The company’s lightweight architectural tensile membranes suit extreme climatic conditions and have been favoured in prominent local and overseas projects
New Zealand-based architectural membranes maker Structurflex has been serving the Gulf since 2005 and counts the UAE as its top market.
One of the world’s leading suppliers of fabric architecture, Structurflex designs, manufactures and installs PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) tensile membrane structures for customers throughout the world. The company says its special ability to understand the close connection between architecture, engineering and construction has led to its fabric structures setting a very high standard in detail and functionality.
Structurflex’s architectural tensile membranes constitute a very unique lightweight roofing material strong enough to withstand the most extreme weather conditions. They deliver numerous solutions to architects, interior designers and developers and serve different construction applications such as sports facilities, commercial building, airports and even industrial facilities.
“We plan to serve all GCC countries and also target the North Africa market. Most of our buyers are from the UAE but we also have clients in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain and we have executed projects in all these countries,” says Maged Mounir, managing partner, Stucturflex Middle East Contracting LLC.
“We believe the Gulf is one of the best markets for our solutions and products which fit perfectly the region’s requirements.”
Mounir says that while the company would endeavour to grow its sales in the Gulf states, it plans to invest more in the North Africa market “at the right point of time.” The official indicated Structurflex had potential to be a greater player in the GCC markets and North Africa through the sheer efficacy of its products. “There’s a long list of advantages for using architectural membranes in projects compared to other conventional roofing systems or materials,” he asserts. “Let’s start with design, where you have wide space for creativity. Mounir says it is possible to develop almost any shape for your roof and work around various ways/solutions to support your structure depending on available space and its intended function. “Next on the list would be the timeframe required for construction and execution at site; (the work) is much faster and neater than with any other roofing material. Adding to that is the low maintenance cost and many more benefits.
“PVC and PTFE fabric materials have a proven record in Middle East projects and we use both materials in our projects.”
The company is currently bidding for an important roof structure project where it will offer one of its regular fabric products but with enhanced thermal abilities and non-standard colour – a first for the Gulf, he says.
Structurflex has gone through tough times in the past two to three years in this region but is now staging a recovery. Mounir says one of the challenges is competing with companies that offer solutions of dubious quality at low cost. “We have to spend more time and effort to convince customers that a high level of quality and services comes with a cost. But, having spent all these years in the region and paid great attention to our projects to maintain our company’s image we find the challenge is only with regards to new customers or newcomers to the market,” says Mounir.
In the region, Structurflex promotes its products through visits to target customers and has hosted events where it invites customers and industry leaders to a presentation of its products. The company has also been showcasing its offerings at construction exhibitions.
Structurflex’s projects in the UAE, its biggest Gulf market, include the Dubai Outlet Mall, Desert Palm Polo Estate, Dubai, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Abu Dhabi Shooting Club, Al Raheeb Kindergarten, Fujairah, and VMF Markets, Al Ain
Among projects it completed during the past two years were Auckland’s Airport Extension in New Zealand, the new transportation hub at Denver Union Station in the US and KC Live, a facility that is part of a revitalisation project in Kansas City, US. It won last November the 2013 International Achievements Awards for its sports area canopy at the Westlake Girls’ High School, Auckland (tensile structures category) and its terrace canopy at the Rydges Hotel, also in Auckland (tensioned awnings and canopies). The awards were announced in Orlando, Florida (US).
“Structurflex has a firm commitment to on-going research and development. We’re determined to remain at the forefront of emerging technologies, so our engineers, designers and project managers maintain a rigorous continuing education programme of training courses, conferences and networking events,” it says.