Risen from the dock

We were shocked and saddened for The Bristol Packet team in June 2021 to hear the news that their ‘Floating Bar Greenshank’ had sunk overnight.

Having originally installed the roof canopy to the newly opened Floating Café boat in 2019, we were approached by Luke at Bristol Packet to discuss options for re-making the canopy should the boat be successfully salvaged.

Our team would have been able to work from the original designs and create a new canopy, but this would have lead to greater expense at a difficult time. Wreck divers were taking to the dock to salvage what they could from the Greenshank so it was agreed to await the outcome of their mission. Luckily the divers were able to cut the majority of the canopy free from the frame with knives and without significant damage to the fabric and return it to us.

Working with the teams at Andrews Marquees and Outsourced Manufacturing (OMS), we were able to get the canopy cleaned fully and assess what state it was in and if it could be repaired. OMS determined they could replace the edging pockets, repair the tears and restore the canopy to its original design as the divers had managed to save such a good amount of the core canopy.

Now 2 years later the boat has finally returned to the water in June 2023 and the café is now open and in full swing which is fantastic news for all involved!

The fire retardant lacquered PVC coated polyester fabric that we use for our fabric structures is extremely durable and is designed withstand the elements for many years. We were not however expecting the fabric to undergo a full submersion test in the Bristol Docks, never the less it did pass the test with flying colours!

We are really pleased to have been able to help with the restoration process and can’t wait to get back aboard for a drink!

Outdoor learning space becoming a must have for education facilities

More and more schools, universities and educational facilities are seeing the benefit of enhancing the fundamental uses of their grounds. For many this means expanding into otherwise unused outdoor spaces, resolving the need for extra capacity and providing an engaging and beneficial environment to enable learning to continue in a range of situations.

Over the last few years we have seen an increase in the demand for outdoor leaning spaces in schools – Base Structures can help install outdoor canopies for leaning, expand break our space or even establish spaces for covered seating and dining. 

Solving a lack of natural shelter 

Some schools particular city and town center facilities suffer from a lack of natural shelter that might be found in more rural settings. Many have found that fabric canopies can resolve this issue, provide sun and rain protection and give a diffused natural daylight as well as becoming a focal point and attractive feature to the grounds. 

Be heat ready for summer

With summer nearly here we hope to have the need to be ‘heat ready’. A good canopy will provide students with the ability to get out of the sun and stay shaded and protected, whether this be on the playground or school transport waiting areas for example. 

Of course with the unpredictability of the British Summer the canopy will be equally as used as cover for those rainy summer days! Luckily canopies can be fitted with lighting and heating to accommodate all weathers. 

School Events and Social Activities 
Many schools are also looking ahead to events such as sports day and considering the benefits of offering covered seating or shelter for spectators and attendees to school events. Canopies also create an encouraging space in which social interaction is possible and they help promote social skills and develop friendship groups among younger age groups.  

Whether you might be considering outdoor teaching space, a dining area, event space, bus shelter or socialising areas, we have a range of options to offer including bespoke or pre-designed solutions to suit all budgets. We can advise you on the right canopy solution for your project. 

If you would simply like some advice or ideas about how you can expand your outdoor space using canopies, we are happy to help

Base Structures involved in the UK’s first ever dedicated drone airport

Here at Base we are proud to be a key part of this ground-breaking project to design and construct a dedicated drone airport in Coventry – the first ever in the UK.

The project sees multiple partners working together to create ‘Air One,’ an ambitious fabric structure that hosts a moveable hydraulic FATO platform (final approach and take-off area) in the structure’s centre. The 45m diameter structures was clad with PVC coated polyester fabric and included a fabric lining incorporating clear visual panels to the internal drum wall.

Andy Traynor, Director of Base Structures, said:

“Multiple trades and designers were involved in this complicated & intricate project, so collaboration & coordination was key to making it a success. With an incredibly tight installation programme, there was no scope for error, and we were pleased to successfully install our element of the project on programme and in only 4 weeks.

“As a blueprint for the first of many urban drone airports, there’s an ambitious target to roll out as many as 200 Vertiports out around the world in the next five years. We’re proud to be to provide and apply our fabric knowledge and skills in a totally unique way.”

Although we’re at the forefront of such technology, it’s widely believed that drones will play an increasing transportation roll across the world and may be a more familiar sight in the skies above us. UK company Urban Air Port look to grow such an industry, with one day hosting electric and Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft from their Vertiports that could be used to transport paying passengers.

For more information about this project, visit: https://www.urbanairport.com/ Urban Air-Port Demountable Fabric Clad Drone Airport – Base Structures or contact sales@basestructures.com

Improving socialising with outdoor canopies

The versatility and flexibility of a good canopy set up can alter the dynamics of an environment. It can provide extra space where required, especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where extra setups have been required outdoors to maintain social distancing, canopies are an easy and attractive addition to a space. They also offer unparalleled placemaking – both in a practical and decorative sense.

