The Differences Between Canada and U.S. Bleacher Safety Codes

    Posted by Ryan Wilby

    Mar 4, 2024 1:02:13 PM


    As an international company, this is a question that comes up fairly frequently as it pertains to bleacher seating. With the bulk of our customers situated in both Canada and the United States, being informed on current building and safety codes for bleachers is something we take seriously.

    Given that our two countries are so closely situated, it’s always worth remembering that no matter how close we may seem, our rules and regulations can differ quite broadly. While that statement can apply to a variety of other regulations, it’s especially true for bleacher seating.

    The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) and the International Building Code (IBC) in the United States serve as model codes that provide guidelines and standards for the construction and design of buildings and other structures. While there are similarities in their objectives, there are also differences due to variations in climate, construction practices, and regulatory approaches between Canada and the United States. 

    When it comes to bleacher seating, the differences between the two codes can be stark in comparison. In general terms, the US safety codes for bleacher construction are much more stringent than those in Canada. Buyers in both countries should be made aware that buying some bleachers that are manufactured outside of your country of origin can miss the mark on code requirements. In these cases, bleacher structures can end up being condemned following an inspection, leaving the buyer holding the bag on a large amount of time and money.

    In the United States, for example, a bleacher larger than three-rows in size is subject to both rear and side guardrails, aisle options and handrails, while this is not a requirement on bleachers smaller than 48” in height in Canada.

    Please see our quick comparison chart below for more differences between the two codes:


    When researching and buying a new bleacher, it’s always important to review where the bleacher is being manufactured and by who. Secondly, you’ll want to ensure that the manufacturer is well-versed in up-to-date building and safety codes. This ensures your new seating structure is not only safe for all that will use it, but also protects against safety violations and potential condemnation of your bleachers.

    We proudly manufacture both US and Canadian specified bleacher systems for this reason. If you have any questions in the differences between the two codes and your new bleachers, be sure to reach out to a member of our team for a comprehensive review and consultation.


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