MAKE YOUR LIST, CHECK IT TWICE – A HOLIDAY BREAK CHECKLIST

Telescopic Bleachers

 

'Tis the season for holiday breaks and empty hallways. As students depart to spend time with their families, we know you’ve already made your list and you’re checking it twice – your maintenance list that is. Here are a few tips to help you cross some items off your list this holiday season when it comes to Bleaches and Athletic Equipment.

Indoor Telescopic Bleachers:

Inspection: Whether you’re doing the all-inclusive annual inspection by bringing someone in, or you’re reviewing your equipment yourself, you want to make sure you take a look at everything from the understructure down to the hardware. If you’ve recently had an inspection, take a look at your report again to make sure you have corrected any deficient items.

Cleaning: One of the best and easiest things you can do preventative maintenance wise for your indoor bleachers is to clean the bearing surface. This is the space underneath your telescopic bleachers both in the open and closed position. Often, cleaning up the mess after a big game means to close the bleachers and clean the floor where debris fell through. This is a good start, but you have to also beware of what lingers on the bearing surface where the bleachers sit in a closed position. This is where dust and debris tend to collect.

The most obvious reason to clean under the bleacher is for sanitary reasons, from food, soda, wrappers, and dust this is a breeding ground for bacteria. The sometimes not so obvious reason: It can do some major damage to your power system and the understructure. The dust and debris can cause a domino effect with damage to the drive wheels that will impair tracking and alignment and this type of damage isn’t covered under your warranty because it is 100% preventable.

Hardware: Tighten and replace 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 can lead to loss of 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.

Outdoor Bleachers:
The outdoor events have come to a close this season as everyone has moved indoors, now is the time to plan for spring and schedule your spring inspections before the weather warms up again.  

Athletic Equipment:
Just as your bleachers and grandstands have loose bolts and everyday wear, so does your Athletic Equipment and now is a good time, if you haven’t already, to schedule inspections and preventative maintenance for your athletic equipment including: Basketball Backstops, Divider Curtains, Batting Cages, and Mat Hoists. Most often, the best solution to maintain your athletic equipment is to hire out the preventative maintenance task. This way, you have a qualified person that is factory trained in the proper operation of your equipment, knowing the inner workings and the best solution should there be a problem.

 

In Need of Emergency Repair?

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Basketball Season: Indoor Checklist

Hussey Telescopic Bleachers

It won’t be long until we’re moving indoors for Basketball Season, is your gym ready? Below are some of our featured telescopic bleacher and athletic equipment posts with maintenance and safety tips at the forefront.

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE: THE HOW-TO & WHY 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…

TELESCOPIC BLEACHERS: OUR NUMBER ONE TIP FOR CARE There is a reason we gave away popcorn samples at all of our trade shows this year – each one had a reminder inside to clean under the bleachers, the number one preventative maintenance tip we share. Whether its food, soda, or dust and debris, all have an impact on the operation of your telescopic bleachers…

WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY: TELESCOPIC BLEACHER BUYING OPTIONS

I’m sure if we were to sit down with you and discuss your current telescopic bleacher situation, the first thing you would say is, “Well, that sounds nice, but we don’t have the funds for that.” Capital improvement projects are an investment, and investments take time so if you don’t already have funds set aside, have a donor prospect or dedicated fundraising team with time to prepare, your options may seem limited…

BUILDING SAFETY MONTH: 5 SAFETY PRODUCTS YOU NEED IN YOUR GYM | PSS GUEST POST Locks and safety straps are designed to prevent ceiling-hung and wall-mounted gym equipment from falling in the event of a cable or winch failure. If the equipment were to malfunction and start to fall, the lock or strap would engage and stop the unit from creating more damage and possibly injuring players, fans, or facility personnel. Safety straps should always be installed with non-stationary ceiling-hung and wall-mounted basketball systems, and equipment locks should always be used with mat storage systems and electrically-operated divider curtains…

HOW TO INCREASE THE LIFESPAN OF YOUR BACKBOARD | PSS GUEST POST When choosing a backboard, first evaluate what your level of play will be (e.g. collegiate competition play, high school competition play, youth/k-8 play, or recreational play).  Matching your backboard to your play level will ensure that your board can withstand the level of usage without damage or multiple replacements, thus increasing the lifespan of your board. In addition, it will prevent overspending on equipment that you don’t need…

And perhaps the main one you should check out…

BUILDING SAFETY MONTH: GYM SAFETY SESSIONS Our mission is to continue to educate the community on bleacher and athletic equipment safety. Many of you have expressed interest in additional knowledge and this is a hands on opportunity to continue your education, right in your facility…

Have Questions?

