Best-Hall punching above its weight: small company doing big things

Best-Hall has been supplying fabric buildings for more than 45 years. We have seen many kinds of trends, but the latest and most long-lasting has been the increase in building sizes. We have just completed one of our largest projects yet in Norway. The frame of Hammerfest’s 126 x 80-metre indoor football pitch has been installed, the cover is in place – this is cause for celebration.

What is a large Best-Hall building?

Much like beauty, size is in the eye of the beholder. Our standard 24 x 12 m building might be large for some, while others consider a large building to be 6,000 m2, 100 m long and 60 m wide. Best-Hall’s 30-metre-wide building is part of our basic range and a great example of it. A building more than 40 m in width can be considered somewhat large, but the process is still fairly basic. A width in excess of 70 m is large enough to no longer be viable for a basic delivery. In addition to this, if the building needs to be tall (a ridge height of more than 30 m), the process is more demanding, even with a narrower span length.

Best-Hall fabric structures NIA

A large fabric-covered building requires expertise and cooperation

Large buildings are demanding projects, especially in snowy and windy areas. Best-Hall’s design engineers are very experienced, which ensures a high level of professional skill and competence. Large buildings in the United States, Ireland, Iceland and Norway are demonstrations of their prowess, and the other aspects of the process, from engineering workshop production, surface treatment and fabric production to installation, are equally impressive. The process of delivering large buildings is a finely-tuned team effort, which involves every department from beginning to end. Suppliers, too, make their own contribution to the process. This wide-ranging cooperation ensures that large projects are completed in an exemplary manner.

The increase in building size challenges builders to develop their operations, which also benefits those in the market for smaller fabric-covered structures. Obviously, the process for large and demanding structures cannot be as simple as that of a basic 1,000-m2 building, but good practices still carry over to the deliveries of smaller buildings. The efforts must take into account everyone involved in the production and installation of the building for all the pieces to fall into place. It is for us to consider how to manufacture and paint the steel elements as smoothly as possible, as machines, equipment and buildings have their limitations. It must also be possible to fit the components in standard trailers or containers to keep the transport costs in check. In demanding worksite conditions, the process of installing the elements and fabrics must be safe and impeccable in terms of quality. For large halls, risk management is a consideration all on its own. It must be taken into account before, after and during all work phases.

With large halls, customer demands, too, are usually higher than normal. It is clear that the building must be safe, but strict demands are also imposed on other technical aspects, let alone the competence and credibility of the partner – after all, the project is a major investment for the customer. Having supplied numerous large buildings in the 2000s, we are beginning to gain fame in the field, which has led to enquiries about structures large enough for us to say “Thanks, but no thanks”. We have honed our process for steel frames and that is what we will stick to, because that is what we are best at.

sports building by besthall

Cavalcade of large fabric-covered buildings starting from New York

Initially, large buildings became part of Best-Hall’s portfolio in 2004 with the delivery of our first truly sizeable fabric-covered building for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for de-icing aircraft. The structure is 80 m long and wide, and there is enough height for a Boeing 747 to fit inside. Countless planes have passed through the building over the years, and the structure was even faced with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, suffering no damage at all. The next project of the same size came around in 2016 with the delivery of a 231 x 80.4 m structure to cover two full-sized football pitches in Dublin, Ireland. Currently, we are in the process of erecting three large halls: two in Oman (320 x 80 m and 199 x 80 m) and the one we already mentioned in Hammerfest, which is the second northernmost building we have delivered.

warehouse storage by BestHall

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