Using Temporary Fabric Screening to Aid Project Timelines

Using temporary screening on site is a great way to ensure no matter what happens, your construction project can continue despite what weather or programme delays throws at it. We’re proud to say that we’ve just achieved this on a new project – using removable, adaptable screening to aid site access and project progression in a prominent city-centre construction site.

To aid protection from rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, the client was looking for temporary screening to secure a 15-storey office building, guaranteeing their programme of work could continue uninterrupted and meet pre-arranged turnaround times.

To meet the requirements of the proposal, we installed forty-four screens across the length of the building, with an impressive total fabric area of 1,800m2. Ensuring the project could continue no matter what happened to the weather, the screens were designed to withstand all relevant British Standard wind loadings and fire retardancy requirements. We also took this one step further and devised new attachment methods in tandem with the client to circumvent the fact that the existing columns were not appropriate. The results were cost effective, versatile, and offered much more flexibility when considering site conditions and access requirements.

The client, said: “The temporary weathering solution installed by Base Structures is a great design and fitted our needs perfectly. The installation team has maintained an extremely high standard of quality and safety and have delivered the install ahead of the anticipated programme.”

Andy Traynor, Head of Installation on the project and Director at Base Structures, added: “These temporary fabric screens help solve a problem for a client at a vital time in their building programme, enabling them to work uninterrupted in areas where building exterior is yet to be completed. Tensile fabric is perfect for this job, as they can be installed quickly with minimal disruption, allowing contractors to get on with the job and fulfil tight turnaround times. These screens are also very easy to dismount, so when they’re no longer needed, we will also remove them”

Base Structures are committed to the upcycling and re-use of tensile fabric that has not yet reached its end of life, and our zero-landfill policy means that screens like this can find another useful life elsewhere.

To speak to Base Structures about similar projects, or where expertise such as this can add value and time-efficiency to your building programme, get in touch on the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Fabric structure surveys: why to get a structural inspection this winter

As the wind and rain move into the UK this winter, tensile fabric structures are under an enormous amount of load – the fabric itself can often be damaged in high winds and rain, and fixtures and fittings can suffer wear after prolonged exposure to the elements. Base Structures offer comprehensive fabric structure surveys for your tensile fabric system – maintaining and replacing, damaged structures where appropriate or advising on the best course of action to keep your system safe and providing the best possible value and aesthetic appeal.

Read on for a few reasons why we think getting a thorough structural inspection this winter is a vital part of your overall building maintenance programme.

Our surveys can get to hard to reach places

Damage to fabric structures can often occur in unseen places – at fixing points for example, or at heights where an inspection with the naked eye can be misleading. Not only can access be difficult to fully assess any damage, it’s also hard without specialist advice to know where to look and where start to fix any issues.

Our structural inspections go beyond just the fabric, we will take a detailed look at the fixtures and fitting and make recommendations to replace elements that may be showing signs of age. We can even make overall improvements to your structure by painting and cleaning steel structures or wire rope systems.

Once the inspection report is completed it will be reviewed internally by our expert fabric technicians, and if necessary can be further analysed by a fully qualified structural engineer where a significant concern has been highlighted.

It will save you more money in the long run

Getting a comprehensive survey from Base Structures doesn’t tie you into a full, expensive canopy replacement. Where appropriate, we’ll make recommendations to suit your budget, and in many cases remedial works can be carried out off the back of a survey that’ll save you more money than investing in a whole new canopy system. We can, for example, carry out a maintenance and cleaning plan to preserve the life of your existing canopy, or make small tensioning adjustments to ensure it stays safe.

Where it’s relevant, we can also discuss with you options for new canopies and fabrics, utilising our expert knowledge to advise on fabric technology and modern enhancements to tensile solutions.

