Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stage Safety

Back in March I detailed how to determine the proper horizontal size of a stage. The topic has proven to be quite popular, so I am now going to add some more to it and discuss stage safety.

Too many event producers and event managers are unaware of the fact that there are currently no North American standards for the allowable loading of stages. Why is this important? Consider the fact that, in the last seven years, at least fifteen temporary stages have collapsed at special events in various countries around the world. Now I'm not talking about the trussing and roof structures over or around or near stages but the actual stage surfaces themselves. Trussing is another serious problem in itself and I'll talk about it in the future. In many of these incidents, people were seriously injured or killed. In fact, some of the collapses were of the stages that major stars were to perform on.

Here are links to several You Tube videos of stage collapses:
Event producers must be aware of the allowable loading for any given stage design, and since there are no standards, it makes this point even more important because, as part of proper risk management, the stage provider, whether it is a venue or a subcontracted staging company, should be able to provide producers with the deck manufacturer’s figures for safe loading limits. In the case of customized staging, the builder should have made proper calculations or should provide proper calculations from a certified structural engineer to prove that the staging will be adequate for the loads anticipated.

If the staging is owned by a venue, that venue should be able to provide an event manager/producer with the documentation for the allowable loading of the staging. Guesswork or corporate knowledge does not suffice.

I'll delve deeper into the actual loads in my next post.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Monday, 8 November 2010

More New Tent and Tensile Structure Ideas

I have a Russian friend who just won a prestigious award for his tent design from the Industrial Fabrics Association International. His designs are amazing. Check out

While you're there also take a look at other winners who have some very creative concepts with potential application for special events.

Technical and Logistical Requirements for Outdoor Venues

Last time we looked at the techinical requirements for indoor venues. This time, we look at outdoor sites. Outdoor sites present an entirely different set of concerns for producers, some requiring extensive and ongoing monitoring. Some of the key ones are:
  • What is the optimum layout of the site for the most benefit to attendees and the least impact on surrounding neighbors? This includes optimization for foot and possible vehicular traffic.
  • Where will each and every temporary structure be located? How will necessary power be run to them if needed?
  • What is the potential acoustic impact on neighbors and must event parameters be changed to minimize the impact?
  • Where will entrances and exits be located and how many of each will there be?
  • How accessible is the site for technical equipment load-in and also for emergency vehicles (e.g. fire, police, and ambulance)? Where can technical vehicles be parked?
  • What is the ground surface and is there anything required to protect it from damage?
  • Is security fencing required and how much?
  • Are there any dangerous areas or areas that cannot be used because of hidden infrastructure (e.g. water mains, telephone lines, sewage, electrical)?
  • Where exactly are water and electrical power located, if any? Can either be tapped into for use at the event? Is portable power required?
  • What is the best location for portable toilets?
  • What is the best central location for waste and refuse accumulation?
  • Is there any available site lighting and is it adequate or must additional be brought in?
Of course, this is a very basic list, but at least it should get you started on surveying a site and determining if it will be suitable for an event.

Armed with the answers to these questions, the producer can now proceed to drawing a site or venue plan to scale and to producing a preliminary production schedule.