In many cases the cost of a membrane can be further offset by savings made over the life of the structure such as by reduced maintenance or the daylight electricity savings of a translucent roof. Modern membrane materials are a complex mix of chemical compounds which perform well under a wide variety of environmental conditions. They provide a high level of translucency, typically from 10% to 30% and even greater where required to special order. They provide many benefits to whole of life costs in many installations where savings can be made on reduced electricity costs, etc. Quality standards of all goods supplied for a particular job must be stated prior to contract, and effective inspection methods carried out to ensure compliance. For example, stainless steel rigging is almost always preferable from a visual and maintenance point of view, but costs often dictate using galvanised steel rigging instead.
The membrane material can vary in specification and must be chosen for its intended use. Some membrane materials can have design lives greater than traditional materials. A specific design life should be a negotiated with the designers, and a specific manufacturer's warranty agreed. Tests should ideally be made to check material properties. Structural steelwork specifications must meet the required codes for the locality. Surface finishes must be laid down and specified in the design brief. Type and quality of fixings should be agreed.