Hope you have had a wonderful winter so far. It was lovely to get away from the Melbourne cold for a few weeks to visit some beautiful halls in sunny North Queensland but we are now back at www.hallsforhire.com.au HQ, ready for action again!

This month we had one of our members asking about how they work out numbers for their hall.

”We get that question a lot and it’s a tricky one. After all, are they sitting down around tables, are they using all the chairs theatre style? Is it for yoga with mats on the floor or a party? Do you know of any rule of thumb to help with letting people know about how many people can fit in a hall?”

Now, the only standard rule of thumb that I know of personally is working out standing room. This should be approximately 1 person per square meter.

Keeping in mind that this is your total usable area!

There is no point including space you have for kitchen, stage, bar etc. because people will not be standing in these areas. You also need to take out a dance floor area if you are planning on leaving that space vacant or have a permanent dance floor at your venue.

Theatre seating requires approximately the same amount of space as standing but you probably have less available space that can be used as you need to allow space for the stage and a gap between the stage and audience too!

Working through how many tables can fit in a space is a little more complicated and really depending on how big your tables are, if they are rounds or trestle tables etc.  but if you are using standard round banquet tables is approximately 1.25 square meters per person to allow for the space the table takes up.

Here are a number of online calculators, many of which will allow a lot more people than I have above. Please be careful listening to them, as in my experience it just doesn’t work. The smallest calculation you should allow is .9 square metres per person standing.

Here is a pretty good online calculator that I found which allows you to work out a number of different configurations. https://www.meetings.com/Meeting-Room-Capacity-Calculator

On www.hallsforhire.com.au we have a tab specifically for your rooms and the different configurations. Make sure you use this space to list the room dimensions (if known) and how many people you can fit both sitting and standing. Please note, your overall capacity should always be the most people you can fit in your venue, so base it on standing room with no dance floor.

Another thing to keep in mind for your venue is the amount of exits you have available.  This comes into play more when looking at building codes and occupancy rates as it can have an effect on residents escape routes during a fire, but it is something to think about when offering your venue for hire also.  This article is from the US and not applicable here in Australia but an interesting read no less - http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/08/maximum-occupancy-building-calculated/

If you have a question you would like us to address, please drop me an email and we will do our best J deb@hallsforhire.com.au