Archive for the ‘health and safety’ Category

Marquee Electrical Courses

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

We have designed our marquee lighting packages to be as simple as possible, simply connect the leads together plug in to the house/extension lead and you’re done. If your customer needs another power supply then an additional extension lead would usually do the job.

This simple system is perfect when you’re starting up a marquee hire business but after a while the jobs will become more intricate and so do the electrics. At this point you need to consider attending training courses.

Our friends at Essential Supplies are running electrical courses aimed at the marquee hire industry:

Event Electrics Course:

Our one day workshop is specifically aimed at those working in the Marquee
& Events industry. We will cover all aspects of the design, installation and testing of temporary electrical systems for events. The course is aimed at those who specify and install such systems but have no formal electrical qualification. We will guide candidates through best practises in installing electrical and lighting systems in temporary structures for events, including how to avoid some common pitfalls and some not so obvious. There will also be plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with some of our latest products specifically designs for our industry.
This is a non examined course and provides no formal qualification; it is de-signed to provide candidates with an awareness of the issues surrounding electrical systems for temporary events. Candidates will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion and a set of course notes.
Price: £180 + VAT per candidate

Event Lighting Course:

Our one day workshop is specifically aimed at those working within the events industry. We shall cover methods and types of lighting and how to install your system. This is a non examined course and provides no formal qualification; it is de-signed to help candidates with lighting. Candidates will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion.
Price: £180 + VAT per candidate

PAT Testing Course:

The aim of our one day ‘practical’ workshop is to obtain an understanding of why
PAT Testing is necessary and be able to demonstrate safely and accurately all aspects of electrical testing necessary to perform PAT tests on your own or other peoples electrical equipment
The course is specially designed for those within the events industry, looking at key
Products, unique to the Events World. The testing techniques learnt can be used in any in-dustry. You will be shown how to PAT test a wide range of our products from extension leads to metal light fittings and from simple distribution boards to power tools. To ensure you get the most out of the course we aim to have a maximum of 6 Candidates on each course.
Price: £220 + VAT per candidate

If you have been in the hire industry for a few years and look to be taking the next step up in complexity of marquee bookings then I would recommend attending the Event Electrics Course first with the Event Lighting Course later.

All of your electrics require regular PAT testing, rather than paying an electrician to come in and test them it’s likely a wise investment to train you or a reliable member of staff up as a PAT tester.

At DIY Marquees we always try to promote best practice, we offer help and advice throughout the life of our marquees and in doing so try to ensure our marquee hirers can maintain good standards. Attending training courses like these that are specifically designed towards marquee hirers is good practice for everyone in the industry.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee Heating information

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Nearly all professional marquee hirers use diesel or gas powered heaters. When using one of these to heat a marquee personally I would always put a carbon monoxide tester in the marquee too. They’re cheap, easy to fit and give peace of mind to both you and the customer. Not only that it makes you look (even more) thorough and professional. All fumes from a diesel heater should be kept outside from the chimney but what if the wind blows it straight back towards the marquee?

L B Whites have a very useful heating app that’s worth looking at and illustrates why electric heaters are just not man enough for any serious size marquee.

Inputting a 6x12m commercial (3m apex height) marquee with a rise of 30degrees C (they do metric, I can’t!) gives a requirement for approx 100,000BTU’s or 30KW of heating. Had we designed our marquees to have a higher apex not only would they be less wind resistant they would also require far more heating – the requirement goes up to 40KW.

The maximum an electric heater can supply is 3KW of heat. If you wanted to heat one of these marquees using electric heaters you would need a whopping 10-13 of them and a very large generator to power them all!

Stick to diesel (indirect) or gas (lbwhite) and fit a carbon monoxide detector.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Fire safety in marquees

Monday, January 21st, 2013

When starting a marquee hire business it’s worth having a chat with your local fire safety officer. In my experience they are very nice people and easy to talk to.

Why talk to them? Well it’s always better to be prepared and to know what is expected of you.

My personal recommendation is to have a suitable exit within 6m of every person in one of your marquees. A suitable exit being a zipped panel or a completely clear (ie wall removed) section. This is very easy with our interchangeable wall system, less so with some other systems.

