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Access to rigging

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by BillConnerFASTC, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. JAC

    JAC Member

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    Bill, do you think the client will end up with a better/safer theatre if you walk away? I'd bet not.
     
  2. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, many wiser people than me have already spoken. But here's my 2 cents. The responsibility to inspect is on the owner, not the architect or consultant. You can put in beautiful catwalks and give them all the access in the world, and they still may not inspect. Much has already been said about the difficulty of getting the funding to bring in a pro. I got a quick online quote of $750/week to rent a 50' lift in my area. 66 years worth of annual inspections to get up to $50k. I think the math speaks for itself...

    Seems like the only real sticking point is how much you care about the people who are going to be working in the venue. School board doesn't care about them/how easy it is to work in that environment. They don't get it.
     
  3. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Good question. I have no idea. Many possible outcomes. What happens if it's contractor designed, no access, never inspected, and in 25 years no accidents? How many nights can someone drive home drunk and avoid consequences? It's a risk I am no longer interested in taking.

    (I have one no-access new build project iirc - many years ago. I think a couple of retrofits.)
     
  4. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I'm uncomfortable with the the idea of a fly system in any space that does not have a full-time, professional TD. An early mentor once said that a theatre is the only place in the US where you can operate a crane over people's heads. Not positive that's true, but it lends perspective. Would we let a drama teacher and some students maintain and operate a construction crane, or ski lift or something? To me, if you can't meet x,y and z standards, you just can't have the thing. Lots of great theatre happens without fly systems.

    Of course, now you're spending way more time on a ladder / lift / scaffold. Is that safer? As a HS student I once left myself hanging from a batten when my (poorly maintained) ladder went out from under me. Risk assessment is hard.
     
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  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    +1

    Yes - as I understand it there are not supposed to be workers allowed under hoisted loads on a construction sight but on a stage, all is allowed and customary. Repeating myself (though I don't think recently) of the 7 exceptions to a guard (rail) in the codes, 5 are specific to stages and entertainment technology and one of the other two is loading docks, aslo common to stages. I'm pretty certain that fall hazard results in many more injuries than rigging, another reason for having qualified persons responsible for stage and auditorium operation.
     
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  6. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    Bill, I don't think you should walk away. As mention most staff employed at these theaters are not qualified to actually inspect rigging. Yet all rigging should be inspected. Stating such in your specs should suffice. There are options that they can choose from, catwalks are one. But write specs that fit what they are asking for that meet codes.
     
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  7. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps a cost of ownership analysis would show the benefits of easy inspection access? At some point the extra steel will pay for itself.
     
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  8. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I can't accept the liability of having a non expert make a choice that I, as expert, know is wrong or at least doesn't meet the standard of care for the issue, whether I'm told of the choice or not. Owner or architect or contractor changes the way the rigging is done and it goes teats up, I have responsibility.

    I think Erich explains very well the value of building in access.

    If we all didn't seem to have fun and enjoy the crafts and tasks of performing arts, it might be taken more seriously. (That's meant to be a little humorous for those that take everything seriously.)
     
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  9. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the late response, but yes, feel free to share it with your potential client.
    @dvsDave yes, feel free to post to the resources.
     
  10. MPowers

    MPowers Well-Known Member

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    Erich, I just caught up on some reading, VERY nice paper re: missing steel. Bill, you know my feelings on this. Sometimes it feels I'm just beating my head against a wall, or pushing a boulder up a hill .....again....! For what its worth, I've been in a couple of Bill's buildings and I really like the multiple catwalk solution if a full walking grid is out of the question. This is a battle I've been, .... we've all been, fighting for years. I was involved in a building in Iowa that, against my adamant advice, included neither a loading rail or a grid or catwalks. I tried to have my name removed from the project but for legal and a number of other reasons, I was unable. TD's will curse my name for decades to come, I'm sure. After completion they wound up having to add an overhaul winch to load arbors and students were not allowed to use it. There were a couple of "fixes" that had to be done at grid height after construction was 99% complete. Getting a 55' lift in, overlaying the floor with several layers of 3/4" ply to help support the lift, about 3-4 hours worth of labor every time the lift had to move up or down stage , etc etc. Bill, let them look at the stage at the newest High school stage in Ft Dodge, Iowa if they want to see the folly of not having access.
     
