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Welcome to Chart Area Seating: specialists in providing seating solutions for lecture theatre, conference, seminar, training, concourse and waiting area environments

Click the icon below to download the Black Book - our guide to setting out audience seating including guidance on the regulations and recommendations relating to spacing seats, minimum and maximum heights for risers for tiers, guidance on minimum distances for seatways (the width of the walkway between seat and row in front) and guidelines on dimensions of backrest height.

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choosing your chair guide

Download our Quick Guide to Choosing Your Chairs as PDF by clicking here

 

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Setting-out Guidelines
Guidance to the setting out of audience seating

 

 

 

 

The Black Book

V4/12

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

This document has been created as a resource for those involved in the design, planning and configuration of lecture theatres, conference and seminar rooms.

It provides a guide to the recommendations and guidelines for the specification and use ofaudience seating and the setting out of passive seating.

Its aim is to providea reliable reference point to the recommendations concerning the layout and specification of specialist spectator seating products.

While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy as guidelines and regulations are subject to change this document should be considered as a guide only, to be used in conjunction with Local Authorities’ recommendations and regulations where relevant.

Confirmation should always be sought prior to commencement of the design / layout from the relevantauthorities.

For any additional support and information please do not hesitate to contact us:
Chart Area Seating
www.chartareaseating.com
01342 326659
info@chartareaseating.com
ToL lecture theatre.JPGrcp lecture theatre.JPG

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE SPECIFICATION AND USE OF TIERED, TELESCOPIC
AND DEMOUNTABLE SEATINGDEFINITIONS

1.1 SEATWAY
The minimum clear space ("seatway") measured at right angles between
perpendiculars as shown in the following sketches. In all the following cases
the minimum dimension "A" to be 300mm however the recommended
minimum value is 350mm.
Figure 1
BENCH SEAT WITHOUT BACKS
PLATFORMS WITH CHAIRS
BUCKET OR NON SELF TIPPING SEATS
SELF TIPPING SEATS WITHOUT ARMS

SELF TIPPING SEATS WITH ARMS


SELF TIPPING SEATS – WITH ARMS HIGH RISER

 


LECTURE THEATRE SEATING

PORTABLE CHAIR – NON TIP-UP

PORTABLE CHAIR – TIP UP

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.2 ROW DEPTH (Tread)
The distance 'X' measured at right angles to a riser to the top of the next
riser.
Figure 2

 

1.3 ROW RISE
The distance 'Y' measured vertically between one level of seating and theone immediately behind it.
Figure 3

1.4 GANGWAY OR AISLE
The access space internally on a tiered seating block that provides the means
of distributing people on a seating area and for evacuation from the area. In
accordance with BS EN legislation. See Figure 4

1.5 LATERAL GANGWAY OR AISLE
The access space across the seating block joining two or more vertical aisles
or gangways. See Figure 4

1.6 HALF STEPS(s)
An intermediate step or steps in the aisle or gangway when the row rise
exceeds the allowable dimension.
Figure 4Sectional detail showing single intermediate step

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5 Sectional detail showing double intermediate step

1.7 VOMITORY OR EGRESS
The space beneath a stand allowing access to internal aisles or gangways.

1.8 GUARDRAIL
A safety barrier fitted to the sides, rear or front of a seating block.

1.9 STAIRWAYS
A means of providing access to platforms to front or rear of elevated seatingblocks.

1.10 ULTRA-VIOLET ADDITIVE (U.V)
In the case of plastic seating units it is a stabilizing additive used to off-set
the colour degredation of the units due to ultra-violet light.

1.11 FLOOR BARS (flat floor chairs)
A device to prevent the movement of floor chairs when laid out in a concert
or similar configuration.
1.12 TYPICAL SEATING ARRANGEMENTS
Figure 6 Typical lecture theatre seating plan

 

 
  

Figure 7Typical lecture theatre sectional detail

Figure 8 Typical retractable seating plan view

 

 

Figure 9Typical retractable seating sectional detail

 
Figure 10 Typical fixed (theatre) seating detail
 

 

Figure 11 Typical fixed (theatre) seating sectional view

 
1.13 RETRACTABLE SEATING UNIT TYPES
 
RECESSED:
Wall or floor attached units storing in a
recess provided in the Building. Possibility
of top loading from balcony or rear gallery.

