Tensile fabric structures are an emerging alternative to conventional construction materials. What options do you have?
Why Build With Fabrics?
Fabrics no doubt allow for greater flexibility in form finding and design. They have enabled architects and builders create amazing architectural profiles. Such unique, innovative structural offerings would otherwise be impossible using conventional construction materials. Other favorable qualities include light transmission, durability, resistance to UV light and fire.
Structures such as stadia, airport hangars or train station platforms are built using fabrics.
Whether building permanent or temporary structures, fabrics are an ideal alternative to start with. Buildings looking to leverage the external environment in an internal setting greatly benefit from fabrics. For instance, London’s Biomes project greatly leverages fabrics to create an external setting in an internal environment. This gives the structure an open airy ambiance that can’t be attained with steel and concrete.
The aesthetics possible with fabrics make them perfect for home construction. When lit at night, the illumination renders a structure spectacular. Unlike traditional construction materials, membranes are quite affordable. Fabricated structures can be installed on site easily.
The additional costs in transportation as is typical of steel works are eliminated.
So, What Are Your Fabric Options?
There are several fabric options you can choose from when embarking on an eco-friendly construction project.
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) Membrane
Your first option is Poly Vinyl Chloride, commonly known as PVC. It is the most flexible of construction fabrics, appropriate for both permanent and temporary structures. It is also the most adaptable in terms of structural requirements and color options. Unlike other membranes, PVC can be used for a whole range of other applications. For permanent structures, PVC can last not less than three decades.
PTFE (Poly Tetra Fluoro Ethylene)
The second available fabric option is Poly Tetra Fluoro Ethylene, also known as PTFE. It has a range of favorable properties that make it suitable for permanent constructions. It is more appropriate when building a residential home, airport hangars, train station platform roofing, stadia etc. PTFE is amongst the high quality fabrics available in the market today. Like PVC, PTFE boasts a lifespan of not less than three decades.
ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene)
The third option in fabric construction is ETFE, also known as ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. Amongst fabrics, it has the highest light transmission property. Leveraged in the construction of the O2 Arena, ETFE allows 90 per cent of light that falls on its surface to pass through. It has also been used in the construction of eco-friendly construction projects keen on cutting down power costs. ETFE has also found popular usage in the building of pneumatic Cushion Structures.
Further Benefits Of Fabric Structures
This article began by highlighting some few benefits of fabric structures. Here are additional benefits you stand to gain by building using membranes. Other than durability, lower construction costs and resistance to corrosion, fabrics are also quite a sustainable building material.
As an eco-friendly building alternative, they pose no danger to the environment. Very minimal support is needed while long spanning distances are covered easily.
These structures can also be easily relocated when the need arises.