Big Topics-News & Insights

AutoNation Service CenterAutoNation USA is a company that sells new and preowned cars nationwide. Its location in Houston, Texas, is located right off I-45 in plain view of countless drivers. AutoNation Houston was expanding its footprint and needed new infrastructure to accommodate various services, so the company reached out to Big Top for a solution. We were able to design and build three separate structures, each customized for specific automotive services.

Service & Repair Center

The building size selected for this department was 84 feet wide, 30 feet long, and 28 feet tall. We included two personnel doors, as well as five 12-foot-by-12-foot metal doors to create five bays where vehicles could be driven right inside. This allows the technicians to service five cars at a time.

Wash & Detail Center

After vehicles are serviced, they need to be washed and detailed before they’re moved to the showroom floor. For this purpose, Big Top designed a building measuring 70 feet wide, 130 feet long, and 32 feet tall. We created four vehicle bays with four 12-foot-by-12-foot metal rollup doors and three internal partition panels. Washing and drying systems were installed throughout the structure to provide a seamless detailing process from start to finish.

Auction Center

The final stop for vehicles that have been serviced and detailed is the auction center where they’re photographed, video recorded, and inventoried in the AutoNation database. Big Top designed the auction center to span 100 feet wide, 80 feet long, and 35 feet tall, and we installed four personnel doors, eight metal rollup doors, exhaust fans and vents, and two commercial-grade fans.

Benefits of AutoNation’s New Service Centers

AutoNation Service CenterThanks to the UV-reflective fabric roof of AutoNation’s new service centers, the dealership’s vehicles, staff, and equipment are well-protected from the damaging effects of sun exposure. In fact, the fabric roof of our buildings is formulated to repel 99.95 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation, and helps to prolong the lifespan of the paintjob of the vehicles, as well as the electronics inside of them.

By shielding the interior from the sun, the fabric roofs of the three service centers will help to maintain an interior temperature that is on average 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, ensuring AutoNation’s host of employees remain comfortable throughout the workday.

Furthermore, the fabric roofs are translucent and will therefore flood the buildings with natural sunlight, providing enough illumination for all work to be completed with minimal reliance on artificial lighting. This is a benefit that will provide a significant return on investment for AutoNation by reducing power usage.

How Can We Meet Your Needs?

If your company needs a structure for production, warehousing, safety meetings, or another use, and you don’t want to pay a premium price for constructing a permanent building, turn to Big Top. Our fabric structures can be virtually any size, are customizable with a range of accessories, and can be installed nearly anywhere. They can be built at a rate of 2,500 square feet per day, and they can even be equipped for mobility should your business needs change.

To learn more about our fabric structures and how we can meet your needs, as we did with AutoNation Houston, contact the professionals at Big Top today.

Manufacturing FacilityCospolich is a commercial and industrial equipment supplier that specializes in designing, modifying, and fabricating shipboard refrigeration units and other galley fixtures that improve the lives of onboard crews. The company has been serving the marine industry for over 80 years and, because their products are built with the utmost quality, demand is high. With business booming, Cospolich was quickly running out of space to complete large projects and meet lead times for customers. The company needed an expanded manufacturing space and wisely reached out to Big Top for a solution.

Designing a Building to Meet Manufacturing Needs

During the consultation, we met with representatives from Cospolich to discuss their fabrication needs and the size of the footprint where the new building would be installed. From there, we determined a 90-foot-wide-by-115-foot-long building that was 34 feet tall would be the perfect size to house production.

How We Stand Apart: Size

At Big Top, we do a number of things differently from our competitors. For instance, we don’t provide one-size-fits-all models. Rather, we design each building we sell to the exact dimensions required by the customer, and there is virtually no limit to how big our structures can be.

Equipping the Building with the Perfect Accessories

In addition to size, there were other specific features the building needed in order to meet manufacturing requirements. These included doors — we installed a 14-by-14-foot metal rollup door and a personnel door at both ends — and ventilation, which we provided by installing exhaust fans and air vents.

How We Stand Apart: Custom Designs

To provide our customers with custom-built structures, we offer a range of accessories that can be included in the design, not just doors and ventilation, but also durable flooring, HVAC systems, insulation, lightning protection, and more.

Providing a Timely Turnaround

With leads accumulating, Cospolich needed a solution fast. Thankfully, our fabric structures take far less time (and cost far less money) to construct than traditional buildings. We were able to install the new fabrication structure for this company in just nine days! With that speedy turnaround, Cospolich was able to expand its production line and keep up with demand.

How We Stand Apart: Fast Assemblies

Because our structures require far fewer materials, they take much less time to build than permanent buildings. In fact, they can be assembled at a rate of 2,500 square feet per day. Not only that, our buildings can be disassembled and moved to another location to keep pace with changing business needs.

Handling the Installation

Manufacturing FacilityCospolich was pleased that Big Top’s crew was able to handle the entire installation. This saved on costs and time, and eliminated the potential frustration of having to hire multiple contractors.

How We Stand Apart: Turnkey Installation Services

Not all Big Top’s fabric structures require specialized contractors to build. Some buildings only take a day to install and if you already have a team of laborers, then we can provide a detailed set of installation instructions along with 24/7 phone support to assist you along the way. But if you are not set up for this, then Big top can provide the entire installation, taking this burden off your team. We can anchor one of our buildings to nearly any kind of foundation — including asphalt, shipping containers, and ecology blocks — not just concrete, as with permanent buildings.

