Top 5 Preventative Maintenance Tips: Outdoor Bleachers

Outdoor Bleacher Repair

 

Don't wait until you can see your face through your structural supports - add our Top 5 Preventative Maintenance Tips to your seasonal checklist!

  1. Structure: Check for visual signs of structural damage including Bent and Damaged Supports and Hardware, Erosion, and Rust.
Outdoor Bleachers: Rust
Outdoor Bleacher Damaged Supports
Outdoor Bleacher Rust
Outdoor Bleachers Erosion
Outdoor Bleachers Rust

4. Hardware: Tighten loose hardware and replace missing hardware. It's important to turn the wrench on every one!

Outdoor Bleachers Hardware
Outdoor Bleachers Hardware
Outdoor Bleachers Hardware

3. Seats & Endcaps: Replace missing and damaged seats and endcaps, tighten all hardware, and make necessary repairs.

Outdoor Bleachers Seats
Outdoor Bleachers Seats

2. Clean Up: See our previous post for more clean up tips!

Outdoor Bleachers Clean Up
Outdoor Bleachers Leaves
Outdoor Bleacher Clean Up

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.

Outdoor Bleachers
Outdoor Bleachers

Want More Information on Code Compliance?

We've developed a reference guide for your convenience!

Spring Cleaning & Preventative Maintenance: Auditorium Seating

Auditorium Seating

Here are our Top 5 Tips for Preventative Maintenance when it comes to Auditorium Seating.

Check Seat Operation: The seat should move freely up and down when cycled. Test the operation by pulling the seat down to its occupied position and release the seat. The seat should fully return to its upright, unoccupied position, without assistance. If the seat does bind, loosen the bolts, which attach the seat to the stanchions and actuate the seat up and down and side to side. After a few cycles the seat will return to its upright, unoccupied position. Retighten hardware to specified torque.

Not only is this important for functionality purposes, but if your seats are not retracting, it can pose a fire hazard for patrons, blocking aisle ways.

Check Seat Backs: Inspect the wing connections and verify they are not loose. Try to move the back from side to side and front to back. If hardware is loose, remove armrest. Tighten loose hardware and replace any missing or damaged hardware. Reattach the armrest.

Check Armrests: Check to see if armrest is secure by trying to slide armrest forward. If armrest is damaged, remove small screw (located underneath) in the middle of the armrest. This will allow the entire armrest to slide forward, so that it can be removed from the stanchion. If you have to replace the entire armrest, slide the new armrest on to the armrest bracket and re-attach the screw located underneath the armrest.

If you are replacing the “Arm Cap” portion, repeat above and remove the (2) remaining armrest cap screws located underneath at the rear and forward portion of the armrest. Then, replace with new cap and fasten with (2) previously removed screws and re-attach armrest to the stanchion as described in step. Always be sure to replace any missing or damaged hardware.

If you’re missing armrests completely, contact us for replacement parts and pieces as exposed hardware may become a hazard to patrons.

Check Anchors: Make sure connection bolts between the foot and floor or riser surfaces are tight. Try to move stanchion from side to side and front to back. Tighten anchors to the correct torque as specified in your Assembly Instructions/O&M Manual. Replace any missing or broken anchors.

Check Hardware: As mentioned above, make sure you’re tightening and replacing hardware as needed.

Bonus. Cleaning: Just as you clean on and around your bleachers, you’ll want to clean your fixed seating to increase the longevity and appearance of your seating. When doing do, inspect for wear and tear on fabrics and damaged laminate pieces that need to be replaced.

For a more detailed guide on the maintenance of your fixed seating, reference Hussey Seating Company’s O&M Manual for Quattro Seating.

Ain't Nobody Got Time for That?!

Contact us to schedule an Auditorium Tune Up! We'll check all of your hardware and fix what can be fixed. 

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.

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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.

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Introducing: Gym Safety Sessions

  Have you ever felt like you need a refresher course on the proper operation of your equipment? Or maybe you have new personnel that need to be trained on safety and operation. Whatever the reason, we want to help. What We’re Offering: To come to your facility for a 2-hour gym safety training (timing may vary based on attendees and…