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A New Bill Requiring Indiana Stage Inspections Advances

The Indiana State Senate is considering a passing a bill that would require applicants to submit proof to the state that a qualified inspector has checked out the stage before any performance can happen. This should be interesting to see how it unfolds and if it happens before the Super Bowl happening on February 5th in Indianapolis.

Read more about the proposed bill on WHIO's website.

What do you think, is this something that should be considered nationally?

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Comment by Michael Reed on January 30, 2012 at 1:02pm

To my knowledge, Indiana SB 273 has not been passed yet. If you want to read the whole bill, please go here: http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/PDF/SB/SB0273.1.pdf

The fact that no one we know is qualified to inspect our stages is immaterial. The language of the bill borrows heavily from other codes not related to our industry and puts the onus on compliance with local building inspectors. While a building inspector may never have seen a piece of aluminum lighting truss before, he will simply apply other, more general, standards to the inspection process.

Speaking of standards, I did not see in the Indiana bill any mention of the standard already written for temporary outdoor structures.  It’s called ANSI E1.21-2006. It was written by a volunteer committee of engineers, manufacturers, and end-users as part of the PLASA (formerly ESTA) Technical Standards Program. (In other words, it was written by us). If Indiana lawmakers haven’t incorporated E1. 21 into their bill yet, they may want too. It will save them lots of time, and most importantly it will address these structures specifically.

E1.21-2006 is detailed, dry, and technical. It is also required reading for anyone who owns or sets up outdoor roofs or other structures. If you are a production company who owns a roof or other outdoor structure, you should read and follow E1.21-2006. If you are rigger who builds these structures, you should read and follow E1.21-2006. If you are a lighting, sound, or video technician who hangs their equipment from one of these structures, you should at least know that this standard exists. (While you’re at it, check out all the PLASA standards. They’re written by and for us!) www.plasa.org

Complying with E1.21-2006 is time-consuming and will add costs to any outdoor operation. But complying with it is also the ethical thing to do when issues of life safety are at stake. No one ever died from a crappy lighting design or a lousy FOH mix. But people have died or have been paralyzed for life from accidents related to improperly designed or built stage structures--or the equipment that falls from them. If we put up outdoor structures, or if we hang our equipment from them, it is our responsibility to guarantee that it is safe to use. Although this is a shopworn phrase, it is still very true: Safety is everyone's business. As show production professionals, we have a responsibility to our artists and our audiences to be safe. Protecting life and limb must come before art. To act any other way voids the spirit of our profession.

Comment by Ted Jones on January 30, 2012 at 10:13am

I read the proposed bill. It basically says that an SE shall sign off on the drawings. Talking with an SE here in Illinois, he says he thinks any SE would take wind in account and give guidlines on when to drop the canopy. I did not see any provision that would force an SE walkthru after the structure is built.

 

Ted

Comment by Nook Schoenfeld on January 23, 2012 at 11:54am

I heard that the bill actually passed last week as their was concern for events during superbowl week. Now how and who do they get to do these inspections? I personally have never seen a list of guidelines other than weight restrictions for a temporary stage.

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