Benefits Cospolich Will Enjoy with Its New Building

Cospolich’s new fabrication structure is topped with our famous fabric roof. This roof is translucent and will allow natural sunlight to illuminate the interior, saving the company energy costs associated with an artificial lighting system. Additionally, the roof is designed to repel up to 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation, which will keep Cospolich’s staff, materials, and equipment protected from sun exposure. This has the added benefit of helping to maintain a pleasant interior temperature that is on average 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, thus keeping employees comfortable throughout the workday.

To learn how Big Top can design a building to meet your company’s specific needs, contact us today.

Provo Fire Station 2Residents of Provo, Utah, were curious to see a large, white tent in their neighborhood — the new temporary home of Fire Station 2, the city’s oldest fire station. Built in 1958, the old station is plagued with mold, flooding, and structural issues, and does not meet current earthquake standards. The city of Provo approved funds to have the station replaced with a modern facility, but that left the question of where the fire department would be housed during demolition and construction.

A Cost-Saving Solution

When the city of Provo approached Big Top, we began designing a building that would meet the needs of the fire department, while also adhering to local building codes and the city’s budget. The result is a fully functioning temporary facility that’s big enough to house Station 2’s fire apparatus and strong enough to withstand 20 years of changing seasons and weather patterns (though Provo’s finest firefighters will only be “glamping,” otherwise known as “glamorized camping,” in the adjacent trailer for 10 months), for a cost that was much lower than our closest competitor could deliver.

Features of the Design

In addition to cost savings, Big Top stands apart from our competitors because we custom-design every fabric structure that we build for our customers. For instance, there are numerous accessories available to provide unique benefits. For Provo Fire Station 2, we included an HVAC unit to cool and heat the structure, and an exhaust system to safely filter the fumes of the fire apparatus. We also included large coiling doors to allow the apparatus into and out of the building.

Future Use of the Building

Not only did Big Top meet the immediate needs of Fire Station 2, but we also met the future needs of the city of Provo, which will be able to use the structure long into the future. That’s because Big Top’s fabric shelters are mobile — once the new fire station is complete and operational, the fabric structure will be disassembled and relocated to a public works property where it will be restored for other uses.

Benefits Provo’s Firefighters Will Enjoy

Provo Fire Station 2The hallmark feature of Big Top’s shelters is the fabric roof, which will provide many benefits for those who work in Fire Station 2. First, the roof is translucent and will therefore flood the interior with natural light, helping the fire department save on energy costs associated with running artificial lighting throughout the day.

Second, the fabric roof is formulated to repel 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation, which will help protect the firefighters and their equipment from the damaging effects of sun exposure. Furthermore, the roof will help maintain a pleasant interior temperature that is an average of 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, even without the help of the HVAC system.

Here at Big Top, it was our absolute honor to support the local Provo community by providing a temporary building for Fire Station 2. If you’d like to learn how we can build a shelter to meet your unique needs, contact us today. Our versatile structures are clear span, can be installed at a rate of 2,500 square feet per day, and may provide tax benefits from the IRS.

Module Assembly BayS&B Modular Operations is a long-established module fabrication company serving the oil and gas, petrochemical, and chemical industries. As a reliable source of quality modular products, including pipe racks and metering skids, which are delivered fully assembled to their clients all over the country, S&B Modular Operations has enjoyed outstanding success. And with success comes expansion.

The company’s base of operations sits on 52 acres of land in Texas, but not all of that land is developed. Rather than make a heavy investment in building a new permanent facility, S&B Modular Operations reached out to Big Top for a solution. We were able to design a structure that meets their expansion goals, and we were able to build it in a fraction of the time that a permanent building would have taken.

Maximizing Available Space

Two key benefits of a Big Top fabric structure are that it can be built to nearly any size and anchored to nearly any type of foundation. These benefits came into play when designing the new module assembly bay for S&B Modular Operations. We created a structure that is 85 feet wide, 280 feet long, and 38 feet tall by installing a fabric structure on shipping containers that were stacked three high and seven rows long. Thus, we were able to expand the client’s usable space by 24,000 square feet. And, because there are no internal columns or guy wires, the entire interior can be used for production.

The new facility is large enough to accommodate cranes, a 100-ton mobile gantry, drive-through access for loading and unloading materials, and full-size pipe, skid, module, and pipe-rack fabrications. The shipping containers provide an additional 4,480 square feet of usable space for offices, tool rooms, storage for materials and parts, and training rooms.

Protection from the Elements

Module Assembly BayOpen-air production is dependent on the weather — a sudden afternoon storm can swiftly halt operations. But this is no longer a worry for S&B Modular Operations. The new covered shelter offers superior protection from wind and rain. And, thanks to the UV-reflective fabric roof, the company’s staff, modules, and equipment are safely sheltered from damaging radiation caused by sun exposure. As a result, rain-outs are a thing of the past and employees remain comfortable throughout the workday.

As a matter of fact, the fabric roofs in Big Top structures repel up to 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation, with a UPF rating of 2,000 and a conventional rating of 50-plus. This helps to maintain a comfortable interior temperature that is an average of 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, without the need for an HVAC system.

A Naturally Illuminated Facility

Another key benefit of the fabric roof is that it is translucent. The entire production area under the cover of S&B Modular Operations’ new facility is fully illuminated by natural sunlight filtering through the translucent roof. This will help the company save on energy costs month after month, a return on investment they will enjoy almost immediately.

To learn more about how the features and benefits of a Big Top covered shelter can work for your business needs, contact us today and we’ll be happy to provide more information.

What Is a Translucent Roof & What Benefits Does it Provide for Our Temporary Buildings?

