As consultants to the telecommunications industry, we often hear, “What, we can’t add any more dishes to that tower?” It is unfortunate how often this occurs. It is also unfortunate how much it costs to increase a tower’s capacity once the tower has been installed versus the small additional cost initially. As technology evolves, so does the equipment that an owner needs to place on their tower. This often creates a situation in which the tower is required to carry equipment that it was never designed to carry.
The Engineering Specialties Group firmly believes that it is worth designing, not only for the future, but for excess capacity beyond the foreseeable future.
Consider the following design example for a typical 100’ tall self-supporting lattice tower:
Criteria Scenario 1 Scenario 2
Equipment Capacity: 4×4’ Dishes 8×4’ Dishes
Estimated Tower Structure Cost: $8,800 $9,900
In the above example, the added cost to double the tower’s capacity is only $1,100. When considering the full cost of constructing a new tower, including the installation and the foundation, this capacity increase only adds approximately 2-4% to the total cost of the complete tower. Replacing the tower in the future to increase its capacity not only requires the full cost of the new tower, but significant expense related to moving equipment from one tower to another, system downtime and potential site modifications. This example demonstrates how careful planning before construction can save a significant amount of cost and inconvenience in the future.
This article was written by Steve Dorau, project manager and telecom infrastructure group leader.
© Copyright 2011 by the Engineering Specialties Group