Marquees in strong winds

The UK is suffering from some strong winds and there comes a point as a marquee hire company when you have to consider if it is safe and sensible to continue with a hire.

Hopefully in your terms and conditions of hire there is a Force Majeure clause covering you for events out of your control (the sample terms and conditions we include with every purchase have this in). Obviously these should only be referred to as a last resort and 99% of any problems should be resolved through amicable discussions with your customer.

Every site is different and the responsibility of whether the marquee should stay up pretty much falls on you so these are the things to consider:

  • How sheltered is the site? A marquee in a courtyard won’t be as affected as a marquee in a field on a hill
  • Are the sides going to be opened? A marquee without sides is effectively a large umbrella and very vulnerable to the wind. A marquee with only 1 or 2 entrances not facing the wind is much better
  • How well anchored down is the marquee? If it’s grass then how solid is the ground? If it’s weights then have you got enough weight strapped to each leg? Make sure all stakes are angled away from the marquee for added strength
  • What type of event is it? This will govern how far in advance you may have to consider cancelling the function
  • If the wind speed doubles then the forces on the marquee quadruple
  • If you’re looking at weather forecasts then look at the gusting speed not just the quoted wind speed

There does come a time when the sensible thing to do is to simply take the marquee down as the wind is simply too strong (take great care as in strong winds this is not easy). All through this process you should consult with the customer explaining the situation and possible outcomes. From experience most people are very reasonable about this kind of thing and indeed strong winds are not just going to affect the marquee but also guests going to and from the event so the function as a whole needs looking at.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

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