rSpan Fabric Structures

Issue Winter 13


When it comes to tension fabric buildings, one size may not fit all, but one company can do it all. ClearSpan Fabric Structures has engineered, manufactured and installed tension fabric structures for the past 33 years for an array of industries with a variety of needs.

The flexible yet durable structures can be fashioned into storage facilities, processing facilities, entertainment venues, animal shelters and more. There are benefits that all of ClearSpan’s clients enjoy, such as an abundance of natural daylight, which reduces energy costs. However, President Barry Goldsher explains that when customers come to ClearSpan, they are looking for a solution that fits their exact need.

“These structures have a customizable nature,” Goldsher explains. “We are not cookie cutter. We have very innovative engineers who can meet almost any requirement and fit any budget or time frame. We are seeing fewer standard requirements and more very unique one-of-a-kind requests.”

All-Weather Buildings
Some clients, such as the Swampy Oak Farm & Stable in Andover, Ohio, come looking for a weather-resistant structure to keep users inside comfortable. The owners, Katie and Gary McClure, needed a boarding facility and indoor riding arena that could hold up against the harsh winters from November to April, allowing them to teach and practice all year long. A 72-foot-wide-by-160-foot-long ClearSpan Hercules Truss Arch Building was the clear choice. One winter, the McClures reported seeing heavy snow and high winds in their area. What they reported not seeing, however, was just as important.

“We had over 100 inches of snow in the past two months and our structure has held up with no problems,” Katie McClure said. “I was quite surprised at how well it is has withstood the high winds we get around here. There is no flapping or vibrating noise. The building is a joy to ride in.”

Goldsher explains that the weather-resistant exterior is matched by an interior that naturally mitigates temperature changes. Because the fabric doesn’t absorb heat, ClearSpan structures are usually 15 to 20 degrees cooler in the summer. The same temperance happens in the winter when the structure acts as a greenhouse, making it 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Keeping its riders and horses warm during the Ohio winter was critical for Swampy Oak Farm & Stable, just as keeping people cool in the summer was critical for another ClearSpan client.

Maestro Lorin Maazel of Castleton, Va., needed a venue for the Castleton Music Festival. He considered an outdoor theater or a simple, large tent but after considering the lack of acoustics and the abundance of heat during Virginia summers, he nixed that plan. In order to truly capture the symphony sound and keep visitors comfortable, the structure needed to be fully enclosed with air conditioning.

ClearSpan designed two buildings – one 72-foot-wide-by-56-foot-long building used for gala dinner events and VIP receptions and a larger 100-foot-wide-by-170-foot-long structure capable of holding 500 people. The customized venue is fitted with air conditioning, a lighting system and sound system.

Built for the Industry
Goldsher refers to ClearSpan’s fabric structures as the buildings of a thousand uses, which means they are buildings for a thousand different users, as well. In addition to social venues, ClearSpan has erected a number of structures for industrial use.

“We have had industrial companies come to us and ask for a building that’s crane liftable because they need to move the building around on the job site,” Goldsher says.

For Iowa Waste Systems (IWS) in Red Oak, Iowa, ClearSpan designed, manufactured and installed a 65-foot-wide-by-65-foot-long waste-transfer station that has improved IWS’ operations and the quality of life for neighbors. The covered facility replaces what could be a blight with a clean, streamlined structure and has eliminated windblown litter.

For IWS, the enclosed structure was a more cost-effective solution than a traditional landfill cell which takes three to five years and more than one million dollars to build. ClearSpan Fabric Structures are significantly less expensive and can be constructed in just a few weeks.

“ClearSpan buildings are very low cost and can be built quickly,” Goldsher explains. “The project time from start to completion can be less than 30 days, and we can do it with minimal foundation requirements.”

By using a Hercules Truss Arch building from ClearSpan, IWS was able to save time and money on the construction process and it is also saving time and money in its operation. Dave Kratz, an IWS shareholder, says the simple design of the building allowed for a more efficient and economical construction than that of other structures and has made the company less costly to operate.

“Our cost of daily operation has dropped significantly since owning our fabric structure,” Kratz continues. “We no longer have to cover the waste daily with dirt, we use less fuel, and we have been able to do business with two less pieces of equipment and operate with one less employee.”

Though all of these customers have different needs, Goldsher says there are common benefits to them all. Whether temperature mitigation was a specification or not, all of ClearSpan’s clients got it. Perhaps an abundance of natural daylight wasn’t high priority for all of its clients, but they still benefited from the enhanced interior environment and natural energy savings. Also, heavy snow loads may not be as big a factor in Virginia as it is in Ohio, but Southeast clients still get the same durability as the Northern ones.

These inherent qualities are overlaid with specifications that meet the client’s exact needs. “I think we’re much more attentive, friendly and eager to please and win over new customers,” Goldsher says. “We answer every inquiry within just a few hours and we are told constantly by our customers that they chose us because other companies are not as responsive and can’t provide the solutions we can.”


rSpan Fabric Structures