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Bleacher Design Standards

When building a new set of grandstands, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first step is to connect with a grandstand manufacturing company to start communicating with a designer. With that designer, you can start developing your goals for the functionality of the grandstand. They can take your goals, implement them in the design, and start building out your quote.

How To Build Bleachers

Historically, bleachers, have all had the same design, rise, and run. But in more recent years, manufacturers have started developing unique sets of bleachers with VIP sections, ADA compliant sections, and more. The industry standard for seating capacity is normally 18 inches per seat, 20 inches per chair with armrests, and in some states, 24 inches per bench seat. It is smart to check with your local high school rules association to understand the rules and regulations locally.

You can construct a set of Grandstands in different ways, each with their unique benefits. Ultimately, your goal is to provide the best sight-line experience for your spectators. To do this, it is smart to analyze your potential Grandstand site, test the soil, and decide on a bleacher design that meets your facilities goals.


Different Bleacher Designs

Angle Frame Bleachers - Angle framed bleachers have a frame built out of 45-degree angles. They can be constructed in either elevated design or non-elevated design. Angle-Framed Grandstands are perfect on flat ground and on a concrete slab. These are great for smaller football fields, baseball fields, and soccer fields. They are the more traditional design to build bleachers and are normally used on non-elevated smaller sets of bleachers.

I-Beam Bleachers - I-Beam bleachers have a frame built at 90-degree angles. Our clients have used these stands for football fields, baseball fields, and soccer fields. I-Beam bleachers are great when the ground is sloping or if you want to construct revenue-generating buildings underneath the grandstand. When constructing an I-Beam set of grandstands, the frame’s footing and piers are spaced 18 feet left to right, and 12 feet to 18 feet front to back. Large grandstands and elevated bleachers use the I-Beam bleacher design.

Elevated Bleachers - Bleachers where the first row starts 30 inches to 40 inches above the ground.

Non-elevated Bleachers - Bleachers where the first row starts on the ground. A spectator sitting on the bottom row will have their feet on the ground.

Portable Bleachers - Bleachers that are easily moved or stored. These bleachers sometimes have wheels permanently attached, so they can be tipped over and rolled or are small and light enough that they can be attached to a trailer and moved from field to field.


Testing and Understanding Soil Conditions

When building grandstands, it’s smart to pay to have your soil tested. You want the ground to be able to withstand the force of a fully occupied set of bleachers. The industry standard and grandstand building regulations require a soil psf (load bearing volume) between 2,500 and 3,000. If your test comes back below that, it will delay your estimated construction time.

Sight-line & Bleacher Dimensions


The Sight-Line is the optimal viewing guide for your spectators. While building grandstands, we want to build them in a way that the most people can have an optimized view of the field. There is an algorithm for developing intentional sight-lines for your bleachers. The sightline value would be called the “C-value.” For example:

D= The horizontal distance from the eye to the field.

N= The riser height.

R= The vertical height to the point of focus.

T= The seating row depth.

The equation is: C = (D(N+R) / D+T) - R

By inputting your respective values into the equation, you can find a sightline that would make the most optimized view for all of your spectators.

If you’re interested in a free quote, our team at GT Grandstands can walk you through the process of constructing your new set of bleachers!