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Last Updated: 2010-01-11

Tents and Membrane Structures

Permit Holder Guideline #40

PERMIT TITLE: Tents and Membrane Structures

CODE SECTION:(Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code) 2403.4

FEE: $40.00 (Check payable to the City of Richmond)

SCOPE: Any temporary tents, canopies, air-supported, air-inflated and tensioned membrane structures.

PERMIT EXPIRATION: Operational: A period not to exceed 180 days within a 12 month period on a single location.

REQUIREMENTS: Permit holder agrees to abide by the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code and any special stipulations noted on permit, as well as the following:

  1. Tents and membrane structures shall not be located within 20 feet of lot lines, other structures, parked vehicles or internal combustion engines.
  2. All tent fabric shall meet the flame resistance requirements; documented by permanently attached labels and/or certificates of compliance with NFPA 701 and flame resistance is effective for the period of the permit.
  3. Exit signs and emergency egress lighting may be required if:
    • Event is being held after dark
    • Utilization of side panels
    • Occupancy load of 50 or more persons
    • Travel distance to an exit from all points within structure shall not exceed 100 feet

    All exit signs shall be illuminated at all times that structures are occupied. Backup power shall be provided for exit signs, egress lighting and exit discharge lighting. Exit signs shall be an approved self-luminous type.

  4. All combustible materials such as hay, straw, shavings or similar materials shall not be located within any structure containing assembly occupancy. Combustible materials or vegetation within 20 feet of structure shall be maintained clear. Combustible trash shall be removed at least once a day from structure while it is occupied by the general public.
  5. There shall be a minimum clearance of 3 feet between fabric envelope and all contents located inside tent or membrane structure.
  6. All fire extinguishers shall not exceed 75 feet travel distance and have a minimum rating of 2-A, and shall be provided for all tents or structures.
  7. Smoking shall not be permitted in tents or membrane structures.
  8. No cooking or open flame shall be located in (or within 20 feet) a tent used for assembly.

Contact Information:

Fire Department
City of Richmond
201 E. Franklin St.
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-2500

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