General Information Regarding Dome Structure

The Farley Group will design and engineer each air-supported structure to your specific needs.  Each project is custom designed, and approved by our engineers.

An air-supported structure is a unique building system that offers significant advantages over conventional buildings. Unlike permanent structures, air-supported structures provide low cost, easy to relocate and easily expandable, clear span open space.

Air supported structures cover a myriad of recreational facilities including tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, golf driving ranges, soccer fields and multi-purpose sports arenas. With the rapid growth of soccer in North America, there has been significant demand for soccer domes. Industrial applications are another important opportunity for clients to obtain affordable warehousing, manufacturing and construction facilities.

Our design/engineering staff is at your service to plan and design the most efficient, most economical air structure for your exact requirements. Our continuing Research and Development activities mean that The Farley Group is always a leader in the fabric structure industry.

Structure Sizes

Obviously this is a very specific business and the size of a structure is tailored to meet the customer's needs. The cost of an air structure will vary depending on the selection made of the fabric material, equipment and size but as a rule of thumb, the larger the size of the structure the smaller the cost of each square foot covered.


The Fabric

The Farley Group's 5-year fabrication guarantee is the longest warranty available in the industry.

Long wearing vinyl-coated polyester fabrics in weights up to 32 oz. per square yard provide the necessary tensile and tear strength, fire resistance, adhesion and joint strength for the outer membrane.

The outer membranes come in a variety of colors, weights and levels of translucency, are flame retardant and treated for resistance to UV, cold crack, mildew and chemical pollutants. Available top finishes range from the basic acrylics to higher quality finishes such as P.V.D.F and Dupont Tedlar ® film. Warranties are available from 10 to 15 years depending on the fabric's top finish.

Inner liners are made from similar but lighter fabrics and provide improved insulating and acoustic characteristics. They are also available in a wide range of colors.

100% Dielectric Welded Construction

Dielectric welding of the fabric by use of radio frequency is recognized as the highest quality seaming. RF welding creates a durable water tight seam with strengths exceeding that of the fabric itself . 100% of the seams in a Farley Group structure are dialectically welded to ensure complete architectural integrity. Our 255' long table allows the welder to track automatically and efficiently, reducing handling and increasing quality of the air structures we produce. 

Mechanical Equipment

Each Farley Group structure has a primary and a secondary standby inflation system.

Each is capable of providing full inflation pressure to the structure.

The primary inflation system is often incorporated with the heating unit. These custom designed units are equipped with motorized, remote controlled dampers in order to allow operation at the most efficient pressure.

Thermostatically controlled temperature insures your comfort. Although natural gas is usually the most economical fuel, furnaces can be supplied for oil, propane, or electricity.

The secondary or standby system can be either a specially designed fan and motor unit powered by a natural gas, propane or diesel motor or a generator and fan combination. This system will start automatically in the event of a power failure or pressure drop and is controlled by a photohelic sensor. The units are weatherized, highly reliable, proven components which meet our stringent requirements for quality and reliability. 

Grade Beam Anchoring System

Farley's recessed channel anchoring system is the most airtight system available today.

Because of this unique profile anchor system, The Farley Group structures have less air loss and lower heating costs. In addition, the anchor system used by The Farley Group is the fastest, easiest system ever devised for seasonal put ups and take downs.

The system employs a rigid aluminum channel form set in a concrete beam to provide an airtight, water resistant seal without mechanical penetration of the fabric. Fabric stress loads are evenly distributed along the entire length of the grade beam. The channel is merely a form which shapes the concrete for maximum load distribution. The anchor beams can be buried, partially buried or on the surface. Lighter weight beams tied to concrete piers may also be used in certain installations.

For more information on grade beams, and to see some pictures, please view the following PDF file:


Larger structures with a wider span (ie. a soccer dome) are designed with a cable-reinforcement system for added strength.

