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SJO cable in a theater

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by mrb, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    Is SJO cable allowed to be used in a theater (for use other than breakouts and two-fers)? I saw a new install and all the cable was SJO. I was under the impression the NEC calls for pretty much everything except breakouts and two-fers to be SO cable. I appreciate any info
     
  2. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yes. NEC specifies SO Cord.

    Mike
     
  3. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    What's the specific classification of the theater space verses "Assembly Hall" by way of code?

    Type "S" Extra Hard Service in general is the norm and required but type "SJ" Junior Hard Service at times is appropriate, or at least acceptable. Little specific details also about support verses drop or floor uses also tangling up the specifics beyond length. That said, if theater proper, I would question and not accept SJ.

    Bean counters or sales people in quoting out what is cheaper on the other hand is the next battle in getting what they would for budget. Once the contract is signed in often neither the buyer or the sales person knowing code or the requirements of the space gets done, hard to re-do what the budget afforded or what was in best intent or signed for reversed. In theory those supervising the space in a tech sense know whats' required and have imput, but often that's not the case. Often even if imput, it's not the case those managing the space have any idea of what they want or need.


    Lots of wiggle room and stuff we could get into in length about this whole concept, even an orange extension cord acceptance. Hard battle overall to fight and figure out.
     
  4. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    the 'theater' in question is a dedicated performing arts space with a permanant stage and permanant audience seating. Trusses and whatnot hung in the air with fixtures on them which will be cabled in place for years.

    Theater right?

    Seems to me like it should all be SO, except for twofers and breakouts.

    I keep seeing people mention that its ok if the SJ cable is fixed to truss or battens or whatever, but I cant find anything in the code allowing it. 520 seems pretty cut and dry about which cable is allowed where.
     
  5. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    For areas covered by NEC article 520, it has to be extra-hard usage cable, that is type S and derivatives. Junior hard service cord, type SJ and derivatives is only allowed for twofers and breakouts under certain length and mounting restrictions.

    520.1 Scope.
    This article covers all buildings or that part of a building or structure, indoor or outdoor, designed or used for presentation, dramatic, musical, motion picture projection, or similar purposes and to specific audience seating areas within motion picture or television studios.


    For assembly occupancies covered by Article 518 , both types are acceptable. However, Article 520 rules, even in 518 spaces, under certain conditions:

    518.1 Scope.
    Except for the assembly occupancies explicitly covered by 520.1, this article covers all buildings or portions of buildings or structures designed or intended for the gathering together of 100 or more persons for such purposes as deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation, or similar purposes.

    518.2 General Classification.
    (A) Examples. Assembly occupancies shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    Armories Exhibition halls
    Assembly halls Gymnasiums
    Auditoriums Mortuary chapels
    Bowling lanes Multipurpose rooms
    Club rooms Museums
    Conference rooms Places of awaiting transportation
    Courtrooms Places of religious worship
    Dance halls Pool rooms
    Dining and drinking
    facilities Restaurants
    Skating rinks

    (B) Multiple Occupancies. Where an assembly occupancy forms a portion of a building containing other occupancies, Article 518 applies only to that portion of the building considered an assembly occupancy. Occupancy of any room or space for assembly purposes by less than 100 persons in a building of other occupancy, and incidental to such other occupancy, shall be classified as part of the other occupancy and subject to the provisions applicable thereto.
    (C) Theatrical Areas. Where any such building structure, or portion thereof, contains a projection booth or stage platform or area for the presentation of theatrical or musical productions, either fixed or portable, the wiring for that area, including associated audience seating areas, and all equipment that is used in the referenced area, and portable equipment and wiring for use in the production that will not be connected to permanently installed wiring, shall comply with Article 520.
    FPN: For methods of determining population capacity, see local building code or, in its absence, NFPA 101-2006, Life Safety Code.


    (copyright NFPA)

    ST
     
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  6. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    I listed the scopes of both 518 and 520 in another post, which I think will answer that question.

    ST
     
  7. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    seems really cut and dry, if youve got a stage -youre under 520 (for the stage and its audience area)
     
  8. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I would inform them that their cabling is not to code, and that they should go after the company that did the install, lots of people think that all 12/3 is the same.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I am fighting this exact thing with my district. People before me used orange and yellow extension cord with stagepin ends. Told them I need 2k too bring the place up to code. They said I was already there. I told them they were wrong... cited sources.... all new cable and two-fers coming.
     
  10. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    If your orange and yellow cables are STW and not SJTW they would actually be ok....unlikely, but possible.
     
  11. n1ist

    n1ist Well-Known Member

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    I just find it so annoying to haul in all of my SO cable and find the sound/photo/concession guys showing up with orange SJ or worse (hotdog warmers on SPT2...). The past few shows I have ended up running my own cables at least for the sound guys. Everyone else also likes to forget the gaff and wants to use mine too.
     
  12. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Steve is much more specific to code in detail than I am on these articles than I am. In his posting the specific guidelines I generally follow, if in question its' a good point to start from.

