Nearly everything we build requires some type of ballast for stability and grounding. Ballast is necessary, especially when working outdoors, and ensures our stages are supported from the ground up. Monitoring wind speeds and the effect nature has on our structures is critical, but ballast is the anchor that provides the first level of stability. Here are 5 types of ballast that we use on our staging systems and support structures.
Water Tubs & Barrels
Water tubs offer many advantages as a ballast solution. Using water tubs saves money on trucking, as they are shipped without weight as a factor. Water is easily supplied on site, and the extra weight reduction can make a big difference on transportation cost and efficiency.
Also, water tubs are easily placed by hand—an advantage over concrete types of ballast. It’s important to note that since water evaporates, it could change the overall weight of a water tub over time. Our small plastic water barrels are 55 gallon drums that weigh in at roughly 375 lbs after filling. Mountain’s typical larger sized plastic water tubs have a capacity of 375 gallons and a total weight of 3.5 KIP.
Using concrete for ballast is a more consistent solution for long term anchoring. Our concrete barrels also have the benefit of a heavier weight at a smaller footprint than water barrels. Filling a steel 55 gallon barrel with concrete will result in a weight around 1.1 KIP. Compare this to a plastic 55 gallon water barrel weighing 375 lbs.
Another common ballast option we use is Jersey Barrier. Many of our events are staged within racetracks (i.e. EDC Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway) that already have Jersey Barrier readily available. These modular concrete barriers are a great ballast option, and also save money on trucking for venues that already have these common barriers on-site. Jersey Barriers vary in weight per manufacturer and specific style of barricade block.
For ballasting our pre-rig truss tower systems, we use concrete cubes for stability. These cubes are also used for summer installs and custom projects, as they are easier to place than other styles of ballast. Also, the issue of evaporating water in water tubs is an issue for long-term installation stages, so these concrete blocks are well-suited for these scenarios. Our concrete ballast cubes weigh in at 2.4 KIP.
SMT Ballast Blocks
Mountain Productions designed the SMT Ballast Blocks to work directly with our SMT (Supermega Truss) towers. We build our SMT Delay Towers using these blocks that are fitted with fork holes and connection points for the truss base. Made of concrete and steel, the SMT Ballast Blocks are strong and complement our SMT towers with a low profile, unobtrusive design. Mountain manufactures two capacities of SMT Ballast Blocks – 2.5 and 5 KIP.