Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019 - 48

The only issue with his system, says
Johnstone, is that quality and strength
come at a cost that not every boat owner
is willing to pay. "My system has so much
welding and work involved in it, I have
priced myself out of a lot of jobs," he
explains. "My party tops will hold up in
100-mile-per-hour winds, but it's hard to
compete with those who are putting up
lightweight stuff."
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TECHNOLOGY DRIVES
CAPABILITIES
Technology is one of the drivers that has
helped advance the design and capabilities
of metal frameworks.
"There are still folks around who are
doing hand sketches of their awnings,"
says Steve Moyer, co-owner of Heartland
Awning & Design in Omaha, Neb. "Since
our beginning we've tried to cater to the
design and building professionals using
current technology to illustrate our designs.
We started using CAD years ago to submit

Lakeside Marine Canvas builds boat tops for strength and durability,
including the ability to withstand 100 mph winds. This one was tested
in a tornado and survived unscathed. Photo: Lakeside Marine Canvas.

48 REVIEW JUNE 2019

information to architects and designers,
which allowed us to communicate in
the language they are used to."
That's important, he says, because
today all structures have more eyes on
them. "Everyone from an architect to
a building owner to a city inspector
may be reviewing our plans," he says.
"Municipalities, as well as contractors, are
not just interested in the aesthetic value of
the frame design; they also need to have
the structural integrity documented."
"Technology has helped," adds
Skrzynski. "We employ 3D laser scanning
of as-built spaces and can take that model
and overlay on an architect's 2D PDF
drawing to scale. Many times, we will see
a change is needed based on actual layout
versus what was designed. This helps
greatly, proving change orders are needed.
We can also take that as-built scan and
draw our metal structures into the scan,
allowing us to build modular and ship-tosite for assembly versus building/welding
on-site in less-than-ideal conditions."
Also, he says, "This lets us work with
end users, architects and builders to provide
realistic renderings. Many times, we are
hired prior to scan and design. We do this
a lot for residential projects, as most people
can't visualize what something will look
like and the rendering will sell the project."
According to Auger, advanced design
software programs also allow designers
and fabricators access to a wealth of
information that is valuable in the design
process, automating calculations and
improving the engineering efficiency.
"One of the advantages of fabric buildings
is the speed of delivery, from design
to installation, and advancements in
technology continue to maintain this
advantage," he says.
IN-HOUSE VS. OUTSOURCING
Not all fabricators have the capacity, skills
or even desire to do any more than basic
metal fabrication, but even those who


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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019

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