How Useful Are Floor Plans and Capacity Charts?

I was on the internet the other day looking at different event venues. What interested me is the usefulness of floor plans and capacity charts to an event planner. And I was shocked. Who can make sense of these things? Most of them are just crap!

  • Capacity charts and floor plans that show maxed out seating with no stage.
  • Floor plans that have no dimensions whatsoever on them. 
  • Unusable PDF‘s that only show nice pictures but give no information.
  • Conflicting specifications where one states a different capacity than the other. 

How is an Event Planner supposed to even start considering which venue to evaluate?

Now that I‘ve calmed down, lets have a closer look. 

If the venue is interesting enough, I‘ll call them and ask for detailed floor plans that meet the following criteria:

  1. They must be up to date, meaning that all changes to the building are shown in the floor plan
  2. Plans must be to scale, meaning that a scale (1:200) is mentioned on the plan or shown telling how many centimeters or inches on the plan correspond to the actual length, like this plan shows:scale plan2
  3. The plans must show any areas that must be kept clear due to safety considerations. I remember a plan of an exhibition hall that didn‘t show trap doors in the floor that had to be kept free resulting in having to plan the booths around the trap doors.
  4. What I would love to see is a so called vertical section which shows all the different heights in a room.

If you have nothing other than a one page floor plan PDF with no dimensions.

Have someone from the venue measure the short wall of the room. This will be used as a reference.

Now you have to do a little math:

  1. Convert feet or yards into inches (1 yard= 36 inches).
  2. Convert meters to centimeters (1 meter = 100cm).
  3. Find the exact location where the measurement was taken on the plan.
  4. Take the same measurement at the same location on the plan. (in inches or centimeters)
  5. Divide the real measurement (converted to inches or centimeters) by the second measurement (taken off the plan).
  6. Measure whatever you need on the plan and multiply by the number you got out of your last division.
  7. You then have the dimension you want. 
  8. Don‘t forget to scale it up again into feet or meters.

In my next post I will talk about capacity charts and how to read them the right way. Until then, happy venue hunting!

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