Importance of Proper Telecom Structure Design

3D render of deflected towerThe design of telecom infrastructure relies on a thorough knowledge of engineering principals, knowledge of the Standard and a good understanding of the project site.  When implementing an infrastructure build-out project, the designer should ask a number of questions.  Is the structure on a hill or ridge?  What is an appropriate wind speed for the design?  Should ice be considered?  All of these questions have a critical impact on the design of the structure.

It is all too common for manufacturers to utilize designers that are experienced at operating a piece of software, but lack the engineering background to understand how the software functions and the importance of their design decisions.  Sitting in a far-off location, mass-producing structure designs, designers often fail to capture the design criteria that will result in a properly designed structure.  Did you know that the simple fact that a structure is on a ridge may increase wind loads on the structure by a factor of 3 as wind gets “squeezed” over the hill?

Furthermore, the Telecommunications Industry Association’s Structural Standard for Antenna Supporting Structures and Antennas (TIA-222-G) specifies design wind speeds on a per county basis, often misleading designers.  In one county in Colorado, elevations range from 6,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level. The Standard specifies a design wind speed of 90 mph for the whole of this county, regardless of elevation.

Without knowledge of the project site, a designer could select a 90 mph design wind speed for a mountain-top site in this county while an appropriate design wind speed is on the order of 140 mph.  This represents a misjudgment of wind pressure by 2.5 times.

The Engineering Specialties Group always investigates a project location thoroughly, such that accurate design parameters are utilized in a design or while verifying a design.


This article was written by Steve Dorau, project manager and telecom infrastructure group leader.

© Copyright 2011 by the Engineering Specialties Group


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