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2015 IFC changes to affect the tent industry

Industry News, Safety & Codes | December 1, 2013 | By:

Q: How will the 2015 IFC changes affect the tent industry?

A:The final public hearing for proposed changes to the 2015–IFC (International Fire Code) was held in October. Several proposals had the potential to affect tent manufacturers and renters at every level of the industry.

Tom Markel, Bravo Events, Buffalo, N.Y., and William Fitch, P.E., principal, Phyrefish Consulting, Miami, Fla., represented the Tent Rental Division (TRD) of IFAI at public hearings during this code cycle.

“Except for the stage canopies [Proposal F269–13], we got what we needed, from one point of view or another, but that’s only for 2015,” Markel says.

Proposals tend to be generated in response to accidents and related events, such as the 2011 stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. “What code officials are looking for is guidance on the wind speed at which a particular tent is no longer safe so that the public can be evacuated beforehand,” Markel says.

“We dodged a bullet on all tents being wind rated for another three years, but we have to answer that question (wind speed) or this is coming back at us.”
Changes approved during this 2013 code cycle will be published in the 2015 editions of the International Codes.

Proposal Number

Proposed Change

TRD Position


IFC Chapter 17 proposal Create a new IFC Chapter 17 related to special events, including applying IBC regulations to temporary non–regular trade show buildings such as tents and warehouses Opposed Disapproved
F266–13 Remove other temporary structures from Chapter 31 (tents). No objections Approved
F267–13 Require that tents used as special amusements (such as a haunted house) meet the same code as a permanent building used for the same purpose. Opposed Disapproved
F268–13 Require structural documentation for an entire tent (removing the documentation requirement from “Anchorage” and creating a new section). Require IBC Chapter 16 structural design for a tent occupancy of more than 100; for Group A, E or I occupancy (most tent uses are Group A); for a Group R occupancy of more than 50; or for tents exceeding one story. Opposed, except for clearspans that exceed one story Approved as modified by a public comment, to apply to multiple–story structures only
F269–13 For stages that support equipment, require “temporary stage canopies” with more than 400 square feet of fabric as a canopy to be engineered, inspected and permitted by a fire code official. Opposed, although did not submit a public comment Approved

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