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No matter what the business enterprise, a typically harsh winter anywhere in the world can have devasting effects on virtually every aspect of the industrial, commercial, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

That is unless the proper common-sense precautions are taken to deal with, manage and ultimately overcome climatic realities that confront us during the cold season. High atop the priority list for many is the acquisition of versatile, durable, long-lasting and high affordable fabric structures.

At Calhoun Super Structures since 1992 we have been tirelessly examining all aspects of this increasingly popular structural option. To those in the business-community-at-large it has become the ideal alternative to conventional post-frame or stud-frame buildings.

The wide range of usages during the winter months is a particularly interesting facet of the fabric structure story.

Previously we looked back to the last glacial period of the Ice Age, from which shelters 44,000-50,000-years-old have been unearthed. Remains found in the Siberian Steppe show they were likely made from animal skins draped between sticks, used as the first dwellings for humans.

The earliest and most successful type was the loosely woven black tent, associated with nomadic peoples. Centuries later, with industry and business enterprises rapidly expanding, economic needs increasing and the need for a secure habitat met by more than tents, fabric structures have become a fixture satisfying a multitude of year-round needs.
Three key factors in the ongoing tension-fabric structure success story are:
• Less expense
• Adaptability of fabric
• Durability and longevity of the material

Now fabric structures dot the landscape from the extreme heat in places like Saudi Arabia to the frigid cold of St. Paul, Minnesota and all points in between. Farmers have been using them since the 1950s for livestock, hay and equipment storage.

In recent years growing numbers of those working outside agriculture have been discovering what a viable, affordable and durable option a fabric structure is for the storage of sand and salt and, in many cases, equipment and machinery.

From equine/recreational centres to transfer sites for disposal and recycling operators and a host of other enterprises fabric structures have become an integral and highly sought-after multi-faceted tool of business on a global scale.

Salt, sand and more

Consider what a spokesperson for Iron Horse Structures, a dealer-customer of Calhoun Super Structures had to say about the value of fabric structures during the winter.

The company is an acknowledged and well-respected leader in the provision of such diverse edifices as equestrian arenas, municipal/commercial structures, agricultural barns and recreational buildings.

“We have 100 built in New England in all six states for cities and towns,” he says. “They had had either no storage places for salt or their current structures were too old, no longer safe, too small or incapable of storing it properly in a dry space until it was needed.

“Our fabric structures served their needs and much more. All the customers are very happy with the products they now have. Competitors with metal or wooden buildings say fabric won’t last long but they’re wrong. Our buildings are extremely durable. Replacing a roof on a fabric structure is inexpensive and far less time-consuming.”

As for salt storage the galvanized steel we use both inside and outside, concrete walls and durable covers result in no corrosion. He says buyers are delighted that costs are about one-half less than those of traditional steel and wooden structures. High clearances allow delivery truck drivers to unload the product inside the structure.

“Before they actually see fabric buildings, some are expecting tents,” he added. “They are impressed to discover these are fully-engineered structures that are long-lasting, less-costly initially and over the building’s life cycle and with virtually zero maintenance.”
With fabric structures being built by companies like Iron Horse Structures along the East Coast all the way down to Georgia and in parts of the Midwest, interest is growing throughout both the United States and Canada.

Cost effectiveness also means snow removal companies, other private firms and municipalities can keep within their budgets by getting larger structures for less money. If the winter is particularly harsh and snowy, a demand for salt or alternatives is easily met. Purchases can be made early in the season and stored securely in bigger structures.

A perfect solution

The Town of Hermon, New York had a major problem. Its salt and sand was stored outside which meant waste as well as exposure to the wintry elements. Indoor storage space was needed for material storage and mixing in the winter and to house snow plows and equipment during the summer.

So the simple solution was a spacious and efficient 60X60 HT Series fabric structure salt storage building. In the first year more than 100 tonnes of salt and sand was preserved. As well as the savings anticipated to pay for the building in four years, Town representatives were “200 per cent happy” with customer service provided before, during and after the building construction by the Calhoun dealer Hybrid Building.

A recent Town of Hermon email summed it up concisely, “We love our Calhoun building and have nothing but good things to say about it.”

Diversity to suit all needs

On The Forest Boarding in Stouffville, Ontario needed a riding arena for year-round activity. Ample space for lessons and jumping courses was essential so a 70×160 foot Calhoun structure was purchased.

After thorough investigation that included considering wood and steel buildings, it was evident fabric was the ideal choice, in large part because of the affordability factor. There were other reasons as well, all of which played into the decision.

“I’ve ridden in many different structures over the years and I would pick our fabric arena over every other building of the same size every time,” said a company spokesperson. “It is seven-years-old now and still very solid, withstanding wind and weather on the edge of a big field where it is bombarded daily by whatever the northwest winds bring.

“Most impressive is the inside lighting, the feeling of great spaciousness due to the extra high ceiling and the white fabric. I don’t need to turn on any lights in the day and it is always bright inside. It is so nice in the winter when the sun is shining and you see the beautiful lighting at sunset. People who visit us for the first time are so surprised by the brightness and great space.”

Other benefits:
• Less noise compared to a tin roof
• Use in summer during rainy days
• Two large openings on either side for a good cross breeze
• In winter it closes up and can warm up on sunny days

On the recommendation of Brent Couch, Calhoun Super Structures was chosen because of favorable differences in the company’s buildings including steel tresses 10 feet instead of 12 feet apart. This provides a more sturdy structure with greater durability to withstand strong damaging winds. The owners gave a big thumbs-up to Couch Construction for quality workmanship and overall expertise.

Meeting agriculture’s winter needs

A report written by Harold House, an OMAFRA Agricultural Engineer entitled Fabric Covered Structures for the Cold Housing of Livestock, addressed a range of functions for the buildings during the cold season(s) including:

• An alternative for machinery and hay storage and livestock housing
• A low-cost well-ventilated cold housing alternative to conventional housing
• A bright and airy environment in which work can be done by the producer

There are many other benefits and advantages to fabric structures so if you have more questions we’re here ready to answer any and all your inquiries.

As a pioneer in the fabric structure industry, we have spent more than 20 years creating the strongest, safest and most reliable series of structures on the market. We’ve thought of everything from the strength of your structure to the longevity of your investment and a warranty we stand behind.
Our strength is also in the structure of our company, our employees and our extensive dealer network. Get a quote for your next project here.


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