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safety bonding in fixed lighting install

Joe White

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Just get my facts right.

In a fixed install in a nite club where lights can easily be hit by punters do the lights by Law require to have safety bonds attached.


The lights in question are 8 Martin SCX500 Scans and 8 Studio Duo Nano LED heads. The scans are currently held up by a piece of threaded rod and a Nylock

and the Heads by 2 wood screws into a Plasterboard Ceiling. After some tapping I cannot detect any form of bracing above the plasterboard I may be wrong!


This install was done just under a year ago and some of us have been having some concerns about the overall Safety-Ness of the setup.


Thanks Joe

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Joe - plasterboard is so non-load bearing that woodscrews can be pushed through it with your fingers, so the studding must be connected to something! What - is almost impossible to say. Could be steelwork in some buildings, or timber in others. As the mounting are fixed, then they probably won't be detailed in any regular inspection the premises has. This kind of installation is usually fit and forget.


We've done the safety bond thing many times, but to summarise, there's no law that says they are needed, but most people use them through good practice. If the fixtures could get knocked, and bits could fall off, then preventing this makes sense - but in a fixed install off things like movers, there aren't gel frames,or lens tubes that could come off when knocked. In an ideal world, with something heavy - common sense says a secondary suspension could be a good thing - but physically it's doubtful a separate suspension point could be found.


A bit of a cop-out, but I'd suggest this is a SEP. Someone Else's Problem.

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If this install was done under a year ago could you not contact the installation company involved to express your concerns? Surely they should have offered you a warranty on the installation and therefore should be able to enlighten you or put right this issue?
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It could posibly be something along the line of the metal self drill type fixings they have used into the plaster board, or the wing fixings. I would only be happy seeing these used in shear and not tension and be very nervous about them being used for lighting fixtures. You mention that there was no sound of studs behind the board - it could be that it's a metal stud frame system that generally isn't obvious with a tap. They could have fixed through the board to the metal stud, but it's still a dubious method.


As others have said r.e. secondary support, there's no law, it comes down to taking a judgement call and being able to support the decision if you should ever need to.

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Paul my other reason for believing there isn't any bracing is due to some of the lights having become very wobbly. I need to find one of the hatches to get above the ceiling and confirm how these are held up.


As for the company (no names) They Basicaly did a "Get the job done and leave".


The Nylocks on a few lights haven't been left enough threaded rod protruding through the ceiling. So rather than fix the problem they have continued to install the lights with only 5mm of a 10mm nylock actually attached to the rod http://s282.photobucket.com/albums/kk245/j...nt=SN850973.jpg


I work at the club and have done for several years. My intentions after speaking with members of higher management is to get the company that did the install to correct there mistakes before I take over on a servicing the lights.

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The picture showing the nyloc > thread- thats just poor work- the ny of the nyloc isnt even biting onto the bolt, so effectively thats going to work itself loose over time (sooner than later)

As a general rule, if it moves id bond it, as when it moves it stresses the steel rods, fixings, and especially if all the nylocs from the studs are like that id have those bonded right now before something comes crashing down.


I personally bond any fixture, moving or not as do I bond anything thats flown (lights, speakers etc) The principle stands that if the fixing method from the fixture to the fixing point should fail, then the bond takes the fall (literally)


Most lighting has a dedicated bond point built into the fixture, otherwise people use the trunion of the fixture, which is only as safe as the bolts through the trunion to the fixture!


As matter of course, id report your findings urgently to your superiors, stating your concerns, pictures are good as is a fairly detailed report, id do it as a risk assesment- look at each fixture, hows it fixed? is it adequate for the purpose? is it bonded? should it be bonded? how can the problem be resolved.


At least if your constructive they can go to the install company who should rectify the issues raised.

That way if anything falls, you've covered yourself.


Personally, I wouldnt start rectifying anything until the install company have theyre say- otherwise your get into different wranglings. (youve messed with the install blah blah)

If you dont get anywhere with the install company id call in an inspector for a full report, then start legal proceedings with the company involved.


Im sure however you will get this rectified when bought to the companies attention.



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OSAL Nobody knows everything when I do an install I always put safety chains on everything as there is always a chance soething could happen. But in this case this was not my install and that is why I am asking

Hmmm..... This sets me off on a slight topic diversion...

Joe, it isn't a case of anyone knowing everything, it's a case of a reputable installation engineer certainly knowing the basics - and this one strikes me as being pretty much one of THE most basic questions there could be..


Regardless of what the kit is bolted to, one look at the Nyloc tells me (as it has already told others) is that it is FAR from satisfactory.


You say the fixture 'wobbles'... That could be anything, ranging from just a poor finish, (whilst essentially secure), on the install - eg bolted to metal/brick, but set off the surface with too much spacing to the yoke, allowing movement but not detachment, to a botched cavity wall fixing through just plasterboard...


Sorry if this sounds a little blunt (though such is my wont) but if you're not experienced enough to fully recognise and assess such basic installation problems properly, I would have to question your qualifications to carry out a good job yourself under a contract to clients. After all, whilst you've correctly identified a potential problem in someone else's work there are a myriad of other pitfalls that may trip you if you're not familiar with the right regs etc...


What formal install training/experience have you got?

And your own PLI does cover you for this sort of work, I gather?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Joe


I must concur with other posters here, that nyloc nut is not on right, cant be more than a few turns on, what I would do is...


Get above the ceiling, work out where the thread bar is fixed, when you have ascertained that its a secure fixing see if it is possible to let out a little more thread at the bottom end - you will probably end up replacing the rod with a new slightly longer section - make sure that nut goes on leaving one complete turn of thread at least clear of the nylon. Then I would use a safety bond passed up into the ceiling and looped around a suitably strong structural component above the ceiling (a wooden or metal joist for example NOT a metal conduit or gas pipe :) )


With regard to the ones that are screwed to the plasterboard I reckon the theory that drill in fixings or wing fixings have been used, they won't hold long tern so I would install a suitable support above the plasterboard (a section of 4X2 timber between joists for example) to run a length of threaded bar down from.





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