Note:

  • For a 6x14m marquee or longer it is not sufficient to just have zipped entrances at either end, you would need a zipped entrance along one of the long sides
  • For marquees that use it dutch lacing is not classed as a suitable exit (unless it is permanently open)
  • In discussions with the fire officer talk about whether the exits need signs of any kind. Again in my experience any exit that is not immediately obvious needs a sign.
  • We didn’t supply fire extinguishers for catering areas, believing those who used/supplied the catering equipment should do so. A lot of marquee hire companies do supply fire extinguishers for this purpose so again one to think about.

Like many things fire safety is easy and almost common sense but it is always something to consider and speaking to the fire safety officer will give peace of mind as much as anything.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Remind customers of their responsibilities

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

One of our favourite customers has recently had a problem that is interesting to highlight for others in the industry.

They erected a marquee for a client and left it well strapped down. The client then in all their wisdom decided to ‘borrow’ most of the tie downs to anchor down their own gazebos as strong winds were forecast. Lo and behold the strong winds caused damage to the main marquee exactly where the tie downs had been removed.

This is an incredibly rare occurrence, I can think of only one similar incident happening in all my time of marquee hiring so there’s no need to be too concerned but it would be sensible to take precautions.

Essentially you need to ensure the customer is aware of their responsibilities and obligations, for example:

  • ensuring no part of the marquee is dismantled (partially or otherwise), this includes tie downs but also wires or cross-braces on larger marquees
  • not to leave indoor furniture outside -chairs with seat pads and/or covers are often carried outside by guests but not returned at the end of the event leaving them open to rain overnight
  • marquees should be closed up overnight or in strong winds
  • no electrical equipment should be tampered with including any temporary earth rods (used with generators etc)

Ideally have a form that is signed just to cover yourself if anything did happen.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee electrical leads

Monday, January 24th, 2011

As readers of the marquee forum will already know there’s been some debate about the type of electrical leads we should be using in the marquee industry.

Essential Supplies kindly forward this article to me recently which discusses several marquee related issues but the main bit of interest for me was this:

“The [arctic] cable can often be seen supplying caravans or used at live musical events, it can even be purchased from DIY shops in the form of a ready made extension reel with BS 1363 13 A accessories for use at 230 V 1Ø. As can be seen from Table 7B of BS 7540, the cable was not designed for and is not suitable for these purposes.”

My understanding of this is that despite their wide spread use arctic cables shouldn’t really be used for temporary installations in marquees. Instead we should be using HO7 RNF cable instead (much more expensive).

In my eyes that doesn’t mean we should replace all of the arctic cable we currently use but when it comes to ordering new/replacements we should then go over to HO7.  Like everything on here this is just my opinion and it’s a judgement call for you to make yourself, I just think it’s worth highlighting to people.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Back to work

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Apologies for the late blog, I’m now back at work and can confirm once again that looking after children is far harder and more tiring than putting up marquees ever was.

This is all about passing on advice so you don’t make the same mistakes I did and one of my (many) mistakes was lifting. As someone who puts up marquees I assume you’re well aware of the need to bend your knees not your back and to avoid twisting when carrying a heavy load. What you may not have thought of is which shoulder you always carry stuff on, invariably you will favour one.

In my many consultations with back specialists and physios after my injury it became apparent that the muscles were completely out of balance and were making dealing with the injury very difficult. This was purely from carrying everything on my right shoulder.

So short and simple message today – if you want to avoid joining me in my pilates class every week (think James Nesbitts Yellow Pages ad on Yoga) then look after your back and share the load over both your shoulders.

Thanks for reading

Spencer.

PS 4m wide marquees are now back in stock

Marquee site visits/surveys

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

When you go out to see a customer as well as creating a good impression you obviously need to take a good look at where the marquee’s going.

Ask the customer if there are any underground cables or pipes you should be aware of -if so have them clearly indicated on a diagram. If there aren’t any it’s worth mentioning at the bottom of your quote “you have indicated there are no underground pipes or cables to avoid when erecting the marquee”.

