What should you be looking out for when you’re renting a tent for your event? I'm asking Tim Smedts of De Boer tents. We also discuss the safety, the newest options in tent structures and the costs involved.
Hi Tim, welcome to our studio.
Today we are going to talk about tents, tents on events. Maybe to start with, why should I choose for a tent and not a traditional event venue?
I always think that if you choose for a tent, you choose for a special occasion, you choose for a unique location. Rather than a fixed structure which is already there with the same measurements, the same height.
It always looks the same. When you choose for a tent, you can do something special. You can go to a location where no one else has ever gone before. You can stay on your own location. You can do whatever you want. There is more flexibility in choosing a tent than choosing for another event venue.
But it also comes at a cost.
Of course, it comes with a cost.
Is a tent more expensive than a venue? I think so, but...
Yeah, a tent is more expensive than a fixed venue. And the reason why is easy. A tent, you have to build it, dismantle it, and that takes a lot of time and a lot of people to do. And the thing is, it doesn't stop with the tent. You have your location, you have to build your tent, but you also have to do all the lighting, heating, etcetera. So all of these different suppliers have to come together to one location, build something, dismantle it again, and that takes a lot of effort.
But you have the advantage of being on a very beautiful location. Like, for example, on this picture.
This is a nice location.
You wouldn't find a venue placed on that location.
In the middle of the water? No, no, no. That's what I meant with, you can do something unique when you choose for a tent structure. It wouldn't have been possible to create this atmosphere in a normal venue.
Can you put up a tent everywhere or do you need certain things to be there?
Well, I think the picture says it all. Yes, you can build a tent everywhere. We tend to say everything is possible, but everything comes with a cost.
There's no real issue in building a tent on top of a hill or on top of a roof of a building… or building on the water, etcetera. But you need to know that if you have to build on top of a roof, you have to get all the materials up.
So you need a crane to put the materials on top, which costs more money. So you can do whatever you want but it will cost you a lot more money if you do something very, very special… like in this case, than building it on a flat surface like a parking area.
There it's easy because you can come over with a truck nearby...
If you look at tents, there aren't any more the traditional tents like we had ten, twenty years ago.
It's a lot more than that. What’s changed, what's new?
Well, the first thing that changed is we stopped calling our tents, tents.
Okay! I'm sorry for calling it tent.
No problem. We rather call them, structure or temporary accommodation. Because that's what we do. We provide a temporary accommodation to people who need something.
And what's the difference then, with a tent?
The difference comes with what the market wants. And those are things like, side height. They need side height of six meters, seven, eight, nine, ten. So we need a lot more side height. The curving of the roof is something special. The windows; they used to be vertical and now they are horizontal all the time. What we tend to do is we look at the market and see, what does the market want. And one of our last things we created is the structure which is on the picture. And it has to do with building things like a catering area or an entrance area. You always have to attach them to the structure. What we did now is we created a new structure which has what we call wings. And you can just add a wing to the structure to have your entrance or your catering area. So you do not have to mess around with gutters and adding structures, you just have it in one area all at once.
And that makes it easier.
But it also will take time to put together a… structure like this.
Yeah, it does. We generally say that, in normal circumstances, we can build up to 800 to 1,000 square meters per day. So if you take into account that you have to build 2,000 square meters, you have to have at least two days to build the structure. But then of course you have the other suppliers which have to come and they have to do their work as well. For the Belgium market, what we say is, if you take three days… you've got normally more than time enough to build a tent structure. That's 1 to 1,5 days for the structure and then the other 1,5 days to fill it with carpet lining, lighting, etcetera.
But three days is still quite okay.
Three days is quite okay. On normal areas, you have those three days, and then the company… whether it's an event company or the end customer, has time to finalize the structure… whatever they want to do inside, and then the event can take place.
And what about safety? Because if you look at the news, it's not the first tent that will get blown away. How can you prevent that from happening?
Well, if we look at the evolution; safety was always in the discussion, but it was more on the background. Nowadays, safety is somewhat the first thing which comes up when you start talking to a client. The first question is: you’re going to build a tent for us; can you please provide me… with all the wind loadings and snow loadings, etcetera. What safety certificates do you have and can you provide them to us? So it becomes more of a first-thing issue before you start building.
Tim, thank you very much for all those tips.
And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next time.