BEST WAYS TO ERECT TELECOMMUNICATION MASKS
Telecommunication masks have occupied many lands located in different strategic areas in Nigeria, such that at every 20km distance in every city there must be a site of atleast one telecommunication mask, while the interior villages have one or two located in it; such that at least every village has one in it.
The reason is because of the competitions and continued increase in investments in the information technology industries which made such number of masks possible. Though this may not have any disadvantage when considering its effects to the growth of country’s economy but as the mounting and installation of these masks is going on, most contractors may tend to boycott the normal procedures which most companies had used in the past and are recommended by some safety professionals.
Though this may not have any disadvantage when considering its effects to the growth of country’s economy, but as the contract for the mounting and installation of these masks is carried out , most contractors tend to boycott the normal procedures which most companies had used in the past and are recommended by many safety professionals, just because they want to make more profit from the contract.
This action may has led to accidents in the past which at the worst case included loss of life for those trying to erect the masks with such practice, the practices which can be classified as boycotting are; climbing on the structure directly while still erecting,the use of inexperienced workers, and using ropes and ladders to erect it by gradually adding beams one after the other, etc. though these processes cost less but its record for accidents are very high, yet most contractors do decide to use it so that they could save the cost of following the normal procedures, which violates the policy of the CERTIFIED ORGANIZATION OF REGISTERED ENGINEERS IN NIGERIA (COREN) in regard to engineering works at construction sites.
From my little research, the following have listed as among the normal and safer methods of mounting a telecommunication mask;
The use of scaffolds in mounting mask had been a popular practice in the engineering industries, it has been seen by most professionals as a safe way of erecting a telecommunication mask.
In this practice a lot workers are used to erect the scaffolds first, and create platforms on the scaffolds at every height that the mask will have joints of two or more beams. The platform will be created continuously on everywhere joints are located until the full lengths of the mask is covered, then followed by the inspection of the scaffolds work and mounting of other assisting tools that will be used for the carrying and lifting of beams, such tools are ropes, pulleys and others such as safety signs and guards.
After the stage of scaffold works, next is to start the mounting of the mask in a process that would rather be referred to as building the mask because the mask will be mounted by gradually fixing the beams first on the foundations followed by fixing the next beam with the one fixed at the foundation at its vertical end, this is usually done with bolts and nuts and torqued with a torque range.
The good thing about this practice is that it increases the confidence of the engineers erecting the mask, since they are able to have a stable platform to stand on top while carrying out their activities, but it has the disadvantage of making the process of erecting the whole beams to be long.
Though this practice uses scaffolds primarily as the main support to aid the erection of beams, it can also employ the services of other methods or machines such as man lift and cranes in a situation where the job may require it.
USING MAN LIFT
Man lift is usually employed in any work that can be carried out at the site where there is availability of space for swinging and straightening of its beams, it is a mechanical machine mostly operated by a hydraulic system used in construction industries for the lifting of not more than three persons with their tools to a particular height in order to carry out a particular work at that height. The man lift have different ranges or limit of heights which each type can attain, which means that the actual height of every work must be ascertained before the decision of the type of man lift to be used will be made, since the work has to do with heights, it then means that the higher the height of the mask; the higher the type of man lift required for the job.
Using man lift to erect a mask is not an easy method though it may be faster than erecting scaffolds but the work will be tedious and very high caution has to be put in place since any incident of loosed or fallen beam has the potential of injuring the workers beneath or within the area the job is being carried out. Therefore many construction industries may employ the service of two man lift at once.
The process of using the man lift involves the use of ropes assisted by pulleys to draw the steel beams tied on the ropes by the workers on the ground, the rope will be dragged upward to help the workers on the man lift get hold of the steel beam, when this is done; the beam will be tightened to the supposed position according to the diagram or drawing provided by client, this process is repeated while on the man lift on daily bases until the whole beams are mounted in their various locations as specified by the drawing.
Though the explanation and the process sounds simple but the truth is that, it is usually more costly than scaffold method since the man lift either one or two have to be rented from the firm involve in hiring such machines, or will be purchased from the selling firms, whichever be the case it is still the same.
Industrial heavy machines like man lift hiring are being calculated per hour in the hand of the clients that hire it, so keeping the machine idle means incurring more loss of money to the construction company hence, there will be rushing in this method where the man lift is hired so as to meet up with the stipulated time by the company.
Helicopter method is just the best and modern method of mounting a telecommunication mask or any other mask with close range in mass and volume as that of the telecommunication.
Though I have not been opportuned to work in a field where helicopter is used for installation, but I have had the opportunity of watching different videos in which helicopter is usually applied for some intricate jobs at heights which telecommunication mask is the most among all the functions, these videos were usually made available whenever I do undergo different installation trainings.
Mounting mask with helicopter is the quickest among all other methods such that within 24 hours the whole work of erecting and mounting have been completed.
The process is just simply bring all the beams required for the mask and fix it according to the drawing provided, while in a horizontal position that is lying on the surface of the ground. The whole beams are fixed and tightened very well, and the foundation of the place to mount the telecommunication mask is prepared with the anchor bolts ready on it. Then the helicopter will fly and suspend itself on top of the mask where the mask is lying down, with the assistance of very strong steel ropes the vertical edge of the mask will be tied with the steel rope which had already been anchored to the helicopter.
After this procedure the helicopter will start lifting itself up such that it starts dragging the vertical edge of the mask upwards being guarded by the action of riggers that have other steel ropes in their hands to assist in controlling the movement of the mask while it is moving up. This process is continued until the whole mass of the mask is off the ground, then the bottom of the mask that is meant to anchor to the foundation is then assisted with the ropes to locate each anchor points, then the nuts will be tightened that moment.
This method gives the opportunity to torque all the joints very well since the mask is lying on the ground. It also reduces the man power needed for the erection of the mask as only five professional workers may get it done within 24 hours.
The disadvantage of this method is simply the fact that not all helicopters have the capacity of lifting mask, the helicopters that do carry the mask are mostly built for such purpose with high lifting capacity, so getting such a helicopter to do the job may become a problem, another thing may be the cost of hiring the helicopter.
Please note that among all these methods, the use of other mechanical equipment/ device are usually employed to ensure that safety is maintained and create more confident to the workers carrying out the mounting work. Mostly of the equipment are cranes, ropes, pulleys, and harness belts, etc.