When designing fabric structures it is critical to take into consideration the strength and design of the building as a whole. At Calhoun we apply our unique 3D Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis to engineer our fabric structures site-specific to suit our customers’ unique locations.

Reputable fabric structures companies will work with their network of sales teams or dealers to obtain site photos and site topography with the orientation and location of the marked building. This allows the fabric structure’s engineers to begin the process of evaluating the site conditions.

The site evaluation ensures that the appropriate parameters are used for the analysis of the structure. The configuration of the building is thereby validated, or changes are made to ensure the structure has the requisite reliability for the site.

A fabric structures company should use external, third-party engineers to review all structures to avoid company bias and ensure the strict objectivity of the design work.

All of Calhoun’s fabric structures are reviewed by independent third-party structural engineers.

Watch our video to learn more about Calhoun’s unique site-specific review that no other fabric structure manufacturer in the market employs.


Through our proprietary engineering process we model the true behavior of fabric relative to environmental factors using our unique 3D Nonlinear Finite Element analysis. Our method produces the most suitable fabric structures to meet your requirements, resulting in a quicker return on your investment and the longest-standing structure in the industry.

During the course of each and every site-specific analysis, a complete 3D nonlinear analysis providing accurate load paths to, and forces at, foundation-resisting elements is completed. Due to the fact that the fabric structures rely primarily on tension only bracing for stability, the pre-tension in the cables and initial inelastic stretch is critical to the performance of the structure.  The pre-tension requirements and procedure for initial pre-tension and proof loading are determined through the nonlinear analysis.


A comprehensive 3D nonlinear analysis is essential to provide guidance in the design of highly reliable and economic foundation systems. In situations where an even higher degree of economy is desired, the foundation wall supported on soil springs may be modeled explicitly in conjunction with the fabric structures such that the interaction between the two can be appropriately addressed wherein the resulting concrete stresses may be used to determine the concrete wall thickness and spacing for reinforcement. This frequently leads to as much as a 40% increase or more in foundation economy with a considerable improvement in overall reliability of the system given the fabric structures and foundation interactions including bearing pressures beneath the wall footings are appropriately addressed in a comprehensive analysis.

Overall, the primary objective of the 3D nonlinear analysis is to provide clear prescriptive recommendations for the structural integrity and limitations of the structure under various code specified load conditions.

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