Frequently Asked Questions


Product Questions

Shelter Structures America is your premier developer and distributor of clear span structures and tents, custom structures, and mobile space solutions. With over four decades of experience in the industry, we have evolved into a leading tent supplier, specializing in tent supplies and structure development and fabrication. Our quality, innovation, service and price is second to none.

Clear span is a term used to define the open spaces between beam supports, or posts and beams. Clear span is an important term in architecture as it identifies spaces that require open floor area. This means the structure is free from the steel pillars and support columns in the center of the structure that would otherwise obstruct the floor plan. Our clear span buildings have strong aluminum frames, which make our structures capable of engineering that does not require center supports. Clear span is beneficial for commercial spaces to accommodate large workshops, warehouses, airplane hangars, educational facilities, places of worship, factories, and more. Clear span structures have also made a significant entrance into the realm of events and hospitality as reliable and beautiful structures able to accommodate large events including concerts, sporting events, wedding tents, festivals, venues and more.

Shelter products are customizable and work as a complete system to build structures ranging from 3m and beyond, with our most common sizes ranging from 10m-60m.

Structures can take anywhere from a day to a month and beyond to build depending on the foundation, location, size and variations of the structure as well as the experience level of the installation team. Typically, structures take approximately one week for large but basic installations, with added time for more complex installations. We are happy to help you identify your projected installation timeline depending on your product choice and installation experience level.

Absolutely. Shelter Structures prides itself in the versatility of our building solutions. From various sizes, styles, powder coating colors, decorative packages, multi-level structure options, and accessories, Shelter has the custom option you need.

Yes! Aside from some specialty products, Shelter offers a building system that is versatile and allows for modifications, additions or reductions in size and space of your structure.

A clear span structure is a true temporary space solution with long term benefits.  Here are just a few:

Spatial Freedom

The lack of center beams allows for freedom in your layout and additional movement within the structure, allowing for more versatile applications.


Shelter Structures clear span tents are a great long term alternative to a traditional buildings. Our clear span structures use less materials than a traditional building, take less time to erect, and are made with an aluminum frame, thereby reducing transportation costs in comparison to larger builds. Each of these elements leads to a more cost and time effective approach to building. 

Reduced Building Time

Our lightweight pre-engineered materials, and turn key building system make for quick and easy assembly and tear down. This significantly reduces building time from several months, to mere days.

Durability and Strength

Our durable structures are created to withstand harsh weather conditions. Our structure frames are made from extruded aluminum alloy, and hot dipped in galvanized steel to prevent rusting. This combination makes for a robust structure with substantial longevity even in the harshest conditions. Structure tops are made from double-coated PVC which are fire retardant and UV protected.


Various options are available from shape, style and size of our structures. Our turn key solution allows for adaptations to be made without compromising the structural integrity of each product. Options such as opaque, transparent and translucent vinyl wall and tops, glass wall, hard wall and additional variations are available.

Don’t worry. We can help. If you are new to purchasing engineered structures or not sure which structure is best for your desired applications, we are happy to assist you in making the best decision for your immediate and future structure needs.

Typically, standard structures are built on 3m or 4m legs. However, leg extensions and custom options are available to accommodate your specific needs. Our extended height make for an overall taller structures compared to frame tents.

Eave and ridge heights vary by structure type. Standard structure eaves, excluding multi-level structures, will range from 8 feet to 13 feet, and standard ridge height will range from 10 feet to 40 feet. Custom options are also available.

Our structure frames are made from extruded aluminum alloy, and hot dipped in galvanized steel to prevent rusting. This combination makes for a robust structure with substantial longevity even in the harshest conditions. Structure tops are made from double-coated PVC which are fire retardant and UV protected.

Permitting will depend on your building location and governing agency. Typically larger structures will need some type of permit from the local building official or fire department. Building and Fire codes vary by location. It is best to check with the governing municipality on permit requirements and building codes. Shelter Structures will provide you with generic engineering calculations to use during the permitting process. However, some municipalities will require site specific plans which will require the support of an engineer. While the Shelter team does not provide permitting services, we are happy to educate our clients on typical permitting processes.

Frame tents offer a lightweight and portable option for quick up and down events, think a small gathering over the weekend. Frame tents are great when weather conditions are pristine. However, their light structure renders them more susceptible to the elements, particularly in the face of robust winds or torrential downpours. However, when weather is adverse, you have a longer term project, or a project with specific space and height requirements, only a structure will do. Structure tents are constructed to brave the most challenging weather conditions. Their robust frames and intricate designs render them well-suited for long-term deployment and settings where harsh weather conditions are the norm. When it comes to budget, typically frame tents will be less expensive. Their design is straightforward, often featuring metal or plastic poles and canvas or plastic coverings. The simplicity of their construction translates to a lower price point, making them an attractive choice for those who want to use them as basic shade covering, small spaces, or for gatherings in great weather. On the flip side, structure tents often bear a heftier cost. However, they also offer a more intricate design, boast robust metal frames and resilient coverings such as polyester fabric or polyethylene. While they may require a more substantial upfront investment, structure tents deliver lasting value and reliability, quick and significant return on investment.

Wind resistance is a critical factor in the safety and durability of large tents. Whether the function is for events, temporary shelters, or other applications, tents must withstand various wind conditions to ensure the safety and comfort of their occupants. Wind resistance testing plays a pivotal role in understanding how these structures behave under different wind loads, helping to identify areas for improvement and ensuring compliance with industry standards. Each Shelter structure includes generic engineering calculations with wind load information. Site Specific plans may also be created as wind and weather calculations will be based on the structure site, soil, weather conditions and more. Our structures are engineered to the industry standard for snow loads.

Ordering and Shipping

Yes. You can secure your own financing or we can recommend finance companies to you.

While every order and process is different, typically we place orders utilizing the following process:

Initial Discussion

During this discussion we will talk about your specific needs, explore structure options that accomplish your needs. Decide which structure to move forward with and which customizations are best for you. At this point we will create an estimate for your review and approval.

Engineering and Layout

Our team will create an engineered layout of you structure for review. If revisions are needed, we will make those revisions and present an amended layout and estimate if needed.

Order Placement

Once the structure design and customizations are approved you will receive an invoice to make a deposit on the structure. We will place the order with our factory and begin processing your order.

Shipping and Delivery

Once your structure is completed, it will ship from our factory in China to the US where we will prepare it for delivery at your location.

While every order is a little different, typically production of the structure takes approximately 6 weeks, shipping 4- weeks and another 10 -days for delivery. We also have product in stock and readily available for shipment. Ask your sales representative for options if you need product quickly.

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