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Project Name: Miami Trace High School Owner: Miami Trace Local Schools Architect: SHP Leading Design Construction Manager: Ruscilli Construction Company, Inc. Scope: Materials & Installation of Educational Casework, Lab Casework, Telescopic Bleachers, and Auditorium Seating Completion: August 2018 The new Miami Trace High School has been described as a showcase for modern learning. The new building joined the…
Andrew J. Hunkins, LEED AP, Senior Project Manager at Corna-Kokosing contacted Farnham Equipment Company just days prior to the complete demolition of the old Groveport Madison High School, when he found out their Interkal Telescopic Bleachers were part of the demolition. He inquired of the possibility to remove the old Interkal Bleachers and have them stored for a…
We talked previously about cleaning the bearing surface for your telescopic bleachers, but how often are you cleaning up under your outdoor bleachers?
We’re taking the perspective of Safe and Sanitary with this one. You want to make sure your understructure is free of combustibles including unruly vegetation and stored materials.
If you do have stored materials that are combustible, you want to be sure to have proper sprinkler systems in place to prevent a fire from starting, spreading, and harming your patrons. Remember, a disaster like this is less noticeable when the grandstands are full of a cheering crowd and with smells of summer and fall mixed in; smoke is not as easily detected. Taking the proper precaution to keep patrons safe is a priority.
Fallen leaves may appear harmless, but they’re quick to catch fire and spread should someone drop something through the stands. They should be cleared out as often as possible to prevent a fire hazard as well as to prevent moisture build up after a downpour.
Vegetation under the bleachers trap in moisture, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mosquitos while also causing wooden ground bucks on portable bleachers to deteriorate.
While you’re likely not thinking of your outdoor bleachers while staying warm inside, the winter weather does have an impact on them. Our weather here in Ohio has been pretty unpredictable, torrential downpours one day and snowstorms with high winds the next then bam, it’s sunny and 58 degrees.
All this to say, make sure your bearing surface is free of standing water. A block of ice surrounding concrete supports acts as a vise, ultimately deteriorating the concrete.
With all of this, you’ll want to make sure your bleachers are always on a level service. If portable bleachers do not have properly installed or damaged mud sills/ground bucks or if foundation column supports are damaged, the unit may sink and/or become unstable.
Earth, Wind, and Fire it’s not just a great 70’s band, it’s what impacts your bleachers through the seasons.
Drop us a line or give us a call, we're here to answer your questions!
Quick, show of hands – how many of you were at the original telescopic bleacher demonstration for the bleachers in your gymnasium?
In a group of 10, we’re lucky to have two hands raise up, sometimes one. This is by no fault of your own but it is our goal to make sure that you have all the information you need to safely operate your telescopic bleacher unit. This is one of many reasons we offer free Gym Safety Sessions, so we can not only review operation but we can also answer questions pertaining specifically to you and your equipment. While the below information isn’t as comprehensive as a Safety Session, we do want to point out some helpful tips.
Opening Your Bleachers:
Get Your Pendant Control.
Seems a little obvious, right? But I say this because only Authorized Personnel should be operating your bleachers, this means that your Pendant Control should be stored in a safe place that only those authorized can gain access to it. Opening and closing the bleachers may seem like a simple task, and to a point, it is – but you want to make sure you know what to watch for and that you’re taking every safety and operational precaution into consideration.
Before operation, you want to be sure that the area is clear of people, debris, and dust (see cleaning under the bleachers). You’ll want to check under the bleachers as well as the area the bleachers are opening to.
Once you’re sure the area is clear and you’re plugged in ready to go, keep your eye on the bleacher unit to be sure it’s opening correctly and that all banks are opening together, not skewed across the gym floor. Make sure you bleacher opens completely before detaching the Pendant Control.
Take the Pendant Control with you once you’ve opened the unit fully. Even if you plan to close them again, the last thing we want to happen is that you go under the bleachers and someone closes them not realizing you’re there.
When you’re done, put the Pendant Control back in its stored location.
Additional Set Up:
If you don’t have Auto-Rotating Aisle Rails (you should!), you’ll want to make sure every aisle rail is turned and properly secured for the safety of your patrons. A loose rail can be a major hazard for someone trying to catch their balance or worst case, some have pulled them out to use against another patron.
Floor to First Row Aisle Steps, if you don’t have them hinged (again, you should and we can do that for you!) you want to make sure to install each one properly before use. We’ve heard the debate several times, “but they’re a hazard!” Well, no. They’re not. The reality is, according to the International Building Code, if your bleachers were manufactured with removable first row aisle steps – code compliance dictates that you must use them.
These steps are designed to maintain varying height levels of steps to reduce trip/fall hazards because they were happening frequently (without the steps in place). If you have varying step heights on your unit and someone isn’t paying attention when they are walking up or down the steps, it is likely they could miscalculate their step and trip or fall. This trip and fall hazard increases your liability risk!
