The inconsistencies of local and state temporary tent permits are problematic. The variation of regulations often affects tent and special events companies that travel nationally or crossing county lines. The question is how as an industry can we collaborate with national, regional, and state agencies to create a solution where a standard of reasonable care is acceptable.

SAFTSE has discussed the variations of permitting concerns with AHJ’S from coast to coast and the one common denominator that AHJ’S always tell us is “Prove that we are wrong with data.” As a tent or special event company, you are looking at this as a one sided argument. And you are correct, but if the tent and special event industry do not gather information to create procedures that provide a safe environment for an event, the AHJ’S will continue with the same policies.
As an industry, we cannot stick our heads in the sand and expect this problem to go away. SAFTSE can attest to the fact that there is a changing demeanor from the authorities having jurisdiction. Six months ago we heard the standard phrase, “You’re not going to get everything that you want,” but the dialogue has changed to “Explain why your suggestion is a reasonable solution and shows us the data to prove it.”

The window of opportunity is available. It may just be a crack, but nevertheless, there is the opportunity for our industry and authorities having jurisdiction to define and create regulations that are a standard of reasonable care for tailored events. Installing a 20X20 graduation tent in a backyard has its own characteristics, but if you erect the same 20X20 at a festival along with ten additional 20X20 tents, power, and hundreds of festival attendees, the parameters of safety have dramatically changed. A one-size-fits-all permitting process is not the answer for a safe environment.

Together we can open the window and express the free flowing ideas that can create a permitting process that prioritizes safety and is obtainable with less intervention.

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