The vast majority of fabric buildings are erected atop, and secured to, a foundation. Yet, the versatility of fabric buildings – to be erected atop a wide variety of foundations or, in some cases, anchored directly to the earth – is one of their many distinct advantages.
There are many types of temporary and permanent foundations available and no single foundation type is ideal for all applications. Understanding and selecting the foundation type best suited for your application is an important decision. Considerations may include the building’s purpose, building size, building site and budget.
Below is a general overview of typical foundation types used with fabric buildings. There are many other foundation types and it’s common to utilize one or more foundation types on the same building. Share your ideas with us and we’ll help you to evaluate the options.
Not every fabric building requires a concrete foundation. In fact, the vast majority of fabric buildings we have provided since 1994, did not utilize a concrete foundation. However, for some applications, concrete may be preferred or required. Fortunately, there are multiple temporary and permanent concrete foundation options.
Common permanent concrete options are poured-in-place slabs, walls, grade beams and piers. Poured concrete foundations are generally slower to install and require skilled labor. A common temporary and/or permanent option is pre-cast concrete blocks (aka jersey barriers, ballast blocks, Lego blocks and ecology-blocks). Pre-cast concrete blocks are portable, highly-versatile, reusable and leave little or no trace upon removal.
Wood foundations come in many types. Wood posts, wood frame walls and ground mount timber foundations are relatively easy to install around a building’s perimeter. Rig mats are available in wood, steel encased wood, and composite configurations and are regularly used as both foundation and flooring in industrial building applications. Lag bolts are typically used to secure a building’s truss footing (base plate) to wood foundations.
One simple, durable, relocatable and economical wood foundation is a ground mount timber foundation. We’ve supplied and installed hundreds of ground mount timber foundations configured with all-weather 4×12’s or similar timbers, steel stakes and simple ground anchor systems.
Shipping containers (aka intermodal containers, sea containers and connexes) are commonly used as fabric building foundations. Available in multiple standard heights and lengths – and capable of being stacked – shipping container foundations are durable and versatile. Shipping containers can be an effective option to provide foundation height and additional storage and work space. Shipping container foundations are also uniquely suited to store and ship fabric buildings for relocatable and/or emergency response applications.
Earth, Gravel or Asphalt:
In some applications, fabric buildings may be installed directly atop earth, gravel or asphalt substrates. For installations in which the substrate can be disturbed, steel stakes and ground anchors are commonly used to hold down a building. For installations in which the substrate cannot be disturbed, pre-cast concrete blocks or other materials can be utilized to hold down a building.