Layout criteria for viewing area for spectators with special needs

This Technical Report gives certain design solutions on how a spectator viewing area should be designed in order to cover people with disabilities and special needs.

Layout-Kriterien für den Zuschauerbereich für Zuschauer mit besonderen Anforderungen

Critères de disposition des espaces d'observation pour les spectateurs ayant des besoins spécifiques

Le présent Rapport technique apporte certaines solutions quant à la conception d’espaces d’observation pour spectateurs handicapés ou ayant des besoins spécifiques.

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SIST-TP CEN/TR 15913:2009
Layout criteria for viewing area for spectators with special needs
Layout-Kriterien für den Zuschauerbereich für Zuschauer mit besonderen Anforderungen
Critères de disposition des espaces d'observation pour les spectateurs ayant des
besoins spécifiques
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: CEN/TR 15913:2009
11.180.01 3ULSRPRþNL]D Aids for disabled and
RQHVSRVREOMHQHLQ handicapped persons in
97.200.10 Gledališka, odrska in Theatre, stage and studio
studijska oprema ter delovne equipment
SIST-TP CEN/TR 15913:2009 en,fr,de
2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

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SIST-TP CEN/TR 15913:2009
CEN/TR 15913
August 2009
ICS 97.200.10; 11.180.01
English Version
Spectator facilities - Layout criteria for viewing area for
spectators with special needs
Critères de disposition des espaces d'observation pour les Layout-Kriterien für den Zuschauerbereich für Zuschauer
spectateurs ayant des besoins spécifiques mit besonderen Anforderungen
This Technical Report was approved by CEN on 13 July 2009. It has been drawn up by the Technical Committee CEN/TC 315.
CEN members are the national standards bodies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
Management Centre: Avenue Marnix 17, B-1000 Brussels
© 2009 CEN All rights of exploitation in any form and by any means reserved Ref. No. CEN/TR 15913:2009: E
worldwide for CEN national Members.

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Contents Page
Foreword .3
Introduction .4
1 Scope .5
2 Viewing Areas .5
2.1 Number of Spaces .5
2.2 Location of Viewing Areas .5
2.3 Quality of Viewing Spaces .6
2.4 Viewing Areas for Ambulant Disabled Spectators .6
2.5 Sightlines .7
2.6 Activity Level Viewing Areas .9
2.7 Elevated Viewing Areas . 10
2.8 Flexible Viewing Areas . 12
2.9 Mid-tier Viewing Areas . 13
2.10 Fully Enclosed Viewing Areas . 14
2.11 Standing Accommodation . 15
2.12 Alternative Events. 15
2.13 Supplying Match Commentaries to Viewing Areas . 15
3 Worked Example . 15
4 Glossary . 18
4.1 Disabled spectators . 18
4.2 People with Impaired Vision . 18
4.3 People with Learning Difficulties . 19
4.4 People with Impaired Hearing . 19
4.5 People with Mobility Impairment . 20
4.6 Audio description . 20
Annex A (informative) . 21
Bibliography . 22


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This document (CEN/TR 15913:2009) has been prepared by Technical Committee CEN/TC 315 “Spectator
facilities”, the secretariat of which is held by UNI.
Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of patent
rights. CEN [and/or CENELEC] shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

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This Technical Report has been prepared by CEN/TC 315 in order to establish important criteria for people
with special needs to be considered when a spectator viewing area is designed.

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1 Scope
This Technical Report gives certain design solutions on how a spectator viewing area should be designed in
order to cover people with disabilities and special needs.
2 Viewing Areas
New and existing stands should need to provide accessible viewing areas to all disability groups, including
ambulant disabled spectators. These areas should be in adequate numbers located around the spectator
facility and should be of appropriate viewing quality, to give all spectators a suitable range of viewing options.
Provision and standards should be reviewed by management, disabled spectators and local disability groups
on a regular basis.
2.1 Number of Spaces
Table 1 gives the appropriate guidance on the minimum acceptable scale of provision of wheelchair spaces in
newly constructed stands. Where permanent or removable seating is provided, allowance should be made for
disabled spectators to have a choice of seating at spectator events. They should also be able to have access
to, and the use of, all of the facilities provided within the stadium. Consultations with local supporters and
disability groups should determine the appropriate number of spaces which may, in some instances, exceed
the recommended criteria herein specified.
Table 1 — Recommended provision of wheelchair spaces at a newly constructed spectator facility
Seated capacity of stand or stadium Number of wheelchair spaces
Minimum of 6 or
Under 10,000
1 in 100 of seated capacity
(whichever is greater)
10,000 to 20,000 100 plus 5 per 1,000 above 10,000
20,000 to 40,000 150 plus 3 per 1,000 above 20,000
40,000 or more 210 plus 2 per 1,000 above 40,000

