4 Keys to a Quality Tower Inspection
#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
#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
- 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
- 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.
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.
*Be sure check out the NATE Star initiative here!
 Based on industry standards and regulations, as established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA), and others.
 Requirements may vary between wireless and broadcast towers
 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.
 Participation in the National Association of Tower Erectors’ NATE STAR Initiative is a strong indication of a company’s safety commitment.