Telescopic bleachers are a great way to provide stadium-style seating to any venue.
With so many choices and options to choose from, it can be confusing on which direction to go.
This complete FAQ guide will answer all the important questions that come up with telescopic bleachers.
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What Are Telescopic Bleachers?
Telescopic bleachers consist of several sections of bleachers that can move and often retract to have a multi-function space.
This can also be considered retractable seating and ultimately telescopic seating will self-retract into a single row to save space.
Telescopic bleacher refers specifically to the bleacher aspect whereas retractable seating is a more general team.
Telescopic bleachers tend to be only for indoor venues.
Figure 1 Telescopic Bleachers
Why Are Telescopic Bleachers Used?
Telescopic bleachers are great options for venues that need to save space when bleachers are not being used.
These are commonly seen in gymnasiums as the entire gym may be used by classes during the day.
During games, these bleachers can be pulled out when only the specific area of the gym is needed to showcase an event.
What Are Bleachers?
Bleachers are rows of bench seating that can accommodate small to large groups.
The benches rise at an angle that provides an adequate sightline for all spectators.
This is because the row before another will be positioned slightly lower than the row sitting behind them.
Bleachers can come in many different forms and styles as can telescopic bleachers.
What Are Telescopic Bleachers Made Out Of?
Telescopic bleachers can be made of more materials because they are an indoor type of stadium seating.
This means that while weather-resistant materials are used frequently they are not necessary.
These are the most common materials used.
High-Density Polyethylene is one of the most common plastics used in furniture because of its ability to handle extreme weather and how easy it is to mold into shapes during the manufacturing process.
The HDPE may be combined with metal as a part of seating to prevent a cool or hot touch that metal would most likely radiate.
HDPE is relatively cost-effective and can be customized in color and seating options to make any venue feel unique in its offerings.
Sometimes the entire bleacher set can be made out of metal but with telescopic bleachers, it’s likely that the moving parts are metal.
This is because metal/aluminum/steel functions best as pulleys and retractable parts due to their strength and endurance to wear and tear.
They are also lightweight materials making it easy for transportation and setup and breakdown if need be.
Even if the metal parts are indoors due to telescopic seating, they should be greased up as humidity can lead to oxidation and rust.
Fabric and cushions have so many great functions for telescopic seating.
For starters, they provide much more comfort in temperature and feel as a user sits in your venue.
They also add a classy touch that makes users more likely to enjoy the event and appreciate the space.
Often fabric and cushions are paired with HDPE.
Some telescopic bleachers may go for a timeless look and offer beautiful wood bench seating.
Wood is also a great option for those who may be having telescopic bleachers in colder climates like an ice rink.
Like fabric, it is less cold to the touch and offers a more comfortable seat.
Pine, Oak, and Ashwood are the most commonly used woods for this kind of seating because of their durability and beautiful look.
Wood usually comes in a color that is natural as dying wood sometimes can lead to maintenance issues down the road.
What Types Of Options Are There To Choose From For Sub Bench Seating?
Telescopic seating itself is a form of retractable seating.
However, they can also be permanent retractable structures or portable.
Retractable can be considered temporary seating but the bleachers themselves are not broken down and put together from time to time as the setup function is more complicated.
A permanent telescopic seating structures me be something like a wall-attached system.
This system is mounted to the wall and folds out row by row expanding the seating options from the first row to the last.
Figure 2 Wall Attached System
This type of structured telescopic seating can come in manual form or power form.
Manual is designated for telescopic bleacher seating of seven rows whereas a power-operated telescopic bleacher will be electronically controlled for rows of a larger size such as 33.
A permanent structure can also be a recessed telescopic bleacher seating set up where they are attached permanently to the overhang above.
The total number of rows must fit right up to the height of the overhang but can be electronically or manually operated in the same seven to 33-row options.
Freestanding systems are not attached anywhere but are considered to be permanent structures.
They are still the same structures as the previous two mentioned permanent telescopic seating.
The difference is they need extra protective guard rails on the sides and on the back to ensure the safety of users.
Telescopic seating can also be portable and a great temporary seating solution.
This is when smaller seating sections can be stored away as they are not needed out for extended periods of time.
They are often smaller structures and have electronic wheels so that someone uses a remote control to move the bleachers.
How Many People Can Telescopic Seating Accommodate?
Telescopic seating is meant to accommodate all sizes but more generally fall into the small and medium-sized crowds.
This is because a telescopic bleacher must comply with safety standards in size.
Below are the descriptions of telescopic seating from small to large crowds.
Small telescopic seating may include as little as seven rows seating eight to 10 people per row.
It can actually be even smaller accommodating a crowd of 20.
This may look more like four rows of five seats.
Telescopic seating tends to be more than 10 people because of its dynamic pull-out function and the cost that comes with it.
Anything smaller would work for other kinds of bleacher seating.
As far as how big a small crowd can be, telescopic seating can accommodate a few hundred people comfortably and is still considered to be small.
This small lecture hall in Madagascar perfectly illustrates telescopic seating when folded up and stored.
Figure 3 Small Telescopic Seating Example
Dimensions for a small telescopic bleacher maybe 18 inches in allowance per person times the number of seats.
So the standard length of a bench will be around 15 feet for a 10 person allowance per row.
A riser height for bleachers will add 12” to 14” per row with a starting base usually 18 inches off the ground.
For a telescopic bleacher system that has five rows, you can expect the structure to be about seven feet tall.
Medium telescopic bleachers may feature more of a presence accommodating crowds for a few thousand.
Medium size telescopic bleachers tend to be anywhere from 500 to 2,000 with anything really over that being considered to be a large setup.
