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The difference between flat ground and level ground

January 17, 2020
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The difference between flat ground and level ground
Written by Alex C

Contrary to what many of us think, level and flat are two completely different terms and it’s extremely important to understand the difference when it comes to setting up your marquee in a safe manner. 

Flat versus Level

By definition, flat simply means a single plane that is free of raised areas or indentations. There are many types of areas that are flat, but not necessarily level. 

Your driveway, for example, is probably flat, but definitely will not be level - or at least, it should not be. If it was level, it would mean that rain water would not run off into a drain and would pool on the surface. Therefore, flat surfaces are generally inclined a few degrees to aid water run off.

Level House Compared To Flat Road
The car is on a completely flat road, but the road is not level. The house in the background is level.

In contrast, a level plane is one that is horizontal to the ground. Meaning the plane is completely parallel to the surface of the earth. This is how houses are built - the floors of the house are built level, regardless of what the ground is doing underneath. If they were not level, you would always feel like the house is leaning in one direction, among many other issues.

Being level is vital for a marquee

It’s important that marquees are set up on both flat AND level ground. 

3x4.5m Folding Marquee
This site may be flat, or may be level, both, or neither.

The reason that it’s important for the ground to be flat is because if the ground is not flat it’s going to cause the frame to bend and bow when it's open. This is bad not only because it puts stress on the frame, but also because it changes the geometry of the entire frame and prevents the top from fitting nice and tight on the frame. The fit of the top on the frame is vital to the operation of the marquee.

Additionally, the ground must be level too. Imagine a house with a flat roof on a 3 degree pitch. If the house is built level, the roof will work correctly and drain off the water during rain. Now, imagine taking that house and building it on a flat plane, but that is 3 degrees off level. Well, the roof now is completely level to the ground, and the water will not run off. 

A marquee not set up level
This marquee is set up on relatively flat ground, but it is not level as all the legs are set to the same height level. It will have issues draining water during rain, and may collapse.

Exactly the same principle applies to marquees. They are designed to work on level ground. The roof pitch is engineered to ensure that it drains water appropriately even in the heaviest rain. But if you set up this marquee on an incline, you will change this geometry and affect it’s ability to perform. 

Leveling a marquee

It is completely reasonable to argue that no ground will ever be completely flat and level in the types of environments that marquees will be used in. We are aware of this and have designed adjustments into our marquees' legs to assist with getting the marquee to compensate for the ground underneath.

Circulex® Leg Height Adjustments
The Circulex® marquee frame has three height adjustments to allow you to level the marquee

The first defense against the marquee not being set up level are the built in height adjustments in the legs of your Technishelter ®. Our height adjustments are spaced out at 10cm increments, and there are three of them, allowing up to a 20cm adjustment between legs. Depending on your size, this means the maximum level of compensation of fall available is between 2-4°. 

Additionally, we have one of the highest roof pitches of any marquees available on the market. Our roofs are designed at a specific pitch, and the unique way we cut the roofs means we get very close to that designed pitch. You will notice with other products in the market, the roof has a very apparent curve. This curve promotes the marquee to pool - so if you’re looking for an anti-pooling marquee, look no further because we’ve thought of that. 

NextUV® Roof With Steep Pitch - Close Up
NextUV® roof with a steep pitch allows excellent water run off

Have you had problems in the past with pooling and marquees collapsing in rain? Contact us to speak about buying the last marquee you'll ever buy.

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