Easy Ways of Erecting a Telecommunication Tower/mast
Telecommunication towers/masts have occupied many lands located in different strategic areas in Nigeria, such that at every 20km distance in every city there must be a site of at least one telecommunication tower/mast, while the interior villages have one or two located in it; such that at least every village has one in it.
The reason is because of the competition and continued increase in investments in the information technology industries which made such a number of towers/masts possible.
Though this may not have any disadvantage when considering its effects on the growth of the country’s economy as the mounting and installation of this tower/mast is going on, most contractors may tend to boycott the normal procedures which most companies had used in the past and are recommended by some safety professionals.
Though this may not have any disadvantage when considering its effects on the growth of the country’s economy, as the contract for the mounting and installation of this tower/mast is carried out.
Most contractors tend to boycott the normal procedures which most companies had used in the past and are recommended by many safety professionals, just because they want to make more profit from the contract.
This action may have led to accidents in the past which in the worst-case included loss of life for those trying to erect the tower/mast with such practice.
The practices which can be classified as boycotting are;
climbing on the structure directly while still erecting,
the use of inexperienced workers,
and using ropes and ladders to erect it by gradually adding beams one after the other, etc.
Though these processes cost less the record for accidents is very high, yet most contractors do decide to use them so that they could save the cost of following the normal procedures, which violates the policy of the CERTIFIED ORGANIZATION OF REGISTERED ENGINEERS IN NIGERIA (COREN) in regard to engineering works at construction sites.
From my little research, the following have been listed as among the normal and safer methods of mounting a telecommunication tower/mast;
Among all the various ways of Erecting a Telecommunication Tower, the use of scaffolds in the mounting tower/mast had been a popular practice in the engineering industries, it has been seen by most professionals as one of the safe ways of erecting a telecommunication tower/mast.
In this practice, a lot of workers are used to erect the scaffolds first and create platforms on the scaffolds at every height that the tower/mast will have joints of two or more beams.
The platform will be created continuously everywhere joints are located until the full lengths of the tower/mast are covered.
Then followed by the inspection of the scaffolds work and mounting of other assisting tools that will be used for the carrying and lifting of beams, such tools are ropes, pulleys, and others such as safety signs and guards.
After the stage of scaffold works, next is to start the mounting of the tower/mast in a process that would rather be referred to as building the tower/mast because the tower/mast will be mounted by gradually fixing the beams first on the foundations followed by fixing the next beam with the one fixed at the foundation at its vertical end, this is usually done with bolts and nuts and torqued with a torque range.
The good thing about this practice is that it increases the confidence of the engineers erecting the tower/mast, since they are able to have a stable platform to stand on top while carrying out their activities, but it has the disadvantage of making the process of erecting the whole beams to belong.
Though this practice uses scaffolds primarily as the main support to aid the erection of beams, it can also employ the services of other methods or machines such as man lifts and cranes in a situation where the job may require it.
USING MAN LIFT
This is one of the popular ways of erecting a Telecommunication Tower. Man lift is usually employed in any work that can be carried out at the site where there is the availability of space for swinging and straightening of its beams.
It is a mechanical machine mostly operated by a hydraulic system used in construction industries for the lifting of not more than three persons with their tools to a particular height in order to carry out a particular work at that height. This approach has been tagged among the safest ways of erecting a telecommunication tower.
The man lift has different ranges or limits of heights which each type can attain, which means that the actual height of every work must be ascertained before the decision of the type of man lifts to be used will be made since the work has to do with heights, it then means that the higher the height of the tower/mast; the higher the type of man lifts required for the job.
Using man lift to erect a tower/mast is not an easy method though it may be faster than erecting scaffolds the work will be tedious and very high caution has to be put in place since any incident of loosed or fallen beam has the potential of injuring the workers beneath or within the area the job is being carried out. Therefore many construction industries may employ the service of two-man lifts at once.
The process of using the man lift involves the use of ropes assisted by pulleys to draw the steel beams tied on the ropes by the workers on the ground, the rope will be dragged upward to help the workers on the man lift get hold of the steel beam.
When this is done; the beam will be tightened to the supposed position according to the diagram or drawing provided by the client, this process is repeated while on the man lift on daily bases until the whole beams are mounted in their various locations as specified by the drawing.
Though the explanation and the process sound simple, the truth is that among all the various ways of erecting a telecommunication tower, it is usually more costly than the scaffold method.
The reason is that the man lifts either one or two have to be rented from the firm involved in hiring such machines or will be purchased from the selling firms, whichever be the case it is still the same.
Industrial heavy machines like man lift hiring are being calculated per hour in the hand of the clients that hire it, so keeping the machine idle means incurring more loss of money to the construction company.
Hence, there will be rushing in this method where the man lift is hired so as to meet up with the stipulated time by the company.
This method is modern and tops the various ways of erecting a telecommunication tower. The helicopter method is just the best and most modern method of mounting a telecommunication tower/mast or any other tower/mast with the close range in mass and volume as that of the telecommunication.
Though I have not been opportune to work in a field where the helicopter is used for installation, I have had the opportunity to watch different videos in which the helicopter is usually applied for some intricate jobs at heights which telecommunication tower/mast is the most among all the functions, these videos were usually made available whenever I do undergo different installation training.
Mounting a tower/mast with the helicopter is the quickest among all other methods such that within 24 hours the whole work of erecting and mounting has been completed.
The process is just simply bringing all the beams required for the tower/mast and fixing it according to the drawing provided, while in a horizontal position that is lying on the surface of the ground.
The whole beams are fixed and tightened very well, and the foundation of the place to mount the telecommunication tower/mast is prepared with the anchor bolts ready on it.
Then the helicopter will fly and suspend itself on top of the tower/mast where the tower/mast is lying down, with the assistance of very strong steel ropes the vertical edge of the tower/mast will be tied with the steel rope which had already been anchored to the helicopter.
After this procedure, the helicopter will start lifting itself up to such that it starts dragging the vertical edge of the tower/mast upwards being guarded by the action of riggers that have other steel ropes in their hands to assist in controlling the movement of the tower/mast while it is moving up.
This process is continued until the whole mass of the tower/mast is off the ground, then the bottom of the tower/mast that is meant to anchor to the foundation is then assisted with the ropes to locate each anchor point, then the nuts will be tightened that moment.
This method gives the opportunity to torque all the joints very well since the tower/mast is lying on the ground. It also reduces the manpower needed for the erection of the tower/mast as only five professional workers may get it done within 24 hours.
The disadvantage of this method is simply the fact that not all helicopters have the capacity of lifting a tower/mast, the helicopters that do carry the tower/mast are mostly built for such purpose with high lifting capacity, so getting such a helicopter to do the job may become a problem, another thing may be the cost of hiring the helicopter.
Please note that among all these methods, the use of other mechanical equipment/devices is usually employed to ensure that safety is maintained and create more confidence in the workers carrying out the mounting work. Most of the equipment is cranes, ropes, pulleys, harness belts, etc.
The various ways of Erecting a Telecommunication Tower also known as a telecommunication mast have been listed and discussed in this post. However, if your area of interest is not covered in this post, please use the comment section to give a feed for subsequent improvement.
Philip is a graduate of Mechanical engineering and an NDT inspector with vast practical knowledge in other engineering fields, and software.
He loves to write and share information relating to engineering and technology fields, science and environmental issues, and Technical posts. His posts are based on personal ideas, researched knowledge, and discovery, from engineering, science & investment fields, etc.
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