Building a house lies in man´s nature – a few years ago a building society wooed customers for products which should help them to their “own four walls” with this saying. Indeed, there is probably no human civilisation that possessed no structures for protection against rain, snow, cold winds or even burning sunshine – shelters.
In the industrialised nations of today, the uses for shelters are extremely versatile, ranging from shelters for storage areas, carports and shelters for bicycle parking facilities to weatherproof smoking shelters and comfortable bus shelters, foyers or pavillions for entertainment and information.
In addition to their intrinsic protective function such shelters also have aesthetic functions, for example by complementing architectural concepts in form and colour or by upgrading and reusing unused areas. As weatherproof meeting places that provide security and comfort, they also fulfill important social functions.
Economical modular construction
Shelters protect what we love and value and are quick and easy to build. First of all, the question of space must be clarified: what is the size of the available floor space, and how high may the building be? Will the substrate bear the weight? Where must melt and rainwater be directed? How wide must the accesses be? These questions are usually unproblematic so that standardised and proven modular systems which are delivered quickly and securely mounted can be deployed.
For many purposes, more expensive customised solutions are not required. A wide range of design options also gives room for individual wishes and allows adaptation to architectural or corporate design concepts. High-quality materials and careful workmanship ensure that shelters protect people and materials from even the most adverse environmental conditions and that over a very long service life (see article 14).
Although the overall maintenance costs are very low, shelters should also be professionally maintained and cleaned, and damaged components replaced promptly (see article 16).
What is allowed where
One of the more challenging issues is the choice of location, because not everything that is a shelter can be placed anywhere. Depending on the place of installation and the planned use, legal regulations must often be complied with.
If storage areas, for reasons of work or environmental protection, for example, may not be erected just everywhere, this naturally also applies to storage area shelters or smoking shelters. Shelters for smokers increase the acceptance and implementation of safety and non-smoker protection regulations (see also article 12) and must be installed taking safety aspects into consideration.
House and apartment owners must also be aware of specific regulations. State building regulations now make the construction of covered bicycle parking spaces mandatory (see also article 18). Anyone who erects a shelter privately to protect either waste bins, equipment or even bicycles must also pay attention to the legitimate interests of their neighbours or perhaps even take a larger community facility into consideration.
For publicly accessible buildings, such as passenger shelters for buses and trams, proof of stability must be provided. Type static calculations, which can be determined in advance and exemplarily for shelters, ensure that shelters can withstand maximum wind and snow loads and thus save time-consuming individual testing and approval (see also article 13). When constructing such waiting halls or passenger shelters, further structural criteria must also be fulfilled (see also article 11).
Safety and comfort
Building shelters probably lies in the nature of man. However, contemporary shelter solutions offer much more than just the proverbial roof over one´s head, perhaps supplemented with side panels to protect against wind and rain.
Benches and waste containers as well as sophisticated lighting systems also provide comfort and ensure a feeling of safety. Custom shape and colour schemes and almost unlimited possibilities for printing glass make the stay even more pleasant and offer planners and architects, in the context of city marketing concepts for example, interesting design options.
In addition to the active illumination from energy-saving LEDs, film-coated glass panes provide passive safety by reflecting warning symbols when headlights shine upon them, for example (see article 15). Should something break, single-pane safety glass protects against unnecessary injuries from broken glass.
Advice is worthwhile
Although shelters are relatively uncomplicated structures, professional advice from the manufacturer is nevertheless worthwhile. Whether it´s questions of stability, design variants or building regulations that must be complied with, manufacturers have the necessary expertise and can help save time and money, especially for more complex projects.
Certified manufacturing processes ensure the highest possible quality of materials, workmanship and design. Type static calculations eliminate the need for elaborate appraisals, and 3D modeling techniques allow future owners to “visit” the planned shelter solution, often with all design-relevant parameters and objects. In this way nothing is left to chance and nothing else stands in the way of a speedy and economic realisation of the desired shelter solution.