ETFE foil roof over shopping centre

Written by on 1st August 2016 in ETFE

Much like a car, your ETFE cushion roof is dependent on all its parts working to ensure the safety and ongoing operation of the system. As a result, we recommend that every ETFE installation is serviced every 6 months. Our in-house Maintenance Team are some of the most knowledgeable in the word and look after structures in the UK and across the globe. Want to know more about what we can offer you? Give our team a call on 01291 638200 or take a look at the ETFE maintenance services we offer:


As a ‘live’ system which requires constant connection to a dedicated Air Handling Unit (AHU) we advise that the system is inspected six monthly to ensure an uninterrupted operation. A typical inspection includes checking for the following:

  • Visible damage to the internal and external foil layers
  • Distortion of the shape indicating the possibility of impact damage or damaged clamp profiles
  • Capping elements for fixity
  • Welded joints to ensure integrity
  • Plenum and associates joints, clamps, brackets and connections, particularly checking for leakage.
  • Operation of the inflation equipment, including replacing filters
  • Fine tuning the operation of the inflation equipment to maintain optimum performance
  • Repair of minor holes and tears

Please note, annual inspection must be carried out to ensure the standard ETFE warranty is valid.


Unlike traditional fabric structures, ETFE Foil is an extruded material and therefore has a smooth surface. This smoothness reduces the amount of dirt retained on the ETFE foil surface and allows the rain to wash away the majority of bird droppings and dirt. However, it is impossible to say that any material is entirely self-cleaning, and therefore we recommend that ETFE foil cushions are cleaned externally every 2-3 years. The city environment carried more pollutants than other locations and therefore may mean that more regular maintenance of the external façade is required. The cushions might also need to be dusted on the underside, although far less often. Depending on the amount of dirt collected in the internal atmosphere, we would recommend they are cleaned every 5-10 years.


Each installation will have been designed with an integrated method of accessing the roof for maintenance and inspection. Each site will have different access requirements/limitations and the method of safe access will ultimately be determined by the Supervisor upon arrival on site. However, access will generally be by means of Work Positioning and Rope Access Techniques.

Where possible we recommend that cleats are welded onto the structural steel framework and left exposed to create a permanent, fixed connection point for rope access. Mansafe systems, Petzl hangers and the like can also be used but must carry current certification (this generally requires an annual test). Uncertified systems are not be used as fixing points for safety lines and lanyards, the Supervisor must establish other safe means of anchorage for rope access techniques.

All tools and equipment taken to high level for roof works and the like are to be attached via safety lanyards to the crew member’s harness, tool belt or the Rope Assist lines AT ALL TIMES.  All fixings are to be carried onto high level work areas and the like in approved Rope Access Bolt bags, only required amount of fixings for each installation to be carried onto high level work areas.

Want to schedule your ETFE maintenance visit? Contact our team on 01291 638200 or email

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Author: Architen Landrell

For over 30 years, Architen has been at the forefront of the tensile fabric industry.

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+44 (0) 1291 638 200

Architen Landrell, Station Road, Chepstow, NP16 5PF, UK


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