Flexibility is what it’s all about for Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.
As a four-season produce and livestock farm and an educational center, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture needs buildings that allow a variety of functions in all types of weather. That’s why, says Craig Haney, the farm’s livestock manager, Stone Barns Center chose to use Cover-All Building Systems.
“The clear span allows us to use the buildings for a variety of functions. I believe one of the tenets of sustainability is the ability to be flexible,” Haney says. “As regulations, markets, feed costs fluctuate, the buildings’ lack of internal infrastructure allows us to more easily adapt to changes.
For housing animals, they provide good ventilation, although we do minimally enclose the sides. The white roofs provide good lighting while staying cool through the summer months. And for the amount of square footage under cover, they are comparatively inexpensive, especially when comparing them to other more permanent structures.”
Based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Cover-All Building Systems was founded in 1994, providing structures for hog farming and grain storage. Today, the building systems are found around the world for a wide variety of uses, anything from chicken coops to athletic facilities to RV storage.
Two Cover-All buildings were used on a road construction site in Canada to keep the work going when the weather got bad. The buildings, which passersby thought were tunnels being added to the highway, allowed the concrete to be poured without worrying about the elements. When a patch of roadway was completed, the Cover-All buildings were simply moved to the next section of road.
Larger projects, both in size and public attention, are the sports facilities for both colleges and professional sports. “We recently did New Mexico State’s football practice field,” says Darrel Schindel, senior marketing manager. “At Texas A&M, we did their new practice field and indoor track and field facility. Plus, we built the New England Patriots practice building.”
It starts with agriculture
However, agriculture remains an important segment to Cover-All’s overall business. At ACE Farm in New York State, a Cover-All building solves the problem of chicken droppings. Using a 55-by-290-foot Arch Cover-All Building, ACE Farm set up a composting facility. The building is designed to provide natural ventilation and the materials of the building are not affected by what could be a corrosive environment.
Back at Stone Barns Center, Cover-All buildings have dual purposes.
“We use our Cover-Alls primarily to house livestock through the winter months,” Haney explains. “One has three-foot concrete knee walls. We use this one to house farrowing sows in the winter time. The concrete walls afford some protection from the weather, can withstand the pigs and are easy to clean in the spring. Beginning in April, the building will be converted to our brooder barn for chicks.
A second Cover-All is used to house our sheep flock through the winter months. This also is a building that will house rams during non-breeding times and be home to our public sheep shearing. A third Cover-All houses our laying flock through the winter months and will be used as a pullet barn throughout the other months.
The final Cover All is used for housing feeder pigs through the winter, plus holds a large chipper that helps to break down cardboard that will be used for bedding and ultimately become part of our composting operation.”
That covers it
Cover-All Building Systems are pre-engineered, steel-framed, membrane-covered buildings, says Schindel. The fabric membrane is a DuraWeave material and is made to clear spans ranging from 5 feet to 300 feet.
“The material is light and cool,” says Schindel, “and during the day, there is no need for artificial lighting inside.”
The steel frames and membranes are manufactured in and shipped from Cover-All’s 150,000 square-foot plant in Canada. Of course, the plant is inside a Cover-All building.
“Trusses, fabric, everything is sent out to location on a flatbed truck,” says Schindel.
Depending on the type and size of the Cover-All building, it takes between two and eight weeks for construction.
Every building is engineered for the area in which it will be constructed. When the New England Patriots football team’s practice building was designed, for example, the heavy New England snows had to be taken into consideration. “The facility is engineered to hold the snow load,” says Schindel.
But a building that will be constructed in Florida, he adds, needs other considerations. Winter elements aren’t an issue there, but the membrane and trusses are rated to stand up to a Category 2 hurricane. “Every building system is designed for a specific area and purpose,” Schindel says.
The common design requirement for each, however, is that every Cover-All building meets the California fire code. “If there was ever a fire inside one of these buildings,” Schindel adds, “all that would happen is a hole would be melted through a section of the fabric, but it wouldn’t burn.” The fabric, he continues, is high performance and low maintenance.
Each piece of steel is coated with a corrosion barrier that gives the metal frames and trusses long-lasting durability.
“There’s an amazing variance on the applications of these building systems,” says Schindel. “We’ve gone from hogs to dairies to commercial facilities. We have structures with indoor pools that can be used in all climates. Cover-All buildings can be used in an unlimited number of situations.”