Temporary Stages and Rostra

Date: 10.07.2015     Last updated: 05.09.2017 at 15.06
Many venues require the use of temporary stages, rostra or risers for performers to stand or sit on. This is usually dependent upon the work being performed and the layout of the venue performing area.

This guide covers both temporary rostra and risers together with temporary staging  primarily used for events; which requires a more rigorous design, inspection and certification regime.

What Can Go Wrong?

  • If temporary staging, rostra and risers are not properly installed, staff and performers could trip, fall or otherwise injure themselves.

Legal/BBC Requirements

  • Wherever possible a BBC pre-vetted contractor should be engaged to build the temporary structure required. However, this may not be possible if the temporary structure has been provided by a promoter, for example. In this case, it is still a requirement to ensure that an adequate inspection has taken place and certification has been provided.
  • The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007 and are now applicable to the use of temporary staging, rostra and risers within the event industry.

Control Measures

General Controls

  • At the initial planning stage discuss how the requirements of CDM 2015 will be discharged and who will undertake the roles of Principle Designer and Principal Contractor.
  • All temporary staging, rostra and risers will be fitted or installed by competent persons only.
  • All temporary staging will require a completion certificate to be provided by the installer. The installer will inspect the completed temporary staging and inform the performer’s manager or the senior producer that it has been inspected and is now safe to use and provide the certification.
  • Re-certification will be required in any changes are made to the maximum loads expected/advised after initial build/installation.  
  • The installer will ensure that no gaps or uneven joints are present
  • All rostra or risers will be inspected by the performer’s manager or the senior producer prior to use to satisfy themselves it is safe to use. Any problems found will be brought to the attention of the installer.
  • Outdoor stages must have an adequate weather plan (especially wind monitoring) in place and a clear action plan detailing; what actions to be taken, when and by whom.
  • Re-inspection of a structure may well be required if adverse weather conditions have prevailed – consult the installer on the requirements for this to be carried out.

The design and size of a stage must ensure the following:

  • At least 1 meter of clear space between the front edge of the stage and the performers.
  • That all the performers with their instruments plus any technical equipment can be accommodated with sufficient room to allow access and emergency egress from the stage.
  • The stage design must take into account the maximum load of any suspended items; lighting, PA, etc.
  • Any changes to the pre-advised maximum load of suspended items must be approved (and certified) by the stage provider prior to any lifting/suspension taking place.
  • The stage staircase widths are suitable and sufficient to allow the performers safe access and emergency egress to and from the stage and will also be fitted with hand rails.
  • All edges of raised areas and steps must be marked to show the performers where the edges are when viewed in subdued lighting.
  • Temporary stages not bound by walls behind or to the sides, will be fitted with a sturdy hand rail which will also include mid rails, to prevent players falling off the edges.
  • Sufficient gangway provision is to be allowed for so performers can access/egress from their stage areas safely.
  • Where the rear and sides of the stage are open apart from the handrails, chairs must be positioned well away from the edges to prevent chair legs tipping over the edge, additionally wooden batten strips must be fixed along these edges.
  • See also guidance below about Low Frequency Vibration, when applicable.


  • If a disabled performer is required to access the stage then all necessary adjustments to the stage design must be made to accommodate their safe access and egress.
  •  A Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) must be drawn up for each disabled person accessing the venue and stage.

Dealing with Low Frequency Vibration

  • Where percussion is present on a temporary stage consideration will be given to a separate structure specifically for them, to prevent unnecessary vibrations being transmitted through the staging to the other players. It is extremely important that the two stages are properly and suitably constructed to prevent any movement introducing gaps or uneven joints between them.
  • On large temporary staging, acoustic or rubber matting should be fitted underneath percussion instruments e.g. drum kits or PA bass loudspeakers to prevent the low frequency vibrations being transmitted through the stage. All matting will be fixed along the edges with tape or something similar to prevent trip hazards.

Division Specific Issues

Radio & Music Events

  • When a large temporary stage is in use, percussion instruments can create vibrations within the structure which can lead to nausea in some fellow performers on the stage.
  • This is caused by the low frequency vibration.

FAQs/Did You Know?

  • Several staging designs are produced in modular kit form for easy assembly. However, if any modifications or additional loadings are made to the structure then a competent designer/structural engineer should be consulted to confirm that the structural integrity of the design has not been/ will not be compromised

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