Retractable Seating: Definitive Guide
You are a contractor and have a project that requires telescopic seating for a gym, but you are not familiar with these movable platforms;
You are the proprietor/operator of a sports club. Retractable seating is a good idea for you, but you are wondering how to preclude your precious parquet from being damaged by the movement of the seating system.
You are the chief architect/designer of a sports venue, you are looking for a professional manufacturer to support you with suggestions and detailed CAD layout drawing for the duration of venue design.
You are in the right place.
We have an informative guide below that can answer your questions.
As the leading retractable seating manufacturer in China, Avant has been engaged in the design and fabrication of retractable seating systems since 1994, you can find plenty of established projects at famous sports grounds, not only in China, but also throughout the world.
The collections below are answers to the questions you probably encounter, they are frequently asked by our existing customers, so they are, by and large, helpful for you too.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What is retractable seating?
Retractable seating, also known as telescopic seating, is a kind of telescopic platform, which mainly consists of retractable tiers, fold-down chairs, supporting steel understructures, iron railings, aisle, some larger ones even have handrails amid the aisles, they are definitely a sort of movable platform.
The chairs could also be replaced with benches under some particular requirements, hence, they can also be called as retractable bleachers, especially, when they are with benches.
They are most popular in multi-purpose facilities, such as stadiums, arenas, gymnasiums, and auditoriums, for these venues will constantly be changing their spaces for different sports events. The flexibility of the retractable seatings is suitable for the very purposes.
Working and operating process?
When fully retracted, the seating system appears flat front and stacked tiers with chairs hidden under each row, thus freeing up a large amount of space.
When you pull the tiers out, the seating system stretches each row one by one from the bottom to top, along with the seats unfolding one row after the other automatically.
For small-scale seating systems, which are less than 7 tiers, manual operation is available. For large-scale ones, however, they are driven by built-in motors. Manufacturers often provide
Single Row Retractable Seating
What is double-row retractable seating?
Double Row Retractable Seating
Double-row retractable seating is an expedient solution to seating capacities for the venues with lower roofs, where adding tiers is impossible to increase the seats. Fortunately, if the venue is large enough in respect of the area, the retractable seating system can be designed with 2 rows per tier, refer to the image above.
Since there are 2 rows in the same tiers, the staggering design is necessary to optimize the view sight for audience on the hind row
Where is retractable seating used?
Retractable seating is commonly applied to multi-use facilities, where you may frequently be changing the layout to fit kinds of purpose.
Avant Seating has almost 30 years’ experience in manufacturing retractable seating, most of which are for indoor sports venues. However, there are still many other public sites that prefer to have this kind of seating system, such as
- Performing Arts
- Lecture Halls
- Convention Centers
What are retractable chairs made from?
The chairs are usually made from plywood, cold-molded foam, or plastic(injection/blow molding).
The finishing, however, are of more options, such as fabric, PVC leather, PU leather, solvent-free synthetic leather, wood with a special texture, plastic with a special texture
Lecture halls in high schools often see wood chairs. Although some gyms would like wood chairs too, most sports sites prefer plastic chairs.
Seats with upholstery, say, upscale fabric or leather, are mostly used in Auditoriums and Theaters because only high-end materials can match that kind of atmosphere.
What are bleachers?
From the Oxford Dictionary of English, 3/e, we get the explanation
(usually bleachers) North American A cheap bench seat at a sports ground, typically in an outdoor uncovered stand
In other words, bleachers are bench-like seats that are commonly found in uncovered outdoor stands for sports grounds.
Anyway, there is another “rumor” which vividly explains the product.
It is said that people referring to these kinds of benches as bleachers is because they are bleached by the Sun when set up on uncovered stands
What are retractable bleachers?
Retractable Bleachers In Gym
Retractable bleachers are a kind of telescopic platform, they are with almost the same structure and mechanism as retractable seatings that incorporate steel understructure, tiers, and chairs.
You can easily draw each layer of bleachers out to accommodate more audience, or push them back to release more space.
Retractable bleachers, however, have bleachers instead of chairs. Furthermore, they are more applied to gyms; Public cultural centers, like auditoriums, performing arts, and theaters, prefer seating systems with chairs, not bleachers.
How many audiences can your space accommodate?
Estimating the seating capacity is always a necessary work for projects in its early stage since both the proprietor and the contractor care about the question most.