PORTABLE:
Free standing units equipped with special fittings enabling the units to be lifted and
moved to another location. Moving can be achieved by integral, portable dollies or
air flotation units.


LAYOUT RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1 SEATWAY
Maximum number of seats as table below:
Normally there should be not more than 14 seats in a continuous row, where there is a gangway at each end and not more than 7 seats in a row where there is a gangway at one end only.  Gangways must be of adequate width for the number of seats served but must, in no case, be less than 1.100m wide.
Table 1


Number of Seats in a row

 

                                               Gangway

Seatway width in row (mm)

One side

Two sides

300-324*

7

14

325-349*

8

16

350-374

9

18

375-399

10

20

400-424**

11

22

425-449

12

24

450-474

12

26

475-499

12

28

500 or more

12

limited by travel distance
(see table 3)

Extracted from BS 5588 Part 6 1991*Suitable for lecture theatre **Scottish regulations start here
Table 2


Capacities of exits and escape routes

Maximum Number of Persons

width

50

900

110

1000

220

1100

240

1200 ***

260

1300

280

1400

300

1500

320

1600

340

1700

360

1800

*** Minimum Aisle Width in Scotland
Note: Capacities of other widths exceeding 1100 mm may be obtained by linear
interpretation or extrapolation. Extracted from BS 5588 Part 6 1991

 

 

Table 3


Maximum travel distances

Available direction of escape

Areas with seating in rows

Open floor areas

 

(a) In one direction only
(b) In more than one direction

m

m

15

18

32

45

Extracted from BS 5588 Part 6 1991
2.1.1 The maximum number of seats in a row must comply with table 1

2.1.2 The seats are to be of constant depth throughout the length of a row. Where
the seats tip-up automatically it should be measured between the back of
one seat unit and the maximum projection of the seat unit behind when the
seat is in the upright position.

2.1.3 Seat centres to be minimum 450 mm without arms and minimum average of
490 mm with arms.

2.2 ROW RISE
In tiered seating blocks the maximum row rise should not exceed 170 mm
except where introducing half steps. Minimum height of a riser should be
125 mm.

2.3 ROW DEPTH
Where seating is arranged in rows, the minimum row depth allowed for each
person should be 800 mm where backs are provided or 650 mm deep where
backs are not provided.

2.4 AISLE / GANGWAYS
2.4.1 Gangways should not be less than 1100 mm wide, unless in an assembly area
with a capacity not exceeding 110 persons. (See Table 2)

2.4.2 The ends of all rows of seats should be so aligned as to maintain a uniform
width throughout the length of a gangway, unless the escape flow would
only be in one direction (i.e. access to any alternative means of escape is
along the rows), in which case the gangway may widen towards the storey
exit.

2.4.3 Vomitoriumexits provided within the body of a seating layout should be
approached from the side by transverse or cross gangways.

2.4.4 Transverse gangways and radial gangways in auditoria with tiered seating
should not intersect across each other (i.e. any intersections should be 'T'
junctions). Connections between gangways and transverse gangways should
be offset to ensure a smooth flow to the exits.

2.4.5 In stepped tiers the height of each step in a gangway should not be less than
125 mm and should not exceed 170 mm. Where there are two or more rises
to each row of seats each step should be of equal height. Minimum
depth/going of a half step should not be less than 280 mm.

2.4.6 The number of steppings in a tier uninterrupted by cross-gangways should
not exceed 40.

2.4.7 Where exits are approached from a stepped gangway there should be a
landing at least 1100 mm deep and the width of the exit immediately in front
of the exit doors.


