Decommissioning of an Antenna Array

Essential Communications Services not only install antennas and communications systems, we also dismantle them as well, some bigger than others. A huge Thank you must go to the team at Telco Antennas for referring this very high-risk job to us. As their Go-To team for all high-risk, involved installations, having successfully planned & carried out incident free this type of work previously, we were their first choice for this work.

We pride ourselves on our organization & planning including multiple phone calls and emails to all involved, with a safety-first mindset at all times, being fully Australian Radio Communications Industry Association & Worksafe accredited for high-risk work, working at heights, and being construction inducted.

We had the privilege to work with the incredible teams from ACE Contractors, LinCon Hire, and Associated Mobile Cranes to complete the very high-risk dismantling of a very large and very heavy communications array.

Prior to the lift day, there was an enormous amount of planning, organization & paperwork that needed to be completed between all parties involved with multiple SWMS (Safe Work Method Statements), a legal requirement, especially on a very high-risk job site like this. On the day, all parties checked and signed onto each other’s SWMS.

All the teams had a 4.30 am rise & met at the site at 6.30 am prior to sunrise, to set up both the 220-tonne crane from Associated Mobile Cranes as well as the 45-metre travel tower from LinCon Hire. The lift was so big that the 220T Associated Mobile crane arrived with two separate 40ft triaxle semi-trailer loads of counterweights to ensure the safe stability & success of the lift.

As soon as all the mandatory vehicles & personnel were on-site an immediate manned traffic & pedestrian control lockdown was put in place to ensure that no unauthorized pedestrian or traffic movement could stray into or onto the lift site.

Once the 220-tonne crane from Associated Mobile Cranes, as well as the 45-metre travel tower from LinCon Hire, was set up, our leading senior communications engineer with two supporting staff from LinCon Hire and the crane operator from Associated Mobile Cranes, ascended to the top of the communications tower to look at what was going to be involved in getting the travel tower to the various necessary locations to facilitate the safe dismantling of the antenna array, including taking photos and notes of what would be needed in the way of tools, slings, chains, and guiding ropes.

This first view also gave our leading senior communications engineer the insight as to what tools would be needed to safely release the array from its rotator at the top of the communications tower while safely held in place by the 220-tonne crane from Associated Mobile Cranes to enable it to be lowered to the ground 30 meters below.

Once back on the ground, the entire team, all 23 people, formed a “Tool Box” site meeting to go over all the notes and photos and to discuss the safest method to use to ensure the lift and lowering of this antenna array & communications tower to the ground, over 30 meters below. The Tool Box also ensured that communications, via our commercial UHF radios, were in place and that all members had full visual from their vantage points of the array as it was being disconnected & prepared to be lowered.

In the Tool Box Meeting, we also made sure that every person on the team had a working UHF radio & that it was on the appropriate commercial channel  & was tested & that every person on the team knew & understood that they were fully empowered to bring an immediate STOP to the lift if they were concerned with, saw or noticed anything out of place by coming up on the team UHF commercial channel & using the phraseology Stop, Stop, Stop. This would bring an immediate stop to everything.

As the communications tower also needs to be removed from this site, the deconstruction of this was also discussed & planned including where everything would be safely lowered.

Even though it was quite windy with gusts up to 40km per hour, the lift was smooth and without issue.

The client was extremely happy with the planning of & with how safe & smooth the dismantle, deconstruction & lift were carried out and the number of people we had on-site & the trouble that we went to, to ensure the total safety of the project including the very high-risk lift of the antenna array & deconstruction & lift of the communications tower went exactly to plan down to the last detail.

At Essential Communications Services we have 2 rules.
Safety ALWAYS comes 1st & is always No.1.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

If you have a communications or Telecommunications challenge then please reach out to the team at Essential Communications Services.

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