By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
Calhoun Super Structure’s strength is in its 25 years of experience engineering permanent fabric structures for a diverse portfolio of clients throughout North America. “We are a fabric structure company that provides the strongest and safest permanent fabric structures for our clients,” President Jeremy Calhoun says.
Calhoun’s father, Leonard Calhoun, began selling fabric structures in 1992 through Calhoun Agri Services Ltd. in Chelsey, Ontario, as hay covers. In fact, the first-ever Calhoun structure was built on the Calhoun family farm.
“As the local farmers aged, they were having trouble pulling hay covers over the hay, so we built year-round small structures up to 32 feet wide by 70 feet long and grew from there,” Jeremy Calhoun says. “We were always being approached for larger structures and we really took off in 2001. We redeveloped into a manufacturing company where we had the buildings designed, engineered and sold for all different purposes.”
In 2000, Jeremy Calhoun and his brother Sean Calhoun founded Calhoun Super Structure to install fabric-covered buildings engineered by Calhoun Agri Services. The brothers took over full-time in 2006 when Leonard Calhoun retired. After merging both companies into Calhoun Super Structure, the company became vertically integrated after acquiring its manufacturers. Calhoun info box
Today, the family owned company continues to take pride in ownership of every building it manufactures and sells through its dealer network across North America. Its mission remains to diligently pursue excellence in all aspects of product design, manufacturing and supply by focusing on development of people, innovation and sound engineering. The company’s vision as an industry leader is to be the safest, most reliable and durable fabric structure.
“Our family name is on every building that we produce, and you can rest assured that if it isn’t strong enough to go in our backyard, we will not allow it in your backyard,” Jeremy Calhoun says.
Built to Adapt
Calhoun Super Structure says it is a true pioneer in the fabric structure industry. The company was the first to use hot-dip galvanizing as a standard, understanding that hot-dip galvanized steel structures last three times longer than in-line galvanizing. “Clients can enjoy hundreds of years of service with our permanent structure because of the hot-dip galvanizing method,” Calhoun says.
The company uses both high-density polyethylene and PVC fabric that is produced to withstand harsh weather conditions, and treated with ultraviolet stabilizers to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. This prevents the fabric membranes from weakening or breaking down, adding years of life to the fabric cover. “Our buildings have fabric covers that last at least 15 years. Then we can come in and replace it so they get another 15 years of life,” Calhoun explains.
Calhoun Super Structure was also the first to implement true site-specific analysis design on every building. Its 3-D Finite Nonlinear Analysis is key to determine the exact level of stress the structure is under and where, and account for those particular areas in its steel frames.
Once the structure is designed and manufactured, Calhoun Super Structure and its dealer network employ in-house installation crews that are specially trained in the fabric building construction industry. The company and its network of dealers have successfully installed millions of square feet of fabric structure across North America.
Calhoun Super Structure offers one of the largest product series in the fabric structure industry with custom-engineered fabric buildings up to 250 feet wide and for any length. “We have a standard line of services that we sell, and because of our strong engineering expertise, we can step in and custom-design for a client,” Calhoun says. “As a company, we are almost 30 years old now and have developed a lot of detailed calculations to determine what worked and what didn’t work over a long period of time.”
The company develops new products every year to meet the varying needs of its customers. For example, the company recently debuted a half-sided mono-slope structure that is ideal for municipalities to store trucks as it allows them to come in from the side.
The High Top (HT) series features higher sidewalls with softer edges while maintaining a conventional appearance. In 2015, the company launched its Container Line (CL) Building Series as the first-ever fabric building in the industry designed and engineered exclusively for container-use only.
Calhoun Super Structure is diligent when developing new products to ensure they are the safest, strongest and most reliable structures on the market. The company also spends a considerable amount of time sourcing suppliers when developing a new product to build strength in its working relationship. “We have a lot of really good long-term suppliers, and we do our research when developing new relationships,” Calhoun notes.
Over the past four years, Calhoun Super Structure has been growing rapidly by expanding its reach to new markets. Today, the company’s permanent fabric structures serve clients in the mining, fertilizer storage, salt and sand, waste and recycling, oil and gas, sports and recreation, equestrian, agriculture and warehousing industries.
Calhoun Super Structure recently completed two 300-foot-long structures at the Port of Mobile in Mobile, Ala., to store the contents of unloaded ships. “Those two buildings are brand new designs we brought to the marketplace after a lot of innovation,” Calhoun notes.
The biggest challenge for Calhoun Super Structure was engineering a large-scale project in just six months as the design process for a custom structure of this size and caliber takes at least a year. “We took our regular design process and condensed it down to six months, which was really stressful on the engineering department,” Calhoun says. “At the end of it all, I was so impressed with how they handled it.”
In northern British Columbia, Canada, Calhoun Super Structure is developing a fabric building structure that will house several trailers for a mining camp. The mining camp area sees heavier snow loads than Calhoun Super Structure has ever developed for in the past, and in a high-risk environment. “We are customizing the structure to meet the needs of the area and using 3-D Finite Nonlinear Analysis to determine the stress points under these extreme loads,” Calhoun explains.
Moving forward, Calhoun Super Structure looks to further grow its reach across the Western United States by expanding its dealer network. To prepare for added growth, the company is planning to implement new tools in the next eight months to speed up its process and become more efficient.
“The upgrades will allow us to know what’s happening on the manufacturing floor at all times,” Calhoun says. “This will speed up the process, shorten lead times and allow us to provide reasonable delivery expectations to our customers on a moment’s notice.”