Flex Row Operation. If you have Hussey Seating Company Bleachers, be sure you know the proper way to open and close Flex Rows. Hussey has a great Flex Row video along with several tutorials here: Hussey Seating Company
If you have a Safety-End Closure Curtain (they’re great for school spirit AND more importantly restricting access to the understructure of your bleacher unit), you want to make sure it’s securely attached.
For many, this is all of the set up you need, for others you may have additional guard rails or accessories. Make sure they properly installed and all hardware is tight.
Closing Your Bleachers:
This is where you backtrack. Make sure your aisle steps are removed and stored. Most aisle rails can be left in the proper in-use position or you can turn them. If you’re turning them, again make sure all hardware is tightened. Get your Pendant Control from its stored location. Check under the bleachers for debris and dust that may impact properly closing your bleacher unit. It may seem impossible for things to fall through – but you’ll be surprised at what you might find. Check the surrounding area so that it is clear for closing. As you are closing the unit, be sure that, again, your eye is on the unit and that it is closing consistently.
We’re noticing more and more districts and facilities are putting up reminders regarding operation of their bleacher units to keep safety at the forefront. By focusing on safety, you’ll also be focused on operation which will increase the longevity of your equipment.
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Project Name: Chippewa School District Owner: Chippewa Jr./Sr. High School Architect: Hasenstab Architects Construction Manager: C.T. Taylor Construction Scope: Materials & Installation of Educational Casework, Lab Casework, Telescopic Bleachers, and Auditorium Seating Completion: August 2018 The February 2019 edition of Properties Magazine featured Chippewa School District’s new Jr./Sr. High School, describing the new build as a showcase for the community. The new building is a…
In May 2018, Farnham Equipment Company’s Maintenance Solutions Team performed an indoor Telescopic Bleacher Inspection on Marlington High School’s 57-year-old wooden bleachers and found more than 30 violations, including several improper upgrades.
The major issues were handrail weight limits and a lack of enclosure, which made it a safety concern for the district’s insurance provider. - The Alliance Review
Less than one month later, the school board voted to replace the bleachers with new Hussey Seating Company Telescopic Bleachers with the intention of having them installed prior to the first home volleyball game.
The Dukes’ new telescopic bleachers reawakened the gymnasium’s school spirit with orange guard rails and aisle rails, a signature logo “M,” and a custom Safety End Closure Curtain, a far cry from the 1961 wooden bleachers.
On behalf of the Marlington Local School District, we would like to commend you and your company on a job well done. Our new High School bleachers are outstanding and have exceeded our expectations. The order was put in later then desired but you and your company pulled it all together to have us up and running by our first volleyball game. Of all the projects, we have done at Marlington, we have to say this was the easiest and best run operation.
Further, we would like to pay special thanks to your install crew, led by Joe Robinson. They came in early Monday morning and were out by Thursday afternoon with the job complete. Joe also always took the time to stop and talk as we brought through our donors and board members.
The final product is amazing and please feel free to send potential buyers our way, we would love to show off our product. - Steve Miller, Marlinton High School Athletic Director
Drop us a line today for a quote!
Don't wait until you can see your face through your structural supports - add our Top 5 Preventative Maintenance Tips to your seasonal checklist!
4. Hardware: Tighten loose hardware and replace missing hardware. It's important to turn the wrench on every one!
3. Seats & Endcaps: Replace missing and damaged seats and endcaps, tighten all hardware, and make necessary repairs.
1. Annual Inspection & Seasonal Checks: This will always be our number one recommendation for safety and preventative maintenance!
The Ohio Building Code requires an annual inspection for safety and operation. We add that you should be consistent in seasonal checks due to the impact the outdoor elements have on your bleacher unit, specifically the expansion and contraction of aluminum that happens during the winter months.
In the Ohio Building Code 1029:
1029.1.1: Bleachers. Bleachers, grandstands and folding and telescopic seating, that are not building elements, shall comply with Chapters 1-4 of ICC 300. Referenced as, ICC 300-12, ICC Standard on Bleachers, Folding and Telescopic Seating within the Ohio Administrative Code, 4101:1-35-01 References.
Within the ICC-300, you'll find in Chapter 1:
105.2 Yearly inspection required states:
The owner shall cause all bleachers, folding and telescopic seating, and grandstands to be inspected at least once a year in order to verify that the structure is maintained in compliance with the provisions of this standard. All folding and telescopic seating shall also be inspected to evaluate compliance with the manufacturer’s installation and operational instructions, including an inspection during the opening and closing of such seating.
We've developed a reference guide for your convenience!
Project Name: Ayersville K-12 School
Owner: Ayersville Local Schools
Architect: Garmann Miller Architects & Engineers
Construction Manager: Shook Touchstone XIII, LLC
Scope: Materials & Installation of Educational Casework, Lab Casework, Telescopic Bleachers, and Athletic Equipment
Completion: August 2018
“Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from flying,” is sprawled across the halls at the new Ayersville K-12 School, occupied by students fall of 2018. Farnham Equipment Company has been a sub-consultant on numerous Garmann Miller projects all with the same approach, on their Jan 11, 2019 blog post, Doug Rentz of Garmann Miller shared:
“For education clients, its designers collaborate with school districts to deliver fresh, flexible spaces. From modern seating options to multi-use rooms with state-of-the-art lighting and audio/video functions, GMAE’s designers are redefining how today’s students learn.”
