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Advantages and Disadvantages

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Spatial structures have several advantages as compared to other long-span structural systems such as:

  1. Using spatial structures for large span systems can provide 15-30% reduction in the dead weight as compared to other long-span structural systems.
  2. Spatial structures require less material than other conventional linear systems and, therefore, if prefabricated can be an economical long span structural system.
  3. Loads are distributed in all directions. Therefore, it is possible to apply heavy concentrated loads to any node.  This is a great advantage when such structural system is needed for aircraft hangars or factories.
  4. They are highly redundant and statically indeterminate systems.  As a result, failure of a member does not result in the complete collapse of the structure.
  5. They are very rigid systems with very small deflection under the applied loads. Therefore, they are less susceptible to ponding.
  6. They have a significant advantage in terms of fire resistance as compared to conventional planar structures.  They are very durable when subjected to fire.  This means that even though part of the structure may fail due to fire, the remaining parts may stay stable and be able to resist the loads.   
  7. They can be easily assembled and erected using a number of modular units.  This results in a speedy erection of the structure.  In addition, using small member sizes can greatly facilitate the assembly and erection of these systems.
  8. They are easily expandable and demountable with the flexibility of placing supports at various locations.  Supports can be removed or relocated without endangering the overall structural stability. 
  9. The opening between the structural members can be used for the placement of the mechanical and electrical systems, etc. They can be installed on the ground, reducing the hazard of working at heights.
  10. The construction can be conducted under almost any weather conditions. The assembly and erection are easy and fast, requiring unskilled labor.
  11. The structure is less susceptible to overall failure due to extreme events such as explosions or earthquakes.
  12. Various regular configurations are architecturally appealing and for this reason almost all spatial structures are architecturally exposed.
  13. Since the structural members are shop-fabricated they have high manufacturing precisions.
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