Designing Resilient Telecoms Structure

There are three key considerations in the structural design of resilient and optimal telecoms infrastructure:

The first is to ensure that the structure being designed does not fail. This involves understanding the proposed orientation of the structure, what loads the structure will face, the load path through the structure, the internal and external stability of the structure, and the material and section type to be used for the structure.

The second is serviceability; to ensure that the structure meets applicable operational criteria such as deflection.

The final consideration is to ensure best value for money. Good knowledge of orientation of telecoms structure is key to achieving a resilient structure using as little material as possible. It often involves designing the structure in such a way that all parts of the structure are being utilized to their fullest with the factor of safety in mind. At KAEG we start working with our clients at planning drawing stage to ensure that solutions progressed to full detailed design are efficient.

At KA Engineering Group, we leverage our extensive engineering experience to accurately design any form of telecoms structure ranging from complex GDC to basic DD analysis. We take responsible steps to consider, advise, and optimise each site, ensuring cost-effective design, installation, and maintenance for build contractors and efficient utilization for operators.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness. No one is immune from feeling lonely and the pandemic really highlighted how much we all rely on interaction with others. Feelings of isolation have a negative impact on our wellbeing. By taking steps to prevent feeling isolated ourselves, we can also help combat loneliness in those around us. Read on to discover our top 3 tips for combating loneliness at work.

  • Create a routine for checking in with others. Whether you start your day in a physical office, a virtual office, or even in the absence of an office at all, this is the perfect time to get in touch with others. Whether this be via face-to-face communication or a friendly message over WhatsApp, it will help the other person feel connected and give them a boost to start their day.
  • Share but do not compare. Sometimes the emotions we are going through can harbour feelings of loneliness because we do not realise that others are going through the same things. By being open when we are struggling or having difficulties with our work we can help others to feel as though their feelings are validated. However, it is important that we do not compare- it is not a competition.
  • Find shared interests. By talking about our hobbies and passions, we can find others with similar interests, and this can help communication flow. Even if someone does not have the same interest, your passion may spark something in them and encourage them to try something new- which can also be great for our mood and wellbeing.

What are your top tips for combating loneliness at work?

Why we need Good Data

The importance of data in engineering cannot be over-emphasised, as engineers utilize data to make meaningful calculations and judgments while designing systems. Generally, the client is responsible for providing structural engineers with helpful information. This information includes site location, datasheets, existing site condition, details of proposed system among others. This enables the engineer to perform a correct calculation to ascertain the safety of the proposal.

Providing incorrect data about a site can lead to a catastrophic failure of the proposed system. Hence, it is the responsibility of the client to provide engineers with correct and adequate information before design. At the same time, it is the engineer’s responsibility to confirm the correctness of the information and state any assumptions. This will help curb system failures caused by incorrect design data.

We are always passionate in pursuing engineering excellence, best design practice and new technology to provide our customers with cost-effective, reliable, and fast turnaround design solutions. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com or kingsley.sunday@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Load Path through Structures

A structure, before being built must be analysed to ensure it can serve its intended purpose and resist any form of load it is subjected to. Before considering the design of any structure, a clear understanding of what loads it will be subjected to is required. This brings us to the question, what are loads?

Loads in simple terms are forces that cause stresses, deformation, and displacement of a structure. When not properly catered for, it may fail the entire system. Loads acting on a structure can be classified into three main categories:

  1. Dead loads: These are also known as permanent loads. They are primarily due to the self-weight of the structure and any other constant loads transferred to the structure throughout its life span.
  2. Live loads: This is the opposite of dead loads. They are loads on a structure that are constantly changing. An example is the load due to people walking in a building.
  3. Environmental loads: These are loads on a structure because of the topography or weather conditions. They include wind loads, snow loads, earthquake loads, etc.

An engineer needs to understand these loads to be able to effectively design the structure to fit. However, understanding what these loads are isn’t enough. There is also a need to identify the path these loads will be transferred through in the structure to properly design an efficient and safe structure.