Let's schedule a free gym safety session!

Mid-Season Check-In: Outdoor Bleachers

Outdoor Bleachers Seats

 

With football season well underway, it’s time to check in for mid-season maintenance. Below are some of our featured outdoor seating posts with maintenance and safety tips at the forefront.

BUILDING SAFETY MONTH: EARTH WIND & FIRE & OUTDOOR BLEACHERS We talked previously about cleaning the bearing surface for your telescopic bleachers, but how often are you cleaning up under your outdoor bleachers?

TOP 5 PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE TIPS: OUTDOOR BLEACHERS Don't wait until you can see your face through your structural supports - add our Top 5 Preventative Maintenance Tips to your seasonal checklist!

WINTER SOLSTICE & WHAT IT HAS TO DO WITH OUTDOOR BLEACHERS The first official day of winter (December 21st!) brings with it new concerns for your outdoor bleachers come spring. With freezing temperatures comes expansion and contraction of your aluminum causing hardware to loosen…

OUTDOOR BLEACHER RENOVATIONS: WHERE TO START Where to start? With an inspection of course. If you haven’t had one within the last 12 months, get one scheduled and let them know this inspection has dual purpose: code compliance and renovation/upgrades options. Tell them what your initial renovation needs are and what you would like to do so they can be sure to give you everything you need. Be transparent about a turnaround time too – if you know you need to make renovations within the next three months, you don’t want to wait a month for your report….

Have Questions?

Whether it's mid-season repairs, an inspection, or a question - we're ready to help! 

Farnham Equipment Company & Hussey Regional Service Centers

We mentioned in our last post that Hussey Seating Company “…is not a manufacturing center. They are an innovation center.” They are dedicated to providing the best solution, and that solution includes maintenance services. We know, and Hussey knows, that when properly installed and maintained, your existing seating could have decades of safe and useful life ahead. You’ve invested in your equipment, and Hussey Seating Company has invested in its Regional Service Centers by training local Service Technicians through their rigorous factory training and certification program for installation and repair of Hussey seating systems.

With the development of partners like Farnham Equipment acting as the Regional Service Center in Ohio, we are able to provide not only service but code compliance solutions, preventative maintenance and inspections in the educational market for all seating products all across North America in a professional and timely manner.

Farnham Equipment Company has been a partner with Hussey Seating Company for nearly 50 years and has some of the best trained and available service technicians in the industry. With their knowledge of current codes, requirements and upgrade solutions they are able to support their customers with all aspects of seating needs in regards to code compliance, safety inspections, parts, repair and service.

We know many parts and pieces used may look alike or do the job, however if you have a facility you manage in Ohio and want the best solution,  right parts and a successful repair or inspection, we strongly recommend calling Farnham Equipment Company to service all your needs."

- Mark Beaulieu, Hussey Seating Company, Dealer Service Manager

Currently there are 32 Hussey Regional Service Centers specializing in the comprehensive inspection of telescopic platforms, bleachers, fixed seating and gymnasium equipment throughout the North American market.

Here at Farnham Equipment Company, we’ve taken Services to the next level, viewing regular and detailed bleacher seating inspections and maintenance as much more than code compliance, but the cornerstone of customer care. Our Service Technicians have vast industry knowledge not only regarding Hussey products, but all telescopic bleacher models, outdoor bleachers and grandstands, athletic equipment, and playground equipment to provide you with a complete service solution for your equipment.

Our team's combined industry knowledge gives you possibilities: Even if your seating wasn't installed by us, we can maintain it. Parts, repair, and inspections are available for all seating manufacturers.

Schedule Your Services

The best way to protect your bleachers is to stop damage before it happens. Schedule your annual inspection and preventative maintenance today.

Summer Break: Preventative Maintenance Resources

 

We may be in the heat of July, but I’m sure your mind is already looking ahead to the start of school this fall as you check maintenance items off of your to-do list. We wanted to make it a little easier for you when it comes to Telescopic Bleachers, Athletic Equipment, Playground Equipment and more with a quick resource guide to some of our previous Preventative Maintenance posts.

Telescopic Bleachers

Outdoor Bleachers & Grandstands

Athletic Equipment:

Playground Equipment

Additional Resources

What Can We Do for You?

Whether you need to schedule your annual inspections and repairs or need parts, we have you covered. 

Gym Safety Sessions: A Follow Up

Not long ago, we were invited to a facility for a Gym Safety Session. There were approximately 12 people in attendance, many understood why they were invited to attend and some had obvious frustration that their attendance was required, they operate the equipment on a regular basis after all, so why should they attend?

