Can Tension Fabric Buildings Handle The Snow Or Wind In My Area?

One of the first questions we get when dealing with people considering a GNB Global building, particularly people that haven’t worked with tension fabric buildings before, is ‘can your structures handle the wind or snow in my area?’.

The short answer is yes. We’ve built structures in some of the most structurally demanding locales in the Western hemisphere.

We have constructed tension fabric buildings in Florida, where they have perhaps the most stringent hurricane building codes in the world. The High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) section of Miami-Dade’s building code has requirements for structures to withstand 156-180 mph wind speeds depending on the building’s risk category.

Another example that combines some of the world’s most extreme wind and snow loads is Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North shore, where GNB has erected several tension fabric buildings despite the 35 PSF snow loads. We’ve installed structures in Alaska for municipal uses, the oil and gas industry, and the military.

A crucial distinction to make is that our buildings are engineered to stay up year-round. Some companies in the industry have engineered structures to a lower standard with the expectation that the customer will remove the building membrane in the event of severe weather. This practice can produce a cheaper building, but we don’t believe that the customer should worry about removing the building’s membrane to ensure structural integrity. As a storm approaches, the last thing we want our customers to worry about is, ‘how will I take the membrane down, and what will happen to all my stuff in the building.’

While tension fabric buildings may not appear as formidable as something like a concrete structure, we can build a dependable fabric building that can weather almost any climate with the appropriate application of engineering ingenuity.

GNB Learn

GNB Learn is an information resource for general contractors, developers, engineers, architects, and individuals interested in tension fabric buildings. Learn articles are written by our installation, engineering, and project management staff based on lessons they’ve learned from working in the field.