inspection types

Whether you own the whole tower or just antennas, Tower Base has you covered

Not all tower inspections are the same. Not only does the structure type and composition of installed assets change, so does the purpose, and therefore the process.

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A tower owner might inspect to check the integrity of the structure (meet TIA standards), or to check the installation of their own RF equipment, or to catalog equipment installed by tenants for billing purposes, or to verify that the tenants’ equipment is installed correctly, as designed by structural engineers, or all of the above.

A tenant might inspect, post-install, to see that the contractor built according to design drawings. According to TIA, they should also inspect post-trauma (as should the tower owner). Extreme wind or icing conditions are mentioned as examples by TIA of extreme environmental conditions which should prompt an inspeciton. 

For any of these inspection types, the examination process is basically the same, but the data collected varies.

Regardless of your position in the market place or reason for inspecting, Tower Base can help.


1) Maintenance Inspections

TIA-222-H SECTION 14.2 Maximum Intervals states: “Maintenance and condition assessment shall be performed as follows: (a) Three-year intervals for guyed [towers] and five-year intervals for self-supporting structures, [monopoles and self-supporters] …”

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These directives are obviously aimed at tower owners. They should be respected if for no other reason than to avoid legal liability. If your structure somehow became the cause, or alleged cause, of property damage or personal injury your legal team should at least be able to prove that you’ve inspected the site at intervals consistent with the standards and practices of the industry (i.e. TIA).

Beyond the liability aspect, your structures should be inspected to assess the effects of environmental conditions, longevity, and original sub-standard building practices; thereby assuring that you and your tenants can be confident that the structure has been maintained and is being monitored.

2) Post-Construction or Upgrade QA Inspections

Adding a brand new tower to your network? New RF installation? Structural modification? Before you sign the final check, have an objective, knowledgeable, independent contractor inspect it.

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With new equipment installations, structural modifications, or technology upgrades, most of the significant stuff happens way over a construction manger’s head (I mean that in a physical sense).

Each one of these activities effects the integrity of the structure, and therefore should be inspected. The as-built should be compared meticulously to the engineering design.

Often it is the tenant’s responsibility to hire an inspector to examine the a new installation. But, even if the tower owner doesn’t require a post-install or post-upgrade inspection, the tenant should inspect to see that the installation or upgrade was carried out as dictated by the engineering drawings. 

Whether inspecting for the owner or the tenant, Tower Base will supply an objective appraisal of the workmanship and adherence to drawings.

NOTE: Post-Installation inspections on behalf of tower owners are the best fit of all for drone inspections. The owner can see if the booms are constructed and attached solidly, that lines are supported securely, and the installation doesn’t interfere with the performance of, or access to, the other tenants’ equipment. It’s a quick and inexpensive examination and often the responsibility of the tenant, at their own cost.

3) Post-Trauma Inspections

TIA-222-H SECTION 14.2 Maximum Intervals also says: “Maintenance and condition assessment shall be performed as follows:” …” and (b) After severe wind and/or ice storms or other extreme conditions”

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TIA’s insistence on post-trauma inspections is largely ignored, the owners and tenants thinking that system performance itself will be their silent inspector. If there is no loss in performance then there must not have been any damage, right? Wrong. Ice storms, hurricanes, tornados, even high-wind thunderstorms and hailstorms can do damage that will cause performance problems down the road. Extreme weather can cause loose and lost line supports, damage to antenna radomes, changes in azimuths and down-tilts, coax and waveguide damage, stretching of guy wires, and more.

NOTE: Post-trauma inspections are a great application for our drones. We can have a good look “upstairs” without risking climber safety on a possibly compromised structure. Drone inspections are also a fraction of the cost of climber inspections.

4) Pre-Purchase Inspections

When considering a site, or a group of sites, for purchase the primary consideration is capacity. Capacity is a function of three characteristics: design, condition, and current loading.

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Design capacity will have to be determined by a structural engineer, which Tower Base is not. We can gather the information needed for structural analysis, but the data collected would be analyzed by an engineer.

Condition assessment is well within our purview. We will observe conditions and evaluate consistent with TIA-222-H. In addition, we can ultrasound leg wall thickness, and If requested, we will partially excavate anchor rods for signs of corrosion below grade.

We will record loading with the information previously requested by structural engineers (e.g. antennas/booms, azimuths, line sizes and locations, etc.)

The exact scope of a pre-purchase inspection will be determined by the potential buyer and will be quoted on an individual basis.

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