The massive ship dry dock facility is comprised of a 110' by
120' fabric building mounted on a 55' by 220' steel
Ship Dry Dock incorporation in 1990, covering the shipyard
so that harsh weather wouldn't affect day-to-day operations
had been a top priority. Finding a suitable building was not
easy. Because of tough zoning requirements including
exposure D, earthquake zone 4, and extreme winds in Seward,
Alaska, the search would span the world for several years.
Discovery of a unique module steel wall system and a fabric
building would come together as the solution being sought.
found these types of fabric buildings, three years ago, we
couldn't find buildings that were big enough, that met UBC
(Unified Building Code) and NFC (National Fire Code)
requirements yet were still cost-effective," says Whitman.
"We service ships from all over the world that are 5,000
tons and 350 feet long, so having adequate room is
important. These types of buildings are pre-engineered
fabric buildings that offer clear-span widths up to 160
feet, to any length, which accommodate a multitude of
Because of the
unusual installation required for this project, the
installer worked with several companies to plan each stage
of the fabric buildings installation on top of the massive
55 foot high steel wall. "It was an effort from everyone.
If it wasn't for the creativity and ingenuity of the people
involved, this Seward Ship project would never have gotten
off the ground."
The ship dry
dock fabric buildings steel trusses were constructed in five
separate sections on the ground then lifted by crane onto
the foundation. Once the fabric buildings truss
sections were in place, a specialized winch was used to
position the fabric buildings panels and join the sections
together to complete the buildings cover. The installation
of this fabric building was complete in just 14 days
buildings construction, it has become a local landmark. "The
city is very pleased with the final look. It was a group and
community effort to complete this project," says Whitman.
Kick out braces were added along the sides of the fabric
building for additional strength to meet the area's tough
The fabric buildings sections were installed on the ground,
then lifted by crane and mounted on top of the steel wall.
Ship Dry Dock Fabric Building Highlights
Custom Building Features:
Twenty-four 15' long by 3/8" thick reinforced steel kick out
braces were added along the sides of the fabric building
for additional strength to meet the area's tough zoning
• In order
to achieve the 110' building height needed to service a
ship, custom 12' wall extensions were added to the fabric
• The 55' x
220' steel foundation is submarine enclosure modules that
were going to be used in the process to attach stealth
plating to the sides of submarines; when the process didn't
work, they were the perfect alternative solution for high
permanent walls needed for the dry dock project instead of
steel walls or driving H-beam piles into the ground.
heaviest section of the fabric building lifted onto the
foundation was 17,000 lbs, so spreader bars and straps were
certified to meet 51,000 lb. strength tests .
• A crane
was used to lift the steel trusses into place to complete
the building installation. The building has gone through the
full weather test. During one wind storm, the needle on a
wind speed gauge actually broke off and it goes up to 86
mph. The winds must have exceeded 100 mph." Don
Whitman General Manager, Seward Ship Dry Dock Seward,