NOTE 1 Refer also to national legislation or equivalent. See also informative Annex A
For existing stands, it is recommended that management provide spaces for people who use wheelchairs’.
When considering the number of spaces, service providers will need to demonstrate that adequate provision
should be made in their Access Statement or Strategy. It is recommended that Table 1 is applied to existing
stands, but where this is impracticable it should be necessary to consult with supporters and local disability
groups over compensatory provision elsewhere in the stadium and this may result in a requirement for extra
spaces in new stands.
2.2 Location of Viewing Areas
Good practice highlights the preference for providing wheelchair users with “a range of vantage points”. It is
therefore recommended that areas for disabled spectators should, where possible, be dispersed throughout
the spectator facility to provide a variety of locations at different levels and for various prices.
When sitting viewing areas, it is recommended that:

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• Management will need to demonstrate through an access audit, a strategy for the provision of adequately
dispersed viewing areas and support accommodation.
• Viewing areas should be accessible to and used independently by spectators with disabilities with the
minimum of assistance.
• Where appropriate, designated viewing areas should be provided for both home and visiting spectators.
• Management should make available clear advice on the location of disabled facilities and wheelchair
spaces to away spectators who may be visiting the spectator facility for the first time.
• Spectators who use wheelchairs or other similar devices should not be located in areas that may make
them feel isolated from spectators in the main body of the stand.
• Access should be available to different areas of a seating deck for ambulant disabled.
• Designated viewing areas should be included in any ‘family’ areas within a spectator facility.
2.3 Quality of Viewing Spaces
Provisions relating to spectator seating are as follows:
• Wheelchair users should be able to manoeuvre easily to a space that allows them a clear view of the
• Wheelchair users should be provided with a choice of sitting next to a disabled or non disabled
• Some seats should be located so that an assistance/guide dog can accompany its owner and rest in front
of, or under, the seat.
Prefabricated, temporary or demountable stands all come under the same criteria as conventional
construction and need to satisfy the same criteria for numbers, dispersal and viewing quality for disabled
spectators. If these criteria cannot be achieved within the stand, alternative and satisfactory provisions may be
Although an individual wheelchair place can be provided by a clear space with a width of at least 900mm and
a depth of at least 1400mm, it is recommended that each designated place should ideally measure 1400mm x
1400mm to allow space for one helper per wheelchair space to sit alongside in a fixed or removable seat.
Spaces shall be marked (outlined) and equipped with the international symbol.
Spectators using electrically powered wheelchairs may need a socket or equivalent electrical device to charge
a flat battery.
Refer also to national legislation or equivalent. See also informative Annex A.
NOTE 1 Designated wheelchair spaces may be those which are kept clear or which can be easily provided by
removing seats (see Section ‘Flexible viewing areas’). Some spaces should be provided in pairs, with standard seating on
at least one side.
NOTE 2 Designers are advised to pursue an enlightened and flexible approach.
2.4 Viewing Areas for Ambulant Disabled Spectators
Although ambulant disabled spectators represent the larger proportion of spectators with disabilities there is
no established guidance on the scale of provision, the location of areas or the design of individual viewing

