Austrian REMA wanted a fabric-covered building

The Austrian wood processing company Rema Massivholzplattenwerk GmbH constructed a Best-Hall building for storing its products to sleep well at night even in winter. In the Pongau region, there may be as much as two metres of snowfall in one night, which requires particular durability from the structures.

When Rema, a company manufacturing solid wood panels in Eben im Pongau in Austria, started to need more storage space, the company’s CEO Christian Rettenegger decided to find the best and most durable solution in the market that also meets the requirements of wood panel storage in terms of cost level.

- The most important thing for us is to protect the timber against rain and snow and maintain its moisture content at 8–10 per cent. For this purpose, a fabric-covered storage building is an entirely sufficient and functional solution. The construction costs of a steel-framed building anchored directly into the asphalt are also significantly lower compared to traditional construction, Rettenegger explains.

Only real option

After settling on constructing a fabric-covered building, Rettenegger thoroughly studied the available options. Steel-framed, fabric-covered storage buildings are still rare in the area, so Rettenegger was interested in expert reviews and experiences especially on durability and the safety of the frame before making a purchase.

- In Pongau, the roofs of buildings can easily accumulate up to hundreds of kilograms of snow in a short time. In fact, building supervision authorities require the structures to withstand at least 500 kg of snow per square metre, and Best-Hall was the only one to be able to provide this, Rettenegger says.

Rettenegger also put weight on the surface treatment of the steel frame, which affects the lifespan of the building.

- I wanted a building with a powder coated frame instead of a hot-dip galvanised one. Galvanisation always makes the surface of the steel rough. When the structure touches the fabric and the building inevitably moves a little, the roughness of the frame damages the fabric. After familiarising myself with structures and materials, the choice was eventually easy: I would not have dared to build anything but Best-Hall.

The building withstood record snowfalls

In the late winter of 2019, Rema’s timber storage building constructed in 2017 was truly put to the test. The record-breaking 520-kilogram snow load that fell in one night made Rettenegger uneasy – but there was no need.

- The building withstood the load beautifully, and the snow slid off the slick roof by itself the next day, Rettenegger commends.

- We always dimension the frame structure of the Best-Hall for the purpose of the building and the conditions of the building site. In areas with snowfall, we use thicker steel profiles than usual, and the load is also accounted for in the special fastening of the fabric, allowing for both the fabric and the building to remain in place even under heavier loads, says Marcus Green, representative of Best-Hall in Austria, about the expertise based on over 40 years of experience.

Christian Rettenegger has been so satisfied with his choice that he, too, has become an advocate of fabric-covered buildings.

- These days, I recommend this affordable and quick storage solution even to my competitors, he laughs.