Winter Function Advice

Words of wisdom from suppliers for those running winter marquee events


Graham Jordan, Managing Director
From: Cooling and Heating Solutions
Contact: 01590 681434 / www.coolingandheatingsolutions.com

What is your best advice for organisers of winter functions?
Book your heating equipment early. If there is a sudden cold snap, available equipment becomes very scarce very quickly. Also, the amount of heating capacity needed is largely determined by the external air temperature; so, if the temperature is zero, for example, you need twice as much heating capacity as you do at say, 10°C. It is very easy to try to keep costs down by ‘hoping’ for warmer weather, but very easy to get caught out.

Tell us about when things go wrong
In temporary structures, internal linings are often used and installed days before the event. They can be saturated by condensation if heat is not applied at the same time. You need to ensure that electricity supplies are on site early enough. Also, red diesel is often the main source of fuel on site. It is very easy to run out of diesel mid event and, in the countryside, the local farmer’s bulk tank is used to refill. That tank usually has years and years of sludge in it and that results in the heater filters quickly becoming blocked.

How can your product or service help?
We have stringent routines for the service and maintenance of our equipment to provide maximum reliability. We will often put spare stand-by units on site just in case of a problem. Our free, pre-event service provides organisers with a series of prompts to remind them of everything that needs to be taken into account.

What options are there for organisers with small, medium and large budgets?
The industry standard for marquee heating has traditionally been torpedo style diesel fired blower heaters. They are the only option for the lowest budgets, but when budgeting, allow for the cost of diesel consumption. Unlike most suppliers, we provide diesel on sale or return, so there is no deterrent to having more than enough clean diesel on site.

For those with a slightly larger budget, we always recommend having two smaller heaters rather than one large one. This provides better warm air distribution for greater comfort and should there be a malfunction, only a proportion of the total heating is lost. For the largest budgets, we use hot water systems, which are almost silent in operation. They also use much less diesel. Additionally, quartz radiant heaters are available for small peripheral areas such as smoking booths, toilets etc.

We also supply attendant heating engineers for the actual event and they are responsible for thermostat adjustments, changing from cooling to heating at appropriate times and dealing with technical issues.


Louis Cherrill, Business Manager
From: Anchorbloc
Contact: 0800 122 3304 / www.anchor-block.com

What is your best advice for organisers of winter functions?
When organising for a winter function, my best advice would be to ensure you have made the necessary arrangements when it comes to securing temporary structures. With colder days and nights it can be considerably harder to use the traditional method of pegging, increasing the risk of error and failure if the weather was to turn bad. The same goes for the use of intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) -such as large containers holding water – which may freeze, crack, then empty themselves once they thaw, leaving a structure unsecured and open to the elements.

Tell us about when things go wrong
We have all heard stories of disastrous events when marquees and other temporary structures fail or are ripped away from their pegs due to sudden changes in weather. Year on year the UK is experiencing more extreme weather so it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Always ensure you are following the structure’s design requirements, whether stipulated in the manufacturer’s specification or better still, a full set of temporary works designs and calculations so that you can be safe in the knowledge you are doing everything to ensure the safety of your site and the public. Concrete ballast such as Anchor Blocs are 100% reliable and cannot be damaged by the elements. You know exactly what weight they are and how many you need; no more guessing or assuming that enough has been done.

How can your product or service help?
Our products are fully tested to meet British Standard BS 5761, a regulation stipulated within Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015. We offer a full service to our clients, which includes managing transport, loading/offloading and even placement. We can also assist with temporary works designs and on-site health and safety management.

What options are there for organisers with small, medium and large budgets?
We can supply Anchor Blocs in a selection of difference sizes including 250kg, 330kg, 500kg and 1,000kg. We also offer multiple methods of transport in order to provide the most cost-effective option for any event, be it large or small.


Ronnie Brown, Managing Director
From: Blachere Illumination UK
Contact: 01337 832910 / www.blachere-illumination.co.uk

What is your best advice for organisers of winter functions?
Planning, preparation and sound electrical and mechanical infrastructure; give yourself as much time as you can. When you rush things they can go wrong. Get it right first time. There is never enough time to do it right. But there is always time to do it over.