What Is a Translucent Roof?The hallmark feature of a Big Top structure is the roof, which is translucent, meaning it allows natural sunlight to flow through. This provides the excellent benefit of the interior of the building being illuminated naturally, supplying ample light for your production, warehousing, and other operational needs. In fact, our translucent roof provides enough light on its own that you won’t need to use an artificial lighting source, saving you the cost of having such a system installed and the energy costs of running it.

While this is certainly one of the key benefits that makes Big Top’s fabric structures so popular across myriad industries, it is only the beginning of what our roof can do. Our fabric roofs are also:


Big Top’s fabric roofs repel up to 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation, which goes a long way toward protecting your environmentally sensitive materials, the electronics of your equipment, and the paint jobs of your vehicles. Additionally, your staff will be protected from sun exposure and feel much more comfortable than if they were working outside. That’s because the thermal-reflective technology of our roofs helps to naturally keep the interior of the structure at a pleasant temperature that is 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, on average, than the outside temperature. For this reason, many of our customers have been able to improve production by moving their staff out from the elements and under the protective roof of a Big Top fabric shelter.

Made to Stand the Test of Time

Big Top’s translucent roofs are rip resistant and secured to an industrial-grade steel frame. With proper upkeep, your fabric structure will remain functional year after year while holding strong against the elements. And, the roof is NFPA701 flame retardant for peace of mind.

Other Benefits That Our Fabric Shelters Provide

The fabric roof of our shelters is the hallmark feature, but the structure as a whole can provide a wealth of benefits for your operations, no matter which industry you serve. For instance, a Big Top fabric structure can be:

  • Anchored to nearly any foundation, including asphalt, shipping containers, and ecology blocks, making them a versatile choice for operations in the field
  • Engineered to meet local building codes, such as for heavy snow and wind loads
  • Outfitted with any number of accessories, including HVAC systems, durable flooring, bay doors, lightning protection, and more
  • Designed to operate telescopically for crane access with an automated rail system

Additionally, a fabric shelter from Big Top can be moved around your property with a crane, and it can be disassembled and shipped to another location should your operations relocate. With this level of versatility, not to mention the cost savings, it’s easy to see why businesses across myriad industries prefer our shelters over traditional, permanent buildings.

To speak more in depth about the benefits that one of our fabric buildings can provide for your company, contact Big Top today. When you do, we’ll be happy to design the perfect solution for your operational needs.

Modern ShipbuildingWhen Huntington-Ingalls Industries, the No.1 name in military shipbuilding in the country, took over the historic Avondale shipyard from a rival company, it acquired structures from Big Top that had been used at the previous facility and recognized the many benefits that the covers provided. To further their goal of becoming one of the most modern shipbuilding companies in the industry, HII approached Big Top to see if it was possible to create rolling covers on a much larger scale for their operations in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

A Collaborative Approach

A Collaborative ApproachAt Big Top, we are more than just a manufacturer – we are a vital resource for shelter solutions across nearly every industry. For this project, our design, engineering, and production teams all came together to work closely with the shipyard’s engineering department, state representatives, and architectural firms to find the perfect solution for HII’s production.

A Telescopic Design for Modern Shipbuilding

Telescopic DesignBig Top was able to help HII realize its goal of being the shipbuilder of the future by engineering large-scale rolling covers with telescopic maneuverability. We installed an automated railing system that allows segments of the structure to slide under one another, providing access for a crane and streamlining the modular nature of the shipbuilding process. Now, prefabricated sections can be built under the shelter, then lifted out by crane and welded to the ship. By installing these custom, automated rolling covers, we were able to help HII construct ships on a larger and faster scale, improve its chances of getting more business in the future, and lead the industry in shipbuilding design.

Better Working Conditions for Shipbuilders

Military ShipbuildingAn added benefit that HII’s rolling covers provided is the improved working conditions for its staff. Working under the hot southern sun and in the notorious Mississippi humidity before the covers were installed was a grueling effort for laborers, who often had to take breaks to avoid heat-related illnesses caused by prolonged exposure to the elements. Dianna Grenton, Manager of Manufacturing and Engineering, notes that the human factor element was considered when choosing Big Top because her staff needed to perform their duties safely sheltered from the heat and rain.

Shipyard of the FutureIndeed, Big Top’s shelters are designed for just such a situation. The fabric roof of the rolling covers is heat reflective and repels up to 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation. Thanks to this unique feature, the interiors of HII’s shelters naturally stay at a comfortable temperature that is, on average, 15 degrees cooler than the hot Mississippi climate, without help from an HVAC system. HII’s employees now work comfortably under the fabric roof, requiring far fewer breaks and therefore increasing production. By providing “a mechanism for them to get out of the heat and out of the rain,” Dianna Grenton continues, “it’s really going to transform the way we do business.”

Modern ShipyardConsidering the savings that HII enjoyed after eliminating the costs associated with employees getting sick due to heat exposure, the shelters essentially paid for themselves. Additionally, now that HII’s staff can continue to work even during inclement weather, production downtime is reduced, allowing it to stay on budget and complete projects ahead of time.

Big Top is proud to have served the marine and military industries since our founding in 1979. The versatility and myriad benefits that our fabric structures provide have helped countless companies improve their operations. If you’d like to learn more about our shelter systems and how we can custom build one to meet the needs of your business, contact Big Top today.

NBA Academy Africa - Big Top Fabric StructuresWhen NBA Academy Africa, in partnership with the SEED Project, needed a sports facility to train young players and find the next professional basketball superstar, they knew to turn to Big Top Fabric Structures. We designed and built a first-class sports facility – the first of its kind in Africa – where young athletes receive high-quality education and NBA-level training to become the next generation of leaders.