Since the total seat numbers are in inverse proportion to the chair width, row depth, and row rise, you have to find a balance between comfort and capacity.
For comfort, we recommend a minimum row depth of 850mm and at least 450mm chair width.
You can get a quick estimate, by following our online guide(PDF).
Or, you are also recommended to contact our supporting team. Avant started her seating business early in 1994. Our engineers can offer you a more accurate CAD drawing according to the measurements you provided.
What type of floor do you need?
Apparently, hard floors are the optimal option. Technically, it also requires that the flatness of the floor is within ±3mm across 3m area and coefficient of friction larger than 0.6
The floors enumerated below are the most common types you may confront
Cement – Concrete cement floors are hard and strong enough to support heavy seating systems, and the rub wheels make no harm to the floor.
Marble floor – It is as ideal as cement, but one thing you have to consider is its coefficient of friction. You are not suggested to some protective material that may reduce the CoF.
Parquet – We do not recommend this type of floor since sometimes they are not to support high tiered seatings. However, it is possible for small ones, as long as there is the official documentation that can prove its supporting ability.
PVC floor – There is only one shortfall, PVC floors are susceptible to the rolling of wheels, but we have successful experiences by providing tailored-made protective wooden planks under the wheel track. The planks can be stowed away after the seating is retracted.
Carpet – It is not suited to operate on the carpet, for its CoF is too large and the carpet is prone to damage, but if you do not have other better choices, we can provide the same solution as the PVC floor, offering customized wooden boards.
Marmoleum – It is ok, but we recommend making a thorough check to see if they are still well bonded before installing the seats.
Sports floors – Retractable seatings are mostly designed for gyms, arenas, and stadiums. Needless to say, sports floors are good to go. However, it will be better if you can ask the contractor to reinforce the structure of the floors along the wheel track.
What standards apply to retractable seating?
As with other products, retractable seating has its own industry standards, these regulations are guidelines for manufacturers to fabricate reliable seatings, instructive information for designers to conceive venue layouts, and also touchstones for buyers to select suppliers and partners.
EN 13200 – EN 13200 regulates the spectator viewing area, it is a directive document for architects to design stands. Part 5 (EN 13200 – 5) is specifically for telescopic stands. Part 5 covers the requirements of load bearing capacity of 5KN/M2, which is more strict than common concrete platforms that only require 4KN/M2
BS 5852 – BS 5852 is for fire safety, it contains requirements of aisle width, maximum numbers of seats per row; BS 5852 B1 specifies plastic parts, while B5 is for seats with upholstery.
EN 12727 – EN 12727 are regulations for chairs, it includes mechanical tests to see if the chairs can sustain heavy usage. The testing procedure contains 4 grades, Avant’s chairs boast reports of grade 4, which means our chairs can stand up to the highest level of test and can be applied to most harsh situation, eg. gym or stadium.
Hot-dip Galvanization – the legs and bases of chairs is made of steel, anti-corrosion and anti-rust treatment is a must, Avant tends to adopt hot-dip galvanization, especially for those products that will be installed in places nearby seas. Compared with regular galvanization, hot-dip galvanization generates the thickest layers of zinc, which ensures the longevity of more than 30 years.
CE Marking – Small retractable raked seatings can be operated manually. However, the ones above 7 tiers are driven by built-in motors, so the eligible products should carry the CE mark.
However, there are more specific standards that may be required according to your local policy, please contact us for further support. We manufacture and export retractable stadium seating systems throughout the world, our engineers are familiar with international standards.
How to maintain retractable seating?
Avant Seating is a renowned seating company. We produce reliable retractable seating system for both the local market and oversea customers
To ensure the longevity of the system and safety for the audience, you are recommended to maintain the seating system at least every 6 months. However, The interval of periodic inspection should be even short if the system serves more frequently than expected. Furthermore, every two years, you should carry out an overall inspection implemented by professionals
These inspection records should be kept for at least 3 years.
Retractable seating maintenance checklist
- Check for edge board, backboard, and main supporting steel frame
- Check for soldering parts
- Check for Wheels
- Check for Tier Locks
- Check for Step
- Check for screws
- Check for the screws that fasten motor drivers
- Check for rail track
- Check for electric junction box
- Check for leakage protection switch
- Check for other switches
- Check for the connection of wire terminals
- Check for stretching and retracting function
- Check for the folding down function of seats
- Check for infrared sensors
- Check for laser distancing sensors
How much does retractable seating cost?