    Color of the cable in by way of SJT verses SJ being the same by code as SEOOW as SOOW though not the same if it touches a lighting fixture in a safety thing.


    Still though the spcific classification by way of the local athourities of the theater and it's use by classification or use will dictate - I know for fact SJ cable tours around the world and domestically with lighting systems be it band or play no matter the size of the theater. This said, I still wouldn't for theater cable specify less than SO cable and in fact don't. My choice, it would all be SO cable but not mine in the end. For non-touring use on the other hand, and where it wasn't touring persay, yes... type S and not "Junior Hard Service" SJ. This much less no thermoplastic cable allowed.
     
  14. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    Ship, not to lecture you, but this raises a bigger question on code compliance: "Is it OK to violate the Code if my manager or boss says so, or if such-and-such a tour does it all the time?"

    My view, especially on this Forum, is that we need to take the high road and describe the current Code requirements only, not "Here are the Code requirements, but many people do it in the following non-compliant manner that you need to consider as well".

    The Code is an ever-changing document--every three years we all get the opportunity to have input. Perhaps there is actually an argument to increase the permissibility of SJ in the theatre (I'm not taking a position here, just using this as an example of how the Code might change). If so, people should submit public proposals in the next Code Cycle (the period Sept 2010-November 2011 is the next time new material can be proposed for the 2014 Code).

    Meanwhile, my personal preference is to discourage non-compliant stuff in whatever manner I can!

    Cheers

    ST
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  15. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I agree with type S and did over a period of years even for our believe it was 75 seat store front theater convert it to completely S grade. If of help, I firmly believe that type S (especially non-EU complant) cable is by far superior in both safety and life over that of a type SJ cable no matter the type.

    In general, another standpoint would be average service life of a type S cable starts at 10 years and goes to about 20 years. In a cost effective way, type SJ cable normally lasts about five to ten years in use. Even if double the price type S cable is not, it's more cost effective.

    On the other hand, I have only worked where I work ten years now in being the buyer and in many ways ME for wiring, but working under mananagers and boss's also. Yes, I do take responsibility for us using type SJ cable for the primary pourpose of the touring industry and believe it's code compliant for use. It's a touring company and type SJ cable since the days of L5-15 plugs on 14/3 SJOOW cable has had a long change over - first to stage pin slightly before my time, and me to 12/3 SJ at least in slipping in some SOOW where possible as available for use on shows.

    I make the cable but don't pull it or specify it's use for shows. If say some rock band is "Rocking the Paradise", in bringing cable I built or supervise the construction and maintinence of, is using it in a class 1A type theater, I have no say in this nor do I even know while building it at times years before it's use, any imput into how its used. I do where possible educate about the need for type S cable if on the floor or a drop, but my build/fix world is also very apart from the production side in application.

    A question I think more for the local authorities in allowing it, those specifying the gear to be used, and those using it on-site to choose what's used as compliant. Type S cable is also in stock or easy enough to construct on request before the show leaves. In no way do I argue that type SJ cable is suitable for a theater requiring proper stage cable, no do I even prefer the stuff. On the other hand, I do note it's useage even after broken by way of running it thru a closed door and destroyed at times. I do tend to ask the crew chief for the show what he or she was thinking in allowing that use as with other things noted unsafe in at times tracking them down to educate them. More or less a constant tracking down and yelling at those responsible type of thing in even if as often the case these days, a free lance person having done the show and me contacting the production manager so as to not re-hire the guy.

    Still though, I don't choose the gear, nor do the shows. I cite shows don't comply but also note that most of their fixtures are in the air with compliant Soco drops to the deck. Believe type SJ cable supported by a truss is compliant - but I wouldn't accept it for house cable in doing so.

    Not lecture, debate and good points on your part in also healthy in bringing out from both of us more info or opinion. Hopefully I have explained my situation better and or why I noted what I did.
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Just want to say thanks to Ship and ST.

    I'm not an electrician and I don't play one on TV, so it's fascinating to read CB's Titan's of Electricity hashing out the finer points of the NEC.

    Thanks guys.
     
  17. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Its never ok to violate the code just because you are told to, and when you run into a fire marshall who hates everyone, he will stick you with everything in the book. On tours i occasionally use SOOW in the Prerigged. For temporary things it falls under the temporary part of the NEC, also the cable is loomed up in truss so it is well protected. All motor cables and cables running along the ground are SO. Also the speaker cables are SOOW.
     
  18. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I don't have the latest NEC book. What are the regs regarding quad boxes on stage?
     
  19. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    There is no prohibition, as long as they are fed with Extra Hard Usage cable, type S or derivatives.

    ST
     
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  20. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    you cannot ever, ever, ever use a regular 'outlet box' like what you would attach to a building such as a 4S box, or outdoor junction box as some use. You have to use a proper pendant box like those from Woodhead, Hubbell, and others. While it does violate the NEC technically via listed use of the box, OSHA specifically prohibits it.
     

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