The SEED Project – Developing Young African Leaders Through Sports & Education

The SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development) is a non-profit organization based in Senegal that uses basketball as a way to teach young Africans valuable life and vocational skills to prepare for a successful future, and the results have been stunning – 92 percent of SEED students secure a job or matriculate to university upon graduating from the program. Perhaps its most well-known success story is that of Gorgui Dieng, a Senegalese athlete who went on to secure a multi-million dollar contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

How We Custom-Designed a State-of-the-Art Sports Facility

When Big Top was first approached about this project, we were beyond excited to step up to the challenge of designing not just an enclosed basketball court, but an entire training facility. The versatile nature of our fabric structures allowed us to meet this challenge. For instance, we included the following in the design:

  • Repurposed shipping containers – By anchoring the building to shipping containers, we were able to provide an economical alternative to pouring a concrete foundation. The shipping containers were then repurposed into locker rooms, bathrooms, a weight room, educational centers, conference rooms, and dormitories, saving on costs that would have been needed to build out each of these rooms separately.
  • Ventilation package – Thanks to the thermal-reflective nature of our buildings, the interior of the facility maintains a comfortable temperature that is on average 15 degrees cooler than the hot Senegalese climate outside. For added climate control, we included exhaust fans and motorized louvre vents in the design, ensuring a cool training environment free of expensive HVAC systems.
  • Translucent roof – The fabric roof of NBA Academy Africa’s training facility floods the interior with natural light, eliminating the need for artificial lighting and the energy expenses that come with it.

A Bright Future for Africa’s Youth

SEED Project - Big Top Fabric StructuresAt Big Top, we couldn’t be more proud of our involvement with this project. The state-of-the-art sports training and educational facility that we designed and built for NBA Academy Africa and the SEED Project will be a haven for Africa’s youths for years to come, providing a place for students to further their education, athleticism, and life skills to better their future. As Amadou Gallo Fall, vice president of NBA Africa, said, “This facility will provide aspiring players from across the continent with state-of-the-art courts and training equipment, under the tutelage of our NBA coaches and our world-class academic staff.”

If you’d like to learn more about our custom fabric structures, contact Big Top today. We have had numerous success stories just like this since our founding in 1979.

Fabric Shelter Golf CourseSometimes when new golf courses are built, the clubhouse is the last piece of infrastructure to be constructed. This was the case for a golf management company in South Florida that needed a shelter to protect their equipment. When left out in the elements for long periods of time, the rubber, plastics, and electronics of golf carts can deteriorate under the hot sun. As a solution, this golf company made the right choice by turning to Big Top.

Our consultants visited the site of the new golf course and met with executives to precisely measure the area where they needed a shelter to house their golf carts. From there, we were able to customize a fabric structure to meet their needs. The final shelter measured 40’ x 80’, with a height of 16’. We included a 14’ x 14’ access door for easy entry and exit of golf carts, and a personnel door on each end panel for staff members.

Not only is their new tension structure large enough to accommodate their entire fleet of golf carts, but it also provides ample protection from the sun thanks to the fabric roof, which blocks 99.95 percent of harmful UV-A and UV-V radiation, prolonging the lifespan of the golf carts and minimizing any necessary maintenance.

When this South Florida golf course needed a shelter solution, Big Top stepped up. We’re confident that we can do the same for you. If you need a protective fabric structure, contact us today and we’ll be glad to discuss how we can build one to meet your needs.

“We have nearly $5 million worth of equipment and use Big Top to cover everything. It’s worked out very well for us so we can crush rock year-round now which we couldn’t do before.”

Terry White- Owner & President, B.E.T.-ER Mix Inc., Hudson, FL

Weather and Concrete Don’t Mix

Dry material is a critical component of concrete recycling and production. On the coast of Florida especially during the rainy season this can be a challenging endeavor without cover. Yet, installing permanent steel structures would require a lengthy permitting process and can’t be moved as business fluctuates and needs change. With a clever self-installation of 11 Big Top structures on top of their own concrete block at a fraction of the cost of traditional structures, B.E.T.-ER Mix concrete addressed this head on and now cover both their expensive equipment and valuable material.

Big Top Structures – Solid As a Rock

Now in their 14th year at their Hudson, Florida location they can crush rock and produce material in the worst of weather year-round, a feat not possible before. Large loaders and dump trucks are able to move in and out of the massive clear span structures morning and night, rain or shine. As business needs change throughout the year they are able to move the structures around their maintaining production efficiency.

Humidity Challenges the Recycling Process

With rows of biosolid waste covering acres and acres of paved land, open air composting, a common process, is a bit more challenging in the rainy summer months of southwest Florida. The aerobic process halts when the material gets wet thus causing an unforeseen delay. Synagro needed a solution for their Charlotte County Bio-Recycling Center.

Big Top Solution Works for Synagro

Synagro’s Charlotte County Bio-Recycling Center solution was to cover the process with two massive 162’ x 280’ Big Top structures towering at 64’ tall. Now the rows of compost can be turned five times a day and reach the required 131 degree temperature to turn the material into a sellable all-purpose Class AA composting product within a short 15 days. The solid waste typically mixed with wood waste and now diverted from the landfill and 100% recyclable. This all-weather solution allows Charlotte County to cost effectively produce 100,000 cubic yards of compost regardless of the season.

