A Look at Canvas Buildings and Fabric Covered Buildings

Shelter is one of the most important needs of humans today. This can be shelter for habitation or for business purposes. Putting up an adequate shelter has however never been the easiest or most affordable project that anyone can take up.

The cost, time and other factors that come into play during this process has made it difficult for many to setup a suitable structure for their habitation, business or other activities. In this article, we are going to review a structural option that is making it easier for folks to have the kind of structures they need for their businesses and other functions.

Canvas or fabric covered buildings are also known by a lot of other names. Some examples include Tension Fabric Building, Fabric Tent Structure, Fabric Shelters, Clear-Span Fabric Buildings, Tension Membrane Structures, Cover-All Buildings and other such names. Whenever you come across any of these names, they all refer to the same thing.

You can learn more about it here.


Why exactly are we taking the time to look at this option for setting up buildings? There are a number of benefits that this option offers. This will explain why it is steadily increasing in popularity.

Let us quickly enumerate a few benefits that it offers. Hopefully these will explain why many individuals and companies alike are turning to it for their structural needs.


These structural solutions have a wide range of applications. Some of these include: commercial activities, event centers and venues, sports facilities, fairs, rallies, churches, warehousing, airplane hangars, emergency shelters, storage units and many other such uses.

There is hardly any type of structural use that it cannot be adapted to. This versatility makes it perfect for a wide range of industries, locations and applications.

Quick and Easy Setup

Building a brick and mortar structure will take a pretty long time when compared to this. The relative ease and speed with which these structures can be setup make them perfect for emergency situations where brick and mortar structures cannot be put up.

Aside from the speed, the cost for setting it up is also lower. You therefore get a structure that can be setup faster, more easily and at a more affordable rate. It’s an all-round win.

Low Operational and Maintenance Cost

After setting up, there is the issue of operational and maintenance cost. This option drastically reduces both costs. For example, using a clear-span fabric allows natural light to shine into the structure, removing the need for artificial lighting which would have otherwise meant additional energy costs.

For maintenance, with no walls and other surfaces that may require regular attention, maintenance costs are restricted to ensuring the continued integrity of the frame and fabric. This also drastically reduces the cost that would have been accumulated as a result of sundry maintenance processes in a regular building.


This is another major benefit that this structural option offers. Permanent or brick and mortar structures cannot be moved from one location to another. Once an operation relocates, new facilities have to be built or rented to accommodate the operations at its new location.

With fabric covered buildings, the facility can be deconstructed, transported to the new location and then reconstructed on the new site. This no doubt is a massive cost saver as the only costs that will be incurred will be for the purchase or hiring of a new site, deconstruction, transportation and reconstruction of the structure.

These costs can in no way compare to having to erect a totally new facility with new materials in a new location.


For those who are very concerned about the environment (as we all should), a lot of the materials used for the fabrics are usually recyclable. With some of these fabrics lasting for up to 20 to 30 years and then being recycled, the impact of their use on the environment is totally negligible.

How to Set One Up

How exactly can one go about setting up fabric covered buildings?

Local Building Codes

The very first thing you need to do is find out the local laws regarding the setting up such a structure. Each locality prepares regulations to guide the erection of any kind of structure based on their unique weather and climatic conditions. Knowing and abiding by these codes will increase the safety of your building while also keeping you from contravening the laws of the locality.

Adequate Foundation

Next, you need to build the right foundation to hold what you are about to setup. The type of foundation you will require will depend on the type and size of structure you are planning on putting up. It will also depend on the use to which you want to put the structure.

The foundation must be adequate to support its type, size and use.

Choosing the Right Fabric

The fabric you choose to lay over your building’s frame is very important. Your choice of fabric should among other things be based on your location, the size of the structure and the proposed length of use. Some fabrics are better suited for very short term use while others are better for long use as well as use in strong winds and difficult weather.

If you do not choose the right fabric, you may find yourself staring at the open heavens if conditions the fabric can’t handle hits it.

Working with Professionals

This is probably one of the most important factors to consider. Working with professionals practically ensures that every other thing listed above is adhered to. A professional will likely ensure that the right foundation is built, the right fabric is chosen and the proper setup procedures are observed.

If you also do not know where or how to get the right materials, a professional will likely help you out. It may therefore be in your best interest to actually begin the process by talking to a professional or company that has the experience and capacity to handle these kinds of projects.


Canvas and fabric covered buildings can be life (and money) savers while increasing efficiency and effectiveness. It is however important that it is properly set up. Take some time to look for a company that can give you the right support so that you can enjoy the full benefits that this structural option has to offer.


Latest Issue

BDC 311 : Dec 2023