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Standing accommodation

Standing accommodation includes terraces, viewing slopes or level areas.

Standing accommodation is to be found at a variety of sports grounds and in different forms.

This includes terraces, viewing slopes, level areas or spectator galleries.

Any standing accommodation should be designed and managed to be safe. The comfort of spectators and their access to amenities should also be considered in as much detail as would be the case for seated areas.

Account should also be taken of how patterns of crowd movement in areas of standing accommodation vary at different types of event; for example, at horse racing compared to football.

It is therefore recommended that in all matters relating to the design of standing accommodation, management seeks professional advice from competent persons of the appropriate skill and experience.

Viewing standards and conditions

Once spectators are in position, the design and management of the standing area should ensure that they are able to view all elements of the event in such a way that they are not subjected to:

  1. excessive pressure from crowd surges
  2. excessive pressure from a high density of spectators
  3. forces that cause spectators to lose control of their own movement, so that they step forward in an uncontrolled manner
  4. physical stresses caused by poorly constructed terracing, such as sloping treads, uneven surfaces or broken or damaged terracing
  5. restricted viewing, necessitating frequent changes of position or excessive movement, which might affect other spectators.

The Green Guide provides details on the requirements for standing areas.

Wheelchair users

Disabled spectators should have the same opportunity to view an event from a standing terrace, if that is their preference. This applies particularly at sports grounds where visiting supporters are allocated areas of standing accommodation only, and where, as a result, those visiting supporters who use wheelchairs are expected to spectate from areas reserved for home supporters.

Each space for a wheelchair user on a standing terrace should be designed:

  1. to accommodate a minimum of one helper standing alongside
  2. to accommodate a range of wheelchair designs, including powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  3. to allow for its use by able bodied spectators if not required by a wheelchair user
  4. to provide sightlines for wheelchair users that meet the minimum requirements set out in the Green Guide.

Viewing slopes

A viewing slope is defined as a non-stepped sloping area providing standing accommodation for spectators. Wherever possible their use should be avoided at grounds staging sports where spectators maintain an essentially fixed position for the duration of the event (such as football or rugby).

Where they are provided, in order to be considered suitable for standing spectators viewing slopes should comply with the following requirements:

  • The surface should be properly drained and such that spectators do not lose their footing or balance.
  • The gradient should ideally be no greater than approximately 10 degrees (compared with the maximum recommended gradient for terraced areas of 25 degrees).
  • If the gradient is greater than 10 degrees, continuous crush barriers should be provided between radial gangways.
  • The spacing of crush barriers should be the same as for those on terraced areas

Level standing

When calculating the capacity of a level standing area it is recommended that, whatever the loading of any front barrier, the available viewing area allowed should be no greater than 1.5m. This is the equivalent of approximately four persons deep. Beyond this depth viewing is too seriously restricted to be considered as part of the viewing accommodation.

It is further recommended that level areas for standing do not normally form part of the viewing accommodation for new construction.

However at certain sports grounds – for example those staging horse racing – it is customary to allow spectators to view the event from level or near level standing areas, commonly known as lawns.

Further advice on the management of level standing areas and appropriate occupancy densities for concerts and other similar events can be found in Alternative Uses of Sports Grounds.

Chapter 13 of the Green Guide provides full information on standing accommodation.

This includes:

  • viewing standards
  • lateral and radial gangways
  • design and dimensions of terrace steps
  • provision of cover.
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