How to calculate the safe capacity of a sports ground?
The responsibility for calculating the safe capacity of a ground rests with the ground management. Where any part or parts of a ground are covered by a safety certificate issued by the local authority the capacity calculated by ground management should be reviewed by the local authority and if validated included in the safety certificate.
At the majority of sports grounds, the capacities of each section will be added together to establish the final capacity of the ground as a whole. The factors to be considered in determining the capacity of each section are:
The entry capacity – which is the number of people who can pass through all the turnstiles and other entry points serving the section, within a period of one hour.
The holding capacity – which is the number of people who can be safely accommodated in the viewing accommodation. In the case of seats this will be determined by the actual number of seats, less any that cannot be used safely (owing to seriously restricted views or their inadequate condition). In the case of a standing area this will be determined by a number of features including crush barrier strengths and layouts and areas which offer restricted views. In determining the holding capacity account also needs to be taken of the physical condition of the viewing accommodation – the (P) factor, and the safety management of the area – the (S) factor.
The exit capacity – which is the number of people who can safely exit the viewing accommodation under normal conditions
The emergency evacuation capacity – the emergency evacuation time will be set between 2.5 and 8 minutes based on a risk assessment of the viewing accommodation and its associated emergency evacuation routes. The emergency evacuation capacity is the number of people who can safely negotiate the emergency evacuation routes and reach a place of safety within that set time.
Whichever is the lower of the above four capacities is taken as the final capacity of that section of the ground. Once the final capacity of each section of the ground has been determined in this way they can be added together to determine the overall ground capacity.
Detailed advice and guidance on calculating entry, holding, exit and emergency evacuation capacity is given in the Chapter 2 of the “Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds”
Tools and resources
Concourses draws upon the views and experience of safety officers, leading stadia architects and engineers in addition to the survey work of the Core Cities group of local authorities. It examines how floor space factors are applied in other similar venues and contains clear advice on concourse occupancy levels and floor space factors which will provide an invaluable source of information for sports ground managers, designers, safety advisors and interested agencies when upgrading existing or designing new facilities at sports grounds.
Advice on Drones
You may be familiar with the scenes from the Partizan stadium during the Serbia v Albania Euro 2016 qualifying game, when a drone carrying a pro-Albanian flag landed on the pitch. The violence that ensued both on the pitch and in the stands is a reminder of how quickly situations can change.
When should the first annual inspection and structural appraisal be undertaken at a new, or recently completed, stadium?
It is usual that the safety certificate or operations manual will require ground management to obtain every 12 months , a report from a competent person that the structural elements have been inspected and found to be adequate.
What they're saying
“Fan safety at sports grounds is paramount. The world looks to us as an example of how to manage risks and improve safety records and this guide will continue to contribute to that legacy.”
Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport