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When considering the purchase of a Fabric Structure, there are several key elements that must be taken into account during the design and engineering phase. Two of these elements are the Terrain Category and Importance Level. These two concepts are part of the Australian Standard AS1170, which outlines the standard for wind loading on buildings and structures. Understanding the significance of Terrain Category and Importance Level is vital to ensure the safety and longevity of any Fabric Structure. 

What is Terrain Category? 

Terrain Category is a measure of the severity of the environment in which the Fabric Structure will be located. This can include factors such as wind speed, wind direction, and exposure to the elements. The three main categories are are: 

  • Terrain Category 1: Exposed, flat, treeless, no surrounding obstacles 
  • Terrain Category 2: Open terrain including grassland, with well-scattered obstructions at a frequency of no more than 2 obstructions per metre 
  • Terrain Category 3: Terrain with numerous, closely-spaced obstructions 

The Terrain Category determines how much direct wind the Shelter is likely to be exposed to, and it is a critical aspect in the engineering of a Fabric Structure. 

Terrain Category and Importance Level Fabric Shelters

What is Importance Level? 

Importance Level is a measure of the importance of the Structure in terms of safety. There are three main importance levels that pertain to Fabric Shelters: 

  • Importance Level 1: Low degree of hazard to human life and other property, e.g. storage outbuilding. 
  • Importance Level 2: The default or ordinary level, for structures with medium consequence to human life and considerable economic consequences in the event of failure 
  • Importance Level 3: High consequence for loss of human life or very great economic, social or environmental consequences in the event of failure, e.g. hospital. 

Importance Level is used to determine the necessary safety features that must be incorporated into the design of the Fabric Structure. 

Why Do These Matter for Fabric Structures? 

When designing a Fabric Structure, it is crucial to specify both the Terrain Category and the Importance Level, as these have a significant impact on the wind load the Shelter is engineered to sustain. This information is used by manufacturers to determine the appropriate materials, design and construction methods to ensure that the Structure is safe and durable.

For example, a Fabric Shelter located in a barren environment subject to full-force winds (Terrain Category 3) and with a high importance level (Importance Level 3) will require stronger materials, stronger connections, and other safety features to ensure that it can withstand high winds and other severe weather conditions. 

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 The Importance of Engineering 

Choosing a manufacturer who engineers fabric structures according to the standards set forth in AS1170 is critical to ensure the safety and durability of the Structure. A manufacturer who follows these standards will use the latest engineering techniques and materials to create a structure that is built to last and designed to keep the people and assets inside safe. A manufacturer who does not adhere to these standards may use inferior materials or construction methods, resulting in a structure that is unsafe and prone to failure.  

Working with a supplier like DomeShelter Australia will give you access to a full in-house design and engineering team who are experienced in AS1170 compliance. They will handle the particulars and advise each client thoroughly, taking care of all technical considerations so you the customer can be sure your Fabric Shelter will be safe and durable.

DomeShelter Australia: Get in Touch 

At DomeShelter Australia, decades of experience have gone into designing and engineering Fabric Structures that meet the highest standards of safety and durability, with an in-house team of experts who are knowledgeable in the latest industry standards including AS1170. With a deep understanding of these standards and a commitment to creating Structures that meet the highest safety and quality requirements, DomeShelter Australia is a trusted partner for those in need of durable and safe Fabric Structures. 

If you are in need of a durable, proven Fabric Shelter for your worksite, get in touch with DomeShelter Australia’s friendly and knowledgeable team using our contact page. 

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