Building on a tight budget and under time constraints means considering every available option. Frame-supported fabric structures might be just the solution, as they're efficient, customizable and can be built in less time and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional structure. Here are some advantages to choosing fabric structures, as well as some things to consider prior to making a purchase.

Seeing is believing
There are a variety of fabric structures on the market and they all have a unique look and feel. Much like cars, they're not all designed for the same application. The best way to understand that is to experience one firsthand. If at all possible, try to find a building being used for your intended purposes.


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What to look for
If you are able to tour an existing structure, you'll want to pay attention to a number of important factors and ask a few questions. Have a look at how everything is laid out, from customizable office and reception space to HVAC and lighting. You'll want to know what it costs to heat, cool and illuminate the space. You might also want to ask how long the structure has been in place, and what warrantee terms are on the membrane.

Flexibility
Most schools and athletics programs are in a constant state of change, whether adding athletes or switching sports based on season. While a frame-supported fabric structure should be considered a permanent structure, it can be relocated and is also easily expanded or converted for use by multiple sports.


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Customization
Fabric structures are highly customizable. You'll want to have a good idea of what types of spaces you need within the building. If you're developing a practice facility, do you need coaches' offices? Training spaces? If you're erecting a public arena, do you need a reception area? These decisions will figure into the overall cost of the building.

Time to completion
If you're in a hurry to get a space up and running, a fabric structure might be the right solution for you. A frame-supported fabric building can be completed in significantly less time than it takes to bring a conventional structure to completion.


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This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Purchasing Guide" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.