Collaborative working has achieved a significant outcome to improve the quality of nearly 2,000 theatre buildings throughout England according to The Theatres Trust.

Claire Appleby from The Theatres Trust told the FIS annual conference last month that the collaboration began after the  ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End in December 2013. There are 500 theatres with historic fibrous plaster ceilings.

Specialists from across the  sector came together to ensure that theatre ceilings are properly maintained and the work of The Theatres Trust, the Association of British Theatre Technicians and FIS has led to forming a Theatre Ceiling Group and the  preparation of a new guide  covering Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment.

The guide details the scope of survey covering the existing  conditions of the structural  elements and the plaster elements of suspended ceilings in theatres. It proposes that inspections should be carried out by a chartered structural engineer alongside a ‘competent’ plastering contractor.

The aims of surveys will be to look for signs of water damage, structural shifts or deterioration in stability, impact damage and the attachment of all suspended parts to the main structure of  the building.

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