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.