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Fabric structures have the potential to revolutionize the way you look at your building. Whether you’re adding on to an existing structure or using a fabric structure, you’ll be able to put up your new structure quickly, easily, and efficiently when you opt for a fabric structure. In order to be sure that your building will stand the test of time, complete with the durability you would expect from a traditional building structure, however, it’s important that you understand all the facets of how the structure’s construction has the potential to impact your decision–including the difference between engineered and non-engineered fabric structures.

What’s the Difference?

Engineered fabric structures are typically built with exactly your needs in mind. You’re able to specify exactly what you expect out of your new fabric structure. The poles, supports, and fabric used to make up your fabric structure will be designed according to your specifications–including careful testing to ensure that each pole receives the proper load in order to ensure maximum durability over the lifetime of your product. This also means a greater measure of safety, since your engineered structure will be more extensively tested for exactly that purpose. Additional components such as HVAC systems and ventilation options, liners, and windows and doors can all be customzized and added as well.

Non-engineered products, on the other hand, tend to be a generic solution that is intended for a broad range of purposes. While they must still meet detailed industry specifications before you put them on the market, they won’t be tested against the exact purpose you plan to put them to or the unique demands of your environment–and as a result, they may not be as functional or as durable as you would have hoped.

Why Does It Matter?

Often, non-engineered fabric structures have a lower price tag than engineered models. Many people find themselves wondering whether or not the difference is really worth it. Won’t the inexpensive model meet their needs just as well? The reality, however, is that there are several reasons why you should seriously consider an engineered fabric structure in order to meet your needs.

Engineered fabric structures are designed with your environment in mind using 3D Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis. This includes both hazardous weather conditions and the normal weather that you experience on a daily basis. Rain, sun, and wind are all normal parts of your day, but you also want to know that your fabric structure will be able to weather whatever storms come along and threaten the area. Engineered fabric structures might not be able to withstand hurricane-force winds (though with their unique design and flexible materials, they may be in a better position to do exactly that), but they are specifically designed to withstand the weather where you plan to place them. Your engineers will take into consideration details like snowfall in the area and how it’s likely to collect, how rain may collect on the surface of your fabric structure, and other key details that will make a big difference in the maintenance needed for your structure over time. Not only that, they’re designed with placement and terrain in mind to ensure that they are suited specifically for your environment.

In an engineered fabric structure, every joint and pressure point has been examined for maximum effectiveness. In a non-engineered structure, you may not know whether or not the structure, from the fabric to the poles, is up to exactly the pressure that will be placed on it until you take a look at it after it’s been set up. In some cases, the signs of excess wear may not show up until it’s been in use for weeks or months–and at that point, the damage can go from frustrating to catastrophic. By opting for engineered fabric structures, however, you can rest assured that every detail of your structure has been carefully considered.

Engineered structures are easy to customize according to your needs. Why should you have to make do with a generic structure that vaguely fits the bill of what you’re looking for? With an engineered fabric structure, you can get exactly what you want and need out of your structure. Since these durable structures are intended to last for years, you want to be sure that you like the choices you’ve made–and custom engineering ensures that all of your needs have been taken into account, not just the generic needs of the masses.

How You Can Ensure Your Fabric Structure Will Be Engineered Properly

If you want to be sure that your fabric structure has been engineered properly, the best way is to check the plans for your structure! Many companies claim to offer engineered fabric structures, but they don’t want to provide you with the extensive plans that should go with them. Companies that genuinely care about engineering and safety will provide a document covering safety, plans, and other engineering details. The proper document will be around 15 pages long and include extensive specifications and drawings. Not all companies provide this, but the ones that do–like Calhoun Super Structure–genuinely care about the quality of their products.

Opting for an engineered fabric structure is one of the most effective ways to ensure that all of your needs are being met when you select a fabric structure for your new building. It might not make a big difference in the earliest days of your installation, but throughout the lifetime of your fabric structure, you’ll discover exactly why so many customers opt for custom engineering to meet their fabric structure needs. If you’re ready to embark on your engineered fabric structure product, contact us today to learn more about how we’ll work with you in order to ensure that you get everything you need out of your new addition.


Engineered fabric structures can be applied to any industry or application. Read Where Fabric Structures Will Be in One Year From Now by clicking here.