Inspection Rule Number One – First, Look Down and Not Up.

As an AHJ you have arrived at a site to inspect a tent or membrane structure. Before you begin with checking means of egress, fire lane access infractions, and flame certificates, look at how the tent is attached to Mother Earth. Anchorage should be the first line item on your inspection sheet, following the IFC Chapter 31 regulation on anchorage.

Why start with anchorage? If there is a strong breeze of 25 mph or more the tent could end up on the ground. At this point, even properly designed means of egress, exits signs, and fire extinguishers are on the ground with the tent!

If the anchorage design scheme utilizes stakes, there is a guideline designed for staking. If the tent is ballasted using concrete blocks or water barrels this is an alternative to staking for securing the tent to Mother Earth.

 Our second photo uses a creative approach for anchorage. To begin our inspection, we check to see if the blocks are attached with webbing or ropes and secured to the top of the tent leg, which is a standard procedure. Also, check to see if the concrete block is sitting on a leg base plate with the leg securely attached to the concrete block – another recommended procedure.

However, there are two issues that the AHJ should question are the legs that do not have concrete blocks secured with a stake or stakes driven into the ground? Secondly, you should check to see if the concrete blocks are attached to one tent or both tents.

Because of these concerns, you ask the tent installer to provide wind load data and manufacturer’s installation guidelines. The tent installer has the burden of proof (defined by the model code) to provide construction documents which validate that the tent is adequality anchored to comply with the operational permit.

Now you can look Up!

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