Ensuring Your Bleacher Installation Meets NFPA Safety Codes and Standards

    Posted by Ryan Wilby

    Aug 9, 2019 8:41:22 AM


    A global self-funded nonprofit organization, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) devotes itself to preventing death, injury or economic loss due to fire and other related hazards.

    With such a broad reaching mandate, this organization sets the standard in safety by utilizing over 300 consensus codes and standards and has been a leader in safety since its inception in 1896.

    Specifically designed to minimize the risk and effects of fire, the organization develops and distributes educational programs, tools and resources for all ages and audiences in addition to their internationally recognized code of standards.

    While these regulations and guidelines can be far reaching, they also extend into the nature of our business in many ways as well. When it comes to setting the safety standards to bleachers and grandstands, the NFPA updates their codes and standards regarding these products once a year based on public and industry input.

    Here are a few main conditions that must be considered when designing your next stand-alone seating structure.


    With the interest in public safety, the bulk of these code regulations pertain to the specific size and layout of bleacher and grandstand structures. Allowing for easy and safe exit for spectators is a chief concern for code compliance. Here are a few sample mandates directly from the NFPA:

    • Grandstands should remain less than 10,000 square feet in total footage and remain less than or equal to 200 feet in length.
    • In the event the individual units are maxed out in footage and length, they must be at least 20 feet apart or have a one-hour resistant firewall placed in between.
    • There shall be no more than three max capacity grandstand units grouped together. Every grouping of three units should also be equipped with a two-hour rated firewall that extends 24 inches above the seating platform. Alternately, account for at least 50 feet of open space from other structures.
    • Freestanding bleachers and grandstands should be no more than 20 feet tall. This regulation shrinks to 12 feet in height for freestanding portable bleachers and grandstands.
    • All open spaces underneath aluminum bleachers are mandated to remain free of any flammables or combustibles unless an electrically supervised sprinkler system is in place.
    • Annual inspections and performed maintenance for each bleacher and grandstand are required. Bi-annual inspections completed by a professional engineer or registered architect are also required.

    It should be noted that the above requirements are only a small sampling of what is required under NFPA safety codes. Our team is extremely well versed in these and other building and safety codes and will always keep these and any other regulations in mind when designing and manufacturing these seating structures.

    To ensure you and your facility are taking these safety precautions seriously, you can visit the NFPA website and acquire the necessary documentation.


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    Topics: Bleachers, Athletic Facility Safety, Grandstand Seating


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