Maximising the benefits of fabric structure investment

Advances in construction technology and materials are generating an upsurge in tensile fabric constructions for everything from windbreaks to airport lounges.

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One of the advantages of fabric structures is their versatility; therefore, one way to maximise an investment is to consider the variety of purposes to which it might be put.

Sports facilities

After an astonishing Olympic performance in 2012, which was repeated in 2016, the British government seems inspired to reverse decades of decline in PE and games provision in our schools. From 2013, an extra £150m per annum was pledged for sports at junior level. This was increased to £320m in 2016, with another £285m to encourage sports in senior schools.

Some schools and colleges are improving sports facilities by building spectator shelters, pavilion changing rooms, and under-cover practice spaces. Fabric structures are ideal. They are also a superb solution when the budget stretches to entire new sports halls, freeing up old spaces for other uses.

School canopies

Specialists in school canopies, such as, already have ample experience providing cover over bicycle lock-ups, picnic areas and playground shelters, and inventive projects to enclose courtyards to provide extra assembly and teaching space. Exploit the flexibility of the design by considering the variety of possible additional or future uses in advance before opting for a specific size, height and location.

Designer spaces might also be rented out for other events; for example, sports halls make good conference or entertainment spaces. With sufficient width and roof height, you have the option of hosting a variety of sporting tournaments. Adding provision for elevated seating or a refreshment serving area could facilitate increased revenue-generating potential for a relatively small additional investment.

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Running costs

Factor in the savings you can make through reduced running costs; for example, modern fabrics can be well insulated and therefore cost less to heat or air condition than equivalent brick builds or the facilities they replace. With translucent membranes, they cost less for lighting; alternatively, if your new space is fitted with LEDs and replaces one with strip lights, this too is a long-term saving and helps your investment to pay for itself.


If you select a construction method that is easily moved, your future flexibility is increased even more and you gain the option of selling if your requirements change at a future date.