Problem Solver - August 2010
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Finding the Right Shelter


hen you're looking for a simple way to beautify your site, you should consider elements like shelters, pavilions, gazebos and kiosks. Prefabricated steel options are available that will add beauty to your site, as well as potential revenue for your organization.

Q: What should we consider as we're examining options for adding shelters or shade structures to our site?

A: You want to find something aesthetically pleasing that also fits in with your other site elements. Next you'll want to ask about ease of installation. Talk to a variety of manufacturers, and be sure to ask for references so you can find out from others who've used their products how simple or difficult they were to install.

Durability and vandal resistance are also key factors. The structure should be engineered to handle the various types of weather your site experiences, whether it's heavy snow loads or hurricane-force winds. But your shelters won't only take a beating from the weather. Some areas experience higher levels of vandalism than others. You may be able to get frame pieces with anti-graffiti coating. And unlike their wood-post counterparts, steel structures are fire resistant.

Q: Is it difficult to install a preengineered structure? How long will it take, and how many people will we need?

A: The answer to these questions depends on the model and size of the structure you've chosen, but generally speaking, a smaller, less complicated structure is relatively simple to install. It will help if you have someone on staff with general construction experience.

Depending on the size and model of your structure, as well as the skill level of your installers, it can take anywhere from a few hours up to several days to install. And you'll need at least two or three people to get the job done. Ask your manufacturer for more concrete details once you've chosen a model.

Q: We'd love to be able to generate some revenue from our shelters. Can you give us some advice on how others have done this?

A: Many organizations have discovered ways to earn revenue once their shelters are installed. You can charge a rental fee for larger gatherings, and if you have selected an especially beautiful shelter, you could even rent it for weddings and concerts. If your shelter is simpler, you can still earn some money back by renting it for picnics and family reunions during busy seasons when visitors might be competing for the space.


Classic Recreation Systems Inc.: