US Army Corps of Engineers Works Through Winter With MTS™

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) needed a way to continue working outside through the freezing winter months, Sunbelt Rentals had the solution.

The USACE was working to build up a levee in Missouri to prevent spring floods. However, the construction required dry dirt with little moisture, and Missouri’s winter brought such challenging weather that the dirt they were trying to build with was muddy or even frozen. For their project to be successful, they needed a shelter where they could dry out the dirt — and they needed it fast.

Because of Sunbelt Rentals' track record of providing innovative solutions to fulfill urgent needs, the USACE called on Sunbelt Rentals to immediately dispatch four expansive, heated structures to the site. Sunbelt Rentals responded quickly, and its team was on the ground within the week.

The Challenge

In order to build up the levee, the client needed a winter shelter that was warm enough to thaw out the frozen dirt. The USACE team would be coming in and out frequently, so the structures needed to be capable of maintaining the temperature despite open doors and cold machinery.

The shelter also needed to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snow and wind. The USACE required a partner that could work efficiently through the challenging weather and tough site conditions, including thick mud on the job site.

Additionally, they needed feet on the ground in a matter of days so they wouldn’t lose any time on the construction. Sunbelt Rentals rose to the challenge.

The Client's Structure Needed:

mercedes-icon-rev001-0540,000 Square Feet
per Structure

Fast Installation



12 Million BTUs
of Heat 

Refrigerated Storage Icon

Ability to
Shed Snow


Our Solution


Sunbelt Rentals dispatched four structures from the Mahaffey Tension Series™ (MTS™) line, which are versatile fabric structures manufactured to shed snow in northern locations. Each clear span structure was 40 meters wide by 90 meters long — totaling nearly 40,000 square feet each. To overcome the challenging ground conditions on the job site, Sunbelt Rentals deployed special equipment that could maintain traction in the mud.

To warm the dirt for the levee, Sunbelt Rentals proposed pumping 6 million BTUs of heat into each structure. However, when the team got to the site, they discovered that some of the dirt was freezing completely, and the heat would need to be even higher. So, Sunbelt Rentals quickly adapted by doubling the amount, resulting in 12 million BTUs of heat running through each structure to thaw the ground.


The solution allowed the client to use large machinery to bring the frozen dirt for the levee intothe heated structures, remove any moisture from the dirt and take it back outside to continue building. Despite the continuously challenging site and weather conditions, there was no time to lose. The client chose Sunbelt Rentals because of its superior quality and responsiveness. Sunbelt Rentals delivered on its reputation, installing the first clear span structure in just a few days so that it would be ready before Christmas.

The Result

StephanieStefani, the Project Manager, and her team completed all four clear span structures within a month. During the coldest time of the year through December and January, the Sunbelt Rentals team worked tirelessly, sometimes staying at the site from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., to ensure they met the urgent need.

The solution exceeded the USACE’s expectations. Thanks to Sunbelt Rentals' help, the USACE was able to avoid any weather delays on the levee construction and to complete it in time for spring.  

The Takeaways

The final solution exemplified how you can use Sunbelt Rentals' structures in unique, innovative ways. These versatile fabric structures not only serve as temporary warehouses and lunch tents, but also support pressing environmental projects and remediation. With Sunbelt Rentals' custom solution, the USACE was able to protect the lands of Missouri farmers from upcoming spring floods.

The customer was extremely happy with the work Stefani and her team accomplished.

“Stefani was easy to work with and very responsive to any inquiries leading up to and post award. We appreciate the service she provided and will not hesitate to reach out to her again should the need arise for tent structures in the future."

— Lisa V

Sunbelt Rentals is committed to delivering exceptional service through our superior crews, expansive inventory and unmatched responsiveness. If you need a customized solution for a complex problem, we are ready to help! Whatever challenge you are facing, Sunbelt Rentals has you covered. Call today to speak with an expert project manager. 

Interested in learning more about temporary, portable construction shelters and tents, or want more information about how you can get a custom fabric building for your business?

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Topics: Military and Government