Product Information

Planning Consent

You do need to obtain planning consent for a Covair Dome over 3m high and the ease of obtaining this consent will vary from county to county. If you provide a layout sketch or drawing showing playing surface dimensions, gaps to fencing, additional space available, preferred door, fan and storage positions, Covair will produce an A3 layout drawing. This will show all details including ring-beam size and side profiles. This is normally sufficient to use for an outline planning application. See more court plans.

Dome Construction

The dome consists of a pre-tailored polythene membrane, which is anchored around the perimeter to a concrete foundation. The membrane is secured by a network of plastic coated steel cables also connected to the foundation. The cable network relieves the membrane of most of the stresses and strains when the structure is inflated.

Dome Foundations

A continuous concrete ring beam is required, size approximately 65cm x 65cm or 85cm x 50cm (same mass), grade C-30 concrete, surface to be trowel finished to facilitate an air seal with the inner membrane flap. The beam should have a slight outward fall to prevent rainwater running into the dome. The anchor fittings are drilled into the concrete after it has set (left picture).

Ground Anchors

If ground conditions permit, we can install a series of Ground Anchors (right picture) instead of a concrete ring beam. This is ideal where a dome is being added to existing courts. The disruption of digging a trench and getting rid of the soil is avoided although costs are slightly higher than a ring beam.

Dome Inflation Equipment

Two 300mm diameter centrifugal fans with 240 volt single phase motors mounted in fibreglass cabinets are provided (see left image below), each with an approximate starting load of 15 amps and a running load of 6.5 amps. One fan is sufficient to maintain the integrity of the dome during normal operating conditions. The second fan is switched on by a wind speed sensor (anemometer) in high wind conditions. The fans would be expected to last for 3-4 years. The cost of electricity consumption is around £20-£25 per week.

Dome Access

Access is via a self supporting steel revolving door (see right image above) which minimises air escape thus maintaining the internal positive pressure.

Disabled / Emergency Door

If required, a steel 1.2m x 2m outward opening steel door can be fitted (see photo). This is useful where wheelchair access is required, or when regular furniture or gym equipment movement is needed.

Where possible the revolving and emergency doors can be bolted together to provide one point of access. This is better for the integrity of the dome rather than having two separate doorways.

Heating the Dome

As the dome is a single membrane with no insulation, it is not cost effective to heat it. Space heaters can be used inside the dome  to help melt snow in winter.

Dome Lighting

Thanks to the transparent membrane, lights are not required during daylight hours. Standard outdoor flood lighting provides adequate penetration for night play. Internal lights are not recommended as they cause massive damage to the membrane should it deflate unexpectedly.

Dome Usage

A Covair Dome can be left up all year which would give the maximum bad weather playing hours. However, there would be a few days in mid-summer when the dome would be unbearably hot inside. Most tennis clubs dismantle the dome during the summer months when it is pleasant to play outside.

Dome Storage

The ideal setup is to have a storage shed butting up to one side of the court surface with a trolley to stack the dome on.

Life of a Covair Air Dome

The polythene membrane has a life of approximately 6-8 years. There have been various examples of membranes lasting for longer, however, it would be prudent to base the economics on replacing the membrane every 6-8 years to allow for accidental damage and wear and tear during use.

Dome Installation

The initial installation of the structure takes approximately 2-3 days, once all the site preparation is complete, i.e. foundations, fencing and services.
The membrane is delivered to site in panels which are then laid out and welded together. A dry and wind-free day is required.

Dismantling and re-erecting the Dome

Subsequent dismantling and re-inflation will take a day for a team of 3-4 depending on the size of the dome. The membrane is folded onto a mobile trolley on castors which is then rolled off court into the storage area and covered with a tarpaulin if a shed is not provided. The steel cables are best coiled up and removed completely to the storage area and covered up. The fans and the revolving door can also be removed from site if required.

If there is a trip hazard concern caused by the exposed anchor eyes during summer, they can be unscrewed and plastic caps fitted to protect the anchor threads. The eyes need to be greased before replacing when the dome is re-erected.

Covair offer a dismantling and re-inflation service, or will train club members to undertake this themselves.

Repairs Procedure

Tools required:

Cellulose thinners
Paper towelling
Repair tape
Spare fabric

The membrane is particularly delicate when under pressure so care should be taken not to hit it with sharp objects. A hard kick from the inside can easily cause a 15cm round hole.

If a very large hole is made, possibly through vandalism, manually turn on the second fan to maintain the pressure and immediately stick a piece of fabric on the inside of the dome over the hole then follow the repair procedures. Once repaired, revert to normal fan operation.

Inform Covair of the damage as soon as possible.

Small holes or tears can be easily repaired with the strong repair tape supplied with the dome in the maintenance pack.

First clean thoroughly round the tear inside the dome with cellulose thinners and wipe dry. Cut a strip of tape and place evenly over the hole and smooth flat pushing out all air bubbles. On an inflated dome it is easier if you have a second person holding a plank of wood on the outside of the tear to push against. Then repeat the process on the outside of the tear to stop rain penetrating.

If the tear is a long straight one, put small pieces of tape across the tear before sticking down the full length of it.

For large odd shaped holes, cut a piece of spare fabric and stick it over the hole on the inside of the dome, first cleaning where the tape will stick. Then cover the hole with tape on the outside.

With large holes inform Covair so that they can be welded on the next visit.