Next month the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) is planning to publish its new guide, Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment. The move follows the ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre in London last December.

The guide, which will be circulated widely to both theatre owners and contractors, suggests a base-line survey of the existing conditions of the structural elements and the plaster elements of suspended ceilings in theatres is carried out. 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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