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Rope Assemblies works with Doughty Engineering on Royal Albert Hall project

Rope Assemblies works with Doughty Engineering on Royal Albert Hall project
Rope Assemblies works with Doughty Engineering on Royal Albert Hall project

UK – Rope Assemblies has supplied a range of Doughty kit to the Royal Albert Hall to help improve safety in the performance space. As a duty of care to performers on stage and to ensure that any falls from height are prevented, Doughty designed and fabricated some bespoke handrail braces to make the space as safe as possible.

Ian Redding, technical supervisor at the Royal Albert Hall explained: "While there were no incidents that triggered the need for these rails, our technical team are always striving to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to the safety of our performers, crew and audiences. The challenge was to design and create something that could work for our stage, but at the same time, not to look too intrusive. It also had to be strong enough to withstand the weight of an average person. We had a round, scaffold size connection on the off stage edge but we were using square handrails, produced by Steeldeck on the stage extension pieces. These handrails don't always fit back in perfectly every time so it was clear that we needed the length of these braces to be adjustable. We discussed this in one of our team weekly meetings and someone mentioned that we should look into getting some Doughty kit. We already have a supply of Doughty arms that will get used to rig lighting and this was something a bit similar."

Ian got in touch with Rope Assemblies, one of Doughty's UK distributors who suggested browsing the catalogue of items online, where Ian found something similar to what he needed (an adjustable pipe coupler). Ann McCorkell, technical manager at Rope Assemblies said: "Ian identified a product that could potentially work for him, that, with a few alterations would work perfectly for the venue. Dan Phillips at Doughty then worked with Ian to develop the idea further."

Dan explained: "We exchanged several detailed emails where I presented Ian with some of the possible options. He then supplied us with photos and measurements and we got to work on getting something down on paper that he was happy with."

The bespoke piece of kit ticked all of Ian's boxes. "It is certainly a major improvement over the rope option and we believe that the sightlines to stage are definitely improved. The customer service from both Doughty and Rope Assemblies was top notch. As a venue we strive for that level of service with our mission statement #unforgettableexperiences. It was a no-brainer to work with both Doughty as a manufacturer and Rope Assemblies as a distributor in order to obtain a high quality product. My team have plenty of experience using Doughty arms to rig lights around the hall and have also utlilised Rope Assemblies' services for various rigging and lifting items that we sometimes need. We're really happy with the product and feel very fortunate to have worked with a great team who can respond with excellent expert advice and developmental skills."

Ian concluded: "The real critics will be the BBC Proms as they will broadcast intricate and intimate images of the stage, but we anticipate that the new rails will be very well received."

8th March 2019

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