BellaTEX Rigging Inspections

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Tracks and Rigging

BellaTEX Rigging Inspections

What is involved in a rigging inspection? I can’t even remember the last time our system was inspected.

This is a question we answer quite a bit. We all know that safety is the utmost concern in any performance space. Even so, stay in this industry long enough and you will have your own horror stories to tell about bad stage rigging you have seen. While this is great for conversation with other techies, bad rigging can prove disastrous in the worst case scenarios we all dread. It is really important to have rigging inspections done periodically, especially if it has been a long time since the last inspection. Keeping things up-to-date can save a great deal of expense down the road. Much like house or car maintenance, it sure is easier and less expensive to fix the little problems as they come up than it is to fix everything all at once.


BellaTEX offers two different levels of rigging inspections. The first level is a preliminary inspection and is most useful when we know the system is old and needs repair, or the system hasn’t been inspected in a long time and the condition is unknown.  We visually inspect everything that is accessible and physically test/inspect a random sampling of components, and then we provide a written report.  The purpose of our preliminary inspection is to identify any major problems before going to the expense of performing a full inspection.  Often, the preliminary inspection shows us that everything looks good and there is no need to proceed with a further inspection. And, sometimes, there is no need to proceed with a full inspection because the preliminary inspection reveals issues which will need to be addressed before proceeding with a full inspection. For example, if our preliminary inspection shows that the wire rope terminations in a system are clearly bad, there is no need to go to the expense of inspecting every inch of wire rope in a full inspection. Proceeding with a full inspection, in this case, would be unnecessary because we would already know the terminations need to be replaced. Another example: if the arbors in a system are KS cast iron, we know they have voids and need to be replaced, so there is no need to check torque on all of the nuts.  For this reason, preliminary inspections are usually free, and BellaTEX just bills travel costs.

Ideally, a full system inspection is where we ultimately want to arrive. In a full inspection, we want to verify, as best we can, that each and every load-bearing component in the system is in good working order and not excessively worn.  Full rigging inspections can only be performed on properly installed and well-maintained systems, or they just become an excessively expensive version of the free inspection described above.  It’s not uncommon for the house crew to assist us to save cost, and to learn how to conduct an inspection on their own. In a full inspection, we not only check every component, but we also perform any regular maintenance the manufacturer specifies in their O&M manuals.  When we finish the inspection, we provide a letter stating that the service has been performed and that everything meets the applicable standards.  The last thing we want are any exceptions, since this defeats the intended purpose of a l full inspection. We provide a brief report on the condition of the system so the owner has a record of wear patterns and rates, but ultimately it’s the simple, “We’ve inspected everything and it’s all ok” that we’re after.  The cost of full inspections is determined by what equipment is to be inspected and what it takes to gain access to the rigging.  All systems and locations are different, of course, but as a ballpark figure, most school full inspections will cost anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 and take 2 to 3 days to fully inspect.
BellaTEX also provides free NFPA 705 flame testing as well. Flame testing is part of both inspections described above, or you may mail us samples as often as you like.  Many of our dealers provide this service onsite as well.



    1 Comment

  1. In the inspection overview I thought there might be a reference to ANSI E1.4 2009, or E1.6 2012 or E1.22 2009 as guidelines for inspections, and possibly a note to ETCP Certified Riggers….

    Then again, a general overview is a good place to start and then use the ANSI Standards as a basis for the resulting report.

    – jc

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