U.S. Border Patrol Faces Ever-increasing Challenges

Stretching more than 2,000 miles from California to Texas, the border between the US and Mexico is plagued with scorching sun and extreme heat. Border control historically has focused on preventing illegal immigrants and drugs from crossing into the US. With the rise of the cartels, gun and money trafficking out of the US is now a problem. Establishing new outbound checkpoints in the open under the blistering sun and within sight of prying eyes on the other side of the border was not an option.

Big Top at the Border

The US Border Patrol needed a flexible solution to cover and protect their inspectors at 17 different checkpoints along the border each with very unique and specific dimensions. They turned to Big Top. At locations such as San Ysidro, the busiest land port of entry in the world, the work was on active highways and logistically challenging. Installations were completed at night and mostly in remote locations. In a coordinated effort with Border Patrol, Big Top was able to complete all 17 structures within a year and half and now cover the outbound checkpoints keeping the officers out of the sun and the inspections out of sight.

Direct Sunlight Heats Up Aircraft and Damages Equipment

Decades ago AV-8B Harriers dotted the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. In the blazing hot Arizona sun window canopy temperatures reached a staggering 198°F and pilots entering the aircraft would be greeted by seat temperatures at a startling (or butt frying) 168°F. For both pilot safety and performance it was clear that the aircraft needed to be covered. And this is where the Big Top relationship with the US military began.

The Big Top Flight Line

Now, under Big Top fabric structures window canopies are 125°F and the seats are a manageable 98°F. The program was such a success the story spread. Big Top structures can now be found covering aircraft at China Lake NB, Edwards AFB, Moody AFB and Eglin AFB, to name a few. And, as a nod to their confidence in the structures the USAF chose Big Top to cover the 33rd Fighter Squadron’s elite F-35’s adding a full year to their paint cycle.

Major Construction GC Sets-up in the Andes

In the remote high elevations of the Andes Mountains in Peru, a leading Construction GC needed areas for warehouse storage, fabrication out of the elements, locations to conduct routine preventative and corrective maintenance, and safe comfortable dining and office settings. [Read more…]

Searing Heat and Heavy Rains

Constantly battling high heat and heavy rains in the Lagos region of Nigeria, Sonergy needed a solution in which they could concurrently fabricate two sections of an offshore oil platform. For previous projects during the six-month rainy season their employees would constantly have to stop work and cover sections of a project and repeat the sand blasting and paint process. Their steel shot and steel grit needed to stay dry but was stored outside in bags that were often found torn. This was a frustrating, expensive and inefficient process.

Big Top Provides Protection in an Unforgiving Climate

Now two 90’ x 80’ Big Top structures towering at 45’ tall with large access end panels allow Sonergy to fabricate the massive platform sections and easily roll them out when complete. The sections are out of the rain and dry while workers are out of the sun and cooler. The Big Top structures can withstand the steel abrasive media and contain it. Efficiency is up and Company X can now produce platform sections at an unprecedented rate.

West High School Gym was Destroyed

In 2013, an explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas. At least fifteen people were lost, more than 160 were injured, and more than 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed. One of the casualties of the explosion was the gymnasium at West High School. FEMA and the West Independent District School Board employed Huckabee Architects on August 8, 2013 to find a way to have a new gymnasium functional before the start of the school year on August 27, 2013.

Big Top Responds Quickly

Thankfully, Huckabee found Big Top. Ramping up production, Big Top built an 80’ x 100’ fully insulated and lit structure that was 36’ tall in just 2 weeks. The project was finalized 3 days prior to its due date and West High school had an operational gym ready for the school year.

FedExField Is All About The Fans

FedExField, home to the Washington Redskins traditionally used A-frame lightweight structures for their extensive exterior hospitality services. After only a few years of wear, it became readily apparent that the structures were not durable enough to withstand either the wind or snow loads during the winter months in Maryland. The VIP areas needed cover suited to their patrons.

Big Top Plays Ball

They contacted Big Top and started with two custom colored structures – one stretching 120’ and the other 180’. They now have a total of nine VIP structures dotting the exterior landscape of FedExField. The Big Top fabric structures are kept up year-round and have exceeded expectations. Their VIP’s dine and socialize in the befitting covered indoor/outdoor areas.


“As we add Big Top structures we continue to save labor hours on every project, Of course that means our bottom line improves, profits go up and that makes everybody happy.”

Matt Nichols, CEO, Nichols Bros. Boat Builders, WA

Building Boats in the Pacific Northwest

Nichols Bros. Boat Builders in Freeland, Washington just north of Seattle builds and refurbishes ships and barges for companies around the world. They refit, sandblast and paint vessels hundreds of feet long. In an open-air environment this work is laborious and nearly impossible to contain. Traditionally shipbuilders have used run of the mill tarps on a large scale to cover vessels throughout the process. It is time consuming to tie and re-tie the tarps as work progresses down the vessel. The space is tight and it’s tough to move around with welding torches and sandblasting equipment. Historically, it’s been a challenging work environment.

Big Top Helps Nichols Improve the Bottom Line

Both accommodating in width and height, eleven Big Top structures now cover their yard providing shelter for their ongoing projects. They easily move the structures from one job to the next or down the length of their larger vessels as they complete work section by section. Sandblasting and overspray are contained and they can work through the harsh wet and windy winter months of the Pacific Northwest, a feat nearly impossible before.

“After Hurricane Charlie destroyed our traditional hangars in 2004, we needed new structures that performed but at a price point that our customers could afford. And that was Big Top.”

