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Stage collapses prompt rethink on temporary structures guide

Key guidance on design and use of temporary structures is to be updated to take account of a spate of recent collapses, experts have told NCE this week.

The Institution of Structural Engineers’ subsidiary organisation the Advisory Group on Temporary Structures (Agots) said it is to update the third version (2007) of its Temporary demountable structures: guidance on procurement, design and use, to address recent structural collapses.

Stage collapses occurred at the Bluesfest in Ottawa, Canada, last July and at Indiana State Fair, in the US and the Pukkelpop music festival at Limburg in Belgium. The latter two were fatal incidents, with five killed in Belgium and seven at Indiana.

The decision comes in the wake of another fatal stage collapse, this time in Toronto, Canada. One person was killed and two more critically injured earlier this month when a temporary stage collapsed ahead of a Radiohead concert.

Eurocodes

The guidance will also incorporate changes in practice due to the introduction of Eurocodes.

Agots chairman Peter Hind said he wanted to use the revision of the guidance to increase awareness of the potential hazards of these structures and to ensure more clarity in the guidance, and to make the diagrams simpler.

Particular attention will also be paid to the wind loading section. Wind was cited as a contributing factor in the collapses in Indiana and Belgium. Often freak weather is blamed for the stage collapses, but Hind said that there should be a management plan to deal with any type of weather. “I do not accept it when people say [the collapses] are a weather thing,” said Hind.

Agots will begin work on the scheduled review of its guidance following the London 2012 Olympics so that it can incorporate any learning from temporary venues used there. April 2013 is targeted as a possible publication date.

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