Tent & Canopy Use Guidelines

Tents and Canopies at the University of WA (Seattle Campus)

This summarizes requirements and procedures for erecting temporary tents and canopies on the UW Seattle campus. Also, see Tent Permit Conditions (PDF).

small tent example

Tents larger than 400 square feet require a permit, review and inspection prior to use. The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) has a standing agreement with the SFD that allows multiple tents to be erected under a single annual permit for the entire Seattle campus for UW sponsored events. Non-campus groups must obtain their own permit from the SFD.

example of large tent

The SFD permit is issued to EH&S Building and Fire Safety. EH&S has agreed to perform the fire safety review and inspection on behalf of the SFD. This activity is performed by an EH&S Fire Prevention and Life Safety Specialist. Tents are typically rented from and erected by local vendors such as Abbey Rentals, AA Party Rentals, and ABC Special Events. They have experience and are familiar with the permit conditions and EH&S involvement.

large canopy

Major events require a diagram of the tent(s) showing location, seating arrangement, exits and other details. Permit conditions are extensive and include such requirements as:

  • clear area away from buildings
  • minimum number of exits and exit widths
  • fire extinguishers
  • no open flames
  • flame retardant materials
  • heating devices (electric only)
  • structural integrity
  • wind resistance
  • other hazards

Air Supported Structures

A structure wherein the shape of the structure is attained by the air pressure , and occupants of the structure are within the elevated pressure area.

air supported church tent air supported tent

Air Inflated Structures

A building where the shape of the structure is maintained by air pressurization of cells or tubes to form a barrel vault over usable area. Occupants of such a structure do not occupy the pressurized areas used to support the structure.

inflated tent inflated tent

To Request Approval to Erect a Tent

Please submit a completed EH&S Tent Application form (PDF) or print and send the completed form to Darren Branum, Box 354400, ten days before the event. For questions, contact Darren at dlbranum@uw.edu or 206.616.5519.