Tell us about when things go wrong
An unlit venue can look pretty drab, even during the summer. However, in the winter the drabness becomes a whole new problem. Not only are you containing the event in a marquee, there are also safety issues to think about. Most marquees have internal lighting, and that’s okay, but if you want to make it special for guests then external lighting is a must. A simple string of bulbs or fairy lights will help, or if there are trees nearby you can light them. External lighting will make your venue bigger. Don’t restrict your event to the marquee; let’s take the party outside!

How can your product or service help?
Festoon and bulbs is a great way to light your venue. Cost-effective too. But you can also use curtains of light. You can find these on our website, just download the catalogue. We also offer a consultancy service and can create a ‘Blachere virtual makeover’ from a photograph of your venue. We turn it into a night scene and superimpose lighting solutions to illustrate a breathtaking visual of what can be achieved.

What options are there for organisers with small, medium and large budgets?
All three have the option to rent or to purchase ex rental products; this makes their budget go further. Get products that can be used in different ways so it looks like you have spent more money when you have just been creative with what you have. You can focus on the focal point and not try to spread the budget too thin.


Susie Cursons, Sales Manager
From: Attwoolls Marquees
Contact: 01452 742 222 / www.attwoollsmarquees.co.uk

What is your best advice for organisers of winter functions?
First off, it is important to provide adequate heating. If budget allows, opting for a marquee structure with glazed / solid sides rather than PVC is always preferable as the insulation properties will be far superior. Also, water will drain underneath a suspended floor. If marquees are linked together, guttering must be secured in place to avoid rainwater cascading through. Another consideration is using trackway to access the site as wet weather conditions result in the ground being inaccessible without it.

Tell us about when things go wrong
On occasions there have been issues when a client has sourced equipment independently from a low cost, low quality supplier with the aim of reducing their costs. This is not only potentially dangerous, but can also lead to an event being ruined; for example, using heating equipment that has malfunctioned or is inadequate, leaving the client with a freezing cold marquee and no professional contact to call upon.

How can your product or service help?
Attwoolls provides a service that offers advice before any event and communicates with the client regarding any concerns we have about the feasibility of a project. We also offer a 24/7 call out service for emergencies. Our large stock of equipment, which includes heating, also ensures that if we need to replace anything it is available.

What options are there for organisers with small, medium and large budgets?
We can accommodate all budgets and offer basic marquees through to bespoke double or triple deck structures. For small garden functions with a minimum budget we offer to hire out small marquees and equipment on a collect and return basis, which removes labour and transport costs for the client.


Graham Crisp, Director
From: GT Trax
Contact: 01487 823344 / www.gttrax.co.uk

What is your best advice for organisers of winter functions?
As suppliers of temporary flooring for craft shows, Christmas markets and indoor marquees, we always advise clients to “never trust the weather” and this is definitely more pertinent during the winter months. Deploying suitable and adequate temporary flooring will not only ensure that visitors’ feet do not the damage the ground, but also directs people to where the organiser wants them to go. This helps with security, safety and ensures a proper ‘flow’ of people is created. We always advise organisers to take a few extra temporary flooring panels, so if the weather takes a turn for the worse they will always have the ability to react quickly and keep the ground protected.

Tell us about when things go wrong
After reading the weather report, the organiser of a large winter outdoor market took the decision to scale back on temporary flooring around some of the trade stands. There was a massive downpour in the middle of the event and the ground quickly churned up into mud. The market stalls that were stationed next to temporary flooring panels didn’t experience a significant drop in footfall past their displays, whereas the areas that had no ground protection were sensibly avoided by visitors, resulting in some very disgruntled stall holders.

How can your product or service help?
We supply a wide range of temporary flooring. The two most popular flooring products for marquee events are LuxTrax modular flooring and Walkover temporary pathways. Both products are made from recycled (and recyclable) material, which helps an organiser to complete their environmental audit. We will visit the site prior to the event to ascertain which particular product is most suitable for the event. We supply large and small quantities and each event gets the same careful attention.

What options are there for organisers with small, medium and large budgets?
We install and remove or supply only, and have a range of prices to suit most budgets. After listening to a client’s needs or visiting the site we will advise on the product to suit the footfall or types of vehicles.

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