Do we have to perform bleacher and grandstand inspections?

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Schools are always asking us about bleacher inspections and they often believe that they have to follow the NFPA guides and use a Professional Engineer (P.E.) or Structural Engineer (S.E.).  The short answer is that you do not have to use these high level professionals, but you must use a “qualified” person to conduct the inspections.  That’s not to say that it is not a good idea to use a P.E. or S.E.. Unfortunately, we were not able to find a definition for the term “qualified” under the ICC.  Cal-OSHA has a definition which you can read in the article “What is a ‘qualified’ person under Cal-OSHA?”

The inspection requirement is an outgrowth of California Title 24, Section 1025.1, which adopts ICC 300 for compliance.  This all falls under Occupancy A for Assemblies.  ICC Section 501.2 directs that bleachers are inspected by a “qualified” person once a year.

Another common misconception is that schools do not have to inspect bleachers with less than 5 rows of seating.  This is not true, in our opinion, because the 5 rows is covered by the definition of a “school building” in Title 24 for structures that must be submitted to DSA for approval.  It’s a loose connection, but the point is to inspect your bleachers.  Either way you have a WC and GL exposure. Stay ahead of those.

Watch video of bleachers being abused.

5 thoughts on “Do we have to perform bleacher and grandstand inspections?

  1. Unfortunately, the definition of qualified person is, well, not defined. You would most likely need to fall back on industry type definitions – such as OSHA’s meaning for “competent” persons. The best way to define and undefined term is to use a law dictionary or webster’s. After that, it looks like your heading for the court of law to make the final say…. best to stick with the PE.

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