Like any piece of equipment, nothing is ever 100% perfect. Unfortunately, tower failures do occur, but through proper tower maintenance,
Like anything, towers fail. Luckily, through proper tower maintenance, these inconvenient failures are less frequent. Causes can be lumped into two main categories: Natural occurrences and man-made errors. Below we discuss the four common reasons tower failures occur, and shine some light on how to prevent them.
Natural occurrence: Winds
Winds can cause many problems. Towers are built for certain maximum wind speeds, determined by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Even though they are designed to take these winds, it doesn’t mean this can be done without regular maintenance. Wind can cause cyclical loading on towers and guy wires. After a certain point, this cyclical loading will cause permanent damage that can lead to failure. Any tower should be checked on a regular basis for this type of wear before it leads to a major problem.
Natural occurrence: Icing
You know wind is a problem, but there are other conditions that can be just as bad if not worse. Icing during cold weather can cause greater loads to be put on towers and in turn lead to damage of different members. Ice fall can also cause damage as it falls from higher places in the tower to lower, as it hits it can bend horizontals or diagonals and destroy equipment. After major icing events, towers should be checked for damage.
Man-made error: Basic Construction Issues
As with most structural failures, the basic construction of the tower can also cause it to fail. Sometimes it is the quality of the work done, sometimes it is the implementation of a design that has a flaw. Initial construction problems can grow into big problems over time. Many of these issues can be caught in post construction observations, which will allow engineers (like those at Tower Engineering Company) to see what has been done, and if there may be problems in the future.
Man-made error: Lack of proper care
Sometimes once a structure has been built, that is the last that it is thought of. After all, it was working when it was built, why should it not be working ten years after? But this is a big mistake. Leaving a tower alone in the environment can cause many problems that lead to failure. Towers should be inspected on a regular basis, according to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), self-supporting towers should be inspected every 5 years and guyed towers should be inspected every 3 years by tower professionals.
Tower collapses can be devastating accidents and prevention merely requires attention to detail and diligence. Tower Engineering Company promises to always give our clients our undivided attention and apply our many years of experience so tower failure problems seldom occur. We are committed to tower safety for our clients so they can make the most of their investment. Our team proudly provides customized tower and foundation designs to fit your specific needs. Additionally, we offer design team maintenance, construction administration, and special inspection services. Please get in touch with us today to learn more!