UK - The ABTT has issued a statement following the update issued by Westminster City Council into the Apollo Theatre Investigation.

"The Association of British Theatre Technicians has been leading on the development of advice to theatre owners concerning Suspended Fibrous Plaster ceilings in theatres for most of 2014. A group of experts was convened following the request for further guidance to be added to Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment.

"Now in the final stages of consultation with various stakeholders, the ABTT expects that this comprehensive guidance will be published in February 2014 in the form of a specific Guidance Note, which it understands will be adopted by the Health and Safety Executive as well as becoming a substantial addition to Technical Standards.

"The advice will call for an initial joint survey by both a structural engineer and a plaster expert with further inspections and certifications to be carried out on a risk analysis basis specific to each theatre. The documents will carry model certification to provide a standard form by which Suspended Fibrous Plaster ceilings in theatres are inspected and certificated.

"The ABTT notes the request by City of Westminster Council for rules rather than guidelines and the guidance being produced will provide a comprehensive and practicable framework to support the requirements of the HSE and local authorities."

(Jim Evans)

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