Your “Get Out Of Jail Free” Card

A half Built Tent gets blown away in a storm

It’s called a Certificate of Completion

A Certificate of Completion is a letter which a supplier of a structure, electrical installment or any other installment gives to the client. It states that the structure  or installment is safe to use and any restrictions on use. But there’s a lot more that is equally important…

Why should you require a Certificate of Completion?

The reason you as a client would want a Certificate of Completion is to prove that you have done your very best to ensure the safe installation and use of a structure or installment. Legally, it shows that you have inspected the structure and have all the necessary information to operate the structure in a safe way.

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

What should a Certificate of Completion contain?

I noticed that structure suppliers were giving me completion certificates that are not what I really needed. They were sometimes as simple as just a signed copy of the delivery note.

Other than the normal things such as name, date and location, I look for the following:

  • a short description of the structure or installment
  • reference documents such as drawings, calculations and approvals
  • a short description of the intended use…
  • …and more important any restrictions of use
  • then the supplier 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 him 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 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. And have a look at my last post about on-site safety where you can download a safety checklist for outdoor event venues.

Let me know what you think by commenting below.