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What’s the Difference Between a Tensioned Fabric Structure and a Tent Structure?

By November 16, 2017 April 16th, 2018 No Comments

What’s the Difference Between a Tensioned Fabric Structure and a Tent Structure?Oftentimes, people mistaken tents for tensioned fabric structures.  The mix-up is understandable because both are closures created with flexible fabric material, but that’s mostly where the similarities end.  The differences between a tensioned fabric structure and tent structure are significant.

Purpose and Uses

Tensioned fabric structures are multi-purpose, permanent (or semi-permanent) structures that have a wide range of potential uses including sports and entertainment centers, retail facilities, aviation, maintenance and warehousing, construction projects, and commercial projects.  Tents, on the other hand, are intended for short-term use, such as single events.

All-Weather Durability

With a build-to-last design, tensioned fabric structures are expertly designed to withstand strong winds, snowstorms, and heavy winds, just like traditional buildings.  They are engineered with inclement weather conditions in mind.  Tents are unable to withstand such conditions and can become dangerous if significant weather were to occur during the event.

Additionally, because tensioned fabric structures are fully secure and can be completely sealed like solid buildings, there is an opportunity to incorporate efficient environmental controls within the building, such as heat and air conditioning.

Strength and Stability

One of the major differences between tensioned fabric structures and tents is the strength and stability offered.  Tensioned fabric structures leverage advanced membrane materials or fabrics and custom engineered designs to create a stable structure.  Tents are convenient, but rely on ideal locations and conditions to maintain its structural integrity.

Installation Processes

Tents are known to be quick and easy installs, while the installation of tensioned fabric structures is more in line with traditional construction projects.  Tents often use working crews who are not required to be OSHA or equipment certified.  They are able to complete multiple installations in a single day because the techniques for installing a tent are planned for simple set-up and tear-down.

The installation of a tensioned fabric structure is a professional construction process that uses heavy equipment and requires a skilled, certified workforce.  For each project, there are custom installation guidelines that adhere to the applicable building code requirements.  These installations take days or weeks, depending on the scope of the project, but the finished project will be built to last long into the future.

Is a Tensioned Fabric Structure Right for Your Project?

In the Tension Structures Division of Eide Industries, we specialize in design, engineering, manufacturing, and installation of structurally complex and creatively challenging commercial, government, and prototype design projects.  We provide expertise and support for architects, landscape designers, general contractors, and property owners to develop their custom tensile membrane project ideas and construct iconic structures.

Explore the options for your next project.  Contact one of our experts today by calling 800-422-6827.