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Marquees and Wind

Whenever you put up a marquee or tent you must take into consideration the weather. Not only the weather at the time of erection but the worst weather that your site may receive.

You must make a reasonable guess at this by using both common sense and experience. If a site is exposed, near the coast and in the middle of winter then expect high winds! A sheltered site, inland in Summer will (on average) receive less wind. You must erect the marquee to withstand these winds. It takes many years of experience before you can be competent to make these decisions however the following will give you an insight into what you should be considering every time you put up your marquee.

 

News - Marquee blows away

This is one of the cheaper far east made marquees.

If this marquee was correctly pegged down, despite the marquee being much weaker construction than a proper commercial marquee it would not have blown away.

Marquees have killed people, both as they were put up or when they blow away. You don't really want the adverse publicity this will cause and the increase in insurance.

I would suggest the following:-

  • Don't use cheap light weight marquees
  • Make sure your marquees are securely tethered to the ground
  • Don't open up the windward side of the marquee in high wind

Location

You must consider the location of your event as this has one of the greatest effects on the stability of your marquee.

Windspeed

The chart opposite shows the basic wind speed for the UK. This illustrates that the wind generally increases the nearer the coast and the further north you are. Wind speed also increases with height. It should come as no surprise that it will be windier on top of a hill then in a valley.

It is also true that in winter we will have higher winds than in summer.

These are generalisations and certain sites for example near tall buildings or during a summer thunder storms, can produce high winds at any time of year.

A good tool for predicting the wind speed at your site is to use the website xcweather.co.uk which gives you an interactive map of the UK and a forecast of wind speeds for 7 days ahead. If high winds are forecast it may be prudent to have extra staff available on site for both maintenance of structures and help with evacuation of marquees if needed.

It has proven in the past to be almost impossible to get the public out of marquees when it's raining or windy. It may be better to cancel or postpone the event rather than risk a life.

The duration the marquee is constructed for is also a consideration for example it is quite easy to predict the weather on the morning of a summers day. However it is more difficult to predict the worst weather a marquee may receive for the next month.

The safest solution is to erect all marquees so they will withstand the worst weather that could reasonably be expected.


Basic windspeed Vb (m/s) (BS 6399: Part 28.3). From BRE Digest 346 Part 38

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