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Controversy over ballasting tents

Resources | June 1, 2009 | By:

I’m installing a 40 x 120 foot tent, and my client is not allowing me to use stakes. If I use cement barrels, how many will I need?

This is a tricky question, and as you’re probably already aware, is fraught with liability issues. What you’re describing is called “ballasting” and it’s becoming more frequent as more customers, whether private or public municipalities, are reluctant to allow stakes be driven into surfaces of parking lots, parks, etc. IFAI’s Tent Rental Division created the Tent Procedural Handbook, which gives information on industry practices for staking, but no such reference exists for ballasting. You will need to contact your tent manufacturer and ask for their recommendation. Once they tell you how much weight is needed per pole, it’s important that whatever you use to tie the ballast to the pole has the same strength characteristic. For example, if you’re to use 2000 pounds per pole, the webbing (or rope, or cord) that is used to fasten the ballast to the pole needs to have a breaking or load strength that is at least that much.

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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