As well as under the marquee you need to look above. Are there any overhead power lines you need to worry about? Generally this is more likely when you’re putting a marquee up in a field rather than a garden but it should be taken seriously as this article from the BBC shows. Now don’t let stories such as this scare you, especially if you’re starting up a marquee hire business. It’s generally only on larger marquees and when you’re swinging 15ft+ poles around that you should be concerned but I’d always recommend contact EDF energy if there’s an overhead power cable nearby just to be sure.

If you’re getting a bit concerned about the things you need to think of when you’re on a site visit (remember you’ve also got to sell a marquee and come up with suggested plans!) then don’t worry – it becomes second nature after a while and it’s worth having a checklist just to make sure. If I can find them I’ll post our  old marquee site visit sheets up here to give you ideas.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

I’m away for the next 2 weeks so the factory will probably be more efficient but there won’t be any blog posts until I’m back, sorry.

Marquee Hire Companies and PAT Testing (Portable Appliance Testing)

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Most of this is taken (with permission) from our friends at Essential Supplies:

Did you know:

Under HSE guides and Electricity at Work Act you are responsible for the electrical safety of every electrical item your company owns. You must be able to prove that you have adequately tested all your portable electrical equipment whether it is for your own Staff’s use or hired to customers. For most companies this means that once every year all your electrical equipment is PAT tested, by a suitably qualified person. PAT testing companies and electricians commonly charge £2-£4 per item to be tested.
 
Essential Supplies are able to advise and supply you with all the necessary test equipment, teach you or your colleague how to perform PAT tests and record the results. This could lead to you saving a lot of money over the year, and is a great way to keep your staff busy during the quieter winter months. Any equipment needing repair automatically needs a PAT test which you can now carry out instantly after repairs are done making sure that item is safe.

Essential supplies are offering two training courses at their Basingstoke depot:
PAT Testing for marquees and event companies
to be held on Wednesday 11th February  £220.00

Basic Marquee Electrics
to be held on Tuesday 17th February      £180.00

Now as a qualified electrician I can tell you that PAT testing is a dull job, but it needs to be done and if you can save money by doing it yourself rather than paying an electrician then that seems sensible to me.

If you’re new to marquees or just want to gain confidence doing electrics then their basic marquee electrics course might be for you.

Interesting stuff. If you’re interested in going on one of the courses drop Essential supplies a line, I think places may be limited so don’t hang about.
Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee Hire Health & Safety

Monday, January 12th, 2009

As with a lot of industries health and safety has become a bit of a nightmare, with ignorance no defence all you can do is try your best and hope nothing happens.

The biggest health and safety issue I heard of was someone dying (yeh that’s pretty big) by touching an overheard power cable with a marquee pole. If there’s overhead power cables just don’t put a marquee up there. Telephone cables aren’t a threat though would still be expensive if you knocked them down.

From memory I think power cables are run vertically, telephone cables are run side by side.

Once you’re past this point you’re onto the more day to day things. I’m far from an expert in this so don’t treat my word as gospel I’ll just recount what I experienced.

At the time the regulations were ‘if you’re lifting anything above head height you should wear a hard hat’. It depends on your style of marquee how long this would be appropriate for – on our DIY Marquees it would only be when lifting the sides so around 20 minutes. On aluminium frame marquees it would be a couple of hours (falling purlins are the main cause of accidents I’ve seen on site). Steel toe capped boots should also be supplied.

Now as an empolyer things start getting interesting. It’s not just enough providing a hard hat and/or boots. You need to be making sure they’re worn at the appropriate times and worn correctly. If someone suffers a head injury through not wearing a hard hat, even though you’ve provided it you could be liable. How stupid’s that? This is where common sense and health & safety don’t go hand in hand.

So if you’re employing people you need to supply hard hats and make sure they’re worn at the correct times.

I believe this is the sort of thing associations such as mutamarq cover. We never felt the need to join ourselves but I can see the appeal. It’s worth having a look at them whether you’re just starting up or have been hiring out for a while.

Thanks for reading

Spencer