Frequently Asked Questions
Air Dome FAQS
PLANNING YOUR PROJECT:
An air dome provides a clear indoor space that can be used for a variety of activities and is not only limited to sport. They are sometimes known as air halls or bubbles.
Each dome is made to measure for the site. We recommend a gap of 500mm between the fence and the dome.
Planning consent is required for an air dome if over 3m high. Covair will produce a layout drawing showing the playing surface dimensions, gaps to fencing, ring beam details and preferred door, fan and storage positions. This is normally sufficient to use for an outline planning application. We can also put you in touch with experienced planning consultants to advise further.
It is not possible to hire our air domes because they are all made to measure and require a matching concrete ring beam to anchor into.
The LTA, Sport England, local authorities and various other organisations have all provided funding for air domes and can provide further information.
Covair do not undertake court/pitch surfacing or groundworks, but can put you in touch with specialists in these areas. We will then work with your chosen contractor to discuss the site requirements and provide drawings. We will supply and install the air dome once these works are complete.
An electric supply is required to run the inflation fans on all domes. The PVC domes also have heating, which can run from a gas or fuel supply.
Once an order has been placed, drawings confirmed and a deposit received, the manufacturing process will begin. The polyethylene dome has a lead time of 6-8 weeks with around 3 days required for installation. Either PVC option will take 10-12 weeks for manufacture and then a week or more for install depending on the size. Lead times will vary depending on the time of year.
Covair operate from our offices in Surrey and have a team of full time dome engineers who cover the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands. We have a full design, technical and administrative support team to assist before, during and after your project.
If required we can organise the seasonal dismantle and re-inflation of your air dome.
When planning your project it is worth budgeting for a replacement membrane after a number of years. The polyethylene dome has a 1 year guarantee against manufacturing defect and a life expectancy of 6-8 years on average. The single skin PVC dome should last around 10-15 years with a 5 year guarantee and the double skin PVC 30 years with a 15 year guarantee.
Please note that it is usually only the membrane that needs replacing, not the full installation.
Yes, there are various repairs possible in case of damage. Covair have a team of engineers available to assist as required.
Yes, it is possible to have a gate access system in front of the revolving door so that access can be limited to players with bookings.
Please contact us through the website or on 01883 743988 and we can advise further regarding the initial supply and install of an air dome as well as operating costs for the fans and lights. The type of dome, dimensions, location and usage are all relevant factors.
AIR DOME FEATURES
The entry level dome is made of polyethylene, which is almost transparent and lightweight for seasonal storage. The more advanced domes are made from either a single or double PVC membrane and are more robust.
Covair no longer supply cable domes as we have found various issues affecting the longevity of this design. Some companies refer to these as triple skin domes but they are only made of a single PVC membrane with a thin layer of insulation and a protective foil to make the “triple-skin”.
The standard access to an air dome is through a revolving door, to prevent air loss. A pedestrian door, which is a mini-air-lock tunnel can be provided for wheelchair access. A larger tunnel can be installed for machinery access. Emergency doors can be added to meet building regulation requirements.
All of our air dome membranes have translucent properties and sunlight will enable day time play. The polyethylene dome has the advantage that existing court floodlights will shine through at night. Both PVC options are supplied with internal LED lights either from the ceiling or on pillars around the perimeter. We can produce a lighting design to meet your required lux levels.
The ideal setup is to have a storage shed adjacent to one side of the court surface with a trolley to fold the dome onto.
Both PVC options are provided with heating, primarily as a safety feature to melt snow and prevent any build up of a heavy weight on the membrane. There is no heating provided with the polyethylene dome due to its lightweight nature. As there are no internal lights, it is possible to deflate the dome and remove the snow.
All domes are kept inflated with a continuous running fan. The PVC domes have a backup diesel fan as standard and this can also be supplied as an option on the polyethylene dome if power cuts are a concern. When the wind speed picks up, the fans will supply more air to the dome to increase the pressure and make the dome more rigid against the winds.
All air domes are made in sections and can be dismantled for summer storage if required. The two single skin domes will likely be uncomfortably hot inside on a warm day and so these are recommended for seasonal use only. A storage shed can be supplied next the courts. If year-round cover is required then a white, double skin dome is recommended as there will be less solar gain, when compared to a single skin dome, due to the insulation properties.
It is possible to install air conditioning with a double skin dome, but this is likely to be prohibitively expensive in most cases.
The dome will also be more efficient in retaining heat in the winter, but is more labour intensive and costly to dismantle.
It is possible to install a range of internal structures inside an air dome such as changing rooms, toilets, seating areas, cafes and such like. This is not recommended for seasonal domes.
Condensation can occur when an air dome is first installed/re-inflated over wet ground. If the dome has heating then this will disappear very quickly. If there is no heating, then dehumidifiers, aqua vacs or mopping will help to remove the moisture and clear the condensation.