This is a large facility, multiple gymnasiums, two large bleacher banks that were installed 20+ years ago along with extensive athletic equipment including divider curtains, basketball back stops, batting cages, and more. With a facility this large and many coaches passing through, there are a lot of hands on the equipment. They recently had repairs completed on both the bleachers and the divider curtains, spurring the Gym Safety Session to ensure their equipment would continue to operate properly post-repairs.

Again, why should everyone attend? Even if they already know how to operate the equipment?

Simple. You don’t know what you don’t know.

And.

Every once in a while, with that many hands on deck, it’s good to get everyone back on the same page.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

It can seem simple, plug in the pendant controller and push the button….open the panel box and flip the switch. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for during operation, there are hazards and possible equipment damage. It’s good for everyone operating equipment to have a baseline of understanding on operation and troubleshooting.

During our session, we did a crash course on proper operation, including trouble shooting and walking under the bleachers. We reviewed best practices for the facility and who should actually be operating the bleachers.

One of the options on this particular set of bleachers is to short set them, closing the first three rows of a section for scorer tables and allowing for more room on the court for team seating. When a section is short set, the increased height of the first row is now +/- 4ft. and requires a guardrail to be placed in front of it for safety and code compliance.

Staff members shared their concern regarding sight lines when the guardrail is in place and inquired about cutting down the guardrail so it would still be there, but it would be shorter, allowing their patrons to have better sight lines.

Enter safety and code compliance.

It’s important to note that the guardrails were designed and installed by the manufacturer to meet code compliance at the time of installation to keep people from stepping off of the front of the bleachers when the first three rows are closed in that area, preventing a fall hazard. Thus, altering the height of the guardrail would go against manufacturer’s design and recommendation. Often doing so, would also void any warranties on the equipment and would place all liability on the facility, not the manufacturer.

They were very wise at this facility to bring up the question while we were there. Ultimately, you don’t know what you don’t know so asking an expert when it comes to modifying a component on your bleacher is always a good idea.

More information regarding code requirements for guards can be found in Chapter 4 of the ICC-300, remember Ohio currently follows ICC-300 2012 as of November 2017. Otherwise, the most recent published version of the ICC-300 is 2017.

We took a similar approach with athletic equipment, reviewing proper operation and best practices while answering additional questions. The main panel of operation in the main gymnasium was non-momentary switches that do not require a key for operation. The switches are housed in a panel box, but as of that day, the panel box remained unlocked, allowing easy access to the equipment switches.

The gym is typically locked so access isn’t always as feasible, but what about when the gymnasium is full of people? Anyone can open the panel and flip the switch and operate the equipment. Should this happen with someone that didn’t know what they were doing, they wouldn’t know when to stop, especially if the limit switch was faulty. The end result would be damage not only to the equipment such as a backstop or gym divider curtain, but to the structural components of the building’s roof. There is also the potential hazard of a falling piece of equipment and having it come down on spectators.

All switches should be momentary type where if you let go of the switch, it automatically springs back to the off position. Many modern options are also available and recommended including a Keypad Group Controller, Touch Screen Group Controller, and WIFI Group Controllers.

Since our Safety Session, the facility has agreed to keep the panel locked to reduce unauthorized access to the non-momentary switches.

Every once in a while, with that many hands on deck, it’s good to get everyone back on the same page.

More and more facilities are posting signage in their gymnasiums warning patrons not to stand on the bleachers (seats) and that bleachers must be in full open position before use. Some facilities go so far as having written directions for operation, including remove pendant controller after bleacher is located and operator is responsible for the safety of individuals on, around, and below bleachers.

It’s not a bad idea to have a set of rules for operation including, but not limited to:

Bleachers
Athletic Equipment

Preventative Maintenance: The How-To & Why

 

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.

Want to Learn More?

Schedule your FREE Gym Safety Session

Telescopic Bleachers: Our Number One Tip for Care

 

There is a reason we gave away popcorn samples at all of our trade shows this year – each one had a reminder inside to clean under the bleachers, the number one preventative maintenance tip we share. Whether its food, soda, or dust and debris, all have an impact on the operation of your telescopic bleachers.

Known as the bearing surface, the space underneath your telescopic bleachers in both the open and closed position. Often, cleaning up the mess after a big game means to close the bleachers and clean the floor where debris fell through. This is a good start, but you have to also beware of what lingers on the bearing surface where the bleachers sit in a closed position. This is where dust and debris tend to collect.

What Does it Impact?
The most obvious reason to clean under the bleacher is for sanitary reasons, from food, soda, wrappers, and dust this is a breeding ground for bacteria. The sometimes not so obvious reason: It can do some major damage to your understructure. The dust and debris can cause a domino effect with damage to the drive wheels that will impair tracking and alignment and this type of damage isn’t covered under your warranty because it is 100% preventable.