We are fully trained to work at height

Many structural inspections aren’t possible without the ability to look at the issues first hand. That’s why we’re fully trained and certified to work at height, offering the best possible opportunity for us to accurately advise you on the correct next steps. We’ve carried out many repair jobs at height, including wrapping cables on the Severn Bridge and pipe laying at height via rope access. Even if your repair job is relatively small, being able to get in the right position with minimal disruption to the public is key to ensuring efficient and speedy completion.

Our maintenance and replacement services are varied, and we use the whole breadth of Base Structures’ in-house expertise to provide the best possible inspection and survey services for your business. We’ve completed a number of high profile maintenance and replacement jobs across the country, including the famous Mount Stand at Lords Cricket Ground – you can read more about this project in our recent blog post here. For anything else, or if you’d like to discuss getting us along to assess your fabric system and its structural integrity, contact us today.

Replacing an Iconic Canopy – Lords Mound Stand

Many of the UK’s fabric structures that were installed before the millennium are nearing the end of their design life and as such owners may be considering replacement canopies. Here at Base we have replaced several landmark fabric structures, in this blog we want to explore the sensitive process of replacing a well established structure to give it a new lease of life whilst preserving the identity and design features. We have done this by focusing on one great example of this, replacing the Iconic Lords Mound Stand Canopy.

The spiritual home of cricket, Lords, can trace its roots as far back as the late 18th century. As one of the founding venues of the game, it’s an impressive icon for the sport, and needs thorough maintenance to be kept in perfect shape all year round. Owned and run by the governing body of cricket, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) commissioned a multi-million pound overhaul of the venue back in 2005. Base Structures were on-hand to help replace the ageing canopy over the Mount Stand – which was due an upgrade after nearly twenty years in service. Read on to find out more about how we did it.

The Challenge

The decision to replace a canopy is not a decision taken lightly, but in this instance, a new canopy was deemed to provide significant structural improvements due to the use of new material and would be expected to last a significantly longer time than the previous one. Because of this, we were appointed to provide a methodology that kept to strict budget and timeline requirements, incorporating into our solution innovative access methods that caused minimum disruption to ensure that scheduled cricket matches wouldn’t be impacted at the start of the season.

Surveying the Solution

As with any of our replacement canopy projects, to provide the best possible outcome we ensured we carried out an extensive and thorough survey of the whole site. This meant we could plan a solution to replicate the iconic shape, assess the best access methods to minimise disruption to local transport and additionally to ensure the structure was suitable and in good enough condition to hold the weight of a new canopy.

We also had to work out how we were going to remove the old canopy. Our survey identified that working platform nets were the best way of ensuring safety whilst working at height – these solutions offer excellent flexibility and safety compared to traditional scaffolding, and meant that once certified by our rope-access team, non-IRATA trained personnel could work on them – significantly expediting the replacement process.

The New Canopy

With the survey of the existing steelwork structure complete, we could use CAD software to accurately map out, design and plan a replacement fabric. We did improve the canopy design for the new installation by making the fabric in one single piece, whilst still preserving the familiar shape of the canopy, this change would improve the overall aesthetics and required our full fabric expertise to plan the methodology for installation.

We didn’t just deal with the installation, we also ensured that all steelwork was painted and touched up before installation, and that all fixtures and fitting were brand new to ensure total safety. Of course, the replacement fabric we used was also of a far higher specification than the old one due to many technical advancements over the years and has a greater expected design life than the previous of 25-30 years.

A Sustainable Approach

One key area of this project that we carry over into as many replacement canopy projects as we can is sustainable and ecologically sensitive disposal of the old fabric. Making sure we send as little to landfill as possible is an important part of our role and not one we take lightly – for this project we partnered with the fabric’s manufacturer and supplier to send the old canopy to a PVC recycling plant. By doing so, we were also recognised with a building sustainability award! Read more about our approach to sustainability.

