Theatre Consultant/Contractor Needed in SE North Carolina

kjones9999

Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Location
NC
Hi all.

Looking for companies that work or can work in the Wilmington NC area. We have two high school theatres (identical) that need extensive rigging repair (electrics and acoustical clouds) and acoustic treatment (facilities were completed with insufficient). Looking for larger companies that can handle identifying, repairing and installing as part of one bid.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Thank you!
 

themuzicman

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Apr 27, 2007
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On Tour
A big non-answer, but I'd reach out to the folks at the Wilson Center at Cape Fear CC. The PAC they have there seemed like a really solid newer install, I think it's a combo of a good install and a great crew that made my sit there run so well. I bet the folks in charge could put you in contact with whoever got them up and running. PM me if you don't get a better answer and I can probably dig up their TD's info in an old advance.
 

FMEng

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Tacoma, WA
I think you'll have a better result to have an acoustical engineer design what needs to be done. The company installing the specified materials could be the same one doing the rigging work. Indiscriminately applying treatments to the room would just be a waste of money. Whether there is a company that does rigging and has an acoustical engineer on staff, I have no idea, but it seems unlikely.
 

kjones9999

Member
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Mar 5, 2016
Location
NC
I see. I was hoping to find a consultant that could oversee rigging and acoustics - and subcontract the work, but what you are saying is that doesn't exist right?
 

FMEng

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I see. I was hoping to find a consultant that could oversee rigging and acoustics - and subcontract the work, but what you are saying is that doesn't exist right?
I suppose they could subcontract it. As the client, I think I'd rather have the engineer working directly for me. If he/she working for the contractor, then there is financial gain to specify a bigger project.
 

MNicolai

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Sarasota, FL
There are good circumstances under which to do procurement as design/build, but it sounds like that'll be hard to do in this case if someone needs to perform a top to bottom rigging inspection before they can put a quotation together. It's probably best to find a consultant that does both or two consultants (rigging + acoustics) that'll partner on it -- under separate contract from the actual contractors performing the work. That way you can get a priorities list and a good/better/best recommendations and cost magnitudes before shopping it to contractors. Then, once you start shopping it to contractors, they will keep their pencils sharpened if they know they are in competition with other bidders.

If you enter into it as a design/build relationship where everything is under one contract, it can drive price up if everyone doesn't have a clear understanding of the scope from the outset. Each subcontractor is putting a buffer in their price for unknowns that can end up adding more to the contract cost. It's also more difficult to begin inspections when the consulting work is under the installation contract -- but the scope of installation isn't yet clearly defined.

At best, I think you'll be able to find rigging shops that are willing to inspect, report, and remedy, but I doubt you'll find any independent consultants who are willing to take on the burden of the installation scope under the same contract. That's a lot of contract management burden to take on and requires more leg work before a contract can be signed.

The other problem is that when it comes to acoustics, the recommendations may come in the form of curtains, wall panels, spray treatments, architectural finishes or a number of other materials -- exactly which may not be apparent from the outset. Most of those trades are so specialized that you would need a different subcontractor for each of them and there may be further implications for fire protection, electrical, or structural trades as well. I've also seen cases where someone thought they had an acoustics issue that ended up being a sound system tuning problem or had an acoustics problem they thought was a sound system issue.

Without knowing more about your particular venues and the magnitude of issues you're trying to address, my instinct is to recommend you procure consulting services first, then use the outcome of that to procure installation services. That leaves more options available to you on what to address 1st/2nd/3rd and then you don't have a rigging contractor treating acoustics issues with velour when you fundamentally have a different problem going on.
 
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