Kim Showalter, President, Showalter Flying Service, FLA

Hurricane Destroys Showalter’s Client Hangers

Showalter Aviation at Orlando Executive Airport is Florida’s oldest and largest family-owned FBO with a reputation for outstanding service and quality. Showalter has supported both travellers and residents of central Florida for nearly 70 years and relationships are very important to them. A decade ago Hurricane Charlie struck demolishing $2 million worth of their hangars. The structures had been long since paid for and thus Showalter was able to lease them to their customers at a rate that was incredibly affordable for Florida, yet remained as a solid revenue center for the FBO. Replacing the hangars as fixed, conventional structures would be an expensive proposition resulting in a rate increase that would be nearly threefold to their existing customers.

Big Top Helps Showalter Save a Profit Center

They turned to Big Top and for a fraction of the cost were able to quickly install 17 new structures that can accommodate 35 aircraft and continue to serve a particular segment of their customer base. Ten years later the structures are still keeping airframes out of the rain, hail and especially sun minimizing internal cabin heat thus protecting costly avionics at a monthly rate that keeps their owners and Showalter quite happy.


O-Tex Pumping is an aggressive service company that provides unrivaled primary and secondary cementing and specialty pumping services throughout most major shales. O-Tex quickly became the largest independent cementing service company in the lower 48 by investing heavily in advanced technologies, dual-fuel fleets and customized cement programs for primary and secondary applications. But with all that success came a problem: they were losing a great deal of time and money traveling back and forth from jobsite to office, performing maintenance on their vehicles. They needed a solution to make their operation more efficient and cost-effective.


O-Tex enlisted the help of Big Top, and soon they had a strong, durable, all-weather fabric structure in the field to serve as a facility for vehicle maintenance. No longer did they have to travel back and forth repeatedly between headquarters and job site. In addition, Big Top’s custom heating systems kept the interior of the fabric structure warm, making for happy employees when working in colder climates. Yet another advantage was the durable PVC fabric that is translucent enough to allow light flow to enter the fabric structure, eliminating the need for costly additional lighting during daytime hours.

O-Tex solved their problem quickly and easily with the help of Big Top, and now they can get back to growing their business while keeping their employees and customers satisfied.


The Lancaster Jethawks are the Class A minor league affiliate for Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros. Part of the excitement of attending a Jethawks game is the wide array of events that take place in and around the stadium. Festivals, parties and other activities are regular occurrences. However, without a suitable venue that would hold up in adverse weather conditions, future events and festivities were in serious jeopardy. The Jethawks needed an industrial strength structure that was also aesthetically pleasing. With the new season rapidly approaching, it was a race against the clock.


The Jethawks made the right call by investing in a Big Top fabric structure. It was erected in plenty of time for the season opener, and exceeded all of their needs and expectations. They no longer had to worry about adverse weather conditions affecting events, and with so many custom lighting as well as heating and cooling options, they were prepared for any sort of event, any time of year.
Now the Jethawks are back to not only winning baseball games, but entertaining thousands of people each year in the safety and security of a great-looking Big Top fabric structure.


Business was booming for SAC, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of “Portland Cement”, a cement that not only hardens by reacting with water, but also forms a water-resistant product. They were exceeding sales goals and gaining customers each year, setting the standard for quality, safety, health and environmental compliance. But all that growth created a bit of a problem: where to put all the raw materials needed to make cement for their growing stable of customers. SAC needed a way to keep the materials dry, and they needed it in a hurry.


SAC approached Big Top about to come up with a solution for this dilemma. A durable, weather-resistant fabric structure was the perfect way to keep sensitive materials dry and environmentally controlled. Big Top Fabric Structures offer wide-open spaces due to their proprietary design, and space is just what SAC desperately needed.

With custom HVAC options as well as several electrical system choices including solar power, Big Top Fabric Structures provide a comfortable, climate-controlled environment for any storage needs. The result is a fabric structure that is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

And SAC didn’t have to worry about the weather anymore – their custom-built fabric structure was made to withstand the most extreme conditions, from rain to snow to wind. SAC now enjoys more profit, less downtime, and a better bottom line, all with the help of Big Top.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Big Top Fabric Structures are designed to protect large stores of sensitive materials and resources from unfavorable environments, eliminating expensive resource inventory depletion and spoilage costs.

A Resource Management Giant Protects Their Own Resources

This major global corporation has changed the standard by which all wood grinder performance and support is now measured. The company has designed and installed hundreds of purpose-built stationary machines and systems for customers all over the world. From outdoor plants for mulch and fuel production, to entire processing systems turning C&D and MSW into recyclables and RDF, they are positioned as an industry leader and are poised to revolutionize the way we use our global resources.

Due to the rise in the cost of heating fuel, the popularity of wood pellet fuel is growing at a rapid pace. Traditionally, pellets were produced from sawdust. But with the rapid-growing pellet market and a declining sawmill industry, producers have turned to using logs. They chip, grind, dry, pelletize and bag wood pellets – delivering a neat and easy-to-handle fuel for boilers and pellet stoves. The company needed a structure to cover the wood pellets and chips, and to keep rain and outside elements off.

They Called On Big Top To Take The Heat Off

Company leaders realized that Big Top offered the perfect solution. Soon they had a large, durable, weather-resistant fabric structure that was completely mobile and perfect for keeping their materials dry and environmentally controlled. With custom HVAC options as well as several electrical system choices including solar power, our buildings provide a comfortable, climate-controlled environment for all storage needs. The result is a fabric structure that is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
And they didn’t have to worry about the weather anymore – their custom-built Big Top fabric structure was made to withstand the most extreme conditions, from rain to snow to wind. Now the company can continue to revolutionize the industry without worrying about protecting the valuable materials that help make them who they are.

