Standards and regulations

Tents and marquees

Regulations and building code of Quebec

A tent or a marquee is a shelter, an enclosure formed by a canvas stretched over structural elements. This terminology is assigned to all tents, marquees, pavilions, awnings, tipis and any other shelter corresponding to this definition.

What are the regulated tents and marquees?

  • Tents used as a sleeping place of 100 m2 (1,075 ft2) 1 and more (dormitory and others).
  • Tents used for commercial or meeting purposes of 150 m2 (1,600 ft2) or more, or with an occupant load of 60 people or more (show, exhibition, catering, school, entertainment, sport and other). As these tents are equipment intended for public use, they are subject to the Building Act.

Who can set up these tents and marquees?

Only a qualified contractor or owner-builder can set up the aforementioned tents. He must hold a license from the RBQ for this purpose.

Where should we report the installation of tents and marquees?

The installation of tents subject to the contract must be declared directly to a regional office of the RBQ, either individually as they are installed, or globally by attaching an installation schedule to the declaration.

Who is responsible for the security of tent and marquee installations?

The contractor or owner-builder is responsible for knowing and respecting the safety standards relating to the installation of tents and marquees. He must inform the site operator of the measures to be observed when using them, as well as the precautions to be taken in extreme weather conditions.

The installation may be subject to a visit by an inspector, who will verify whether the contractor or the owner-builder is licensed and has complied with the standards for location, assembly and layout. The inspector may require corrections, if necessary.

Excavation info

(everywhere in Quebec) 1-800-ON-EXCAVE

Free Service!

Free geolocation and information service for underground foundations.

Before installing a marquee on unfamiliar terrain, it is recommended to analyze the basements in order to allow our installers to offer you the best anchoring techniques for marquees.

For your safety

Thanks to the service offered by INFO-EXCAVATION, they will not only be able to identify the type of soil but also give you a precise plan for the various installations and infrastructure already buried. In this way, there will be no danger for us installer to strike with the nails of the marquee, a high voltage line, a natural gas line or even damage the sprinkler pipes.

Fire Safety

Marquees; Safety and fire standards

Although marquees and tents do not have to meet the same requirements as a building, certain safety measures must be observed. These measures affect in particular the solidity of the structure, the means of escape, the flammability of materials and the propagation of flames to neighboring buildings.

You will find all the standards that deal with fire prevention and personal safety during the occupation and operation of tents and marquees in the CNPI (National Fire Prevention Code). The regulations may vary from one municipality to another.

What are the safety measures to follow when setting up a tent or marquee?

Several safety measures must be observed when installing a marquee. Some minimum rules are presented here, as an indication, to facilitate the understanding and the application of the codes. These rules relate to the most common arrangements of tents and marquees. For more complex equipment (internal partitions, raised floors, presence of bleachers, stage and others) fire safety must be carried out which will take into account the specific features of the installations.

Before undertaking any installation, it is necessary to plan the layout of the site taking into account factors such as soil resistance, drainage slopes, the presence of high voltage wires and the proximity of neighboring buildings.

Classic Marquees have the expertise to guide you during the creation of your most complex events. Contact us to ensure a professional job!

Solidity of the structure

The structural elements of the marquee (posts, turnbuckles, straps, anchors and others) and the arrangements installed therein such as bleachers, stands and stages must be designed and checked periodically by an engineer. The latter must be able to certify that the equipment concerned and its installation comply with the applicable standards.

Never attempt to work on a marquee, tent or other temporary shelter without the authorization of a Chapiteaux Classic  representative, such as adding decorative or utilitarian elements, as this could unbalance the forces that ensure the integrity of the installation.

Resistance to the spread of fire

The fabrics of our tents and marquees and the materials used have a certain resistance when exposed to a flame. This resistance is the result of a chemical treatment called fireproofing. Ingnifuging a marquee reduces its flammability.

Chapiteaux Classic , conforms to standard CAN / ULC-S109 Tests of fire behavior of non-flammable fabrics and films . The fireproofing treatments must be renewed as needed. During your next rental, do not hesitate to ask us for your fireproofing certificate. This certificate will be requested by the fire department, which always visits the premises before an event held under a marquee in a public place.

Spaces and clearances

In order to limit the risk of fire spreading between the marquees and any other surrounding elements (equipment, buildings, vegetation and others), it is essential to respect certain clearances. Tents and marquees must therefore:

  • Be mounted at least 3 m (10 ft.) from other structures located on the same property and be far enough from each other to provide sufficient space to be used for emergency evacuation.
  • Maintain sufficient distance from property lines to prevent the spread of fire to adjacent properties. This distance is established according to the dimensions of the marquee;
  • Be installed on land that is free of any flammable material or any vegetation likely to spread fire. This lot must include the dimension of the marquee as well as a space of a minimum width of 3 m (10 ft) around the entire periphery of the marquee. Hay, straw, shavings and other similar combustible materials, except those used for animal feed and maintenance, are prohibited in a marquee used as a meeting establishment; however, sawdust, chips may be allowed if kept moist.

Means of egress and exits

Means of egress include the interior route to a safe location outside. The interior course must be a minimum of 44 ”. (1100 mm) of unobstructed width and lead to issues.

The number, width and location of exits must be planned according to the maximum number of occupants. Exits must be kept visible from an illuminated emergency exit sign and must never be obstructed. We can consider as an exit a canvas section of the marquee identified as such, through which it is possible to evacuate the capital quickly and easily. It should be possible, by a simple push in this piece of canvas, to release any mechanism used to close the opening.

Fire alarm system

According to the CNPI (National Fire Prevention Code), marquees and tents with a planned capacity greater than 1000 people must include an audible and visual fire alarm system (stroboscope), and fitted with a triggering station reachable from anywhere in the marquee to a maximum distance of 100 feet. With each trigger station there should be an outlet and a functional and approved fire extinguisher.

Uses prohibited by law

In the marquees occupied by the public, smoking and the use of open flame devices are prohibited. Some municipalities prohibit the use of any type of heating or cooking device inside a tent or marquee. Check with your municipality before planning this type of installation.

Tent and marquee anchorages

Rental of classic marquees meets the safety and engineering standards and standards of the industry.


Capital with underground anchors (standard)

Capital with underground anchors. This is the most solid way to install a marquee.

These are stakes driven into the ground to which the tent tensioners are attached. These obviously serve to hold the tent to the ground but also to allow an equal distribution of the tension of the canvas all around the tent.

We repair the holes in the asphalt

Classic Marquees repairs and plugs holes in the asphalt caused by anchorages on piles. Included with each marquee rental.

In the case of small marquees (see free-standing tents), the stakes are 24 “and 42” deep.
For large capitals, the stakes are anchored 42 inches deep.

Marquee on concrete blocks

Do you want to have a marquee installed in a street? The basement of your land contains rock or cement?

No problem! Classic Marquees has concrete blocks and the appropriate machinery to ensure a safe installation for all sizes of our tents and marquees.

Do you have questions about the content of your soil and its foundations?

Visit info excavation , a free and recommended service before having a marquee installed on your ground.