Temporary Demountable Structures

The Institution of Structural Engineers, supported by the Health and Safety Executive, has published guidance on Temporary Demountable Structures. This fourth edition contains essential information on the procurement, design, erection and use of temporary demountable structures, including: grandstands; stages; fabric structures; hospitality units; and fencing and barriers. Towers and masts that support media facilities are also included.

Demountable structures are widely used for a variety of functions at public and private events and can be found at exhibitions, sporting events, musical concerts and social occasions. Some may carry substantial numbers of people during major events and structural safety is extremely important.

What’s in the guidance?

Detailed recommendations are given for grandstands, stages and special structures. There is a section on fabric structures and further advice on ancillary and special structures to support lighting equipment, video screens, loudspeakers, and the like.

The Guide is based on practice in the United Kingdom and Europe but the principles described are appropriate for application elsewhere. It is also intended for clients, event organisers and venue owners, designers, regulatory and local authorities, as well as contractors and suppliers of demountable structures. It is concerned with the structural safety and adequacy of demountable structures used for temporary purposes and also with the overall planning and management of events.

The temporary structures industry differs from that of permanent structures in that it is much more fluid. At many events there are short timescales for the whole design and construction process. Responsibilities may be divided with no clear chain of command and regulations are complex. A temporary stage may be erected for a small event, the performance held, and the structure dismantled within a few days. Large events usually have a formal management process in place but there are still anomalies with control and with quality assurance.

Another difference with more traditional buildings is that imposed loads from people and wind are relatively high in proportion to dead load. There is more dynamic behaviour involved and different hazards to be considered. Very large numbers of spectators are accommodated in such structures so the life-safety risks have to be taken extremely seriously.

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority contributed to the development of the guidance via the Advisory Group on Temporary Structures.

Tools and resources

Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds During Construction

Guidance on how to ensure that reasonable standards of public safety can be maintained whilst construction operations are in progress.

Concession Facilities at Sports Grounds

Guidance on concessions and other allied services at sports grounds, such as food stalls, broadcast equipment and retail shops and kiosks.

Guide to Electrical and Mechanical Services at Sports Grounds

Detailed advice on electrical and mechanical services at sports grounds for Certifying Authorities and for those responsible for crowd safety at sporting events.

Alternative uses of Sports Grounds

Alternative Uses is a guidance document for stadium owners, operators, local authorities, promoters and event organisers to help adapt existing sports grounds to safely accommodate a range of events.


Our Concourses document contains helpful information including advice on occupancy levels and floor space factors.


Dynamic Performance and Testing of Grandstands

This guidance concerns the recommended vertical natural frequencies and horizontal load resistance of grandstands.

When should the first annual inspection and structural appraisal be undertaken at a new, or recently completed, stadium?