The sheer range of marquees, tents, and structures available on the market can be overwhelming. Dean Foster of MUTA, the UK’s only trade association dedicated to marquees, tents, and structures, discusses some of the latest products on the market and who to contact for your events.
Temporary structures come in all shapes and sizes and the past 24 months have proven just how flexible our products can be. Marquees were installed across the UK at a rapid pace for COVID-19 test centres, vaccination centres, and hospitals. Some businesses, restaurants and pubs also acquired structures to accommodate social distancing measures.
MUTA considers there to be eight main structure types. Relatively inexpensive and easy to erect, traditional marquees are a popular choice for private functions and traditional venues such as agricultural shows and village fetes. Frame structures are perhaps the most flexible because they have a solid frame which means they can accommodate more accessories, such as doors, windows, rigid side panels and sophisticated flooring systems.
Giant structures are generally defined as frame tents or traditional marquees that are more than 25m wide, while multi-deck structures can be either double, triple, or four level structures. The top floor is made up of a standard clear span aluminium frame design and the lower floors are constructed from an integral steel upright and horizontal beam system. These take weeks to erect but are a popular choice for large sporting events. Nordic tipis were introduced to the market in 2005 and have become very popular. They are widely used for weddings, parties, and festivals, and increasingly for smaller scale corporate events.
Stretch tents come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colours. The fabric is anchored at its corners and sides, and then poles of different lengths are pushed up.
Often used for stage covers and audience shelters, saddle span tents are made from tensioned PVC and supported by architectural aluminium trussing. Inflatable tents use air to support the structure. They might use air beams, tubular construction, or cellular walls; some have a supporting metal framework, and some use a single skin and rely on positive pressure inside the structure.
There are lots of other designs emerging too. Including the igloo, cruck and sperry to name just a few. All of which, like most temporary structures, can be adapted to suit specific requirements. So what happens next, and who do you contact for your event, to ensure professional reliable and a quality product? Does the hirer have a good track record, and can this be proven by testimonials, references, or awards?
Most unprofessional companies won’t survive more than a few years and MUTA members must be trading for two years and pass certain checks before being admitted so can give you some reassurance. Unfortunately, not all temporary structures are inherently safe and there are many homemade varieties in the market. Poorly designed and built tents, coupled with inclement weather, present a significant risk.
For further guidance on the safe use and operation of temporary structures, visit Muta. org.uk. In-tents Events MARQUEES & TEMP STRUCTURES The sheer range of marquees, tents, and structures available on the market can be overwhelming. Dean Foster of MUTA, the UK’s only trade association dedicated to marquees, tents, and structures, discusses some of the latest products on the market and who to contact for your events.