The Vitality of Ballasting

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Ballasting is vital to the safety of our crews, our clients and the thousands of people we cover each year. Ballasting is the means to provide stability and secure objects to keep them from moving. The best examples in daily practice is an anchor for a ship at sea or a weight at the end of a balloon.

When ballasting tents, there are many factors that must be included in order to make the proper decision for the client, their specific rental and the site location where the tent will go. Once those factors have been addressed, it is important to review the weather conditions for the complete duration of time that the tent will be rented, including the installation and removal periods.

Luckily, the options for tent ballasts are minimal and making a decision as to which option to employ isn’t as challenging as it might seem. The tenting industry has made huge strides, together with IFAI(Industrial Fabric Association International), in creating and perfecting guidelines that can be applied to many tent sizes that are available on the market.

Within the tent industry the most secure method is to stake tents to the ground. This is achieved by driving double-headed stakes up to 48” into the ground.  It is important to take safety into consideration, the site should be marked and a service such as 811, Call Before You Dig can be contacted to ensure that there are no underground utilities such as gas, electric, phone, fiber optic or water lines in the path of stake. The impact financially for this option is only based on the time required to mark the area and contact 811.

The second more preferred method is anchoring. Anchoring is ideal for long term structures and is used only in concrete with some exceptions for asphalt. The small half a foot threaded anchor is used to drill into the ground at every leg of the tent to meet the ballasting needs for the structure. We will suggest this method if it is an annual event that will utilize the same equipment each year. The financial impact is minimal as the anchors must be purchased.

Our third and final method for ballasting, cement blocks, is used when stakes and/or anchors cannot be used at the site. This method is the most versatile of what we can offer at Made in the Shade. The blocks range in size from 70lbs. to 3500 lbs. in weight. Cement blocks have taken the place of sand bags and water barrel weights, the latter being the most widely used ballasting option up until a few years ago.

The financial impact when using the blocks is much greater than that of staking or anchoring. Most of the costs come from the transportation of the weights; however, we have learned that even the manufacturing of the weights has proven to be a costly endeavor. The blocks do rent at a high rate that is in line with what it takes to prep, load, deliver and pick them up from each rental site. Fortunately, there have been companies such as Block and Roll, which has designed a mold and dolly system that can be purchased, and Tent OX, which is a more versatile forklift that can be used as a way to move the blocks around quickly. Additionally, the Tent OX can be used to drive stakes and pull them from the ground in record time. Having a versatile machine such as the Tent OX really has proven to be a game changer in how we operate.

Safety is one of the most prevalent aspects to our business model. We understand that safety isn’t limited to our teams on the ground, but it has become a culture we have adopted that has become a key to our success. There are many rental companies out there to choose from, but we believe that Made in the Shade stands out from the rest. From set up to break down, everything before and in-between, when you rent from Made in the Shade “We’ve Got You Covered!” isn’t just a catchy slogan, it is the definition of our philosophy and how we conduct ourselves in every aspect of our operation.

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On July 12, 2017

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