A Guide to Safety With Marquee Events
Marquee events have a multitude of benefits – regardless of whether you’re organising a wedding, conference or family party. Due to their expansive and fully customisable design, they can be transformed from simple white tents into the perfect showcase for your dream theme. With every event comes the need to manage risk and safety, and the same goes for marquee events. However, as a temporary structure, there are some unique considerations you should make when setting up and planning the big day. In this guide, we’ll cover safety with marquee events so you can check each point off your list.
What Does The Law Say?
The use of temporary structures in the UK is governed by several legislations, including guidance from the Institute of Structural Engineers and the Health and Safety Executive. There are also considerations to make following the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which places temporary structures under the same requirements as normal structures.
When you work with an approved and experienced marquee hire company, they will ensure you stay compliant with all advice. However, it pays to have an understanding of these restrictions to ensure nothing gets missed.
The Institute of Structural Engineers Advice
The ISE sets out the responsibility for safety when erecting a temporary structure. They place it with the client who has hired the marquee itself. Therefore, the best way to ensure you have a safely erected and designed marquee is to ensure you work with a competent team you can trust. It is your responsibility to make sure that you ask the right questions and get written evidence that the company you’re working with has the experience to ensure safety.
The company you use must ensure:
- The marquee is safely erected to avoid structural failure
- Crowd behaviour has been considered when designing and erecting the temporary space
- The layout and design takes into account the hazards associated with relevant suppliers
The Health & Safety Executive
The HSE places marquees under the umbrella term, Temporary Demountable Structures’. They advise that most fatal or serious accidents in these situations are due to the collapse of the structure, lifting operations or mobile plant machinery. The recommendations include:
- Ensuring the structure is suitable for its purpose
- Use competent and adequately resourced contractors to design, supply, build, manage, and take down the structure
- Providing all relevant information about the site or allowing the contractors to undertake a site assessment
- Ensuring that any out-of-normal or novel structured undergo additional testing to ensure they meet safety requirements
- Make sure the marquee is erected on stable grounds
- Avoiding the use of flammable materials in the construction
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Fire safety should be a key consideration for any event – especially one in a temporary structure. Marquees are designed with non-flammable materials to prevent the spread of fire but it is still important that there is a clear, easy-to-use and accessible escape route. The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 states that:
- A responsible person must ensure there is safe access
- Escape routes are designed to avoid trip hazards or uneven surfaces
- All fire exits should be marked using quick-release wall flaps
- All marquee should be built with a minimum of 2 exits distributed evenly throughout the space
These measures ensure the safety of all of your guests, should a fire or similar incident occur.
Safety Considerations For Marquee Events
As we have mentioned above, working with the right marquee hire company will ensure you cover all legal grounds. Having a competent team of individuals behind you is one of the most important things you can do. But, alongside trusting the word of your hire team, we recommend having an overall understanding of common safety concerns in these temporary spaces. This will help you to address issues, should they arise, and do your risk assessment once the marquee has been erected.
This list is not exhaustive but includes key areas you should take note of once your marquee has been erected but before your guests arrive.
Marquees can be erected on a range of different group types. To reduce the risk of tripping and slipping, most people choose to have solid flooring laid down. It is important that this flooring is properly nailed down without any raw edges that could cause an issue. You also want to use flooring that won’t catch on high heels and one that won’t deteriorate overuse.
We also recommend checking entrance ways – if there is a slight step up, you’ll want to find a way to advise your guests before they step inside.
Marquee roofs should be pulled taut. This prevents water from pooling and putting strain on the structural integrity of the structure. Ensure your roof is fitted correctly and take note of any overhanging trees or drainage works that could cause issues in bad weather.
Most marquee events will have a list of suppliers, entertainers and equipment needed to fill the needs of the client. And with this comes a range of electrical devices and wires. There needs to be special care given here – specifically to ensure all items can be safely used outdoors and have the correct protection to prevent electrical shocks. All items should be safety checked before use and any wires need to be secured during use.
The Entrance and Exit
Make sure that guests can access and exit the building safely. This may mean considering the orientation of your marquee to ensure the walkway can be appropriately lit and dressed. You also want to keep an eye on the weather forecast – heavy rain could cause your chosen pathway to becoming waterlogged and unsafe. Equally, suppliers could have difficulty getting their equipment on-site if the entrance ways aren’t suitable.
Safety in marquees is a vital consideration for our entire team here at Carron Marquees. We have the experience to help you configure an event space that meets all legal requirements as well as your specifications. If you would like more information about our range of rental marquees or the safety measures we undertake, please do get in contact with us here today.