When Outdoor Bleachers Require Guardrails

    Posted by Ryan Wilby

    Aug 1, 2019 5:10:23 AM



    One of the most common questions we field is whether or not a prospective bank of bleacher seating requires a guardrail or not. With these seating structures varying widely in size and design, the answer can be hard to determine, depending on who you talk to.

    With spectator safety in mind, it’s no surprise that facility operators and owners want to ensure they get this part of their bleacher order correct. The risk of having an unnecessary injury looming over your facility or league is just not something that anyone wants. It is one of the reasons that we take a proactive approach to safety precautions by recommending solutions tailored for every product or situation.

    National Codes

    As far as National Building Codes are concerned, the overarching rule that applies to bleacher seating with respect to guardrails is that any bleacher with a top-row height of over 30 inches requires a guardrail of some kind.

    In these instances, guardrails should be present on the back and on portions of the open ends of the bleachers but there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if your bleachers are used adjacent to a wall that is at least the recommended guardrail height, you might not be required to have them installed. In these situations, it must first be confirmed that any opening between the components in the seating should prevent passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.

    How Many Rows?

    This is usually the next question we are asked. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining the overall height of any bleacher structure. At Sport Systems, anything above 5 rows requires a guardrail system but we also offer it as a valuable addition to any four- and five-row bleacher system we sell as well.


    Much like buying anything on the market today, always ensure you are partnering with a trusted resource in the industry equipped with this kind of valuable knowledge. Our team is available to talk you through any custom design elements as well as make any and all necessary safety recommendations on your next bleacher order.


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    Topics: Bleachers, Athletic Facility Safety, Guardrails


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