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New Tower Safety Standards Coming

Text has been updated to correct the full formal name of TIA TR-14 in the second paragraph.

Though some radio broadcasters are selling their towers as a means to raise cash, many still own theirs. Now new tower safety standards are coming that those owners should keep on their radars.

The Telecommunications Industry Association in 2015 began the process to revise its TIA TR-14 “Installation, Alteration, and Maintenance of Antenna Supporting Structures and Antennas.” The TIA is splitting work on the guideline with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ANSI/ASSE 10.48).

TIA, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, could approve changes in July and publish the new standard yet this year, according to those familiar with the process. The ANSI/TIA 322 “Loading Criteria, Analysis, and Design Related to the Installation, Alteration and Maintenance of Communications Structures” guideline will directly affect owners of towers that plan alterations to existing towers.

James Reudlinger, chair of the TIA TR-14 Task Group 7 and manager engineer at Crown Castle, told Radio World, “The current ANSI/TIA-1019-A is a combined standard covering loading, analysis and design for engineers, along with construction procedures, rigging practices and operational use for contractors.”

Reudlinger summarized for us the changes to the engineering content within the upcoming ANSI/TIA 322 via email. Here are his observations:

  • Primary stakeholder roles and responsibilities will be clarified for the overall construction process
  • Lift systems and resulting construction loading aspects will be expanded beyond sophisticated gin poles to cover a broader array of more common lift configurations including lifting blocks only arrangements
  • Construction activities requiring engineering engagement are expected to be clarified to cover all tower work impacting the strength or stability of the tower superstructure or supporting foundation(s), and acceptable supporting structure analysis requirements coordinated with provisions of the current ANSI/TIA-222-G
  • Important definitions should be enhanced to provide greater clarity to the specific tower industry and to coordinate vernacular used within the A10.48 standard to drive better communications between engineers and contractors servicing construction planning and implementation
  • Emphasis and guidelines will be placed on straight tag lift applications where rigging forces may become excessive with relatively minor changes in the rigging setup and/or operation.