Does our Tent Require a Permit

The Brighton Area Fire Authority is responsible for enforcing the Fire Code in occupancies located in Brighton City, Brighton Township and Genoa Township including temporary facilities.  Temporary facilities can include tents, membrane structures, and other facilities that are intended for occupancy.

These facilities are typically associated with public and private events and advanced coordination is required.  Depending on the activity, a civic events or other temporary use permit may be required by the municipality in addition to BAFA.  If you are one of the many that would like to put up a tent for your event this year, here are a couple of general reminders:

Size Requirements:

An operational permit is required to operate an air-supported temporary membrane structure or a tent having an area in excess of 400 square feet (37 m2).


  1. Tents used exclusively for recreational camping purposes.
  2. Tents open on all sides, which comply with all of the following:
  3. Individual tents having a maximum size of 700 square feet (65 m2)
  4. The aggregate area of multiple tents placed side by side without a fire break clearance of not less than 12 feet (3658 mm) shall not exceed 700 square feet (65 m2) total.
  5. A minimum clearance of 12 feet (3658 mm) to structures and other tents shall be provided.


Temporary tents, air-supported, air-inflated or tensioned membrane structures shall not be erected for a period of more than 180 days within a 12-month period on a single premises.

Permit Application & Inspection:

A detailed site and floor plan for tents or membrane structures with an occupant load of 50 or more shall be provided with each application for approval. The tent or membrane structure floor plan shall indicate details of

  • The means of egress facilities,
  • Seating capacity and arrangement of the seating
  • Type of heating and electrical equipment.
  • Egress lighting if the canopy is utilized during non-daylight hours

The entire tent, air-supported, air-inflated or tensioned membrane structure system shall be inspected at regular intervals, but not less than two times per permit use period, by the permittee, owner or agent to determine that the installation is maintained in accordance with this chapter.

An inspection report shall be provided and shall consist of maintenance, anchors and fabric inspections.


Before a permit is granted, the owner or agent shall file with the fire code official a certificate executed by an approved testing laboratory certifying that the tents and membrane structures and their appurtenances; sidewalls, drops and tarpaulins; floor coverings, bunting and combustible decorative materials and effects, including sawdust when used on floors or passageways, are composed of material meeting the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701 or shall be treated with a flame retardant in an approved manner and meet the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701, and that such flame propagation performance criteria are effective for the period specified by the permit. Membrane structures or tents shall have a permanently affixed label bearing the identification of size and fabric or material type.


Fire apparatus access roads shall be provided in accordance with Section 503 of the International Fire Code 2012 Edition which can be found online for free.

As stated before, these are some of the general reminders for you to consider when applying for a tent permit. For the full details of the Tents and Other Membrane structures portion of the fire code, feel free to contact the Brighton Area Fire Department at (810)229-6640, and ask for an inspector. Please visit the Commonly Requested Forms Page in the Online Resources directory and look for; Tent – Event Application for additional details and Permit Application.


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