Contact us for a no-obligation chat

As with any replacement canopy project, the Lords Canopy was successful as it was prefaced by thorough survey work, planning, preparation and consideration. It also was a full belt-and-braces approach – we made sure all steelwork was painted and improved, as well as providing and installing brand new fixtures and fittings. Contact us today to discuss how we might be able to help your business by fitting a new canopy – whether large or small.

Salt barn and sand storage maintenance for winter

As autumn is now upon us it is a good time to prepare ahead for the winter months. Wind damage to temporary structures can be prevented with forward maintenance planning. A loose panel or tow and the structure is vulnerable in the wind, but by maintaining good tension in the panels and keeping the fabric in good condition, extensive expensive repairs can be avoided.

Keeping salt and sand safely contained

Every year as snow and ice hit our roads, we require thousands of tonnes of salt and minerals to keep us moving and to be placed on major transport routes across the country. Temporary modular salt barns and storage facilities keep it secure and prevent it spoiling by being exposed to the wind and rain and to keep it from escaping into the surrounding environment which can be harmful as salts have corrosive properties.

It is important to maintain the integrity of the structure to ensure it remains sturdy, robust and contains the salt in controlled conditions, which is vital for it to be effective when winter comes around.

Energy Efficiency

Fabric structures of this nature can be temporary but also extremely durable and last many years as required. Because they are lightweight they offer a more energy efficient installation process requiring far less powered equipment than other more traditional construction methods and building types. They also provide natural daylight to filter through offering energy savings on lighting needs for the interior.

By maintaining the fabric roof of the structure you can ensure the integrity and cleanliness of the structure and the continued level of sufficient natural daylight and weather protection.

Fabric expertise at Base

Base Structures have repaired salt and sand storage barns in various locations across the UK and would be happy to discuss your requirements.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements in more detail, and let our experienced team guide you through the process.

Creating low energy spaces with fabric canopies

Whilst social distancing is no longer a requirement, we now face new challenges with soaring energy bills for homes and businesses alike heading into the winter period. The addition of a low energy outdoor spaces provided by a fabric canopy will be key for many businesses and venues over the festive season.

Let in the daylight

Fabric canopies offer covered space and weather protection whilst also letting in diffused natural daylight reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day. Even with the addition of energy efficient lighting and heating, spaces covered with canopies can be significantly cheaper to run and operate than older, inefficient interior spaces inside buildings.

Run effectively alongside your everyday inside operation, a good canopy can offer your organisation the flexibility a natural outdoor space can provide. We can offer bespoke or pre-designed options, get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Retractable canopy options

The flexibility offered by a retractable canopy means it ideal for restaurants, leisure, retail and event spaces. They provide the desired ambience combined with the ability to adjust the shading level to suit the weather and utilise the space uninterrupted throughout the day, making the most of the good weather and protect from the bad.

Fabric expertise at Base

Whether you are looking for an outdoor canopy for a restaurant, school or planning an event space, our highly qualified fabric experts know these structures inside-out and will help you find out which canopy might be right for you project. You can also browse our pre-canopy ranges below

Contact us today to discuss your project in more detail, and let our experienced team guide you through the process.

Canopy examples to inspire your next outdoor project

If you’re looking for some inspiration to transform your outdoor space over the summer period, canopies are well worth looking at.

Canopies can reinvent, rejuvenate and bring new colour to an environment, at the same time as being the perfect way of adding shelter, shade and atmosphere to forgotten spaces. In this article, we’ll be looking at some canopy inspiration, whether by adding retractable shade roofs to your outdoor space, or adding sails above garden patio areas.

Here are seven different canopy examples to inspire your next project.

Adding shade to spots that get the sun

In areas that get constant sun, we stock smaller pre-designed canopies that offer excellent shading – especially when strung together or placed in larger areas. For more protection from the glare, we also offer retractable solar shading from major manufacturers. Our expert canopy team can help you design the best fit for your space.

To add atmosphere and partition areas of a building

Canopies act as excellent dividers, adding intrigue and reveals to garden and patio spaces with relatively minimal effort required when it comes to installation and maintenance. They work especially well in smaller garden spaces to create canopy shading, shelter and protection from the elements too.

