Blog: Dome Stories
If you operate an athletic dome, fall is a key time of year, as most domes across the country are put up and installed during fall in preparation for the upcoming winter months. When preparing your dome for put-up and installation, here are five key steps that should be addressed prior to inflation.
The first step in prepping for put-up involves clearing your athletic fields of all equipment and ensuring your channels and beams are free of debris and in good condition. Shut off your field drainage system and remove all on-field equipment such as goals, goal posts, scoreboards and signage. Chris Fleck, Facilities Manager for the Plymouth Creek Center in Plymouth, MN, states, “Removing all the equipment allows the dome fabric to be more easily rolled out and the cables to be laid out in an orderly fashion. It’s also important to clean out all the channels and ensure they are free from debris and water, especially in the cable anchor areas.” Next, clean and oil all of your door anchor threads, then check all beams and boards for damage and rot. As Chris notes, “We always plan to have a few new beams and 2×4 boards on hand to replace any damaged materials.”
It’s important to service your HVAC units prior to installation and inflation. Check to make sure all belts and sheaves are intact, adequately lubricated and functioning properly. Also be sure to change the oil and replace the batteries in your natural gas backup motors, then run them to ensure they are functioning correctly. Check your dampers to ensure free-flowing movement with no binding linkages, and check the connections on all pressure-sensing tubes to ensure they are not blown out or in need of replacement. Replacement of pressure-sensing tubes should occur every other year.
The third step is to line up your labor, assemble your team and ensure that they all know their responsibilities during put up. As Chris Fleck states, “Yeadon Domes has been a great help to us in directing our work crew by providing an onsite foreman that can help us with rolling out the fabric as well as connecting the seams and the mechanical plates. We contract with them each year because they are very knowledgeable and reliable. In fact, we’ve worked with them for the last 17 years.” Be sure you reserve or have on hand any additional equipment required for installation.
When prepping your equipment for put up, place your dome fabric bundles on the field in the appropriate location. “We’ve been able to realize a number of efficiencies by placing our bundles in the correct spots, which means less work to readjust or reposition the fabric. We rely on our Yeadon foreman to assist us with the proper placement,” says Fleck. After positioning your dome fabric bundles, prep your cables and place them on or near the field so that they can easily be moved onto the dome fabric before inflation. Retrieve your revolving doors and emergency exit doors from storage and prepare them for installation. Then place all mechanical plates and hardware on or near the field.
When the time comes to put up and inflate your dome, it’s vital that you have at least two days of clear weather with zero precipitation and no wind. This is critical to ensuring that all seams can be connected and sealed properly, and that wind will not negatively impact inflation. You should not attempt to inflate your dome if it’s too windy. Some domes have their procedure down pat and are able to put up their inflatable structure in just one day. As Chris Fleck states, “We try to shoot for getting our dome put up in eight hours, because the weather in Minnesota is so unpredictable.”
If you follow these 5 steps when planning to put up your dome, you’ll ensure a smooth installation process and minimize any unforeseen issues.
— or call us at —