JF Strainstall has completed a programme of crowd barrier testing for a top flight Premier League football club, helping to ensure the club’s venue meets regulatory safety standards.

JF Strainstall was asked to perform a programme of barrier testing at the academy of one of the UK’s leading Premier League team’s during the summer of 2017 on behalf of the club’s consulting engineers. 

A team of engineers provided a complete solution, including a comprehensive risk assessment, accurate testing, reporting, certification of all compliant barriers and recommendations for improvement where required.

The testing methodology

For this application, the testing regime was completed using the off barrier conformance push – load method. 

To complete the testing, a hydraulic ram was set up at each location in order to mimic the forces that would be applied to the barriers in a crowd control situation. During testing, loads were uniformly distributed along each barrier, with pressure increased by increments of 20% until the total pressure was achieved. At each stage of the test, deflection characteristics, test conditions and results were logged for reporting purposes.

The conformance push-load method provides a flexible, accurate testing regime and in this instance, allowed for sample sections to be tested across a range of specifications as set out in the 2008 guidance.

Key outcomes

Following an initial risk assessment completed by JF Strainstall, 20 barriers were identified across the venue for further investigation. Testing was then undertaken to ensure that each barrier complied with industry standards outlined in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds 2008, which stipulates the acceptable operational parameters for crowd control barriers.

On completion of the testing programme, JF Strainstall provided a comprehensive report detailing the performance of each barrier, including full certification for all sites that were proven to meet the regulatory standard.

For a small number of barriers, the testing revealed points of weakness and as a result, JF Strainstall was able to identify where maintenance would be necessary in the near future. The report identified specific points of interest and recommended remedial works to ensure all barriers remained compliant and the venue continued to offer a safe environment to spectators.