Adding to hospitality, restaurants and pub gardens

Over the past year or so, many outdoor spaces have been dramatically expanded to ensure capacity is maintained throughout social distancing. Adding a canopy to provide shelter to outdoor spaces is an easy thing to do – canopies can be designed to work around existing seating arrangements and outdoor configurations.

In playgrounds and to increase learning space

As well as providing a vibrant new social and community space suitable for use in all weather conditions to the facilities, a low cost canopy scheme can provide schools and university and educational premises with a covered outdoor learning space, to expand learning facilities and offer new opportunities to learn outside.

To provide shelter for stages

A performance canopy can offer a great central hub for recreation and entertainment for a town center or venue and is highly versatile offering the option to host all manner of events from festival, theatre or music concerts, open air film performances or sporting events. Some of our pre-designed solutions offer demountable rear and side walls that can be removed to prevent vandalism when performances are not taking place. The steelwork can also been specifically designed to support a full range of stage lighting equipment, creating a theatrical facility worthy of any star performance.

For recreation and leisure

With the desire for more outdoor living ever increasing, canopies can bring a number of opportunities for the leisure sectors. Whether providing sun protection during the summer months with attractive umbrella style canopies or more robust seasonal wind shelter, a covered outdoor space will create an inviting space for dining, socialising or events and be a space where customers will want to spend time.

Get ready for spring: how city dressing can transform a space after winter

Winter has been a time to regroup, and fortunately, spring is now emerging. The late winter period has given us the perfect opportunity to reimagine forgotten spaces, transform how we use others and make sure that areas we don’t use over the down seasons are revitalised and reinvigorated ready for a fresh influx of people on the streets.

In this article, we’ll be sharing some thoughts on some easy steps to take, both in public and domestic spaces, that enable us to bring fresh thought and perspective, and allow us to use our outdoor environments to the best of their ability through sunnier times.

Add planters and flower beds

With more and more spaces in urban areas changing use, it gives us a good opportunity to look at disused areas, and consider how we can add colour, brightness and a touch of nature to them. Small planters, flower beds and areas to allow plants to grow wildly is the perfect thing to do here. It costs very little, causes minimal disruption and is something that can literally grow and evolve over time.

String up lights or use eco-friendly lanterns

Poor lighting is one common bug-bear of lesser-used areas in our urban spaces, but with a bit of thought, atmospheric lighting can quite literally brighten up a space and bring new life into otherwise dull areas. Festoon lighting is popular, suitable for all-weather uses and attaching to temporary structures such as canopies and is also very affordable and versatile.

Create more seating room

As the weather warms up, people will naturally want to sit outside. But instead of just making room for chairs and tables, it’s worth thinking creatively as to how you can use the built environment around you to provide seating spaces. Seating spaces can also be built in multi-use environments, incorporating bike storage, electric charging points or even popup gardens or parklets, for example.

Consider adding grass or natural environmental features to your outdoor space

Green space is scientifically proven to work wonders on our brains and bodies, stimulating better moods and increased physical and mental health. Building green spaces into our urban areas has been increasingly important, and the rise of green spaces being constructed  in otherwise derelict or abandoned land is encouraging. Even planting a small amount of grass, or using living roofs, for example, allows animal and insect species to thrive and provide a better space around all of us.

Create space for entertainment

Temporary spaces for restaurants, bars and stages can easily be implemented as part of city dressing certain areas in time for spring and summer. Twinned with the right lighting and seating space, trailers serving food and drinks, pop-up stages, bars and other entertainment areas can add liveliness, a sense of busyness and a central focus to areas that have otherwise stood empty through the winter season.