Competitive Advantage: Big Top Fabric Structures protect valuable and sensitive equipment from harsh weather – avoiding hefty replacement costs work stoppages.


The energy company is one of the nation’s largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.8 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents. To comply with new federal emission standards, one of their electrical generating complexes was scheduled to go through an upgrade to bring the plant into compliance. It was a big job, and environmentally sensitive equipment was being brought in that needed to be covered and protected in a controlled environment.


The energy giant called on Big Top to custom design a fabric structure large enough to contain their sensitive equipment, and strong enough to withstand the harsh Michigan winters. In a short period of time, they had a spacious, eco-friendly structure designed just for their needs. With a wide range of custom heating, cooling and ventilation systems to keep the interior of the fabric shelter optimally controlled, their equipment could be protected and operate with maximum efficiency.
And those snowy Michigan winters? Not a problem. Big Top fabric structures have been tested and proven successful at withstanding even the harshest weather conditions. Wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour, heavy rains, as well as dense snow are not a problem. The energy company could rest easy knowing their sensitive items were stored in a safe, protective setting that could withstand anything the outside environment could throw at them.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: When time is of the essence, Big Top Structures quickly provide safe, comfortable environments to shelter valuable equipment, vital production processes and personnel.


An ENR Top 500 Design Firm, our client is the leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm providing design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services to their clients. The firm was selected to design and build a major water processing facility for biological nutrient removal, filtration, UV disinfection and bio-solids treatment to ensure the required effluent quality is maintained for an area with a substantial population. They needed a dependable, long-term solution to protect their client’s valuable equipment and water reclamation and purification processes from the elements, and they needed it quickly.


The firm made the right move by turning to Big Top. Big Top is accustomed to working with aggressive deadlines. We designed our custom manufacturing process to provide the highest quality structures to meet virtually any deadline. We were able to custom design a spacious, eco-friendly fabric structure that would cater to their specific necessities. It was large enough to contain their equipment, and strong enough to withstand the bitter cold and snow of winters in the Northeast. And if their needs change, the structure can be dismantled and put into storage, or can be relocated as a whole unit via a wheeled suspension system or crane.

With a wide range of custom heating, cooling and ventilation systems to keep the interior of the fabric shelter optimally controlled, their equipment could be protected and operate with maximum efficiency, and personnel now had a comfortable, spacious clear span working environment.

Big Top fabric structures have been tested and proven successful at withstanding even the harshest weather conditions. Wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour, heavy rains, as well as dense snow are not a problem.

Even with an aggressive time frame, Big Top enabled the firm to provide their client with an ideal environment for their biological nutrient removal, UV disinfection and bio-solids treatment; ensuring that the high level of quality is maintained at all times.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Big Top Fabric Structures provide for safe, comfortable shelter for a large workforce in a remote location – boosting team morale and maximizing efficiency.


When this leading construction GC does something, they do it big. They are the largest construction and engineering company in the United States, and the 4th-largest privately owned company in the country. So needless to say, they have a large number of employees doing some very big jobs. They were selected for a five-year project to build and expand one of the world’s largest facilities for receiving and re-gasifying liquefied natural gas. The one thing they didn’t have was a structure big enough to not only conduct safety meetings, but to provide lunch and break time for their large number of employees, since their location was in a remote area. The jobsite lay in the Deep South, near the Gulf of Mexico, where the weather can be brutally hot and humid.


The construction firm called on Big Top to help them solve this oversized challenge. In a very short period of time, they had a fabric structure large enough to conduct meetings, training, and provide lunch for their entire crew – hundreds of workers. The oversized structure was completely weatherproof, creating an oasis from the hot sun in a cool, climate controlled environment. And the translucent fabric allowed enough natural light in during the day to prepare food and eat, eliminating the need for costly additional lighting during daytime hours.

Thanks to Big Top’s affordable yet durable solution, the company was able to ensure the maximum efficiency and safety of their large onsite workforce.

Big Top Fabric Structures Helps Marine Businesses Stay Functional: Container Storage

Fabric StructuresBig Top Fabric Structures is proud to custom-manufacture fabric buildings for a variety of different applications. Let’s dive in and take a look at how one of our buildings was the perfect solution for one business’s specific need:

When it comes to transporting goods, there are many moving pieces, including storage in between modes of transport. One of our clients provides this type of interim storage for marine salt dredgers, and so they needed a structure that could not only protect the imported salt from the outside elements, but also the expensive equipment that they use to separate varying forms of salt crystals. This was a custom application, so they contacted the right place – Big Top Fabric Structures.

Big Top was able to work with this particular company closely to build the perfect salt-storing structure. It is completely enclosed and provides superior protection for the company’s weather-sensitive goods and equipment. It was designed with separate bays that allow for the separation and sorting of different grades of salt. Plus, this structure is complete with a covered loading bay so the salt can be moved to another mode of transport without being exposed to the elements, which helps this business stay busy.

Another great feature of our fabric structures is that they don’t require a permanent concrete foundation, and they can be constructed relatively easily, so they are often more affordable than traditional metal buildings.

For more information about the fabric structures that we custom-manufacture for businesses and organizations across the globe, contact Big Top today. We will be happy to help you build a structure that meets your needs.

