Bespoke tensile fabric structures can be used both externally and internally to provide a canopy design. They can be designed in various sizes to enable them to span a specific area. If you already understand the benefits of such structures, what elements do you need to consider when specifying a tensile fabric canopy for use outside?

A tensile fabric structure

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There is a range of factors that you need to take into account when you’re in the initial planning and design stage. This will enable you to develop the most appropriate canopy design for your requirements.

How will the canopy be supported?

An advantage of bespoke tensile fabric structures is that they don’t require the same support systems that other materials do. However, you still need to determine whether it can be fixed into the ground, to the walls, or both. You will have to take into account the pressure applied to the canopy in strong winds; this will be important for assessing the suitability of the supports.

Once you have an idea how the fabric architecture will be supported, you can begin to visualise the overall shape. The shapes of fabric canopies tend to fall into one of three categories: the barrel vault, the cone or the hypar. However, within these areas there are practically endless possibilities in terms of the finished shape.

Ensure it stands up to the elements

One of the essential areas of consideration when designing a fabric canopy is where the rainwater or melting snow will go. You can direct water to specific areas, such as the corners by downpipes, through the canopy’s shape. It is crucial to factor this in at an early stage of the design process to eliminate any issues later.

You also need to ensure that the design can withstand high winds. This can usually be achieved through low and high points in the design of the canopy to create a double curvature, which will help to keep the structure stable.

When you have taken these areas into consideration, you should have a good picture of how your fabric canopy will be formed. It’s important that you get the right advice from an experienced supplier and installer of fabric canopies to ensure that you have a durable and professional-looking structure that will keep its look and withstand the extremes of weather.