As part of our scope, Farnham Equipment Company provided and installed an inclusive package featuring Stevens Industries Education and Music Casework, ICI Scientific’s Lab Casework, Brodart Contract Furniture Library Shelving, Hussey Seating Company’s Telescopic Bleachers, Performance Sports Systems Athletic Equipment, and Diversified Woodcrafts Vocational Shop Equipment.
Drop us a line for more information on the products featured in this post
Given the right care, your telescopic bleachers will last generations, but it takes effort, care and knowledge on your part. Just like your car needs an oil change, your telescopic bleacher needs preventative maintenance to ensure proper operation.
We mentioned previously that our number one care tip is cleaning under the bleachers. Here are a few others to add to your list:
Hardware: Loose and missing hardware. This one is pretty basic, you want to make sure the hardware throughout your unit isn’t damaged, rusted, missing, or loose. This goes for the understructure, aisle rails, guardrails, seat components and so on. Your hardware should be looked at on a regular basis during normal operating procedures. If you see something wrong you should fix it or have it fixed to prevent additional damage to the components that it is holding together.
Missing or Damaged Row Locks: Row locks are an important component of all telescopic bleachers. They are needed to prevent one row from closing before it is intended to be closed to stay in the proper sequence. There are many people out there that work on bleachers that say it is ok to just take the row locks off if they get damaged if the bleacher is powered. This is not the case. The typical damage is from unauthorized people going under the bleachers, tripping on the row locks and bending them, causing additional problems. This also happens to some manufacturers’ interlocking guide rods. When you catch them with your foot and they pull out, the structural frames are no longer interlocked together and it creates a problem with guidance and structural support.
Damaged Seats: Cracked, damaged, and loose seating can cause an unstable seating surface for your patrons and can cause a cut hazard with sharp edges and splinters. Baseballs can break the faces of Wood Planks/Riser Boards and the faces of Plastic Seat Modules. People stomping on the tops of seats can break holes in them also. When either one is broken, there are sharp edges that can injure your spectators. These items should be repaired. Loose hardware on seats can also cause someone to fall resulting in personal injury and liability.
It’s also worth mentioning:
Bent Cantilever Frame Arms: Are your bleachers sagging? Are you having trouble opening and closing your system? Your cantilever frame arms being bent or damaged is one of the most likely causes. Your bleachers are installed to last the lifetime of your facility with proper maintenance and care. Part of that maintenance and care is making sure that your bleachers are used properly. We’re not saying that everyone has to sit quietly in the stands and limit the shifting of their weight though. Our bleachers are installed for the most fanatic fan – in the open position. In every O&M manual, you’ll see a statement similar to this one:
“Do not allow people to climb, sit, or stand on tiers other than the Flex-Row modules of the MAXAM system while closed.” And, “Do not leave any section or bank open without the Flex-Row modules being open at the aisle locations.”
– Hussey MAXAM Owners & Maintenance Manual.
Students and patrons climbing and/or sitting on the top tier of the bleachers while they are in the closed position is one of the main ways cantilever frame arms get damaged. Another common problem we have seen is when people are sitting on the upper tiers in the closed position, they tend to want to jump down to the lower levels. This not only can be very dangerous for the person doing the jumping, but very bad for your cantilever arms and your bleacher decks. It will also be costly to repair since misuse of the system is not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.
What does it impact? Cantilever frame arms are vital to the life of your bleachers. They attach to the main frame essentially holding up each bleacher deck which makes it easier to open and close your system. If they start to bend or drag, the bleacher decks will start to rest on top of one another causing unnecessary friction during operation and sometime stopping operation all together and causing a continuous flow of premature wear to spread through your seating system.
What to do? If you don’t already have warning labels or signs in place stating the bleachers should not be occupied in the fully or partially closed position, you should add them. If you are in need of these warning labels, you can contact us and we would be happy to get you what you need!
It’s best to be sure anyone using your system: Athletic Directors, Coaches, Maintenance, etc., is aware of these rules and guidelines because what may look like a cool place for students to sit could end up costing much more.
If you need only a small section of seating, you can use your Flex-Rows if you have them, otherwise you should open the entire bank. You also have the option for a secondary locking system for partial seating.
For example, with a 15-row bleacher, you can set a secondary locking system on the bleachers to open only 8 rows of seating and still be locked safely in the open position. When in this position, you can incorporate a top closure to cover the seating rows that are still in the closed position to prevent people from climbing, sitting, standing and storing things on telescopic bleachers while in the closed position. See how Botkins Local School District does this with their telescopic bleachers.
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