TOWER AUDITS & INSPECTIONS

WesTower Communications has a long history of auditing and inspecting towers and as the industry evolves is continually reviewing the requirements to suit the needs of their clients. Over the years WesTower has performed Audits or Inspections on nearly all manner of typical Self-support, Guyed Towers, Monopoles, Custom structures and Roof top installations.

Audits or Inspections can be done for a variety of reasons and usually form part of a greater package of information, some types of audits or inspections are:

  • The most common types of audits are:
    1. TAC (Tower Audit – Climb): These are completed by physically accessing the structure by climbing it or using lifts or other means.
    2. TAG (Tower Audit – Ground): These are based previous information and accessed only from the ground.
  • The most common types of inspections are:
    1. Maintenance Inspection – usually a pre-emptive visit to identify issues prior to becoming critical
    2. Engineering Inspection – typically a final inspection to confirm install matches issued for construction Design Drawings (DSN DWGS) for the preparation of Record-set Drawings (RCD DWGS)
    3. Construction Inspection – similar to Engineering inspection but the documentation tends to stay in the files at WesTower as part of our extensive record keeping.

WesTower has developed and distributed internally methodologies that allow its various offices to work to the same standard and create a recognizable national WesTower Report for each of the type of inspection.

AUDIT REPORTS

 

The most common reasons to audit a tower are to record the antenna loading for the purpose of performing a Structural Tower Analysis (STA) or to confirm loading for use by the real estate department of Carrier or tower Owner.

  • Tower Audit – Climb (TAC)
    1. The structure is climbed and each appurtenance verified and documented via pictures including pictures of model numbers if visible.
    2. Previous Project drawings are not required to be marked up and should not be included in the report. However if available the most recent loading table should be reviewed.
    3. Full tower inventory of Antennas and lines along with Pictures, TX layout and Compound layout.
      1. TX and Compound layouts to be completed in a CAD type program and inserted into final document
    4. Not typically signed/sealed/stamped/authenticated by an Engineer.
  • Tower Audit – Ground (TAG)
    1. The structure is not physically accessed and pictures are taken from the ground to compare to existing loading documentation.
    2. Previous Project drawings are required and are referenced but not directly included in the audit report, nor can they be directly verified
    3. Full tower inventory of Antennas and lines along with Pictures, TX layout and Compound layout.
      1. TX and Compound layouts to be completed in a AutoCAD type program and inserted into the final document
    4. Not typically signed/sealed/stamped/authenticated by an Engineer

The main difference between the two types of audits is the degree of accuracy and reliability of the information. Ground audits which may be cheaper are nearly worthless as a source document for use in completing an STA. We have found that ground audits tend to lead to confusion and misunderstanding between project parties (Engineers, Real-Estate Departments, and Contractors) and to avoid this confusion WesTower strongly recommends that ground audits only be considered if access is not possible.

INSPECTION REPORTS

 

Inspections are important in managing the condition of the any tower or network of towers and WesTower works with various owners that have inspections programs that range from yearly inspections of their assets to 3-5 year intervals. The intervals are determined by each carries reliability requirements and level of network construction activity. The inspections help outline small issues that if left uncorrected may cause critical service or structural issues in the future. Regular inspections performed by WesTower allow Owners to identify and prepare to correct these issues in an economical manner.

  • Maintenance Inspection Reports (MIR)
    1. Visual inspection of every above ground component looking at:
      1. Structural issues – Rust, loose bolts and bent or damaged members
      2. Condition of attachments – loose mounts, missing hangers, line damage
  • General site conditions – encroachment of foliage, site access

At times during and after construction certain inspections are required such that the Engineer of Record (EoR) can seal a final set of Record Set Drawings (RCD DWGS). It is the privilege incumbent with the law mandated responsibility of the Original Design Engineer or Engineer of Record whether to accept an inspection completed under contract by another body outside of the Engineer’s control. The Owner may require a 3RD party engineering inspection however the Engineer of Record may require their own agent inspect the work prior to sealing of Record-set Drawings.

  • Engineering Inspection Reports (EIR)
    1. Performed by an Engineer or his agent
    2. Varies in scope to include all or part of, but not limited to:
      1. Structural information of the entire structure or a review of a portion
        1. Reinforcing review
      2. Limited antenna inventory with mount details
        1. Appurtenances installed or designed by Others
  • Transmission Line (TX) layouts and routing
  1. Compound layouts
  1. Level of detail and standards of information are different than the other types of Reports listed
  2. Observations about the conformance of the install to the design drawings are included.
    1. Observations of note outside the contracted scope may be included at the discretion of the inspector.
  3. Sometimes called a 3RD Party Inspection if the work being inspected was not designed or installed by the company doing the inspection.
  4. Satisfies any carriers requirement of a Post-Construction Inspection (PCI)

 

  • Construction Inspection Reports (CIR)
    1. These are typically internal documents produced for our own files documenting inspections by WesTower Engineers or our approved agents.
    2. Construction Inspections can be performed at any time.
      1. POST, INTERM, FINAL
    3. This is a limited on site review for a particular set or sub-set of project drawings for determining conformance.
      1. Examples would be:
        1. a rebar inspection prior to pouring a concrete slab
        2. A Geotechnical sign off of soil conditions
      2. Project drawings are marked up or “red-lined” and accompany a signed document and filed along with the rest of the project.

The high quality and evolving Audit and Inspection services that WesTower provides will support most any project that may develop and if a custom situation arises WesTower has the depth and experience to develop a program for it.