Wide span structures carry an extra aerodynamic and inflation load. To overcome these stresses, The Farley Group employs a cable reinforcement system. In this system the cable is continuous from anchor to anchor. All cables are flameproof, corrosion resistant and linked to the membrane by sleeves. The cables themselves are constructed of galvanized wire rope, typically coated with a white PVC coating, and fully comply with the required breaking strengths set out by the project engineers.


Lighting Systems

We use high intensity lights giving more lumens per kilowatt of electricity

One of the greatest costs for a sporting facility - whether it be air-supported or a conventional building - is the cost of the energy consumed by the lighting system. The lighting systems we install in our dome projects offer the maximum energy efficiency available without compromising the intensity of the illumination. Depending on the application, we offer both a hang light and a stand light system for your air-supported structure project.

Lighting Fixtures

The Farley Group's lighting systems are custom designed to your requirements. Pre-wired tilt-type steel stands for easy mounting and de-mounting or hanging lights are available depending on the structure use. All units come complete with 1000 watt metal halide lamps, reflectors, guards, ballasts and twist-lock connectors. Light is reflected off the structure to provide an even, pleasant level of lighting for the required activity. Ask about our exclusive "remote" ballast system which eliminates any need to handle, store or trip over old conventional ballasts.

Energy Efficiency

Our entire system is designed with energy conservation in mind:
We start with our channel anchoring system which is airtight and saves between 5 and 10% in heating/cooling costs over clamping or catenary cable systems which are also used in the industry to anchor air structures.

The metal ducts of our heating and inflation units are insulated and air delivery can be through sealed underground air ducts.

Thermal / Acoustic liner fabrics double the insulation value of a structure. The addition of our combination thermal / reflective blankets can increase your insulation factor by 400%, significantly reducing the cost of operating your domed facility.

We can also offer an insulation system to promote energy efficiency significantly.

Our mechanical packages offer several money saving options for substantial reductions in energy costs. The ability to adjust your air structure's pressure lets you cut gas consumption in half. Smaller supplemental fans let you inflate with a smaller motor when no heating or cooling is required.

All dome components including things like doors, air-locks, etc. are provided with weather stripping and seals to minimize air loss. We've worked hard to develop air lock and emergency exit doors that function as an integral part of an efficient air structure system.


  Dome Components

Heat, Inflation and Air Conditioning Equipment

HVAC mechanical equipment is used to keep the dome inflated as well as to add heat to your facility. If you plan to use your dome during the summer months (or you're located in a year round warm climate), we can also include air conditioning equipment to cool your air structure. The size of such equipment determined based on factors such as the size of your dome and your local weather conditions, and is custom built to accommodate those specific requirements.


Standby Inflation Fans

All air-supported structures are equipped with a standby inflation fan. Since a dome is held up by air pressure, it is critical that a secondary inflation system powered by a generator be ready to kick in automatically in the event of a power failure, or should there be temporary challenges with the primary inflation system.

Dome Access - Revolving Doors & Personnel Airlocks

To get people in and out of the door without compromising the internal air pressure which keeps the dome inflated, use of revolving doors and / or personnel airlocks are used. The primary method recommended is the revolving door for it's ease of use, however personnel airlocks can be used as well to comply with ADA requirements for handicap access.


Emergency Balanced Exit Doors

In addition to having access points that are frequently used (revolving doors and personnel airlocks), building codes also require that each air structure have adequate emergency exiting capacity. To accomplish this, we include emergency exit doors as part of our package. The doors we use are specially designed center-balanced exit doors, which open smoothly while under air pressure (a regular door would swing open dangerously fast due to the air pressure acting upon it). Our doors also come with the appropriate emergency exit signs and lighting.


Insulation System

For domes that will be up all year long, we recommend using an insulation system to help reduce your heating and cooling costs. For more information on insulating, please click here to visit our insulation system page.

Lighting System

One of the most important aspects to consider for a successful sports facility is your lighting system. We have several options and configuration that we can recommend.

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