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Tie-in at a venue

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by reggie98, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. reggie98

    reggie98 Member

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    When a touring show pulls into a theatre, stadium, etc., who is responsible for tying-in the shows lighting and sound equipment to the location's bull switch, panel, etc? House electician or tour electrician or other (qualified and trained personnel)? Must the tour typically obtain an electrical permit and hire a licensed electrician (for the tie-in)?
    Were running into a B.S. storm at a town recreation center that were considering renting for a talent show. They want an Engineering proposal from us to be reviewed and approved, a permit and local electrician to hired for the tie-in whos work will be supervised by an electrician from the school district.
    All of this makes me want to find a more friendly location for the show.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First off, chances are any answers we give you won't change what you are being asked for. Secondly, every venue is different. some require you to hire one of the venue's people to do a tie-in, some require you to have a (locally) licensed electrician do the tie in, and some will just let you do it yourself. I personally have not heard of anyone asking for an engineering proposal, but I suppose some people might.

    If you truly feel like it is too much hassle to rent the venue then don't. It is just the venue trying to protect itself from any liability, and there is nothing wrong with that.
     
  3. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Power tie ins vary drastically by venue. I have been to many venues where they brought in an electrician (usually a member of IBEW) just to tie in our distro. I have also been to venues whose localities require them to have permits pulled to do so. However, at my place, I do all of the tie ins. For the audio company I freelance for, we always require the group hiring us (usually a venue or producer) to cover any cost associated with having to pay for permits and electricians if the venue requires it. They are also responsible for actually obtaining the permits as well. Most riders from tours require that these items be covered and arranged for by the purchaser.

    Sounds like you are running into a situation where they just do not understand what it takes to produce a show. This can be common in community / educational environments that do not do many large scale shows. I cannot I say I fault them for being overly cautious, since they seem to have no idea what it takes to produce and event technically speaking. They are just doing what they think is safe, even though it does create a layer of B.S..

    ~Dave
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it varies greatly. We used to send a set of drawings ahead just in case with the technical rider.

    Some cities the tour guys could tie in, some it was the venue electrician, some it was a local licensed electrician, some even made us hire a member of the local to do it (even though everyone on the tour was an IATSE member)!

    But whatever the venue says, you have to do it. So just buckle down and get it done. Or get a new venue.

    Mike
     
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Ditto. They want their personnel for 2 reasons (among others):

    They know their guy will do it correctly and it's taking care of their employees, etc.
     
  6. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    I think by "Engineering Proposal" they are looking for and idea of what you will be bringing into their space. Power requirements, rigging (if any), scenery. Anything that your production brings with you that could have any effect on the building. I would say write out a basic plan listing how much power you will use, etc. and do a basic drawing of power runs, stage setup etc. Play ball with them as much as possible on the easy stuff. If you are accommodating to them, they might be just as accommodating to you and overlook the permit and electrician. If not, ask them if they have someone in mind that will do it at a reasonable price....or find another venue.
     
  7. reggie98

    reggie98 Member

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    I'd be happy to have the school district electrician perform the tie-in. I asked him if he would do that (I even offered to supply the correct breaker for his panel). He declined. He just wants to watch. I'd prefer to find a more hospitable location, which has fewer drawbacks than this one. Even if we pull up will a tow behine generator, they still want a detailed proposal, permit, licenced electrician, etc.

     
  8. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Hi Len,

    Yep, most facilities are different. Working in a "town owned" venue is out the worst since everyone wants to cover their a**es.

    I can remember some places we went to where there would be a licensed electrician provided and he was scared to lie-in live so I'd do it. Roseland Dance City in NY was one of those places. The only place to tie-in was the hotel's main buss panel. Copper two by fours carrying 4000 apiece. The buss bars were tapped so I was able to bolt my four ought on with half inch bolts.
     
  9. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    sounds like a generator rental will cost less than having engineering, permits, and a licensed electrician.

    I do see where they are coming from though. If they have a 'company switch' you should be able to tie your tails in and be done with it. Problem is, alot of venues such as these community rec centers etc, dont have a company switch, and the only place to tie in is in a panelboard or in the switchgear. To do this safely, often requires engineering and a licensed electrician performing the work. I wouldnt want to be the one who dropped a wrench and blew up a $15,000 breaker.
     
  10. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, if I have to tie into a panelboard or switchgear I always let my licensed journeyman do it. It is worth the extra cost (even with my $2mil liability policy) for me. I can tie into a disconnect or a circuit breaker panel with my eyes closed, but that stuff I leave to the pros and that is after five years on the road. I know enough to know when I am in over my head.

    Mike
     
  11. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Dropping a wrench onto a hot lug or bus bar is a lot worse than blowing up a breaker. I have seen the results of electrical flash burns and vaporized metal on a person's face, and it isn't pleasant. There is a good reason why competent and trained people should do this work, and why they are supposed to wear special clothing for arc flash protection when working on live equipment.

    I have seen very skilled and experienced electricians refuse to do certain tasks in distribution panels without disconnecting power, and I don't blame them a bit. Everyone should go home alive at the end of the work day, and keeping the power on without interruption is never worth risking anyone.
     