How good maintenance can prevent against wind damage

With a host of recent bad weather and a number of named storms hitting the shores of the UK this winter, widespread damage to both temporary and permanent structures has been seen across the country. From parts of established structures to poorly secured or maintained temporary installations, damage has been seen in many areas across a wide range of building types. Much of this damage can be limited or prevented in some way by safety practices and good, thorough maintenance.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some simple things you can do to prepare for windy weather in the UK.

Check your structure’s wind load capabilities

Every fabric used on canopies behaves slightly differently in windy conditions, so it pays to check the safety credentials of your structures. Fabric canopies and structures are designed to perform well in windy conditions, but only if they’re engineered and then erected properly in the first place, and most need suitable space and the right fittings and fixtures to accommodate deflections and oscillations in stormy or windy conditions. If in doubt, contact Base Structures and speak to one of our experts to ensure your fabric structure is right for you.

Make sure the fabric is properly cleaned

As a fabric canopy or structure is used, it gets covered with dirt and grime that needs to be periodically cleaned off. If the build up of this dirt gets too much, it can damage the lacquer on the fabric and compromise the fabric integrity and longevity. Cleaning a canopy not only improves its aesthetic qualities, ensuring its integrity will significantly enhance its ability to withstand poor weather, making it a much better long term investment.

Check your structure’s tension

Cleaning is one major contributory factor to canopies withstanding wind and rain, but many people forget that after years of use, the cables used to keep fabric structures in place can slacken, increasing the stress loads on the structure as a whole and causing more damage than if cables were taught. You also need to check that the cables you’ve used are in good condition – not rusty, bent or degraded to a point that they may not do the intended job when put under load.

Repair holes in the canopy for greater integrity

Over time, fabric structures can pick up holes and tears. Flying debris in storms or even birds pecking at your canopy will create tiny weak spots that over time can rip and cause bigger issues. As part of your canopy maintenance, it makes sense to not only clean your canopy properly but also invest in repairs to small holes and punctures. If ignored, small weaknesses can damage the integrity of the membrane in the fabric and cause greater problems further down the line.

Canopy Replacement: How Replacing Old Fabric Canopies Improves Building Lifespan

Over the years, canopy fabric technology has improved dramatically, and although in most cases our pre-designed canopies or bespoke systems will still be doing their job, a revitalised setup with a new, more technologically advanced fabric coating can bring a fresher look, improved security and safety and a longer lifespan to your building.

In this blog post, we’ll be looking at some reasons to replace old fabric canopies, and suggest some creative and inventive ways to avoid landfill and reuse the old ones.

In many cases, increased lifespans have improved canopy guarantees and warranties over the years. This adds peace of mind for the consumer, and a greater confidence that newer, more advanced canopies will improve on your old ones. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more about specific products we work with.

Improves the look and feel

There’s no getting away from the fact that old canopies, after years of winter seasons and protecting buildings against the elements, start to look tired. Good cleaning and canopy maintenance can significantly help increase the lifespan of a canopy, but after a while a new one is the way to go – especially if you’re twinning this with other building or site improvements. 

We can design fabric cladding systems like we did at Sainsburys in Crayford to change the look of a site and provide an updated look as well as provide greater protection against the elements.

Avoid landfill

When you take an old canopy down, you’ll inevitably then be faced with the question of what to do with it now. Reusing old canopies for festivals and events is popular, and we’ve worked with many clients over the years to ensure old canopies avoid landfill and get used in an environmentally conscious and attractive way. We have also helped turn take down fabric into ground mats, weather proofing and many other functions.

Protects users against poor weather

Over time, the efficiency of a fabric canopy can diminish – damage can be mitigated by a good maintenance schedule – but essentially after a while canopies that are in poor shape won’t provide the protection required. This is where replacement canopies come in – and we can recycle and reuse old canopies to ensure they don’t end up in landfill, too.

