We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we hope will provide all the information you need. Don’t worry about asking any questions, we are here to help!
Please check below for answers to commonly asked questions. If you don’t find the question or answer you are looking for then we would love to hear from you.
A tensile fabric structure - also referred to as a tension structure or fabric structure, is a structure that consists of a rigid frame and an outer membrane roof. Tensile fabric structures are characterised by the tensioning of a membrane system, typically with wire or cable. Using tension throughout the structure provides the membrane with critical structural support. Steel is the most common choice of material for the frame, although timber and aluminium can also be used to build a tensile fabric structure. The covers are usually made of high tensioned architectural fabrics such as PTFE or PVC.
Tensile structures are usually fabricated as permanent canopy structures for commercial, public realm, education and landscape artwork. This unique fabric canopy strives for a light and airy look by minimizing the amount of framing and utilizing the strength of the fabric to help support the stability and equilibrium of the structure.
Shade sails (sail shades) and fabric structures share some similar characteristics - they are both two examples of shade structures, they are usually constructed from steel and are excellent at providing an area of sunshade. The main difference between the two is that shade sails are fitted with a porous fabric rather than the waterproof PVC-coated fabric that is fitted on tensile fabric structures. So shade sails are ideal for creating an area of shade from the sun, but if a fully waterproof solution is required that a tensile fabric structure is a more suitable choice.
Shade sails are much easier to remove and store than tensile fabric structures, and therefore can be considered as a semi-permanent structure. The size of the concrete foundations are usually significantly smaller than fabric structures, which makes it a cost-effective solution. Please note that shade sails are intended for providing small areas of shelter only.
We have installed our tensile fabric structures at a number of private homes in the past and we continue to offer our services to the residential market. However, please be advised that tensile fabric structures are a high-end shading product that are designed and engineered to withstand all weather conditions. We offer a personalised service, where each design is bespoke and made to measure. Therefore, the cost for building such a structure is greater than buying an off-the-shelf parasol or shade sail.
Private customers come to us because we can offer a premium all-weather shading solution that is guaranteed for 10-years of permanent use and has an expected lifespan of 25-years. Plus, for the design conscious out there - a tensile fabric structure can add a touch of sophistication and a ‘wow’ factor to any garden.
In addition to tensile fabric structures, we supply a range of shade sails, retractable roof pergolas and awnings also aimed at private gardens, please get in touch to find out more.
With tensile fabric structures, there are may possible styles, shapes and colours that can be adapted to individual specifications. In other words, there is much more flexibility when it comes to designing tensile fabric structures as opposed to alternatives such as polycarbonate clad structures.
We have a library of over 50 pre-designed models capable of covering areas from 10m² to 1,000m² and beyond!
At ArcCan we don’t mess around with limited colour options. On our structures, the steelwork or aluminium is zinc sprayed and polyester powder coated to ANY RAL colour of choice, with no extra charge! For our waterproof canopies there is a choice of over 40 colours available, and for our shade sails there are 13 colours on offer.
A very long time. In fact, a plastic bag will degrade quicker! All ArcCan structures are engineered specifically for each location and made with only the highest quality materials. Every ArcCan shade comes with a 10 year warranty and an estimated lifespan of at least 25 years. PVC fabrics are all recycliable so at the end of their life they do not impact the environment.
The price of a tensile structure tends to range from £200 - £500 per square metre. This includes structural supports, cables and fittings, foundations & installation. Costs vary due to complexity of design, local wind or snow conditions and the size of the structure required.
For customers that don’t want the initial outlay of buying a canopy and would prefer to spread out the payments, we have partnered with asset finance Tower Leasing to offer a leasing option.
This is primarily targeted at schools that want to purchase new equipment but don’t have the budget to pay for the item outright. Assuming that the school is Prudential Code compliant, Tower Leasing can offer a monthly leasing option for any equipment that may be needed.
Tower Leasing can also provide Limited Companies with finance options. For example, a restaurant wanting an outdoor dining canopy, or a shopping centre considering the benefits a covered walkway would bring to their facilities. To find out more about finance options with ArcCan, go to www.towerleasing.co.uk/
Most of our structures are fitted with PVC coated polyester fabric which provides year-round protection from the most inclement weather conditions with an expected lifespan of 20-25 years. The waterproof fabric that covers our tensile canopies and umbrellas provides total protection from the sun's harmful rays. A more economical alternative is to opt for a shade only fabric that is semi-permeable, these provide up to 98% UV protection dependent on the colour chosen. For shade sails we recommend removing the canopy during the Winter months to preserve the life of the sail as they can be damaged by high winds or snow.
Usually, planning permission is not required however we would always recommend checking with your local planning department as council regulations vary greatly. Some structures can be easily dismantled, making them a temporary installation, but the interpretation of 'temporary' varies - always check.
The lead time for our standard products is 7-8 weeks depending on the time of year. For projects that contain bespoke designs or large structures the lead time is usually 10-14 weeks. Please note that the Winter months are usually our quietest months and the Summer months and school holidays are our peak periods.
The timeline for groundworks and installation varies although for most projects the groundworks can be completed within 3 days and installation within 1-2 days after allowing up to 28 days for the concrete to cure.
Our installation team is DBS checked to ensure the safety of school pupils, we also take care to leave the site as tidy as when we found it.
Cleaning and maintaining a tensile fabric structure is absolutely essential, just the same as any building needs to be looked after to ensure that it does not deteriorate. To maintain your tensile fabric stricture, we recommend that the roof is cleaned every 9-12 months with a solution of warm water and non-abrasive cleaner. ArcCan offer a cleaning and maintenance service so call the office for a quote.