Big Top’s Fabric Buildings Help Logistic Coordinators Sterilize Shipments: A Study in U.S. Exports

Fabric BuildingsThe fabric buildings made here at Big Top are incredibly versatile structures that can be customized for endless applications. Let’s take a look at how one of our fabric buildings helped a logistics company deal with a particularly smellysituation:

The brown marmorated stink bug is an insect that is native to China, Japan, and Taiwan. In or around September of 1998, this species was accidentally introduced into the United States and has since become a season-long pest, causing significant damage to a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other types of host plants. This isn’t the first time a stowaway species was introduced to a new continent and certainly won’t be the last; but many countries try to take precautions on incoming shipments to prevent a devastating contamination.

These precautions often involve imposing regulations on imported cargo, making it the responsibility of the exporter to ensure that their shipment is sterile. One such regulation was imposed by Australia on shipments leaving the U.S. East Coast, due to – go figure – an abundance of brown marmorated stink bugs on previous U.S. exports. Here is where Big Top’s fabric buildings come in handy.

One of our clients on the beautiful coast of Maryland found themselves in need of a building that could handle fumigations and flash heating in large scale for the sterilization of bulk exports. We custom-designed their structure – just as we do with all of the fabric buildings that we make – with the proper ventilation to get the job done. Added benefits are that our buildings can be installed quickly, they are more affordable than many alternatives, and they are transportable both as whole units and in pieces.

For more information about the fabric buildings that we manufacture, contact Big Top today. We will be happy to make you a structure that meets your needs.

Equipment Storage Building | A Case Study in Oil & Gas


Keep Your Bottom Line Heathy With an Equipment Storage Building From Big Top Fabric Structures: A Case Study in Oil & Gas

Equipment Storage BuildingThanks to recent technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the oil and gas industry has been able to tap into energy resources that were previously unavailable. For companies trying to capitalize on this growth, vacant land is a necessity – and so is the need for infrastructure for drilling to take place. We’ll take a look at how a Big Top equipment storage building helped one such company maintain its bottom line.

Our story takes place out in the open plains of Texas, where our client had land to drill but no infrastructure. They couldn’t exactly leave thousands of dollars of equipment and materials out in the open to rust and be damaged by the outside elements. This posed a problem because the construction of a conventional metal warehouse would have been time-consuming and expensive, and it would have delayed the project and significantly impacted capital.

The company made the right choice by contacting Big Top. We planned out an equipment storage building that was 65’ wide by 140’ long by 32’ tall, which was enough room to store all the company’s weather-sensitive assets. It was complete with two 14’ by 14’ metal doors, so equipment could easily enter and exit the structure. Plus, this warehouse building was installed much faster than a metal building would have been, so our client was up and running faster.

If you are interested in purchasing an equipment storage building for your business, contact the experts at Big Top today. Another great feature that our buildings have to offer is that they are portable – they can be disassembled for relocation and, with the addition of a crane-lifting package or another type of mobility kit, they can be moved as whole units.

Big Top Protects a Construction Company from the Sun

Fabric Building

Big Top’s Buildings Keep Employees, Materials & Equipment Safe from the Elements

Construction is a field of work that requires labor and equipment that can be weather sensitive. When rain, sleet, snow, or hail hits, sometimes it can postpone priority tasks or damage valuable equipment. Even when the weather
is nice, construction businesses must be conscious of heat, humidity, and the UV index, as these are all factors that can not only effect the lifecycle of equipment but also the productivity – and health – of those who work outside.

Fabric BuildingThe ideal solution is to have a structure that can protect valuable assets and employees from the elements. In many cases, the need for this type of structure is specific to any given business, which means that the building needs to be adaptable so it can meet a specific set of requirements. At Big Top Fabric Structures, this is our specialty; as a custom manufacturer, we make buildings that are designed to accommodate many different specific needs. Our fabric buildings have been used for a variety of applications by businesses within the construction industry and beyond.

We can look at an example that highlights the usefulness and custom nature of our buildings. A company with a 50 million dollar bulk material handling project based in Portland, Oregon, found itself in need of a structure to provide protection from the elements. After partnering with Big Top, their construction team now has a covered fabrication yard that is immediately adjacent to structural and mechanical work fronts. This not only protects the construction team and its equipment from the elements, but also speeds up the team’s workflow because of their proximity to the work area. Additionally, the shelter serves as a staging ground for the early procurement of material and equipment, which helps to mitigate cost escalation.

Big Top is a custom manufacturer committed to making fabric buildings that improve the bottom lines of our customers. For more information about our products, contact us today.

Fabric BuildingFabric Building

ECUA Interim Material Recycling Facility

ECUA Recycling Facility


Big Top Helps the ECUA & Escambia & Santa Rosa Counties Progress Toward a Greener Future

ECUA Recycling FacilityBig Top is committed to helping businesses maintain a healthy bottom line. We do so by providing cost-effective buildings that are customized to the needs of our customers. In one case, the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) found itself in need of a new facility so that it could continue its recycling program.

The ECUA called on Big Top to make its new facility. We made a 53,460-square-foot building that accommodates the complex floor plan required by the recycling equipment. Big Top manufactured and shipped the structure within three weeks and had it installed in less than 60 days. We also used translucent fabric to cover the building, so it does not rely on electricity and instead stays well-lit with sunlight throughout the day.

Prior to having its own recycling facility, the ECUA relied on third-party, privately owned processing centers to sort recycling. The first center was abruptly closed, which prompted the ECUA to move to a recycling facility in Loxley, Alabama. Soon thereafter, the center in Loxley tacked on a $12.50 per-ton fee, which made the option cost prohibitive. Now that the ECUA has a Big Top fabric structure, it saves $45.06 per ton of material. And, of course, its recycling program is up and running once again.

Since 1979, Big Top has been making fabric structures for organizations in various industrial and commercial sectors. For more information about our fabric buildings, contact us today.

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