 

STRUCTURAL RECOMMENDATIONS
3.1 UNDERSTRUCTURE
In addition to the self weight of the structure and seating the system should
also be designed to withstand:
Imposed loading in accordance with Table 7 of BS 6399 Part 1: 1984 which
requires 4.0 KN/m2 for the seated areas, and 5 KN/m2 or a concentrated
load of 4.5 KN/m2 for aisle or gangway.
The structure should be capable of withstanding a minimum horizontal load
equivalent to 5% of the above figures. Note: Loading applicable only when
units are open or deployed.

3.2 GUARDRAILS/ SEPERATION UNITS
3.2.1 All Guardrails should be constructed such that a 100 mm dia sphere cannot
pass through any part of it.

3.2.2 Guardrails adjacent to seating rows should be designed to suit BS EN 13200-
5: 2006 (Telescopic Stands) and so with stand a horizontal load of 1kN/m at
1100mm high.

3.2.3 Guardrails adjacent to an aisle or gangway should be designed to withstand a
horizontal load calculated to 1100m m above floor of 1.5KN/m.

3.2.4 Rear guardrails should be designed to withstand a horizontal load of 1.5kN/m
at 1100mm high or 1kN/m if designed to be 1100mm above seat level.

3.2.5 Front Guardrails should be designed to withstand a horizontal load at 800
mm of .75KN/m. Where front rails are positioned at the bottom of an aisle
the minimum height of the rail should be 1100m m and should be designed
to withstand a horizontal load at the top of the rail of 1.5KN/m per metre
run.

3.2.6 All Guardrails should be a minimum height of 1100mm except with the
exception of front Guardrails which can be reduced to 800 mm to facilitate
sight lines, providing it is not in an aisle position in front of seats only.

 

3.2.7 Front rails are to be provided to all Seating units except in the following
cases:
a) Where a bench seat is provided to the first riser.
b) Where a row of seats is securely positioned immediately in front of first
riser.
c) Where row 1 is less than 340mm complete with an intermediate step to
the whole width
Ideally chairs are captivated to the front of the unit
PARTICULAR RECOMMENDATIONS RELATING TO SPECIFIC TYPES OF SEATING
4.1 PORTABLE CHAIRS ON FLAT FLOORS

4.1.1 Temporary provisions for a close seated audience should comply with the
previously stated layout recommendations

4.1.2 All chairs or other single seats (except chairs in boxes or other similar
enclosures) should be linked together in rows by means of a secure linking
device. The linking device should prohibit chairs from becoming
unintentionally unlinked in the event of an emergency evacuation. It is
recommended that provisions should be made for temporary floor fixing to
the rows of seating flanking the front, back, cross gangways and also the
seats nearest to exits. The method of temporary floor fixing can be by way of
floor fixing bars (see note below). Floor fixing bars are often required at the
end of each row, but intermediate floor bars should be considered.
NOTE: Where the permanent fixing of seating to the floor is impracticable or
undesirable (e.g. on polished dance floors), floor bars instead of screws may
be used. Floor bars should have a cambered top surface so as to avoid the

Updated information: BS 9999:2008 Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings and states that:- "Seating for more than 50 persons laid out on the floor area should be secured together in lengths of not fewer than 4 seats”



Figure 13- Floor Bar Clamped

 


Figure 12 – Floor Bar

 risk of tripping up persons entering or exiting the row.

               

 

 

 

 

4.1.3 Where seats are secured together it should not be possible to separate them,
nor for a row to ‘snake’, in such a way that it adversely affects the row depth
or walkway.

4.1.4 Where seating normally designed for use on flat floors is placed on tiered
platforms of any type these should always be securely fixed.
4.2 TELESCOPIC SEATING
4.2.1 Arrangements should be made to ensure, by locking devices or other suitable
means, that each stepped platform in a telescopic unit is rigid in the fully
extended position and cannot retract.

4.2.2 The height to width ratio of mobile telescopic units when the units when
closed should not exceed 3:1 in cross section, to ensure stability.

