Frequently Asked Questions

Find our more about our work, tensile structures and how we operate.

Answering Your Queries

From time to time we get asked a range of questions about our services, the fabrics we use, where we work and how we operate. We have compiled a list of commonly asked questions below, and if you need any further information, please do contact us or head over to our news section.

Our Frequently Asked Questions

What does your service include?

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.

Are tensile structures expensive?

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.

What about wind and snow loads?

Every structure we design satisfies the Euro code for wind and snow loading (BS EN 1991-1-1:2003 + A1 2015 Eurocode 1: Actions on structures).

How long will a tensile structure last?

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.

Can you describe the fabrics available?

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.

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 in our downloads

How green are tensile structures?

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.

How often and how should you clean tensile structures?

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.

Do you work overseas?

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.

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