# Rigging / Fire Safety inspection

#### RideTheSquirrel

##### Active Member
Good morning folks,

I have an interesting, albeit puzzling, upcoming complication.

I have a rigging and fire safety inspection happening in a few weeks at our flagship venue at the University I am the technical director for. My predecessors have never ever had it done in the 25 years of existence of this theater and I need to get a lift that will allow a worker to get up to a height of 54' for our fly house. We have no grid - we are an underhung off of steel facility - which really makes this a pain. I can't find any lifts that will get that high with the exception of a boom arm electric lift - but it weights 18,000 lbs. I have no idea if the stage deck (concrete) can handle this OR how to find out. I'm in the process of trying to have facilities get my the architectural drawings for the venue - but they're struggling.

Anybody have any helpful suggestions on A.) Where I could find something like an electric indoor lift that goes to 50+' without being enormous, and B.) Where I could find specs/ a company for what the stage deck would be rated for - perhaps is listed on an architectural drawing somewhere?

#### RickR

##### Well-Known Member
A licensed (& insured) structural engineer is the only person whose opinion matters regarding the floor. The are many engineering companies both local and national that would gladly do the work. If necessary they could drill into the floor and foundation to know what's really there. If you're lucky the university has one on staff (far cheaper) or at least one they use regularly.

Probably the best move is to build scaffolding to the ceiling. That's probably how the building was built. No floor worries, and it would make repairs (count on some) faster and easier. A local rental company should set it up and take it down for you. That kind of height takes experience and more insurance!

#### RideTheSquirrel

##### Active Member
Thanks Rick - that's exactly what I was thinking regarding scaffolding. I also agree about the engineer - I would never fathom agreeing to anything outside of my actual profession, and I think a decent amount of people like to assume a lot of things.

#### Van

##### CBMod
CB Mods
In addition to an assessment of the slab capacity you are going to want to protect the heck out of your floor. Do you know how it's constructed? Sprung floor? Your going to need a couple layers of 3/4" ply for the lift to roll on. You don't need to do the whole stage, you can move the sheets as the lift moves about but the fewer sheets you have the longer the inspection will take. Is your Loft steel really at 54'? or is that the ceiling elevation of the flyhouse? If the loft steel is 50' then an electric Scissor with a working height of 51' should do the trick and at only 8,000#'s. You still need floor protection for the weight but it's a lot safer to run over a thinner slab.
The other option might be a "Z-Boom" or Crawler Boom there are some with a 54' working height but you'll need to order it early to let your local rental facility bring it in.

#### What Rigger?

##### I'm so fly....I Neverland.
The possibility, albeit a smaller one without knowing the space, is inspection via Rope Access. This may involve entering the space through the smoke hatches (depending on available anchors and securing the hatches open), or simply building a way to get to the steel and then aid traversing. Maybe hit up Penn State and see if they can hook you up with some assistance?

#### MNicolai

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Talk to your local lift rental company -- I'm sure they see this rather commonly as lifts are used in the construction of these kinds of spaces all the time. Probably will need to look at an articulating boom lift and while they tend to weigh quite a lot, they also have a wide footprint that spreads the load out provided you have the clearances to get it into the building. Also try to dig up architectural or structural drawings of the building. There's a good chance someone knows who the architect was and they may or may not have drawings or insight as well. Failing that, having a structural engineer do an inspection would be wise but they may have a hard time if no one has any drawings.

Is your stage slab-on-grade or do you have a basement or trap room below?

Is your deck entirely concrete or do you have a wood or other floor on top? If you have a wood floor, is it wall-to-wall or does it transition to concrete in the wings?

If it's a wood sprung floor, you may need to throw sheets of 3/4" plywood down to help spread out the load but if that's the case you may also need to evaluate what kind of assembly the sprung floor is. A basket-weave style floor will be more sensitive to heavy point loads than a semi-sprung floor with deflection blocks that limit how much the floor can deflect before grounding out the load directly into the slab.

Scaffolding is not ideal. At that height you wouldn't be able to throw it on casters and move it around easily so you'd be talking about having a rather extensive scaffolding system installed by a professional that would cover basically your entire stage.

Paging @egilson1 as I'm sure he sees this all the time. This is not a novel problem.

#### egilson1

Senior Team
CB Mods
you want an Atrium lift. they tend to be very light (about 6500lb), use outriggers, can get you the hight. BUT, they also tend to be stupid expensive. Like over $4500 a week. #### TimMc ##### Well-Known Member Premium Member you want an Atrium lift. they tend to be very light (about 6500lb), use outriggers, can get you the hight. BUT, they also tend to be stupid expensive. Like over$4500 a week.
And the parts fit through any door you can drive a cube van through.

#### DanAyers

##### Active Member
Many risks can be identified with a video recording from a drone. Battery life can be a bit challenging; you will need to fly the drown in a pre-defined path, analyze the video, and re-shoot the video of suspected risks. This is easier and cheaper than bringing in a lift, (which you'll need to do twice; first for a standard inspection and again for repairs).

