Portable. The preferred (NEC and other code) term for temporary, cord-and-plug connected equipment: dimmer rack s, ML PD s, and so on.

First let's take a look at the NEC definition of "portable" from Article 520:

Portable Equipment. Equipment fed with portable cords or cables intended to be moved from one place to another.

The NEC acknowledges that some theatres (notably Broadway theatres) are buildings designed for use with only portable equipment (the "four wall" model). In such theatres there is no practical limit to the time a portable system can be used, since there is nothing but a portable system.

The NEC is silent on time limits for portable systems. Providing the system is installed in a code-compliant manner, most AHJ's will accept unlimited installation time.

Now let's look at where portable cord use is permitted and not permitted:

400.7 Uses Permitted.
(A) Uses. Flexible cords and cables shall be used only for the following:
(1) Pendants
(2) Wiring of luminaires
(3) Connection of portable luminaires, portable and mobile signs, or appliances
(4) Elevator cables
(5) Wiring of cranes and hoists
(6) Connection of utilization equipment to facilitate frequent interchange
(7) Prevention of the transmission of noise or vibration
(8) Appliances where the fastening means and mechanical connections are specifically designed to permit ready removal for maintenance and repair, and the appliance is intended or identified for flexible cord connection
(9) Connection of moving parts
(10) Where specifically permitted elsewhere in this Code

Point 10 means "Article 520 venues" in our case.

400.8 Uses Not Permitted.
Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the following:
(1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure
(2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors
(3) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar openings
(4) Where attached to building surfaces
Exception to (4): Flexible cord and cable shall be permitted to be attached to building surfaces in accordance with the provisions of 368.56(B)
(5) Where concealed by walls, floors, or ceilings or located above suspended or dropped ceilings
(6) Where installed in raceways, except as otherwise permitted in this Code
(7) Where subject to physical damage

Point 1 above might provide an AHJ a reason to require permanent wiring, unless the theatre was specifically intended to utilize only portable equipment. In such a case, the only permanent wiring might be the feed to a Company Switch, and circuits connected to FOH positions through a Road Show Connection Panel in order to comply with (2) above.

Bottom line: I do not think an AHJ could or would require permanent wiring if a portable system complies with NEC requirements.


TEMPORARY installations are covered by the NEC in Article 527: http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/NEC-HTML/HTML/TemporaryInstallations~20021210.htm .

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