Legacy Building Solutions’ Fabric Buildings – strong, efficient, and versatile

by Kathrine Moore

Legacy Building Solutions designs, engineers, manufactures and installs fabric buildings that are strong and versatile enough for use by heavy industry in harsh environments. These buildings can be large enough to warehouse materials or house and service very large, heavy equipment. Fabric buildings offer clients some unique advantages.

Because Legacy is a one stop builder that designs a custom building around clients’ unique needs, manufactures it and installs it, the process is simplified for the client. The company says, “The process includes a partnership that lasts from pre-construction through building completion.” Because there is a “single source of accountability” just one contact is required on the job-site, eliminating miscommunication.

Fabric panel manufacturing is completed at Legacy’s 70,000 square-foot, climate-controlled facility in South Haven, Minnesota using ISO 9001:2008-certified practices. Every bolt of fabric is quality tested and tracked to the final location on the building. The fabric panels are precisely measured, cut and heat-welded to create a weatherproof cover. The finished panels are rolled and wrapped for transportation to the building site.

The steel beams that comprise the buildings frame are cut on a plasma table. The beams are welded using sub arc welding. Every weld is inspected by an AWS and CWB Certified Welding Inspector.

The steel beams Legacy manufactures for the fabric buildings are rust and corrosion-resistant, especially to salt, fertilizer, sludge, compost and other materials and processes that are harmful to steel. The company states that the “steel support beams used in fabric structures in corrosive environments are typically hot dip galvanized, which is one of the most effective ways to inhibit rust.”

Since no screws or nails are used on outside surfaces, the buildings are weather and leak proof. The interiors maintain a consistent temperature, even before HVAC is installed.

Compared to conventional buildings, fabric buildings are quick to build, taking only one-third of the time it takes to build
conventional steel buildings. All components are shipped to the site along with any required specialty equipment. The crew arrives ready to unload and begin the assembly of the building.

Because the specialized, architectural fabric used in this type of building is lighter in mass, even a huge building can be open without beams or supports that limit the use of interior space. Steel frames and architectural fabric “combine to create some of the widest clear span buildings in the industry.”

Fabric buildings have a surprisingly long lifetime. Legacy uses two types of architectural fabric: polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC fabric is heavier than PE fabric and can last up to 25 years or longer; PE fabric can last up to 20 years. Both fabrics are translucent, saving on energy costs, though the lighter PE fabric lets in more light than the PVC. Both types of fabric are available in a variety of weights and colors.

The company offers several structure foundation options giving clients flexibility based on the site and “the potential need to relocate a building at a later date.” Legacy states that, “Make no mistake – a properly engineered fabric building that is intended to remain in one location for more than a few days requires a foundation.”

Though they are designed to be permanent structures, fabric buildings can easily be relocated, expanded or reconfigured. The company states that the fabric coverings are often recyclable and polyethylene fabrics are considered a “low toxin-emit-ting building material.”

The Legacy Building Solutions team has custom designed and constructed numerous projects for the mining industry. A few examples include:

• A 3,200 sq ft tension fabric explosives storage building in Atacama, Chile

• A 10,241 sq ft tension fabric vehicle maintenance building in Antofagasta, Chile

• A 48,600 sq ft tension fabric Salt Storage building in Lyons, Kansas

• A 24,301 sq ft tension fabric lithium min-ing storage building in La Negra, Chile
• A 8,160 sq ft tension fabric mining mate-rials reclamation building in Hazleton, Pennsylvania

The buildings are easy to maintain, with replacement fabric available for as little as $2/square foot. Legacy provides repair services for everything from small tears to large panel replacement and can provide the materials and guidance necessary or, should the client wish it, have a crew come out to do the repairs.

Legacy also services the military, oil and gas sector, agriculture, sports & entertainment.

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