Temporary grandstand seating in the form of demountable structures is a common feature at events such as golf tournaments, horse shows, civic occasions, motor races, pop concerts, and local fairs. The inherent flexibility of these demountable structures is also employed to advantage at permanent centres in providing a variety of arena layouts. Features such as erection, dismantling, and transportation, are more significant than normally posed by design considerations for a conventional structure. From the designer’s viewpoint the structural form combines many of the undesirable utilitarian features of temporary works such as scaffolding, together with the requirements for public safety needed in fixed seating auditoria. The recent collapse of a temporary stand during filming for the BBC television programme ‘It’s a knockout’, 3 May 1982, and the collapse at the Loftus Versefeld rugby ground in Pretoria on 30 August 1969 underline the catastrophe potential. The work described reviews relevant literature and is intended to provide guidance concerning the principal criteria affecting structural performance.