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Sydney Opera House Concert Hall functional safety assessment

While Advitech is known for the value and services we bring ‘industry’, some of our work is behind the scenes in places that are literally a world stage. Advitech has unique and quite specialised skills regarding the technical equipment in large theatres. Some of our recent projects have been on a truly world stage – at the Sydney Opera House.


Advitech’s client is Waagner Biro Stage Systems who are a global manufacturer of staging equipment, who were engaged to supply equipment for a major upgrade to the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, including new hoists in the roof of the Concert Hall and electrically adjustable stage sections.


You may not realise, but a large theatre can have hundreds of hoists and lifting systems. Safety is a primary concern in a theatre environment as the many hoists suspend loads such as lights, speakers, scenery and large sound acoustic panels above performers and the audience. Some of the hoists are also used to “fly” performers. Likewise, the adjustable stage sections must be safe while being adjusted and be able to remain in place while being used for performances.

The hoisting and stage equipment relies on electronic safety systems to detect unsafe conditions such as moving too far or too fast or when there is a risk of collision and brings the equipment safely to a stop. As these systems are providing overriding protection for the whole theatre it is essential that these devices function reliably, and as designed

Advitech’s role

The client engaged Advitech’s functional safety specialists to undertake an independent functional safety assessment- in essence, to verify the safety and appropriate operation of the theatre hoisting systems.

The functional safety assessment reviews all parts of the lifecycle of the safety systems, from initial concept through to system design, installation and commissioning to assess not just compliance with the relevant standards (AS 61508 and AS 62061) but also to assess that the final product achieves the required level of functional safety.


The venue owner, the original equipment manufacturer, and users of the concert hall can be confident that the hoisting and lifting safety systems in the venue are designed and installed in accordance with the relevant and current safety standards, enabling them to operate safely and reliably.