Just off Coosada Ferry road in Montgomery County, John Smith has constructed a building that, to some, looks more like an airplane hanger than a hay barn. Closer inspection, however, reveals a clever design that Smith says could provide Alabama farmers an affordable, low-maintenance alternative to equipment sheds, barns and grain bins.It all started a few years ago when Smith saw an advertisement for Cover-All buildings in a trade magazine. The simple, efficient design of the building intrigued Smith, who had 15 years of construction experience.He contacted the company and learned Cover-All is a Canadian company that’s been manufacturing buildings in the Midwest and Canada for about 10 years. The company didn’t have any dealers in the Southeast, so Smith and his son decided to travel to Canada to see how Cover-All buildings were manufactured. They were thoroughly impressed and in Sept. 2000, Smith became an official dealer.”The first impression I had was that this would be a terrific building for farmers,” Smith recalled “I spent 20 years in farming, working for someone else. The buildings on that farm had to be worked on all the time. Cover-All buildings never have to be painted or repaired, and if your farming operation changes or you move, you can take the building down and set it up at a different location.” The key to the Cover-All building design is the fabric cover, which is made of a material called DuraWeave II. Originally developed for the military, DuraWeave is not damaged by sunshine, rain or cold weather, and it is backed by a 15-year pro-rated warranty, Smith said. The 22-ply by 22-ply weave makes the fabric surprisingly strong yet flexible enough to be stretched across the tubular, galvanized steel trusses that form the skeleton of the buildings.Smith said the buildings can span up to 160 feet and can be constructed to be almost any length. The buildings vary in shape from the hanger-like, arch construction to a more traditional gable style. All of the buildings are covered in a solid piece of fabric that’s held snugly to the frame by flat, nylon straps connected to adjustable ratchets.According to Smith, the white fabric reflects heat while allowing sunlight to illuminate the interior. At night, Smith said a single, 60-watt bulb hanging high in the ceiling will light his entire 1,500 square foot barn. The reflective nature of the building also makes it about 6 degrees cooler than conventional structures in the summer and 6 degrees warmer than other non-insulated buildings in the winter.Compared to conventional barns and storage buildings, most farmers won’t notice a substantial cost savings up front, Smith said. Cover-All buildings typically cost $4.50-$6.50 per square foot. But over the long term, the Alabama dealer said Cover-All will more than pay for itself.Although the Cover-All concept is new to Alabama, Smith is confident the design will catch on. For more information about Cover-All buildings, contact Smith at (334) 834-1690 or visit the Cover-All website at www.coverall.net.
High-Tech Design Provides Alternative To Barns