Is Your Event Space Up To Code?


In August 2011, a stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed, causing 7 deaths and 58 injuries. A gust of wind registered at 59 MPH initiated a sequence of structural failures that resulted in the 70,000 pound structure crumbling under its own weight. In the wake of the tragedy, the events industry nationwide began improving the safety standards for event venues. This shift in regulation has been the driving force behind Boxman Studios’ proactive approach to safety and our unfaltering commitment to developing and maintaining the highest safety standards in our industry.

In November 2013, we were in Jacksonville, Florida for the launch of the Playmaker’s Club. While there, several of our competitors arrived with tents and other experiential marketing structures only to find they weren’t allowed to open them. Their structures weren’t permitted correctly – a result of increased safety standards from the Indiana State Fair. Meanwhile, our competitors in Jacksonville wondered how we were able to open our event structure (a massive 3-story, 4500 square foot configuration) as planned. The answer: because we are proactive in our approach. We didn’t wait to see how safety regulations would change the industry after the tragedy in Indiana; instead, we set out to proactively make the right changes.

Boxman Studios’ Proactive Approach

Our priority is to ensure that the structures we build for our clients are safe not only for the participants, but also for the staff who work them. The effort we put into safety and standards is reflected in the permitting process.

After the Indiana State Fair tragedy, Thornton Tomasetti, the global engineering company that also investigated the 9/11 World Trade Center collapses, issued a comprehensive report in which they made several recommendations, including:

1. Entertainment structures should be designed by licensed professionals with specific experience in temporary structures.

2. Designs should meet all relevant codes and permitting requirements of “Class 1 structures.” In Indiana, a Class 1 structure is one that occupied or used by the public, 3 or more tenants, and/or one or more employees. In other words, temporary structures have to conform to permanent building standards – a direction the entire events and experiential marketing industry is moving.

3. The entertainment industry would benefit from developing “comprehensive engineering based documents related to the design, construction, and use of entertainment structures.”

We have not only taken these safety recommendations to heart, we have become leaders in implementing them. We take every step necessary to ensure that our shipping container structures are safe. And then we take it one step further.