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Mechanical contrivance

Erection of mechanical contrivances such as a grandstand (or similar structure) for use by the public

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Mechanical Contrivances Regulation Act 1923 

Please be aware that in the Act “Mechanical Contrivance” means any whirligig, swing, merry-go-round, aerial flight, water chute, switch-back or other like contrivances used for carrying purposes for amusement, and shall include a grandstand.”

Any person who operates a mechanical contrivance for use by the public for the purposes of profit, either directly or indirectly, is required by The Mechanical Contrivances Regulation Act 1923 to hold a certificate issued by or under the authority of the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture (the Department). This year the Department has introduced a number of changes to the application process and we would urge you to read the contents of this letter carefully.  

In order to obtain a certificate you should follow one of two processes.

1. The Department would encourage all applicants to do the following. 

  • Notify the Department of your intention to erect any grandstand or similar structure. You can do this by completing the application form (downloadable to the right) for a Mechanical Contrivance Regulation Certificate.   
  • The completed application form for a Mechanical Contrivance Regulation Certificate must be submitted together with a site location plan, indicating the site footprint of the proposed contrivance in red, a copy of the design and structural plans (including calculations) and details of your structural engineer or competent person (if you have one), to Planning & Building Control, DEFA, Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas. IM1 2SF.
  • You should appoint a structural engineer or competent person to design a structure using calculations accompanied by drawings and any plans as appropriate. 
  • The structural engineer or competent person should then assess the built structure for compliance with structural standards and their own design drawings and calculations. 
  • On receipt of written confirmation from the structural engineer or competent person that the contrivance has been erected in accordance with the specifications provided, a mechanical contrivances certificate may be issued
  • The structure can only be used following written confirmation from the Department that they are satisfied with the information provided, in the form of a certificate.  

Please be aware that you will be required to pay a fee to the Department to cover any administration costs and, where necessary any inspection costs where there is a need for a structural engineer to be appointed by the Department should they not be satisfied with the initial information provided. The Department will issue you with a Certificate.   

2. Alternatively. 

  • You may opt to notify the Department in advance of your intention to erect a grandstand or similar structure by completing the same application form for a Mechanical Contrivance Regulation Certificate. 
  • Upon completion of the built structure, you should notify the Department and a suitably qualified structural engineer will be appointed by the Department to inspect the structure and any associated paperwork including design calculations. 
  • Following a satisfactory inspection by the Department’s appointed structural engineer, a certificate will be issued by the Department, at this point the structure may be used. 

You, as the operator will be responsible for all administration and inspection costs including the engineer’s costs should you choose this option. These cost must be met before any certificate will be issued.    

Please note:

A Mechanical Contrivance includes (but is not restricted to) a grandstand or similar structure. The Certificate referred to will be valid for a maximum of 12 months up to the 31 December in the year of issue.

Health and Safety

You should also be aware that the Health and Safety at Work etc Act may apply to your undertaking whether or not you are making a profit. 

  • Measures should include, but not be limited to ensuring suitable access and egress from any nearby roads, particularly any parts of the TT course. 
  • You should also ensure measures are adopted to reduce to as low as reasonably practicable the risk of outbreak of fire or any other emergency occurrence. 
  • We would expect that appropriate risk assessments are undertaken by a competent person including any fire risk assessments. 

Should you require any health and safety advice please contact the Health and Safety team on +44 1624 685881. 

Food safety

If you choose to include the sale of food in your operation, this may be subject to Food Safety Legislation; the food safety team can provide advice in this regard. They can be contacted on +44 1624 685881.

Planning and Building Control

The design and construction of your structure may be subject to the need for the submission of a Planning application or an application under Building Control Legislation. For further advice please contact them on +44 1624 685950.

Environmental Protection

If there is a need to trim hedges or alter hedgerows to facilitate the construction of your structure or to create access to or egress from the site you are strongly advised to contact the Environmental Health Unit on +44 1624 686247. 

Please feel free to contact the Department on the +44 1624 685950 should you wish to discuss the process in more detail.

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