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spaces. It is, however, essential that a reasonable approach is taken to determine the quality, numbers and
dispersal of seated accommodation to the design standards set out below.
Ideally, Table 1 should be used to determine the minimum proportion of seated accommodation for ambulant
disabled in the whole stadium. Management, access consultants and designers should demonstrate that they
have determined the design requirements in their access plan by consultation with local disability groups and
disabled supporters. The provision should be reviewed regularly.
A reasonable approach should be taken in existing stands, i.e. it may be appropriate to set aside seats at the
end of rows or the front tier or to design entire rows to a higher standard. Each seat should be identified by the
management. Ambulant disabled spectators may prefer not to sit in areas intended primarily for wheelchair
users and their helpers. It may also be appropriate to identify areas to be used by some ambulant disabled
spectators (and their helpers) which are close to vomitories whilst retaining a choice of viewing positions
elsewhere in the stadium.
A flexible layout and management approach will be particularly helpful for spectators with visual impairments
and also with assistance dogs.
It is recommended that some ambulant disabled seating areas are situated where there are few steps to
negotiate, and that some are provided where the rake of the seating tier is not more than 20 degrees. Where
the rake is greater, it is advisable to consider the provision of intermittent handrails on radial gangways (or
If seats are fitted with armrests they should be removable, extra width and extra legroom. Management and
their designers will need to agree appropriate dimensions with local disability groups. Seating row depth
should be available for those who have difficulty in bending their legs (although this may be achieved by the
temporary removal of the seat in front, safety barriers may still be required which may affect sightlines).
‘Premium seating rows’ often provided for Directors etc may be suitable for this purpose. These seats should
be easily identified with vandal-proof markings.
Wheelchair storage space should also be considered within reasonable distance, for those who prefer to
transfer from their wheelchairs to a seat.
Consideration should be given to the care of assistance dogs during a match. Management should ensure
that the ticketing system allocates spaces that do not allow dogs to obstruct gangways.
Spectators using walking frames, crutches, sticks and canes need room to store their devices closely to them
at their seat without obstructing others or reducing passageways.
2.5 Sightlines
Sightlines should be such that all spectators have a clear view of the event to the whole of the activity area,
unobstructed by persons in front, by roof stanchions or by other obstructions. The provision of areas located
around the stadium designated for spectators in wheelchairs has implications for the sightlines of both
disabled spectators and other spectators seated or standing nearby.
The following paragraphs and diagrams explain the advantages and disadvantages of various viewing
locations, and how sightlines are affected.
Sightlines require particularly careful attention, as some wheelchair users cannot lean forwards or sideways in
their seats or turn their heads like non disabled spectators.
Nor should it be forgotten that wheelchair users cannot stand up to avoid having their view blocked. The main
principle is that any wheelchair seating area should be designed so that spectators in wheelchairs can still see
the event when located behind standing accommodation or where people in front may stand up.
The quality of sightlines is defined in ‘C’ values. This is the vertical measurement from the eye level of the
person in front to the sightline from the eye level of the person behind. Calculating ‘C’ values can be complex

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and must be undertaken by a competent person. (In this instance, a competent person must understand ‘C’
values and the wider issues of viewing quality). Care should be taken in considering the average eye level
height of a person using a wheelchair, which is 1.15m. The assumed height of a person standing in front is
1.8m. Although sitting positions in wheelchairs vary considerably, it is recommended that the average position
could be measured in line above the centre point of the wheels.
It is generally acknowledged that an acceptable viewing standard is obtained with a ‘C’ value of 90mm or
above for all new stands. Only under exceptional circumstances can a ‘C’ value of less than 90mm be
considered acceptable e.g. where the recommended maximum viewing distance to any part of the activity
area may be exceeded. It is also acknowledged that at exciting moments during an event some seated
spectators will stand. This can affect the quality of view of those in wheelchair spaces behind.
NOTE 1 For further information on how to calculate sightlines and ‘C’ values see Part 1 of EN 13200-1

