Progress in Outdoor Stage Structure Standard Draft


I've written a lot about weather and outdoor shows and the recent tragedies (I have a whole category set up for those posts, in fact), and submitted a comment during  the last public review of the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) draft standard BSR E1.21 - 201x, Entertainment Technology — Temporary Ground-Supported Structures Used to Cover the Stage Areas and Support Equipment in the Production of Outdoor Entertainment Events.  (Incidentally, as of today you can now download the current standard for free here!).

My comment contributed to the following language (tweaked and enhanced by the standards task group) in the current public review document: The [Operations Management Plan] OMP shall include environmental monitoring procedures. Active on-site wind speed monitoring shall be maintained for the entire period the structure is assembled. Weather stations with anemometers shall be used on site to monitor wind. They shall be placed at an elevation within 5 ft. of the highest elevation production element and clear of any components of the structure that might shield it from the wind. Wind speed monitoring shall be recorded on site at regular intervals and during any significant environmental event. The weather and wind forecast for the stage location shall be continuously monitored by the user’s designated person. A regular liaison shall be maintained with a qualified meteorologist, a local airport or other weather information center to ascertain if any significant weather events are expected in the immediate vicinity of the temporary structures. When a severe thunderstorm, tornado or other warning indicating severe conditions for the site is issued by the local National Weather Service office, critical actions will immediately be taken to make the stage area safe for all personnel, guests, and performers consistent with the established OMP.

While there is considerable debate about the engineering and design issues regarding these structures, my general point has always been that winds exist (tornado, for example) that can take down just about any practical structure, so these operational issues are really critical.  So I think this is progress. The document is out for public review until May 28th.  Anyone can comment on the document, and the task group must review and respond to all comments.