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As this summer progresses, there is a good chance you’ve sat down in some type of bleacher or grandstand for a sporting event, concert or some other occasion. If you’ve attended a concert or event at our local Erie County Fairgrounds, you likely sat in the grandstand there. The definitions of grandstand and bleacher are exactly the same and it is generally accepted that grandstands are larger than bleachers. Bleachers are a popular seating choice for spectators, fans, and players to gather in large numbers and view local sporting events, ceremonies, motorsports, and other community activities. They are the primary seating for spectators and are customizable for visual appeal with items such as color and style. As engineers, we are interested in the design and construction of bleachers and grandstands.

Almost everything we use is influenced by engineers! ICC 300-2017 is a document published by the International Code Council outlining provisions consistent with the ICC family of codes. The purpose of this standard is to protect public health, safety and welfare through structural strength, means of egress, and stability – and a document referenced by engineers. This standard provides a guide to design grandstands and bleachers with prescribed loads like sway, wind, live and load combinations. Included in the design of bleachers are raker beams, cross beams/bracing, columns, foundations, press boxes and rail posts.

There are many types of bleachers and components:

  • Galvanized or Powder Coated Steel / Aluminum
  • Elevated / Non-Elevated
  • Portable Angle Frame
  • Tip & Roll
  • Permanent Beam
  • Handicap Platforms
  • Covered Grandstands
  • Bench Seating / Chair Seating
  • Picket Railings
  • Ramps / Stairs
  • Number of Rows
  • Sightlines

Encorus has worked with E&D Specialty Stands, Inc. in North Collins, NY on numerous projects. They are a top leader in the country for providing bleachers and grandstands to high schools, universities, motorsports, professional sports venues and private owners. Encorus recently completed work at the University of Connecticut which included five total bleachers: baseball, softball and three bleachers around their new soccer field. If you are in need of bleacher design services or if you have any questions, contact Structural Engineer Gerald P. Sullivan, PE, at or (716) 592-3980, ext. 160.