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Author Topic: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?  (Read 14307 times)

Nathan Riddle

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Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« on: December 17, 2016, 04:42:05 pm »

Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?

This comes from my other thread quoted below.

In the past my expertise with electricity was levied to tie in, I no longer want to do this; I want to be legal/ethical.

Point me in the right direction, I know not where to go to learn about this side of our business.

Electrician,
By the way, since I've always tied in my own power; how does this work legally?
Do I Pay for an electrician, Does the customer?

One of the nice things about my company is we have always figured that sort of stuff out for the customer.
Would I include a tie-in fee so that we can accomplish said thing?

If it is cam hookups or dryer plug/ California I don't need an electrician correct?
Only when tying into a live panel, right?

Thanks
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 08:22:27 pm »

Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?

This comes from my other thread quoted below.

In the past my expertise with electricity was levied to tie in, I no longer want to do this; I want to be legal/ethical.

Point me in the right direction, I know not where to go to learn about this side of our business.

The threshold of legally doing this yourself vs hiring an electrician is generally when you're exposed to live conductors inside a panel you must use an electrician. If you can plug in without going inside a live panel, then you sould be free to do this yourself. Note that many larger union venues will require that you contract their staff to do any kind of tie-in, so ask first. In most cases Camlocks, California, Stove 14-50, or other twist-lock receptacle can be connected yourself as long a your can turn off their disconnects first. However, opening up an electrical panel to install a temporary circuit breaker, connecting Camlock tails, or any other action performed inside a live panel must be performed by an electrician or technician licensed to do so.

Who pays for this is a contract thing. I've had most of the venues I do regular gigs in contract an electrician to install a proper 50-amp/240-volt outlet for small gigs, or 3-phase 208/120-volt camlocks for bigger gigs. We put it in our contracts that this cost will be absorbed by the venue or promoter. And most of the time it's just as cheap to permanently install a 50-amp breaker and stove plug, compared to having the electrician charge for a second service call to remove it. So tell the venue to buy once / cry once... After that you can plug in your own distro yourself and be safe and legal. 
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2016, 09:45:09 pm »


However, opening up an electrical panel to install a temporary circuit breaker, connecting Camlock tails, or any other action performed inside a live panel must be performed by an electrician or technician licensed to do so.


Licensing will be done by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. In Iowa it is the State-10 years ago it was cities and in some cases counties - in many locations licensing wasn't required and it would have been hard to find a licensed electrician.

Even if you can legally do it, another consideration is liability.  If something happens(if you provide the breaker is it right in all the technical details most people overlook, or if you use an existing breaker are you sure it is good and hasn't just been abandoned in place after being found defective?) will your insurance cover you?  Can you afford to rebuiild the venue out of your pocket?

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Steve Swaffer

Nathan Riddle

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2016, 10:32:29 pm »

Thanks guys,

So basically I need to tell the client/promoter that they need to tell the venue to provide an electrician to tie in or have an electrician install 14-60 (Id like the extra power for strobes ;) haha).

What about disconnects with tails? I guess technically the top of it is live, so the whole panel is live which means I can't do that myself.

Who typically picks up the hookup cost? Client or production company. I'd be willing to guess client most of the time.

My current issue is both increasing production costs to client and adding this additional fee for hookup, possibly causing consternation amongst them especially considering this is new territory for them.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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eric lenasbunt

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2016, 11:07:29 pm »

Thanks guys,

So basically I need to tell the client/promoter that they need to tell the venue to provide an electrician to tie in or have an electrician install 14-60 (Id like the extra power for strobes ;) haha).

What about disconnects with tails? I guess technically the top of it is live, so the whole panel is live which means I can't do that myself.

Who typically picks up the hookup cost? Client or production company. I'd be willing to guess client most of the time.

My current issue is both increasing production costs to client and adding this additional fee for hookup, possibly causing consternation amongst them especially considering this is new territory for them.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

Nathan, we have a stock line on EVERY show quote ever, "client to provide appropriate power as advanced with our staff at no charge to [our company]."  I often edit that line with exact requirements, but not always. Many of our regular clients have now put in one or more 14-50r plug which I find to be cheap and easy for most clients. We have an electrician we refer them to that charges about $200 parts and labor as long as they have space/capacity in the breaker box. That's pretty cheap. Plus we can convince them that now they are equipped to continue to provide for "real" events lol.
I find that most small and mid sized events I can run 9/side of our JBL VT4886 boxes and 8 or more subs off of a single 14-50r. We use another to run monitors and Backline. We have a couple of venues with 3-4 of the 14-50r and it is great!

