Where possible, we will utilise local resources for steel manufacture and skilled labour to reduce costs and our carbon footprint. All installation work would be controlled by our own site supervisors.