4.2.3 Where gangway/aisle lighting and/or power operation is specified it should
comply with the relevant I.E.E. Electrical Standards and Specifications.

4.2.4 A clearly visible label should be applied to each unit stating the maximum
number of seating positions that the unit is designed to accommodate.

4.2.5 Telescopic seating should only be used in accordance with the
Manufacturer's Instructions and deployed only in accordance with layouts
approved by local and/or Licensing Authorities.

4.3 GENERAL
4.3.1 The strength, stability and test methods for seats (chairs) can be found in BS
EN 12727

4.3.2 Upholstered seating to comply with BS5858:2006 Ignition source 5 in respect
of flame retardancy and contain only CMHR foam.

 

 

Notes

 
choosing your chair guide

Chart Area Seating Quick Guide to Choosing Chairs

Chair Height

One of the key factors to consider first is how will your chairs be used and will they need to work with other pieces of furniture i.e. meeting tables.
Particular attention should be paid if you are thinking of choosing chairs with arms to ensure the arms don’t foul the table top or sub frame which can impact on your comfort during use.
Chairs and chair arms should be able to slide under your dining table with ease, but they also must have comfortable lap and leg room when guests are sitting in them. Commonly meeting and demountable tables are about 700mm to 770mm high. Typical seat height for side and meeting chairs is around 450mm (measured from the floor to the seat).

Our perception of ‘comfort’ is a highly subjective area varying from person to person but as a rough guide you may find it useful to work with the following spacings to provide comfort for you and your fellow users:

  • Allow around 300mm between the seat of your chair and your table top.


Chair Width


A typical dining chair width is 400mm to 500mm and if can be useful to consider the width of chairs you are looking and how that will work with any tables you are planning to use alongside the chairs.  When chairs are too close to one another they can cause users to bump elbows, particularly if they are engaged in activities such as eating. As another rough guide allowing around 150mm extra to each chair's width to create the additional space between them to achieve the comfort in use.

Where your chairs will be used at a table you may wish to consider the following spacings to give the users comfortable space and not create a configuration where users are cramped

  • Allow around 600mm to 750mm for each seat position
  • For rectangular tables, add an extra 300mm at each end for those seated at the head and foot of the table.
  • Ideally aim for at least 950mm between the edge of your table and nearest wall (or other furniture)

Measure your chairs at their widest point. Depending on the style of the chair, this can mean either the seat or the chair back. 

If your chairs are going to be used in rows linking devices will probably be necessary and these can add to the chair's width or 'centre-to-centre' distance.

At Chart Area Seating we can often assist with free-of-charge space-planning to help you visualise what capacity you will be to achieve with your space as well as providing detailed specification information about any chairs you are considering. We offer a wide range of chairs which can be specified with linking devices including chairs which link with incredible space-efficiency and no loose components - please don't hesitate to contact us for more information on these options!

Please contact us if you would like any further information or support during your selection phase

Some models are even available in wider and narrower versions so please contact us if you would like any further information or support during your selection phase

As with all information of this nature guidelines can change frequently and your own circumstances  may dictate specific requirements exist which differ from the indicative figures shown here so please ensure you check with relevant parties to achieve compliance with relevant regulations.



A rough guide to table capacities

Assuming standard size chairs, the table below estimates to plan how many people can fit comfortably around typical dining tables:


Table shape

Table size (length or dia.)

Capacity

Rectangular

1800mm

6

Rectangular

2400mm

8

Rectangular

3000mm

10

Circular

1000mm-1200mm dia

4

Circular

1500mm-1600mm dia

6

Circular

1800mm dia.

8



At Chart Area Seating we offer a range of chairs which can be specified with and without arms and while arms can often make the user experience more comfortable as well as create a more defined space for each user they generally require more space. Arms will typically add width to a chair’s overall size (around 150mm wider than the equivalent armless version).