1 'C' value
2 Increased height riser or 'Super riser'
Figure 1 — ‘Sightlines for Wheelchair Users’ (Illustrative purposes only)
In order to create an acceptable viewing standard for those in wheelchairs, an increased height riser, or
‘Super riser’, will be necessary, which may be in the order of several times the height of a normal stepping
riser. The United Kingdom National Association of Disabled Supporters (NADS) recommends a minimum
elevated position as illustrated in Figure 1, ‘Sightlines for Wheelchair Users Diagram’ which allows a person in
a wheelchair to see the playing surface over any people standing in the row directly or diagonally in front.
NADS’ preferred minimum increased riser height is 1.2m. However, the calculation of sightlines is a very
complex issue and not a case where ‘one size fits all’. If a lower riser is proposed, designers must
demonstrate that an acceptable viewing standard, as defined in the above paragraphs, can be achieved.
The key issue is that spectators in wheelchairs should have a clear view of the whole activity area at
all times, especially when seated spectators directly or diagonally in front stand up.
It is also important to note that the helper seated adjacent to the wheelchair user should enjoy at least the
minimum ‘C’ value with spectators standing in front.
Conversely, sightlines of non disabled spectators behind and to the side of disabled persons’ areas need to be
considered to ensure that their sightlines are not unduly affected by wheelchair users and their helpers. See
Figure 2. For more guidance on sightlines and possible layouts, see Figure 3, 4, 5 and 6.

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Figure 2 — ‘Wheelchair and helper spaces in mid-tier, front of vomitory’ (Illustrative purposes only)
2.6 Activity Level Viewing Areas
It is a basic principle is that disabled people should have access to any storey of a new non-domestic building.
In the context of spectator facilities, this means that spectators with disabilities should gain a far greater
choice of viewing location than before.
Although it may be appropriate to provide activity level viewing as well as accommodation within the stands,
management will need to ensure that these areas have adequate access to other facilities including WCs and
refreshments. It is recommended that no more than 25% of wheelchair spaces in totality should be at activity
area level side. In addition, visually impaired spectators may wish to be located at activity level to experience
the sounds of play and activity on the pitch. Proximity to the activity level will also benefit spectators with
limited vision. Locations e.g. behind dugouts and the areas behind goals up to the 18-yard line should be
avoided. Whilst the provision of covered pitch-side areas may be considered advantageous it should be noted
that this may interfere with sightlines for spectators behind and a preferred arrangement may be to raise the
seating rows behind. This could have the effect of raising the height of the whole stand and may be costly.
Staff, players’ and coaches’ dugouts and advertising hoardings can obscure sightlines at activity level.
Wheelchair spaces and those likely to be used by blind and partially sighted spectators should not be in
locations where obstructions are likely to occur during an event. E.g to avoid this, activity level viewing should
not be located close to the UEFA defined ‘technical area’ with seats for staff/coaches. Alternatively, these can
be located in the front seating rows. See Diagram 3.
NOTE 1 It should always be remembered that spectators in wheelchairs are less able to adjust their viewing position to
see around or over viewing obstructions.
NOTE 2 Consideration may also be given to the first row of seats for both disabled and non-disabled spectators to be
at a higher level than that of the activity area.

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1 'technical area' can be in front rows
2 unacceptable obstructions
3 check need to increase heath to improve
sightlines behind wheelchair spaces
Figure 3 — ‘Sightlines from activity level viewing areas’ (Illustrative purposes only)
2.7 Elevated Viewing Areas
Although viewing areas above activity level are often preferred by spectators with disabilities, they should be
provided with a choice of vantage points. These should be distributed around the stadium and provided with
easy access to toilets and refreshment areas.
Upper tier positions for disabled spectators were often deemed inappropriate because it was considered that
safety was compromised by the elongated access routes. The provision of access for disabled people to any
level of a new non-domestic building means that this attitude is no longer acceptable.
In locating wheelchair spaces at upper tier levels around the stadium designers should note that this standard
recommends that the maximum recommended viewing distance to any part of the activity area for any
spectator is 190m. (See Part 1 Annex B)
Elevated viewing positions are generally preferred by disabled spectators and can offer better protection from
the elements. These may be offered at positions B, C or D as shown in Diagram 4. Sightlines should not be
compromised by overhanging tiers or roofs.
Locating the viewing area for wheelchair users at the rear of a seating tier could represent an ideal solution in
several respects. It provides perfect sightlines, without any detriment to the sightlines of others. It is easily
accessible and is particularly suitable for emergency escape. Most importantly, it presents the designer with
the opportunity to extend the viewing area horizontally for as far as is necessary to accommodate the number
of wheelchair spaces required.
In a multi-tier stand, a position to the rear of the lower tier is convenient for wheelchair users for a number of
reasons as illustrated in Diagram 4 ‘Sightlines from elevated viewing positions’ and lift access to such a
position may also be relatively easy to achieve. Some spectator facilities may have a topography that allows
effectively ‘ground level’ access to the rear of the upper levels of the facility.