Hopefully, you'll be able to determine what parts you need just off of the drone footage.

Now standard disclaimer, There are some risks that are hard to identify from a drone video. But there are many that are easy to identify and can allow you to prepare for when the lift comes in.

#### What Rigger?

##### I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Many risks can be identified with a video recording from a drone. Battery life can be a bit challenging; you will need to fly the drown in a pre-defined path, analyze the video, and re-shoot the video of suspected risks. This is easier and cheaper than bringing in a lift, (which you'll need to do twice; first for a standard inspection and again for repairs).

Hopefully, you'll be able to determine what parts you need just off of the drone footage.

Now standard disclaimer, There are some risks that are hard to identify from a drone video. But there are many that are easy to identify and can allow you to prepare for when the lift comes in.
We're living in the future now!

#### RickBoychuk

##### Member
I do inspections. I ran into a situation like this earlier this year. A lift of suitable height was simply not available in Labrador, Canada. In my report, I noted that I was unable to attain the full height access but that I got up to the maximum of the lift that was available. With binoculars and a camera with flash and zoom lens, I was able to do a reasonable visual inspection. I noted if there were any anomalies that caused concern - there were none. Had there been issues of concern, my report would have recommended that the customer invest in proper access and bring me back. This is not a preferred solution, but provides at least partial, and, in my opinion, reasonable due diligence. As the inspector, it is important to note the limitations of the inspection, i.e., the lift did not allow hands-on inspection, etc. This is one of any of a number of possible 'limitations' for an inspection.

#### tprewitt

##### Member
Yup, sounds like an Atrium lift is definitely the ticket. They are also known as Spider lifts or Spyder lifts. Sometimes you have to have them trucked in from several hours away. "Stupid expensive" sounds about right until you get the labor bill for decking a stage 50'h with scaffolding. Once you get scaffolding built nothing can move more than a foot or two which rules out hearing problems - which is often how I find them.

If you can find a rating in the building plans it will tend to be X lbs per sq foot. That generally works when looking at weight of scaffolding and atrium lifts. Scaffolding can be quite heavy, BTW. I've never had an issue on concrete floors but wood ones often have to be shored up.

Standard articulated lifts are generally ok on concrete but occasionally the floor does need some extra temporary support because the load is in a relatively small area and bounces. If it's a suspended slab adding some bracing in the trap area is usually not a big deal.

There are scissor lifts that will get this high but they are big and heavy. It's only an option for concrete slabs on grade with big dock doors leading directly on stage.

If you don't have a local engineer I'd recommend contacting Kyle Kusmer at ESG (Entertainment Structures Group).

#### flattopthemech

##### New Member
Good morning folks,

I have an interesting, albeit puzzling, upcoming complication.

I have a rigging and fire safety inspection happening in a few weeks at our flagship venue at the University I am the technical director for. My predecessors have never ever had it done in the 25 years of existence of this theater and I need to get a lift that will allow a worker to get up to a height of 54' for our fly house. We have no grid - we are an underhung off of steel facility - which really makes this a pain. I can't find any lifts that will get that high with the exception of a boom arm electric lift - but it weights 18,000 lbs. I have no idea if the stage deck (concrete) can handle this OR how to find out. I'm in the process of trying to have facilities get my the architectural drawings for the venue - but they're struggling.

Anybody have any helpful suggestions on A.) Where I could find something like an electric indoor lift that goes to 50+' without being enormous, and B.) Where I could find specs/ a company for what the stage deck would be rated for - perhaps is listed on an architectural drawing somewhere?
Something like one of these is what we use here in AUS for your situation.

18m is around 55'+
Spreader boards may be required to distribute the load of the unit across your stage and will protect the floor as well
Interestingly my team and I are working on a retro fit install for technical rigging and inspections access in these types of venues, will keep you posted as designs develop.

#### John Palmer

##### Well-Known Member
Back in October, I hadn't seen an Atrium lift. I looked at the postings and thought, "That's cool!"
This week we needed a lift to get up 46"ish over a completely inaccessible area of the house to replace a sprinkler head. I looked at the situation and said, "What we need is an Atrium lift."
We got the JLG X770 with the battery. This lift was amazing. We brought it through a double door. Well, actually, we brought it through three double doors with two of them at a slight offset.
For those in Southern California, we rented it from United Rentals.
Score one for Control Booth!
John

#### Van

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Back in October, I hadn't seen an Atrium lift. I looked at the postings and thought, "That's cool!"
This week we needed a lift to get up 46"ish over a completely inaccessible area of the house to replace a sprinkler head. I looked at the situation and said, "What we need is an Atrium lift."
We got the JLG X770 with the battery. This lift was amazing. We brought it through a double door. Well, actually, we brought it through three double doors with two of them at a slight offset.
For those in Southern California, we rented it from United Rentals.
Score one for Control Booth!
John

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