Can Tensile Structures Handle The Snow Or Wind In My Area?

By April 27, 2020May 7th, 2020LEARN

One of the first questions we get when dealing with architects and developers, particularly ones that haven’t worked with tensile membrane structures or cable structures 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 constructed a tensile membrane structure on the roof of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Dade County on the Southeast Florida coast, 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 from 156-180 mph wind speeds depending on the building’s risk category.

We built an extensive grandstand membrane structure in the wintry Canadian prairie city of Regina at Mosaic Stadium, home of the Canadian Football League team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The snow load requirements of the structure were a hefty 1.4 kPa (29 PSF).

Another example that combines some of the most extreme wind and snow loads in the world is Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North shore, where colleagues in our Guard-All division have erected several tension fabric buildings despite the 35 PSF snow loads.

While our graceful cable, membrane, and tensile structures may appear deceivingly fragile, with the appropriate application of engineering ingenuity and high strength architectural fabrics, we can build a year-round structure in almost any climate.