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3 4

1 high balls must still be visible 12m min.
above the centre of the pitch
2 viewing areas at the rear of a seating tier
3 exit from standard seating areas
4 disabled spectators may leave via separate exit
● space for helper
Figure 4 — ‘Sightlines from elevated viewing positions’ (Illustrative purposes only)
NOTE 1 It should also be noted that some spectators with impaired vision who use “low vision aids” may find it
preferable to sit at high level (in front row upper tier positions).
Designers should therefore be prepared for the need to provide upper tier viewing areas for disabled spectators from the
outset of a building project, notwithstanding the inevitable expense involved in providing lifts, toilets and refreshment areas
at the top level of a stand.
Designers should be aware of the impact on sightlines for wheelchair users that handrails might have on
elevated platforms. It may be possible to negotiate an omission or reduction in the requirement for handrails
with the relevant authority. Where they are still required, it is recommended that clear non-reflective safety
glass is used and kept clean, to allow a clear view.

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2.8 Flexible Viewing Areas
Additional wheelchair spaces may be provided by removing seats as long as they are always in pairs and
adjacent to fixed seating for helpers. Space standards and access to all facilities should be the same as for
permanent wheelchair spaces.
This flexibility may be a crucial consideration to achieve the scale of provision in this Technical Report.

1 increase height
2 at front of tier
3 'Super riser' as diagram 3
4 at rear of tier
Figure 5 — ‘Flexible viewing areas’ (Illustrative purposes only)
When viewing areas are not required by spectators with disabilities, it may also be considered acceptable to
install some drop-in or tip-up seats (not loose seats) which will allow their use by non disabled spectators. See
Figure 5 ‘Flexible viewing areas’. In this arrangement two adjoining fixed seats in the front row of the lower tier
are unused and the wheelchair user simply occupies the space. It is important to note that the wheelchair
user’s head may be on average between 40 – 60mm higher and 200 – 300mm further forward than spectators
sitting in fixed seats. The rows behind may need to be increased in height to compensate. Where the
wheelchair space is similarly provided in the back row, the height of the row will need to comply with Figure 5
in order to provide adequate sightlines.
However, it should be recognised that as tickets should be made available to all up to and after the start of
any event there will still be a need for a reasonable allocation of wheelchair spaces at all times.

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Because access and circulation would still have to be provided for the maximum number of wheelchairs that
the area might accommodate, it may be most appropriate to site such flexible viewing areas at the front or the
rear of a seating tier. In these positions, generous circulation widths are more easily accommodated. However,
designers should take into account the recommendation for elevated viewing and the use of ‘Super risers’, as
illustrated in Figure 1 ‘Sightlines for Wheelchair Users’.
Note, however, the implications for sightlines when positioning wheelchair users at the front or rear. See
Figure 5 ‘Flexible viewing areas’. Designers will also need to consider that there may also be an increase of
forward crowd spillage causing greater risk to wheelchair users.
Note, however, the implications for sightlines when positioning wheelchair users at the front or rear. See
Figure 5 ‘Flexible viewing areas’. Designers will also need to consider that there may also be an increase of
forward crowd spillage causing greater risk to wheelchair users.
2.9 Mid-tier Viewing Areas
Viewing areas for wheelchair users in the middle of seating tiers raise a number of issues for designers and
stadium management teams. Figure 2 and 4 illustrate some of the design and sightline issues including an
illustration of unacceptable sightlines in Diagram 6 ‘Unacceptable sightlines from mid-tier viewing locations’.
Some of the issues to be considered by designers are listed in brief below.
A viewing platform directly in front of a vomitory may provide excellent sightlines for wheelchair disabled
spectators. This has to be balanced against the potentially adverse effect on diagonal sightlines for other
spectators seated behind or adjacent.
A good solution may be to provide a continuous horizontal platform along the length of a stand (see Figure 2
and 4), avoiding any obstruction to diagonal sightlines. These platforms may be ideal for fitting with removable
seating for added flexibility.
If egress routes are shared with non disabled spectators, managem

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