So if space is limited, you may wish to select chairs without arms to ensure you maximise capacity in your space or use a combination of arm and side chairs to create a balance between space efficiency and comfort.

At Chart Area Seating we can often assist with free-of-charge space-planning to help you visualise what capacity you will be to achieve with your space as well as providing detailed specification information about any chairs you are considering

Some models are even available in wider and narrower versions so please contact us if you would like any further information or support during your selection phase!

As with all information of this nature guidelines can change frequently and your own circumstances  may dictate specific requirements exist which differ from the indicative figures shown here so please ensure you check with relevant parties to achieve compliance with relevant regulations.

 

 

We are proud to have supplied seating to the following academic institutions:

Bath University, Wiltshire

Bolton Institute, Lancashire

Bournemouth University, Dorset

Brighton College, Sussex

Imperial College London

Liverpool University, Cheshire

London School of Economics

Manchester University, Lancashire

Mid Kent College, Kent

Plymouth University, Devon

Queens University, Belfast

Swindon College, Wiltshire

University College London

University of Portsmouth, Hampshire

 

 

high density stacking chairs

 

We are proud to have supplied seating to the following courtrooms:

Alloa Sheriff Court, Scotland

Antrim Courts, N. Ireland

Aylesbury Magistrates Court, Buckinghamshire

Barking Magistrates Court, London

Barry Magistrates Court, Wales

Bedford Magistrates Court, Bedfordshire

Beverley Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Birmingham Magistrates Court, Midlands

Blackfriars Crown Court, London

Bodmin Courts, Cornwall

Bradford Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Brecon Magistrates Court, Wales

Bridlington Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Brighton Magistrates Court, East Sussex

Burton Magistrates Court, West Midlands

Bury Magistrates Court, Lancashire

Bury St Edmonds Magistrates Court, Suffolk

Calderdale Magistrates Court, Scotland

Camberwell Magistrates Court, London

Cambridge County Court, Cams

Cannock Magistrates Court, Staffordshire

Canterbury Magistrates Court, Kent

Caernarfon Magistrates Court, Wales

Cardiff Magistrates Court, Cardiff

Cardiff Crown Court, Cardiff

Chelmsford Magistrates Court, Essex

Cheshunt Magistrates Court, Herts

Colchester Magistrates Court, Essex

Coventry Magistrates Court, West Midlands

Croydon Magistrates Court, Surrey

Dublin Courts, Ireland

Dudley Magistrates Court, West Midlands

Dumbarton Sheriff Court, Scotland

Dunfermline Sheriff Court, Scotland

Edinburgh Courts, Scotland

Elgin Courts, Scotland

Falkirk Courts, Scotland

Feltham Magistrates Court, London

Gee Street County Court, London

Grays Magistrates Court, Essex

Greenock Courts, Scotland

Greenwich Magistrates Court, London

Grimsby Magistrates Court, Humberside

Haddington Sheriff Court, Scotland

Halesowen Magistrates Court, West Midlands

Hamilton Court, Scotland

Haringey Magistrates Court, London

Hartlepool Courts, Yorkshire

Hemel Hempstead Magistrates Court, Herts

Hendon Magistrates Court, London

Hereford Magistrates Court, Worcs

High Wycombe Magistrates Court, Buckinghamshire

Highbury Youth Court, London

Highbury Magistrates Court, London

Hull Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Humberside Courts, Humberside

Huntingdon Magistrates Court, Cams

Inverness Court, Scotland

Ipswich Magistrates Court, Suffolk

Isleworth Magistrates Court, Middlesex

Kidderminster Magistrates Court, Worcs

Kingston Crown Courts, Surrey

Leamington Courts, Warwickshire

Lincoln Court, Lincolnshire

Lowestoft Magistrates Court, Suffolk

Luton Magistrates Court, Bedfordshire

Margate Magistrates Court, Kent

Mildenhall Magistrates Court, Suffolk

Newark Magistrates Court, Nottinghamshire

Newry Courts Complex, N. Ireland

Northallerton Courts, Derbyshire

Northampton Magistrates Court, Northants

Nuneaton Courts, Leicestershire

Paisley Sheriff Court, Scotland

Peterborough Magistrates Court, Cambs

Pickering Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Port Talbot Magistrates Court, Wales