Add additional outdoor space

Replacing an older structure at the end of its life means you have a good opportunity to redesign your canopy and replace it with something that better suits your needs – perhaps you want to expand your outdoor seating area or provide greater shelter for customers entering

To make a statement

When we replaced the stand canopy at Lord Cricket Ground, it not only increased the lifespan of the building and the stand, but added a new aesthetic to the building which future proofed it. We were also finalists in the 2006 Building Sustainability Awards for this project, as we partnered with a PVC recycler in France to ensure all the original fabric we removed was put to good use.

To encorporate new technology 

Sometimes, time and technology has moved on since a client replaced their fabric roof, so it’s worth getting a new one to ensure that the latest technology and safety requirements are met. We did this at Portobello Market in London – working with our client to replace an ageing roof system that would provide shelter for shoppers and market traders alike. 

When it comes to replacing and reusing a canopy, we can advise on the best course of action for you. We will ensure that, where possible, older canopies don’t get send directly to landfill – making use of them in other ways such as repurposing for festivals and art installations. A replacement canopy can also transform a space and allow you to redesign areas of your outdoor environment. Contact us today for a friendly chat to see how we can help.

Outdoor Winter Dining – How to Keep Customers Happy Outdoors in Winter

As the darker nights draw in, hospitality and event venues will be looking at strategies to keep warm, cosy environments for customers and patrons to use. As well keeping social distancing strategies in place and mitigating against any rise in COVID cases, giving some thought to your outdoor winter dining environment during the colder seasons can create atmosphere and extra seating space to increase business revenue. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at some techniques, products and strategies you can use to keep your outdoor environments in a habitable state through the winter period.

Look to create protection from the elements

A key issue, and probably one of the first things you’ll think about, is how to keep customers protected from the inevitable worsening of the winter weather during the colder months. A product like a pre-designed canopy can add shelter from wind and rain, and you may want to twin these with blankets, patio heaters and extra heat sources to provide additional comfort. Through the pandemic, we’ve also seen people use glasshouses, igloos, tipis and other bespoke and custom products for that extra wow factor.

Be flexible with payment options and bookings

If you’re settling customers outside in the poor weather and keeping them sheltered and warm, it’s worth thinking then about how best to minimise the amount of movement they’ll have to make – you want to make the guest experience as seamless and attractive as possible. Luckily, there are now hundreds of contactless and seamless booking, ordering and payment systems on the market to enable customers to stay under shelter and not have to wander backwards and forward past potentially uncovered or poorly sheltered areas.

outdoor winter dining

Extend your conveniences

If you’re expanding your operation to include more outdoor areas and seating – it’s worth then thinking about what benefits there are to sitting outside. Perhaps you could think about extending WiFi range, screens, adding additional bathroom spaces or bespoke architectural fabric or event canopies to create intrigue, flexibility and the possibility of multi-use operation once the weather warms up again.

Think of atmosphere and decoration

No matter the weather, this will make a huge difference to how customers perceive your outdoor space, so take the decorative element of your new outdoor area seriously. Good, atmospheric and warm outdoor lighting is a must, but other elements such as fabric dressing, artwork, natural decorations, installations and good outdoor planting will significantly improve your customer’s experience. It’s also worth thinking about the use of fire pits and safe alternatives to create a cosy setting.

Tailor outdoor winter dining product choice accordingly

Using local produce and suppliers to create a thoughtful, tailored approach to your menus during the winter period can definitely add to the appeal of sitting outside. Perhaps you could serve warm mulled drinks, or offer an outdoor winter BBQ element akin to the bonfire nights we all remember as a child. This is all part of creating atmosphere and appeal – outdoor winter ale and cider tasting akin to Germany’s successful Oktoberfest is increasingly becoming popular in the UK.

If you’ve got any more questions about the services Base Structures provide, and how we might be able to help you along the route of opening up your outdoor space to more customers, contact us today. Our specialist knowledge in pre-designed and bespoke canopies, as well as decorative and architectural fabrics, means we’re well-placed to advise on what’s possibly creatively in your immediate environment.

some of our clients