This Template Will Keep You Out Of Jail

A half Built Tent gets blown away in a storm

A lot of event managers and suppliers don’t know what a Certificate of Completion should really look like. It’s definitely not a signed copy of the delivery note. Let’s look at what it is and why you need it

The Certificate of Completion

A Certificate of Completion is a document which the supplier of a structure gives to you as the client. It’s for temporary structures (tents, grandstands), electrical installations or any other installations that could pose a hazard to your visitors. It states that the structure is safe to use and has been installed according to the agreed specifications, manufacturer guidelines and any applicable regulations.

It should also clearly state any restrictions on use. For instance weight load limits on tent structures.

But there’s a lot more that is equally important…

What is a Certificate of Completion for?

A third party supplier, such as an AV supplier, that wants to attach or connect additional equipment to the structure needs to know how to do this in a safe way. This information is usually load limits or specific hanging points etc.

Once the supplier of the structure has given you the Certificate of Completion, you can allow the third party supplier to start their work.

The exact date and time on the Certificate of Completion defines the transfer of responsibility from the structure supplier to any third party supplier.

The reason you as a client would want a Certificate of Completion is to prove that you have done your part to ensure that anything that is attached or connected to the structure after it was built is done in a safe way. Legally, it proves that you’ve fulfilled your duty of care by making sure your suppliers are communicating with each other properly.

This alone can keep you out of jail!

When do you need a Certificate of Completion?

Whenever people can potentially come to harm by anything that is temporarily installed. This can be:

  • tents
  • marquees
  • grandstands
  • stages, especially when covered
  • lighting rigs
  • scaffolding towers
  • temporary buildings
  • bouncy castles
  • sub structures such as raised flooring
  • electrical installations such as generators and power supplies

What should a Certificate of Completion contain?

Other than the supplier name, date and location, I want to see the following:

  • A short description of the structure or installation.
  • Reference documents such as drawings, calculations and structural approvals.
  • A short description of the intended use…and more important any restrictions of use.
  • The supplier then has to certify by signature the following:
    „I hereby certify that this structure or service has been installed in accordance with the predetermined plan, in line with manufacturers’ instructions and current legislation, industry guidelines and best practice and for the purpose stated. It is safe to use and in suitable condition to be handed over to the client. All relevant information, training and instruction has been provided.“
  • Only then do I sign the certificate. This is very important for the supplier as it also saves them from legal repercussions.
  • And lastly, any future modifications to the structure must be signed off.

What are the hazards of temporary structures?

The main hazard is that the structure is not used as intended and collapses. There are several possible reasons why:

  • More loads have been installed than allowed by the manufacturer or structural engineer. This happens often in tents when you see lighting rigs hanging from the rafters. Now all it needs is a little wind and the tent collapses.
  • Structures are not set up as intended by the manufacturer.
  • Structures are set up in areas with a higher level of wind or where grounding isn’t sufficient.
  • The wrong structure is used (because it was cheaper).

In order to keep you and your event safe I’ve created a Certificate of Completion template for temporary structures. Feel free to download it and adapt it to your needs. 

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