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  11. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @venuetech @BillConnerFASTC @MPowers @teqniqal @twinters630 Writing in support with two queries:
    So long as height AFF (Above Finished Floor) is available, hand rails on both sides of multiple catwalks cost money to draw, fabricate and weld in position. At what point is it more affordable to run a steel grid wall to wall and US to DS with either loft blocks on the grid or suspended from beams overhead and save the cost of all of the custom handrails?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  12. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The issue is high trim. You can have a high (batten) trim around 45' between and upstage and down stage of the catwalks with a 50' roof deck. If this was continous, high trim would be limited to 37-38'. I think the higher trim is well worth having an 18-20' masking trim and being able to fly 20-22' drops. And to go over 50' high roof deck is probably a half to three quarter million dollar add because of the fire separation of stage from auditorium.

    I think you also over estimate the complexity of the railings - just two runs of 2 1/2 or 3 inch angle. Plus the full grid more than triples the sq feet of walking area, and requires more structure to support it.

    Its a choice but I simply try to make the most of a 50' stage.

    PS catwalk deck is less expensive than anything suitable for a gridiron.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  13. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I'm now sitting down to design a quad-copter powered personnel lift that will allow work at any height in any location with no load on the floor. I'm going to be a billionaire and you will all thank me.
     
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  14. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I plan to make my billion by inventing a high speed toaster. As someone that has spent a lot of time in hotel breakfast areas waiting for toast, I'm sure there is a huge market. I figure a combination of gas flames, microwaves, and flash of radiation - just a little piece of radium - ought to do it.
     
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  15. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @kicknargel I'm loving it and definitely NOT laughing. It's easy to think back to a time when scissor lifts were not only unheard of but not within anyone's wildest imagination or future thoughts, trestle ladders loose-pinned onto custom built dollies accompanied by dedicated four person crews at the base before the lone climber straddled the top to work with both hands free reigned supreme and hydraulic motorized 'zoom-booms' became commonplace. Remember when the first pneumatic "air lifts" came out, the springy ones that rose on three 36' telescoping pneumatic cylinders? Remember when you and your tools used to clamber aboard, tramp on the foot operated valve until you slowly ascended to your desired height using your hands and arms to breast drops, borders and LX pipes out of your way and the label instructed you to stand on the gripper for the ACL and continue adding pressurized air until the lift was stable with the ACL under tension?
    If you're still with me, I'm certain you can still recall leaning hard into your hammer-drill to drill holes in your poured concrete ceiling to secure 'tamp-in' anchors only to find your knees rising up to your shoulders when you'd completed drilling a hole due to your efforts having effectively further compressed the lift down just enough to release the brake's grip on the tensioning cable.
    Yeah, you too remember those days and the first generations of those lifts.
    @kicknargel , as I said 'way back on page 1, I'm loving your vision and I'm most emphatically NOT laughing.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  16. tjrobb

    tjrobb Active Member

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    With the right amount of radium, both you and the bread get toasted! [email protected]
     
  17. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Solves social security and Medicare running out on money as well.
     
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  18. MPowers

    MPowers Well-Known Member

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    I do indeed remember all the above. Including the A frame on a rolling 4x8 wagon, but without the 4 helpers. I've "heard" that "some people" would move themselves py pulling sideways on the pipe, .... or so I've "heard." The same with early Geni's before we learned about outriggers........ so I've "heard!"
    When I first started rigging there were no such things as chain motors. Rigging in an auditorium meant climbing up and placing a block and fall. When everything was in place, a whole LOT of stagehands hauled at once! Of course we weren't rigging 20,000 lb. concert ceilings with s0 or more movers. It took a lot longer to rig all the block and falls than todays chain motors. We had two complete sets of rigging and Ron (lead rigger) and I would leapfrog a stop ahead and rig everything, go back to the gig that is striking, run strike, next day pull all the rigging from the grid and trusses, leap ahead and start over. We prayed for for at least 4 day weekend runs and cursed the promoter for one night stands.
     
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  19. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @MPowers Matching your memories and recalling the blocks as 3 to 2 blocks each reeved with approximately 400' of 5/8" hemp to tour 60' venues.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron (Most definitely NEVER a lead rigger but often the short IA guy on the ground under the cluster of perspiring arm pits) Hebbard
     
  20. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I spent a week with a circus in Mexico, and they didn't even have the A-frame, just a straight ladder and 4 guys to hold it up while one climbed. Granted, they were the acrobats after they finished loading in.
     
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