What Goes Into Designing Circus Grandstand Seating?

circus seating in large arena

Long before the first bum hits the seat for the first performance of a show, months of hard work have gone into providing that seat for that moment.
The process of grandstand manufacture can at times be frustrating to say the least. You solve one problem only to find it’s created another. There are many rules & regulations that must be followed with public safety always top priority.

A typical project can start with a simple phone call usually along the lines of “do you think this will work” or “can we fit x number of seats in x venue” The stock answer is “lets draw it up and find out”. But the one thing most clients don’t take into consideration when embarking on a bespoke project be it Theatre, Circus, temporary cinema, or any other seating project is time. Bespoke is made for a particular customer so nothing is pre-made. And so, the process begins.


Usually starts with a number. How many patrons are we looking to seat?
As a completely bespoke service, we’re not confined to modular set ups. Parts may be straight, other parts curved all dependent on what works to best accommodate the clients wishes, coupled with of course the regulations that guide the design of spectator grandstands.

Be they outdoor but especially when building indoor structures with limited space and set numbers of exits. Eventually, this will all be sorted, and we’ll end up with a layout acceptable to both the client & designer. Once a design has been signed off by the client a price can be calculated, a contract drawn up and signed by both parties.


All newly supplied grandstand seating will include a set of design specific calculations.
Given our designers’ understanding of European code requirements, literature guidelines & years of experience these are usually a formality and drawings can be sent to our engineers in the knowledge that only minor tweaks may be necessary.

cad program screenshot seating design


Seating Fabrication Swindon

The trade off with any bespoke over modular design is time. We don’t carry large amounts of material stock so once we have a design to work to, we order material in lengths and quantities that keep costs and wastage to a minimum. This will of course impact on manufacturing time. As an example, a typical 1200 seat design can be a 12-week lead time to manufacture.

Depending on complexity of design. Plus of course the time it’s taken to design. All told you could be looking at 3.5-4 months. We would of course always endeavour to complete a project as timely as is possible.


This will usually take place on a date set out in the initial contract.

Given the nature of our business we tend to work as part of larger projects where clients have the necessary staff to complete the installation of the grandstands. For those clients that require us to supply a crew for the initial installation we have a highly qualified team that although not working for us full time are extremely competent in the erection of grandstand structures.

Whichever the case maybe at least one & usually more of the design/manufacture team from Grandstand Systems/Austen Fabrication will be on site for that initial installation to ensure a smooth completion, safety inspection & sign off the completed structure.

After Care

We’re not a company that just walks away once the installation & sign off has been completed. We’re only ever a phone/email away be it to give advice or more hands on help.

Given the demountable design of our seating, many of the clients we work with on multiple projects, often call us in to strike & then reinstall the seating due to the space the seats occupy being used for differing events, some not requiring a seating bank. And in some cases, a redesign of the seating bank using existing and newly manufactured equipment to completely change the layout for different events. In effect two seating banks in one. We take pride in our work and seeing a project through to completion.

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