  12. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    yes I am well aware of the arc flash dangers, and have seen videos of arc flash incidents that have left people severly disfigured or dead.

    What I should have said was "I wouldnt want to be they guy who damages expensive switchgear, or kill myself"
     
  13. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Funny you should mention this

    A post this week on the Stagecraft mailing list, by a NYC member told the tail of his recent install for an event where the NYC FD required a so-called "CEF" permit from a NYC Licensed Master Electrician, to certify correct installation of all of the cam-lok connections, feeders to dimmers, ML power etc...

    NOBODY on the list from NYC had ever heard of a CEF permit, nor any requirement such as this, except Eddie Kramer, from Radio City Music Hall who confirmed that it's a new requirment, not from the NYC Building Dept., electrical division, but instead from the fire dept.

    Needles to say, this might have a HUGE impact on the hundreds of connections being done daily in theaters, on movies and TV locations, etc.... can't wait to see how this all falls

    So reading of your situation doesn't surprise me in the least.

    Steve B.
     
  14. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    The McCormick Place in Chicago has been operating like this for a long time. Stagehands come in and hang the truss and the fixtures. They can run the cable as well. IBEW comes in and makes all the connections, including DMX. Stagehands then come back in and raise the truss and focus. If a lamp needs to be changed, IBEW has to do it.


    Back to the OP... if you are popping panels that falls under the guides of "hot work". You can not perform hot work, period. In my district to open up any panel a district electrician must do it, and they must wear a fire protection suit. Added to that, if it is a public county/city owned building, you can not do it.

    Here is my personal feeling on this type of thing... if you have cams I will hook them up even if its not my venue, as long as its cool with everyone. If you have to open up a panel of any kind, even with a dedicated disconnect, I am not going near it. The venue can tie in tails and I will go from there.

    I don't care what it takes for the venue to connect my tails, they just have to do it.
     
  15. reggie98

    reggie98 Member

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    Well there are no cam-loks, no disconnect. What they have done is provide a sub-panel fed from a 150a three phase breaker located in an electrical closet in another part of the facility. The breaker feeding this panel is accessable, so in theory, I could come in with my own three phase breaker and run my tails off of it. But they won't permit that.
    Not only do they want the Engineering proposal, permit, licensed electrician, they want to come back and inspect all all the lights, cabling and fixtures, after we hang and cable them. We can't bring in a generator, because we would be subject to the same guidelines. Basically, the district electrician stated that they have the power to cancel the show the day before it is scheduled.
     
  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I think by saying you want to open up a panel you opened a can of worms. You are not going to be able to get out of this one easily. Now, there should be no reason why you would not pass your inspection after you hang, so that should not be an issue. If you can not pass their inspection, you should not be there. You are wanting to make a change to the buildings electrical system, that takes some red tap in some places. Being a school, there is a lot of red tape. I think you might have made the electrician a bit mad by telling him how to do his job. Therefore, he is going to do everything in his power to keep you out.

    You should not be allowed to open up a panel in someone elses building, attach a new service, and seal the panel back up. The building has every right to tell you no. Odds are they don't really understand why you need this. They don't have the power to cancel the show, but if you want lighting for your show they have that power. Its their house, obey the rules.

    Some houses won't let anyone on the road crew touch anything. Others will let the road crew tie-in power and do anything they want. Just depends on the world you are in. In my space I have a deal with our electricians.... your job ends at the disconnect switch and mine begins. Most places work like that, you are trying to go beyond that. I grew up working in panels, my father is a licensed IBEW Master Electrician. I know my way around a panel, but I still won't pull a panel, its not my job.
     
  17. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Something I really wish more people in our industry knew. Knowing your limitations could save your life someday.;)

    At my venue, we have two people on staff qualified to tie-in power. I'm one of them. The other works for another department. One or the other of us, usually me, do all power tie-ins. This is not stipulated in the rental contract for groups using the venue, but is rather, at the discretion of the Facilities Manager for a given event. It's in no way a a disparagement of the skills of the techs that other groups bring in to forbid them to touch our panels, but if our qualified staff take care of the power hook-ups, we know it will be done right.
     
  18. reggie98

    reggie98 Member

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    I'm not very concerned if I made him mad. I'll be happy when we find another theater to work in. They've allowed the stage to become what is is, run-down, difficult to use. They disabled an old but usable lighting board and removed nearly all the lighting fixtures. The ones that remain are tied into the dead board. The sound system doesn't work either.
     
  19. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, my dad is a licensed Master Electrician and my best friend (also my employee) is a licensed Journeyman Electrcian. I grew up (and maintain to this day) a healthy respect for electricity. If the venue will let me, I will plug in cams. Beyond that, it is up to the space to provide qualified personel or I call my Journeyman and charge them.

    Now I have, in the past (on three occassions to be correct) been given permission to open (a disconnected) panel and tie in my tails, but I proceeded VERY cautiously only after talking to my dad about the situation.

    Mike
     
  20. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    This is also why I employ a licensed Journeyman and have a licensed Master on speed dial.

    Mike
     

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