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.