I do have two venues I am actively trying to get to add 3 phase cams. They have the power available, but are reticent about the cost of the panel and install and permits, etc. So sticking with 14-50r until they get sick of sticking generators out the back door for big boy shows.

My biggest suggestion, honestly, design your rigs where your components can run off of 20 amp circuits. I use itech12000hd and 9000hd and both run fine on 20 amp wall plugs. That has saved me several times when the power situation wasn't what was expected. I also don't need big requirements that add tons of expense for my clients. 5-6 standard circuits go a long way on my rigs.
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Andrew Henderson

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2016, 11:10:20 pm »

My current issue is both increasing production costs to client and adding this additional fee for hookup, possibly causing consternation amongst them especially considering this is new territory for them.
I had to start doing the exact same thing. I just explain it to my repeat clients when they call now: "Hey, I was talking to my insurance agent, and I can't afford to risk doing this myself anymore and making myself (and possibly you) liable for anything power-related that may go wrong." I have a contact, or you can use your guy, but we've got to get this done right so that our asses are covered.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2016, 11:23:44 pm »

My biggest suggestion, honestly, design your rigs where your components can run off of 20 amp circuits. I use itech12000hd and 9000hd and both run fine on 20 amp wall plugs. That has saved me several times when the power situation wasn't what was expected. I also don't need big requirements that add tons of expense for my clients. 5-6 standard circuits go a long way on my rigs.

I agree, and I can/do run most of the items off of 20A circuits. It's just nice to have a distro. Not having to run six 100' 12g extension cords all around the building and derate them to 15A... Additionally, my distro has GFCI so I know i'm protecting my peeps on stage :) Also, I end up needing a distro when Ive got 220 strobes and atomics going and other more power hungry items. The rest is pretty easy as its mostly LED/efficient/small sound systems.

I had to start doing the exact same thing. I just explain it to my repeat clients when they call now: "Hey, I was talking to my insurance agent, and I can't afford to risk doing this myself anymore and making myself (and possibly you) liable for anything power-related that may go wrong." I have a contact, or you can use your guy, but we've got to get this done right so that our asses are covered.

Thanks, I'll put that in my email to the client. I appreciate it :)

I appreciate the info everyone, I now have enough info to speak intelligently to the client to help them in this transistional phase.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2016, 11:43:51 pm »


My biggest suggestion, honestly, design your rigs where your components can run off of 20 amp circuits. I use itech12000hd and 9000hd and both run fine on 20 amp wall plugs. That has saved me several times when the power situation wasn't what was expected. I also don't need big requirements that add tons of expense for my clients. 5-6 standard circuits go a long way on my rigs.

This +10  - I took the time to install 220 mini distro's in 6 racks with twist locks and a variety of tails.  So few venues had the 220v power that we ended up rewiring them for 120v and just use a 19pin soca to 6 edison fan.  We find the most outdoor spaces in our market have edisons in quad boxes under the panel for production.  Everthing we have can run off of 5 edison circuits.

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Mike Sokol

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2016, 12:40:09 pm »

I find that most small and mid sized events I can run 9/side of our JBL VT4886 boxes and 8 or more subs off of a single 14-50r. We use another to run monitors and Backline. We have a couple of venues with 3-4 of the 14-50r and it is great!

When I was in my rock band Draco back in the 70's I built a 48KW lighting rig for clubs. Yes, that was 48 PARs of 1KW each, plus a 2,000 watt strobe, plus all kinds of back-line and FOH speaker amps, etc... This was impossible to run from 20-amp outlets on stage, and after watching a few incoming bands use car jumper cables (no kidding) to tie their lighting rigs into the 3-phase panels, I decided that a pair of 14-50 receptacles was the right way to go, and talked my regular clubs into installing them for my band So my lighting system was powered by one 14-50 receptacle, and all stage and FOH amps were powered by the second 14-50R. A lot of casual users don't realize that a 14-50 receptacle is really 100 amps of 120-volt power, so that's some pretty decent amperage until you get to 3-phase cams. 
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2016, 12:59:26 pm »

My biggest suggestion, honestly, design your rigs where your components can run off of 20 amp circuits.

This is what I do as well.  Working with the 120v 20A circuits may be difficult or impossible depending on your choice of lighting, but so long as all of your sound gear and most of your lighting is okay at 120v and can be split well into 20A circuits, you won't be dead in the water if you arrive to find your power isn't what you spec'd in your contract.  It's a real pain when you can only fit one or two large movers on a circuit, but so long as the power is there and in safe operating condition, I'd still take that any day over not having a show. 
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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2016, 12:59:26 pm »


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