When you are closing power bleachers, row one goes under row two and pushes both under row three and then pushes all three under row four and so on getting heavier as they go. Once you have all of the rows closed under the others, except the last row or two, is when the bleachers begin losing their traction and need your assistance to close all the way. This is where the dust is causing the drive wheels to lose that traction. Now if it happens much before that, your wheels have picked up too much dust and are spinning in it creating a glazed smooth drive wheel instead of a gripping tire.

Your bleachers automatically realign themselves by closing completely and opening completely. When the bleachers loose traction and do not close completely and they are then opened, they do not come out straight. Coming back out, the portion that did not close all of the way has a head start and is ahead of the other sections that did close. This can, and does, bend the structural components and can even break them to the point that they need to be replaced. Note: A bleacher inspection that does not include the inspecting person opening and closing your bleachers is not a complete inspection.

But our bleachers are wall-to-wall, no gaps more than 4-inches, and we can only access this area through our access hatch…
You would be amazed at what can fall through tiny openings. Even though unauthorized access to the understructure is prevented with wall-to-wall bleachers, dust still gathers and will build up on your drive wheels.

What to do:
Make cleaning the bearing surface part of your routine schedule and clean under the bleachers in the open position, clean where the bleachers sit in the closed position, then close the bleachers. Don’t cheat and close the bleachers then flip up the skirtboard and sweep between everything, this will leave more dust and debris where you do not want it the most.

Have Reverse Fold Bleachers?
David DeCan, Lead Service Technician shares best practices when it comes to cleaning the drive system and under the bleachers on a reverse fold telescopic bleacher.

Want to Learn More?

Schedule your FREE Gym Safety Session

Budgeting for Renovations: Telescopic Bleachers

Maybe budgeting for new telescopic bleachers just isn’t in the plan for 2019 but renovations are necessary for both your staff and your students.

Where Do You Start?

The best place to start is to take inventory of what you have with a complete Telescopic Seating Inspection for Code Compliance and Safety. An inspection will give insight on the severity of code compliant and safety issues as well as what possible upgrades you could make to your seating. If you truly are interested in upgrades, make sure to let your technician know so they can provide options that best suit your needs and answer any questions while they’re on site.

Another item to take into consideration is the overall age of your seating unit as well as the make and model and how easily it can be upgraded while keeping the maximum seating capacity. For instance, if you have an older unit without dedicated aisle and aisle rails, in order to upgrade your unit to include these items, you will lose seating capacity but you will upgrade in safety and code compliance (also decreasing liability).

What is the general footprint of your existing bleachers? Do you have room to grow length wise? Do you have room to grow if you were to add additional rows? Are you also wanting to incorporate portable team seating and scorers tables? During this process, be sure to ask questions and get your questions answered.

Remember Code Compliance

Chapter 5 of the ICC-300, Section 501.4 states: “Alterations. Alterations to any tiered seating shall conform with the requirements of this standard for new construction. Portions of the structure not altered and not affected by the alteration are not required to comply with the requirements in this standard for a new structure.”

Meaning, if you upgrade your aisle rails, you need to be sure they meet the code requirements referenced in Chapters 1-4.

Bottom Line: Do your research and make sure that the people doing the upgrades know what they’re talking about. Code requirements aren’t in place to be a hassle, they’re in place to keep spectators safe.

What is the end goal?

Is your goal to increase seating capacity? Or maybe it is to give your gym a fresh face with an Extreme Logo or Signature Logo Seating. Or perhaps, you have an older model of bleachers that does not have dedicated aisles and aisle rails, and you would like to create ease of access and safety for your patrons.

Depending on your overall goal, you do have options. If your seating unit is code compliant and safe, you can add to your school spirit with replacement seats, colored rails, skirt-board logos, step logos, and a fresh full-bleed Safety-End Closure Curtain that blocks unauthorized access to your bleacher’s understructure.

Is additional seating your number one goal? If you don’t have it in your budget for a full replacement, we suggest looking into the Maxam1 Portable Bleachers that can be moved throughout the building for multi-use purposes. Not sure if this is right for you? Contact us and try out our sample for a game or two.

Let's Have a Conversation!

Drop us a line and let us know what YOU need to move your project forward.

Winter Solstice & What it has to do with Outdoor Bleachers

  By now, the fans have gone indoors to cheer on basketball and the outdoor bleachers are left empty in the cold of winter. The first official day of winter (Friday December 21st!) brings with it new concerns for your outdoor bleachers come spring. With freezing temperatures comes expansion and contraction of your aluminum causing hardware to loosen. Bottom…