4 Keys to a Quality Tower Inspection

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#1 – USE AN EXPERIENCED TOWER INSPECTOR

  • 5+ years of active “on-the-tower” experience
  • Physical agility to ascend/descend 2,000’ towers
  • Training, certifications, and credentials to climb[1]

#2 – PROVIDE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC REPORTING

  • Tower inspection reports are engineering documents; must be clear, concise, complete
  • Inspection reports must match needs and expectations of tower owner[2]
  • Insurance companies/local jurisdictions can specify additional inspection/reporting requirements to protect tower assets, ensure public safety.

#3 – KEEP QUALITY INSPECTION RECORDS AND FOLLOW INSPECTION SCHEDULES

  • Guyed Towers – every 3 years. Self-Support & Monopole Towers – every 5 years[3]
  • Benefits of regular inspections:
    • Reduced maintenance costs – by identifying/treating problems early
    • Greater operational efficiency – by extending lifespan of aging structures
    • Minimizing risk – by preventive measures that avert tower failures and potential injuries/deaths to tower workers and general public

#4 – STAY FOCUSED ON SAFETY

  • Always strive for quality service in a timely manner, but never sacrifice safety.
  • Conduct thorough job hazard assessments prior to climb; wear required personal protective equipment (PPE); possess credentials to climb, prevent falls, perform rescues.
  • Be knowledgeable of OSHA requirements and related safety standards.[4]

Types of Tower Inspections

  • General Inspection: high-level visual examination of structure to identify obvious errors or damage.
  • Condition Assessment: more in-depth evaluation of structure and its components, including appurtenances. Requires specialized training.
  • Mappings (2 primary types):
    • Tower Mapping – locates all appurtenances on tower
    • Structural Mapping – documents size and shape of structural members, gusset plate dimensions, tower geometry, and other critical components for structural analyses

Basic Components of a Tower Inspection

  • Foundations and footings
  • Structural verticality
  • Structural condition, note deformities, cuts, warping, bending, corrosion
  • Connections, tight and secure
  • Appurtenance attachment and integrity
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) obstruction lighting, marking
  • Safety components
  • Grounding protection

FDH Infrastructure Services provides engineering, nondestructive investigation, and construction services to critical infrastructure markets, and is a leading provider of structural engineering services to the telecommunications and broadcast industries.

To contact a tower inspection expert, email: info@fdh-is.com. For more information on FDH’s tower services, visit www.FDH-IS.com.

*Be sure check out the NATE Star initiative here!

[1] Based on industry standards and regulations, as established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA), and others.

[2] Requirements may vary between wireless and broadcast towers

[3] Per requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), A10.48, Criteria for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition, Modification and Maintenance of Communications Structures; and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) 222 Revision H, Structural Standard for Antenna Supporting Structures, Antennas and Small Wind Turbine Support Structures.

[4] Participation in the National Association of Tower Erectors’ NATE STAR Initiative is a strong indication of a company’s safety commitment.

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