Can a certification body carry out a cost check

Testing of technical systems

Regardless of whether carousels, air swings, Ferris wheels and roller coasters, but also grandstands, tents or concert stages: they are all so-called “flying structures” in the professional world. This is the name given to technical systems that are set up for a certain period of time and then dismantled again. Such systems and especially rides are subject to statutory inspection in Germany, as they have to meet special static and structural requirements for safe operation. TÜV Rheinland has been a testing organization in the field of temporary structures for more than 40 years. Specially trained experts carry out nationwide and, in some cases, international implementation approvals, use approvals, extension and special tests as well as value assessments and expert opinions. The experts from TÜV Rheinland support manufacturers as well as operators and authorities. In Germany, the company inspects around 1,200 structures a year, including around 750 rides and 450 stage structures, grandstands and tents. TÜV Rheinland is accredited as an implementation approval authority in Berlin, Brandenburg and Rhineland-Palatinate and also takes on state-relieving activities in North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, as a test center for structural analysis of flying structures.

In which steps are rides checked? Rides require an execution permit before they can be set up for the first time. Here, compliance with the applicable regulations as well as safety and stability are checked. The approval is issued on the basis of the review by the expert, for example from TÜV Rheinland by the responsible authority and approval body. This is usually the local building inspectorate at the showman's place of business. The approval is valid for a maximum of five years, after which a renewal examination is pending.

The ride may be put into operation with the official approval. However, after each installation, a so-called usage acceptance test must be carried out on site, which, depending on the federal state, is carried out either by local authorities such as the building inspection offices or by commissioned testing companies such as TÜV Rheinland.

In addition, the systems - similar to motor vehicles or elevators - must be regularly subjected to intensive technical tests. The intervals for the tests vary depending on the state and type of ride. Roller coasters have to be checked annually, carousels with hydraulic booms or large Ferris wheels every two years and chain carousels every three years. These recurring tests may only be carried out by specially authorized experts. All safety-relevant components are checked for safe function, rust and signs of wear and, if necessary, further examinations such as material analyzes are carried out.

In Germany, the building regulations of the federal states give regulations for the technical tests. International norms and standards (such as DIN EN 13782, DIN EN 13814 and DIN 18516-3) must be taken into account during the test. Tests may only be carried out by experts. The showman has the obligation to provide evidence of the proper compliance with all tests. For this purpose, a test book is usually kept in which all documents are collected and presented if necessary.

From the point of view of the experts at TÜV Rheinland, the rides in Germany are at a high level of safety. But passengers are also required to observe the respective safety regulations. There are often signs with rules of conduct, size and age restrictions at the cash registers and also in the entrance area. In the case of high-speed circular rides, it is safest if children take their seats in the inner seats and are accompanied by an adult. Employees of the operator ensure that the general regulations are observed.