In our ‘changing spaces for a new era of retail’ piece, we looked at how the industry is shifting to be more experience-led and is mimicking the demands of consumers with town centres and high street looking to become destinations spaces.

Canopies are useful for retail, hospitality and event situations, where large amounts of outdoor space needs to be earmarked for business usage on a temporary basis. They are inherently moveable and we are experts at advising and carrying out this type of work.

In this blog post, we look at six different reasons why canopies are useful in a cities or urban environments. Specifically with regards to placemaking, city dressing and utilising available outdoor space if you’re a business or events organisation. 

To regulate temperature

During the summer months, shade may often be required to keep cool. Canopies do a good job of regulating outdoor areas. They can provide sturdy, structural shade to beating summer sun, or likewise offer wind protection. They also are receptive to patio heaters, for example, and allow heat to be kept. 

To provide atmosphere

Often spaces are cosier and have more atmosphere when there are some limitations placed on them. Adding a temporary structure such as a canopy provides your outdoor space with an instant ‘roof’ setup. Which can then be accessorised by adding festoons of lights and flowers, for example. 

To expand exterior space

We’ve all had to make the most of the exterior space around us during the last 12 months due to the pandemic. Businesses are looking for cost-effective and inventive ways to expand usable business areas. Our canopies are structural and sturdy, and comply with regulations to allow them to be used in all manner of different scenarios. From artist and event spaces to outdoor dining, restaurants, shopping and hospitality. they are a key tool in allowing small businesses to operate and function successfully.

To provide shelter

The Great British weather is, as we all know, temperamental at best. Much like the point above – businesses have had to use more of their external spaces. Complying with COVID regulations over the last year has meant being outside come rain or shine. Canopies can mitigate the issue and mean that hospitality businesses especially can remain operating and profitable.

Connecting internal structures

Canopies can provide shelter, shade and atmosphere between buildings too. For example between structures in town squares and centres, over walkways and archways and even in plazas housing hospitality venues, eateries and small-scale shopping. This is an area that has seen expansion in recent years, as businesses look for temporary and dynamic structures that are moveable and cost-effective.

Add decoration

Last but not least, there’s no reason why using a canopy has to be purely functional. Although the canopies we supply are unique in the fact they’re rugged, structural and comply with engineering standards, a good use of a canopy in the right space can lift an area. It can provide extra flexibility and dress-up otherwise often drab and uninspiring urban or largely concrete spaces.

We are hiring!

Architect – Tensile Fabric Structures

A rare opportunity to have a hands on role in this exciting field.

You will be joining a small but highly experienced and respected team of individuals who have delivered fabric projects worldwide over the last 30 years.

The position would include a wide range of tasks including concept design, technical sales and project management. In addition you would be encouraged to benefit from some site experience alongside our site supervisors.

The principal role is to provide technical sales support in the form of design and costing advice to architects, main contractors or direct to clients.

Applicants would ideally have 3-5 years post graduate experience, and a portfolio that demonstrates their design flair, practical understanding of structural principles, and competence in using 3D design and presentation software.

Previous experience with tensile structures is not required as we anticipate a significant training period during which we will guide you through every step to learn the black art of tensiles. This training period will include interactions with client visits, working on site with the necessary certification, and visits to suppliers/manufacturers.

The role is based in Bristol and would require some travelling across the UK as projects demand.

To apply please send your CV and letter of interest outlining your experience and skills to:  rachel@basestructures.com

Base Structures gives the NEC a spectacular new look

As part of an exciting £4.5 million transformation of Birmingham’s NEC, Base Structures has installed a stunning fabric façade to the exterior of Halls 1 and 5.

Designed by architects Acivico, the 6860sqm of printed fabric panels and backlit pyramids create a striking visual effect, giving the NEC a futuristic new look for its 7 million annual visitors. Base Structures also supplied and installed a programmable colour wash backlighting feature with an infinite colour range, adding to the immersive effect.

The installation took 10 weeks on site, with the creative process from design and conception through to fabric and steel manufacture and installation lasting 5 months in total. Collaborating with a large team and working with a challenging 4,452 metres of steel, the stunning results were achieved within a tight programme of work. With a fixed deadline of 24th August, careful planning and good supply chain management was essential and ensured the team finished a week ahead of schedule.

Mark Smith, Director at Base Structures said:

“It was a pleasure for Base Structures to be part of such a transformative project for a big name in the UK events industry, and to work for such a professional client whose proactive approach went a long way to ensuring its success.

We enjoy creative spectacular large-scale fabric structures, and of course particularly when we can successfully navigate often complex challenges and tight deadlines. Being a part of this refurbishment means we hope to see our work being enjoyed by the NEC’s millions of visitors for years to come!”

Kristin Davidson, Head of Purchasing at The NEC said:

“The feedback I have received from everyone who has worked with you and your team has been incredibly positive. From my point of view it has been a real pleasure to work with such a professional team”.

8th May 2019

some of our clients

Network Rail Logo
zsl london zoo logo
The NEC Birmingham
MCC Logo Lords
Mace Logo
ISG Logo