Air-supported fabric structures - also known as sports bubbles - are a tempting solution for indoor sports arenas. Sports bubbles have the advantages of fabric buildings, including natural light, rapid construction and a relatively lower cost. But in a head-to-head comparison with steel-framed fabric structures, sports bubbles fall flat.
Similarities Between Frame-Supported and Air-Supported Buildings
-Both utilize engineered structural PVC material
-Both can be made with wide free spans without supporting columns that interfere with daily activities
-Both save on typical construction costs as opposed to brick and mortar arenas
Disadvantages of Air-Supported Fabric Buildings
- During each assembly and disassembly, the playing field is out of commission while technicians complete the process. This results in lost-time costs as well as the costs for the technicians themselves. Steel-framed buildings require little to no maintenance over the life of the building.
-Cannot withstand snow loads. Frame-supported sports centers are functional in any weather conditions without additional maintenance.
- Significantly increases your electricity costs, anywhere upwards of an additional $3,000.00 per month depending upon the size of the building, for constant inflation.
- Due to constant inflation it will not support additional loads from mounted scoreboards, netting or divider curtains. Steel-framed fabric structures have unlimited design options.
Advantages of Frame-Supported Fabric Buildings
-Modern framed fabric buildings use the same proven engineering techniques and structural steel as traditional construction. They are designed to last for decades without additional operating or maintenance costs.
-Air locks are not required for structural integrity. Windows, vents and doors are options to keep the building at a comfortable temperature as well as access and egress by people or equipment.
-The frame also allows for multiple design options and the shape of the frame allows you to still have that sports arena look.
-The benefits of framed fabric structures - including design flexibility, energy efficiency and long-term value - can't be matched by sports bubbles.