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  • Rigging Plots Article

Rigging Plots Article

Generally a rigging plot is the method by which a rigging contractor or production company communicates to others what they intend to do with rigging.

In its simplest form, this usually takes the form of a "Plan" (view from overhead) 2d CAD (computer aided design) drawing which shows key venue features, the location of the rigging points, layout of associated rigging (truss, batten etc), the type of rigging point and the maximum load to be applied to each point.

Such drawings should be done in CAD package such as AutoCAD, VectorWorks, WYSIWYG, Sketchup or similar. Some riggers who began their career before CAD was commonplace may use paper-based methods. There is nothing wrong with hand-drawings but this does demonstrate a use of dated methods which may be a reflection upon the general approach to work.

Rigging Plots may also include:

  • Plan Drawings - this is the view from the top. This is a minimum requirement. Sometimes section planes (Cut-aways) of plan drawings can be provided where there are multiple layers of rigging (for example if there are trusses at multiple heights that cross over each other)
  • Elevations drawings - views from the front or side of a design. As with plan drawings, section planes are often used for elevation drawings. These are particularly useful in the case of elevations for theatre shows or rock concerts as they may have complex elements which are overlapped by others elements.
  • ISO View - this is an international drawing standard that shows the design from elevated position 45 degrees from the vertical plan and 45 degrees from the horizontal with a parallel perspective. This basically gives an angled overview of the drawing and is useful for those not accustomed to plan and elevation drawings.
  • Artistic Renderings - sometimes a stylised drawing of the design will be provided. This is not essential for the rigging design but can be very helpful for those involved to gain an understanding of the design concept. These are particularly useful when people are involved who are not familiar with 2d plan and elevations drawings.
  • Details of "Imposed Loads" - imposed loads are the amount of force that is being added to a building's structure. Imposed loads are forces and should be stated in Newton's, as weight is indicative of force but there is not an absolute relationship due to load dynamics (this is an area of rigging that should only be dealt with by experienced and competent Rigging Designers)
  • Details of SWL (Safe Working Load) - this is the maximum load that could be applied to a specific piece of rigging equipment. This is typically communicated in kilograms and includes an allowance for dynamic loads that can be assumed within normal working conditions
  • LOLER requirements - some rigging plots may provide information pertaining to LOLER requirements of methods and equipment maintenance.

Who uses rigging plots?

Rigging plots are typically compiled specifically for use by riggers, safety officers and structural engineers. However, we find that our rigging plots form part of what we call an overall "production pack". This is a very useful set of documents designed to ensure smooth delivery of an even and includes buy-in from all stakeholder groups and encourage collaborative working of experts. The users of this include:

  • Clients - they can fully understand the design, style and delivery of a project. This allows input and collaboration at the pre-production stage
  • Venues - primarily venues are interested to ensure that all methods and designs are safe. Venues can also offer invaluable input to production designs as they know the intricacies of their spaces and shortcomings better than anyone
  • Performers - it is important for performers to understand the space that they are using for their performances - especially if they have specific production requirements for their performance
  • Sponsors - sponsors will often want to ensure they their message is being delivered in an appropriate manner.
  • Crew - crew can fully understand a project prior to getting to site
  • Contractors - helps contractors fully understand the wider works taking place onsite.

More On Rigging

Please Note

Information provided about specific venues is for indicative purposes only. Full information should be requested directly from venues, or via an approved Production Contractor. SXS is happy to liaise with your venue on your behalf regarding rigging and other technical matters.

The information in this article has been simplified for the purpose of giving a general understanding for a readership which is expected to be mostly lay-people. This content should not be seen as absolute or an authority on the topics discussed. Please contact the SXS production team to discuss your specific project and our experienced team will share the benefit of our experience of over 1000 events spanning a period of 15 years.

Most of these articles are also available onGoogle+ via Johnny Palmer's Google + Profile

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  • To learn more about SXS' Rigging Services please click here
  • To learn more about Structures please click here
  • To learn more about exhibition rigging please click here
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