Nearly 50 members of the American Rental Association of Massachusetts (ARAM) met at B.C. Tent & Awning in late October to discuss strategies to standardize the statewide permitting process for tent installations.
Individual tent company owners and representatives report inconsistencies across the municipalities they work in. ARAM executive director Gene Lapierre noted that Boston is the epicenter of permitting, whereas this is less of an issue in central and western Massachusetts.
Most of those in attendance noted that the regulations for the permitting of tents were borrowed from construction codes intended for permanent construction. This has resulted in a number of incomprehensible requirements according to some those in the group—including having clearly-posted ‘exit’ signs on a 20-foot tent and leaving enough of a pathway around the structure for a fire truck to physically drive in and extinguish flames.
Another concern raised was that a number of municipalities wrote regulations based on the belief that tents are more flammable than they are.
The group agreed to seek legislative assistance to achieve the following goals:
- A single, statewide tenting-specific permitting application.
- Implementation and acceptance of an electronic permit application.
- An increase in permit exemptions for tent installations from the present 120 square feet to 800 square feet.
Dan Chase, owner of Chase Canopy and leader of the ARAM Tenting Committee told the members, &rldquo;We want to be positive and we want to be certain that we install safely. But we also need to have the support and cooperation of municipal and local officials to see that the permitting process is simplified and sensible.”
Chase’s views were echoed by Bob Costa, president of B.C. Tent & Awning. “Our goal is not to cut corners,” Costa says. “It is to streamline the process so that we can do the work that our clients hire us to do in a safe and efficient manner.”