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Steel Shed Alternatives Fabric Shelter

If you’re managing a worksite for a mining, construction, industrial, transport or agriculture operation, needing reliable Shelter for a range of uses, you have likely encountered a number of potential solutions and are possibly confused about which would be the best choice for your business. 

Imagine building a wooden barn with a thatched roof to use as a mine-site workshop; hardly likely, is it? It’s possible that there will come a time when even a steel building would be a bewildering choice. Corrugated steel/tin sheds have stood the test of time for nearly two centuries, but with all things in the modern age, new technologies are making their mark. 

So, what does a Fabric Shelter offer that a shed doesn’t, or vice versa? Our quick comparison guide aims to help you weigh up the differences and make an easy decision to suit your needs. 

Fabric Structures 

With the increasing sophistication of fabric technology, Fabric Structures are increasingly being utilised as alternatives to steel buildings on many worksites in the mining, industrial and construction spheres and beyond.  

Fabric Shelters offer significant advantages for short to medium-term contract durations, on land not owned by the Shelter purchaser, where quick installation and relocation are possibilities. Additionally, even for long-term uses, Fabric Shelters offer unique benefits beyond what is possible with a traditional steel building.  

Lead Time 

One of the core benefits of Fabric Shelters is their short lead times. Their unique modular design allows for a high level of flexibility and an ability to suit even extremely tight project deadlines. DomeShelter Australia has completed projects in the past where very large Shelters were delivered on time in a matter of just weeks; this lead time flexibility is one of the biggest differences between a Fabric Shelter and a Steel Building. 

Bulk Storage Fabric Shelter

Installation Complexity 

Fabric Shelters are known for their rapid and straightforward installation. They can be up and running in a fraction of the time it takes to erect a steel building. Comprehensive instructions are provided with every Shelter project, that can be followed for ease of installation by on-site teams, even those who have never installed a Shelter before. For worksites with short to medium-term contracts or projects that require frequent relocation, Fabric Shelters are a practical choice. Their portability ensures that they can be easily moved to new locations when needed, saving both time and money. 

Ground Disturbance & Environmental Footprint 

For businesses with environmental concerns, Fabric Shelters offer sustainability benefits. Their construction involves fewer raw materials and produces less waste compared to traditional buildings. Low or even no ground disturbance footings are available, making site rehabilitation significantly easier at contract end.  

Internal Environment 

Fabric Structures are known for their excellent light diffusion properties. During the day, natural light passes through the roof fabric, eliminating the need for artificial lighting and creating an even, bright interior. This not only enhances working conditions but also reduces energy consumption. The Fabric Tarp also absorbs sound waves for a more pleasant internal environment. An agriculture client recently commented that the acoustics in their Fabric Shelter were much nicer than a steel Shed. 

Karara DomeShelter Structure

Steel Buildings 

While Fabric Shelters offer a range of advantages, there are situations where a steel shed might be the more suitable choice. Steel buildings are the norm, and rose rapidly to popularity over the past two centuries for good reason; in cases where a permanent structure with little maintenance requirements is needed for use over several decades, a steel shed is an excellent option. 

Steel buildings are robust and offer a high level of stability and security, making them ideal for long-term storage, industrial facilities, or operations in areas with severe weather challenges. 


While Fabric Shelters can be fully enclosed with Endwalls and lockable doors, steel buildings provide a high degree of security and protection for peace of mind. Corrugated iron walls are likely to be associated with a level of structural integrity that deters theft and vandalism.  

Komatsu DomeShelter Paint Booth


In situations involving a commitment to a specific location and unaltered presence over many decades, a steel building is an appropriate permanent infrastructure investment. They are fixed assets that can provide enduring functionality and structural reliability. 

Meeting Strict Requirements 

Fabric Shelters from reputable suppliers are fully engineered to the same standards as any other infrastructure type, but in regions with stringent building codes or zoning regulations steel buildings might be a straightforward choice for compliance. They often involve their own set of local regulations, being a common infrastructure type; this could make them a convenient option for projects where navigating through regulatory requirements is a primary concern. 

Download Our Free Comparison Guide 

Selecting the ideal shelter for your worksite is a pivotal decision that can impact your project’s outcome. Fabric Structures provide rapid lead times, easy installation, environmental friendliness, and a superb internal environment, making them a practical choice for short to medium-term projects. In contrast, steel buildings offer durability, security, and stability, making them suitable for long-term applications, particularly in challenging weather conditions. The choice hinges on your project’s unique needs and priorities. 

For a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision, download our free guide. The experienced DomeShelter™ Team is also available any time to provide expert guidance to help you make the best choice for your project. 

Download the Guide Today

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