Portsmouth Coroners Court, Hampshire

Portsmouth Magistrates Court, Hampshire

Redditch Magistrates Court, Hereford & Worcs

Reading Court, Berkshire

Salisbury Courts, Wiltshire

Scarborough Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Selby Magistrates Court, Yorkshire

Shrewsbury Crown Courts, Shropshire

Southwark Coroners Court, London

Southwark Crown Courts, London

St Albans Magistrates Court, Herts

Stafford Magistrates Court, Staffordshire

Stirling Courts, Scotland

Stoke Magistrates Court, Staffordshire

Stratford Magistrates Court, London

Sudbury Magistrates Court, Suffolk

Swaffham Magistrates Court, Norfolk

Tamworth Magistrates Court, Staffs

Thames Magistrates Court, London

Thetford Magistrates Court, Norfolk

Uxbridge Magistrates Court, Middlesex

Victoria Magistrates Court, West Midlands

Wakefield Court, Yorkshire

Wellingborough Magistrates Court, Northants

Welshpool Magistrates Court, Wales

West Lothian Courts, Scotland

  organisations and institutions project reference icon  

We are proud to have supplied seating to the following organisations:

Army School of Recruiting, Dorset

Aylesbury Leisure Centre, Buckinghamshire

Benefits Agency, London

Brighton Hospital, Brighton

Christies Hospital, Manchester

Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh

Essex Fire and Rescue HQ, Essex

Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey

Greenwich Maritime Museum, London

Horsham Leisure Centre, Sussex

Manchester Pools, Lancashire

Yamazaki Mazak UK, Worcestershire

Natural History Museum, London

Pembroke County Council, Wales

Price Waterhouse Coopers, London

Royal College of Pathologists, London

Russell Hall Hospital, West Midlands

TA Centre, London

Tower of London, London

Vidal Sassoon, London

floor fixed seating upholstered chairs image

Chart Area Seating - specialists in lecture theatre seating, high-density seating for conference, seminar and lecture facilities, function rooms and banqueting

At Chart Area Seating we specialise in the specification, supply and delivery of system seating solutions including high-density stacking chairs, tip-up and fixed seating for auditoria and lecture theatres, beam and pedestal mounted seating, home cinema seating, courtroom seating, airport, concourse and waiting area seating.

These seating products are used in seminar and conference facilities, in waiting areas and on concourses, in auditoria, theatres and training rooms. Working with some of the best-established and innovative manufacturers we listen to our clients, understand their requirements and propose the right solutions tailor-made to suit their needs.

We provide technical support and product guidance on this specialised product sector to architects and designers, end-users and specifiers.

Lecture Theatre Seating

Lecture Theatre and Auditorium Seating is one of the key areas for Chart Area Seating and we are proud to have installed tip-up and fixed seating in some of the UK's most prestigious academic and corporate institutions working with our clients at every stage of the design, specification and installation process to create superb lecture theatre facilities.

Our portfolio incorporates an extensive range of beam, pedestal and floor mounted seating products which ensures we can propose the best lecture theatre seating solution to match your specific and unique requirements. View our range of lecture theatre seating here and view our gallery of lecture theatre seating products.

We have prepared a guide to planning an effective lecture theatre which is available to read here.

We have also compiled a list of some of the most important elements of an effective lecture theatre seating environment as nominated by those who use them most; students, and this is available to read here.

Visit our references page to view the list of clients we have worked with to create effective lecture theatres.

Court Room Seating Furniture

We are proud to have installed Court Room Seating to over 100 court houses and complexes throughout the UK. Our references page lists some of the courtrooms using seating provided by Chart Area Seating, alternatively please contact us and we will be delighted to send you the full reference list and presentation.