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Demand for fabric covered buildings keeps Olikay busy

Ontario mining companies and suppliers in need of shelter for storage, workshops and other applications are moving more and more to fabric-covered, custom-engineered buildings. 

Olikay Inc. of Sudbury has erected more than a dozen buildings since becoming an associate of Alberta-based Pavilion Fabric Covered Buildings in February 2004. FNX Mining Company ordered one to enclose a crusher at its Levack Mine and insulated it to keep the noise down for nearby residents.

First Nickel purchased a 16,500 sq. ft. building to store crushed ore at its Lockerby Mine in Sudbury, and Timmins-based contractor Dumas Mining is using one for a garage at Xstrata’s Perseverance zinc project in northern Quebec’s Mattagami region. Olikay has also sold a 20,000-sq. ft building to Xstrata to store nickel concentrate and Inco is using one for a parts warehouse at its South Mine in Copper Cliff.

The structures, ranging in width from 44 ft. to 300 ft., feature a double truss arched roof made of high strength steel tubing and a fire resistant 12 oz. woven polyethylene fabric cover that is guaranteed for 18 years. The buildings are “temporary, relocatable or permanent,” depending on the customer’s needs, says Olikay general manager Ben Levac. They can be erected over a concrete pad for a permanent application, or over concrete slabs to facilitate dismantling.

According to Levac, fabric covered buildings are less costly than conventional steel buildings and can be delivered and installed in half the time. A standard-sized kit can be ordered and ready for occupancy in two weeks. A custom engineered building, he said, would take three or four weeks.

With an additional layer of poly-ethylene fabric on the inside of the truss, the buildings can also be insulated and heated.

“You can use gas radiant heat, electricity, or propane – depending on where you are,” said Levac.

While the covers come in an assortment of colours, most customers opt for a white roof because it allows light in and cuts utility costs.

Pavilion fabric covered roofs are anchored to the ground by a quick release fastening system and are engineered to withstand 100 km/h winds.

Olikay, one of 14 Pavilion associates across Canada, relies on the Alberta-based company for engineering, but looks after the fabrication and installation locally. Most of its business is coming from Sudbury and Timmins, but Levac’s mining connections also landed a sale for a 4,000 sq. ft. building at Thundermin Resources’ Duck Pond Mine in Newfoundland.

Pavilion fabric covered buildings aren’t only used for industrial purposes. They are also ideal for hockey rinks, equestrian arenas and farm buildings, said Levac. Even airports and casinos are opting for fabric-covered structures, he added.

Owned by George Brouillette of City Welding, Olikay employs between eight and 12 fabricators and installers, depending on business volume.

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