These structures can only be sp tall to comply with safety standards so they are often broken up into sections or spread out over length.
You may have something with as many as 20 seats in a row.
The Laidley Highschool in Queensland, Australia features 1800 seats as a telescopic bleacher system.
This set is particularly interesting because they feature telescopic individual seats as well that are telescopic seating.
The dimensions are far as length and height will follow the same standards as a small telescopic bleacher.
What may change is that for larger structures guardrails and backing is put in for safety measures and add a few feet to the back of the bleacher system.
Large telescopic seating can host up to thousands and thousands for indoor venues.
They typically stay within the 2,000 to 10,000 range to stay within safety requirements.
A structure can only be so large so stadiums that have multi-tiers telescopic seating would really just work for the bottom team for safety standards.
A great example of this setup is the Pachuca Theater in Mexico that has telescopic seating on the bottom and standard seating on the second tier.
Figure 4 Large Telescopic Seating
The entire structure hosts 2,200 seats.
The dimension fluctuates a lot with the amount of seating in a large venue.
With large structures, aisles will connect sections of telescopic seating and generally account for three times the width of a seat.
Aisle width will range from 36” to 42” depending on whether there is a dividing handrail separating the section that goes up from the one that moves down.
What Are The General Costs With Telescopic Seating?
Telescopic seating at minimum follows the same standards and guidelines as other bleacher-style seating.
Without any individual touches or spacing such as chairs or individual seating, basic rows of telescopic bleachers can cost $50-$150 depending on the materials being used.
Where you would see something be closer to $50 is when using metal or aluminum bases for benches.
A wood style telescopic bleachers are where you would see the price start to increase.
The only time where the range goes above $150 is the luxury options that price out at $250 to $500 a seat.
This is something like the Vogue Series.
Figure 5 Vogue Series
Are There Replacement Costs? And How Much Are They?
There are absolutely replacement costs with telescopic bleachers.
The price range can generally be accounted for the exact price you paid for the seat when it comes to seating issues.
This means it could cost $50 to $500 where it actually becomes cheaper if you have individual seating instead of full-length benches.
Things can become more expensive with telescopic bleachers because some of the systems function electronically with how they expand and retract.
What Options Can Be Chosen From With Telescopic Bleachers?
Telescopic can be customized as much as needed to make your venue feel unique to others.
The different options basic option you can choose from are:
Examples: Hilo Series
- Color Customization
- Material Use
- Portable Verse Permanent Structures
There are however more advanced features that you can choose from such as:
This is a great option for meeting ADA standards as the first row can be pulled out separate to accommodate handicapped seating.
Figure 6 Separately Operated Row
This improves safety features as old systems used to leave gaps between the risers that would allow food or other things to slip through the cracks.
This system maximizes space-saving efficiencies by getting rid of the straight edge system.
This provides a better sightline by starting the first row much higher up off the ground with the first row having protected rails from falling forward when walking on the first-floor platform.
This is for large seating arrangements where a max of 33 rows with 100 seating spaces in length can be operated electronically to retract and expand.
For bigger projects, a style that can be designed in the early stages of the design process is lettering inlay.
This is where a slogan, lettering, can appear in the crowd by selecting specific seats in a contrasting color.
This allows for emergency exits under the structure which can be more efficient than sometimes having to cross a stadium or venue.
How Are The Telescopic Bleachers Installed?
Telescopic bleachers are more complicated than normal bleachers and need to be installed with a professional crew regardless of the size of the order.
A telescopic bleacher system on a small scale can be easily installed as most parts come ready to be put in place.
Large orders will have sections that need to be connected have to follow a strict order of set up according to the design plan structured in the agreement.
What Are The Regulations That Telescopic Bleachers Need To Follow?
Telescopic bleacher can be most related to the same set of standards and guidelines of indoor bleachers because they are a genre of indoor bleachers,
They require more maintenance and check-ups because of the moving parts and possible instability issues that can come if the lock and safety features don’t function properly.
The National Fire Protection Association is the organization that put out a set of rules and standards that all stadium seating will need to follow to operate.
The rules go well over 300 with regards to life safety, health, and weather-related guidelines that all must be met.
These are just a few examples of the general idea of NFPA rules:
- Any material used for telescopic seating must be fire-resistant materials in an event that a fire occurred.
- All seats in telescopic seating must have easy access to exit rows in case of any life emergency.
- Consistent inspections must be done to assure that the telescopic function is working properly and would not malfunction in a way that would injure people.
- All telescopic bleachers need to enclose areas that a person could fall off from the structure such as side guard rails and appropriate backing for the top row.
Any venue should review all safety rules but know that all orders comply with NFPA.
How Much Maintenance Is Required For Telescopic Bleachers?
Aside from the listed NFPA rules telescopic bleachers need to be maintained in order to effectively keep your warranty going before its expiration.
Below are the minimum efforts you can do to keep maintenance costs at a minimum and future damage.
Telescopic bleachers need to be thoroughly swept after each use.
This is because any dirt and debris that is brought in from the outside can find their way into small moving parts of the telescopic bleachers.
This is especially important when it comes to retractable systems because they rely on movement functions daily.
Dirt and debris could break down the parts that keep the system in the lock when not in use and ultimately lead to injury if a malfunction were to happen in worse case scenarios.
Non-acidic wipes and sprays can help efficiently clean the surface without it eating into any of the materials and ruining the product.
NFPA requires a minimum of once a year inspection but with telescopic bleachers, it should happen on a monthly basis.
This is because of the listed above, where the function of the bleachers needs to remain safe for spectators.
Any parts that require moving functions and are made of metal should be frequently lubricated with oil and wax.