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Stamped and Sent: What a Professional Engineer Stamp Means

The vast majority of individuals who buy little shade tents at big box stores aren’t too worried about the engineering that went into the simple canopy that will keep the sun off of their potato salad. Behind the scenes, however, is a full team of designers that works to ensure that each structure is going to stay standing for as long as possible (barring heavy wind, bad weather, and the like). This is the end goal of the design for all products; to be the best it can be to the fullest extent.

All of the canopies sold by Celina come with a label to communicate all of the necessary information about the tent you hold. There’s the fire safety seal to indicate which fire resistant tests the materials have gone through, the size and style of tent fabric so you know what kind of support system it requires, and so on. You may recall that much of this information was covered in our last blog about paperwork connected with tents and tent installation. A few tents have an additional designation – being an engineered tent. Given what we know with most tents are created by an engineer, this seems like a given, right? Shouldn’t all tents be engineered? How were they made otherwise? What is the world coming to?

Tents having a Professional Engineer’s stamp have gone through additional processes to ensure that the structure is the very best it can be. Certified engineers are available to assess and inspect designs and shelters to ensure the very peak of efficiency for your new canopy.

Finite Element Analysis

The most common analysis that you can easily survey post-inspection is the Finite Element Analysis. Using software that in essence simulates the installation of the design or structure that has been made, stresses can be visited upon the various areas of the supports to test how the entire assembly will hold up against uniform weight loads (similar to having snow collect on the fabric) and severe short-term stresses (such as high winds or hail).

Engineers have to review the designs and run various tests before certifying that the tent will be able to withstand higher levels of stress, which is turn allows us to create a safer structure for use in harsher weather conditions and for longer periods of time. In order to receive the engineer’s stamp of approval several requirements for testing must be met. A few include:

  • Able to withstand wind gusts of 90 mph (3 second gusts)
  • Dead load, pre-stress, and 3 pounds per square foot of uniform gravity load
  • Stated requirements for ASCE 7-05, IBC 2006, and/or IF 2006


There are limits to what an engineer can sign off on, of course. The main issue when deciding if a structure is engineer approved is that the staking and guy lines used to secure the tent are such a massive variable as far as how they transfer strength to the structure. A perfectly designed canopy with lackluster installation practices is not going to perform to the highest specification. It is the responsibility of the installer to follow all approved installation practices in order to get the most out of an engineered tent.

Want to learn more about the various tents and canopies commercially available? Give us a call at (866) 767-9242 and one of our Customer Account Managers will be glad to help with out with any questions you have. You can also email us any time at Sales@Celina.com.