Worked example for building a production set in a studio


Independently produced production set in a studio. This example covers the production design and build for the first show.

The independent production company is the CDM client for this production.  It is  also planning, managing, monitoring and co-ordinating the construction activity during the production and so retains the CDM Principal Designer (PD) and Principal Contractor (PC) roles.  

The producing company discharges these CDM duties with the assistance of those working for it as part of its production team. In this scenario, the team consists of:

  • The Producer who oversees the project.
  • The Art Director and Designer who, together with the Producer, decide on the overall look of the set.
  • The Production Manager who oversees the production build, rig and de-rig process.

Pre-construction (pre-production) information

The pre-construction (pre-production) information required for the design and build process includes the studio size and the permissible floor loadings, together with the maximum permissible size of prefabricated elements to allow them to be loaded into the studio. The load capacity of the grid and power specification of the venue is also required.

Planning and design

The production company's art department produce a set concept sketch.

The Production Manager appoints a set building company, who is given the set concept information.

The art department coordinates development of the set design with the set build company and the other members of the design team.

The set building company (acting as a CDM designer) produces a final design and manufactures the scenic elements at their off-site workshop.

The set building company does not undertake any of the work in the studio and simply supplies the scenic elements for the load-in.

Build, rig and de-rig

Once the final technical design of the structure has been undertaken, the set building company provides the Production Manager with information about how to safely handle and assemble the scenic elements.

The Production Manager then plans the 'build and rig'. He liaises with the Studio Manager to agree the details of what the studio will provide to the production and how the 'build and rig' will be undertaken.

The studio (acting as a CDM contractor to the production) provides a Turnaround Manager and house electrician.

The production hires in a set installation contractor, who provides labour to undertake the build and rig.

The Turnaround Manager supervises the set installation using staff provided by the set installation contractor. The Turnaround Manager assists the Production Manager in coordinating and managing the build, rig (and de-rig).

A lighting contractor (acting as a CDM contractor) is appointed by the producing company to provide lighting and connect the production electrical equipment into the house supply.

Another contractor is appointed to provide the audio visual equipment. 

The Production Manager agrees the site rules and 'build and rig' and 'de-rig' details with the Studio Manager and produces a construction phase plan to cover the production 'Builds and Rig' and 'De-rig' at the end of the show.   

An example of a construction phase plan for this scenario is available.

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Updated 2022-11-01