Different loads move in different directions, and the main function of the load path is to ensure that any loading on the structural system is transferred through connected members safely into the foundation. The foundation then forms the final link in the load path by distributing all the loads safely to the earth.

At KA Engineering Group, we leverage our extensive engineering experience to accurately design any form of telecoms structure ranging from complex GDC to basic DD analysis. We take responsible steps to consider, advise, and optimise each site, ensuring cost-effective design, installation, and maintenance for build contractors and efficient utilisation for operators.

Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Merry Christmas from KAEG

Christmas is a time for giving and here at KA Engineering Group, we cherish the opportunity to give back to our community. Our two chosen charities this year were ‘TAMHI’ (Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues) based in Belfast and ‘Catching lives’ based in Canterbury.

With our focus on staff mental health and wellbeing this year, it seemed only appropriate that we select a mental health charity. ‘TAMHI’ raises awareness of mental health and resilience through sport. They work with sports clubs, schools, and youth groups to teach children about mental health in a fun and engaging way. Kingsley was lucky enough to meet with their director Joe Donnelly on Wednesday and find out about the fantastic work they have been doing.

Catching lives is an invaluable charity based in Canterbury which is aimed at supporting the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerably housed in Canterbury and East Kent. Each year they provide a winter shelter, to offer emergency accommodation to rough sleepers, during the winter months. It has been a very trying year with last minute changes to the support they have been allowed to give due to the changing coronavirus situation. Ayo and Jess met with the winter shelter manager Paul, who was very grateful for the donation of essential items and treats, alongside a monetary donation.

It has been a tough year for most of us but hopefully by being kind to ourselves and kind to each other, we can work towards a happier year next year.

If you wish to make a donation to either TAMHI or Catching lives, you can do so via the links below:

Donate – Donation amount – JustGiving

Donate – Catching Lives

Evaluating Performance

At KA Engineering group, we are dedicated to the continual development growth of both the company and our staff. One of the most useful tools for ensuring this happens is the use of performance appraisals. However, effectiveness is directly linked to the way in which they are approached by both line management and employees. Here are some of our top tips for successful use:

To gain the most from appraisals, management must be well versed in how to approach them. Firstly, they must take a consistent approach toward all employees. Failure to do so will result in feelings of bias and create friction between staff. The goals and objectives set should be easy to understand, with a clear roadmap of how they can be achieved. Finally, whilst productivity metrics may be seen of greatest importance, these should not be the only things discussed. Success is a result of a combination of a range of different activities within a business, and these should all make up part of the discussion.

For employees to get the most from their appraisals, they must learn the skill of self-evaluation. Being able to critically evaluate performance metrics will give a greater insight into the progression made. Do not only identify strengths but look at how these can be exploited to their full potential. There must be an honest consideration of weaknesses and barriers to progression. This will allow for mitigations to be identified and implemented.

Appraisals can be a timely and costly process, which makes their use subject to criticism. What is clear is that when not used effectively, they can be a source of dread and frustration, creating conflict within the work environment. On the flip side, when utilised to their full potential, their value is immeasurable and an invaluable tool which benefits both parties.

Sketching – Another way for Engineers to Communicate Technical Information

An engineering drawing is a detailed description of an engineering structure. Although a structural engineer may be comfortable with using and understanding these drawings, we often need to communicate our ideas to important people outside of our discipline. This is where sketching shines! A sketch is a quick drawing made in an informal way, aiming to communicate design ideas to others in the simplest form possible.

For instance, we sometimes propose strengthening solutions when a tower fails. It becomes a challenge especially when we try to explain rather complex engineering ideas in words. Even if a good solution is designed, but can’t communicate it in a comprehensible manner, it may result in misunderstanding and not be implemented correctly, leading to potential quality issues.

However, a simple sketch in the report can express more than words and give a greater understanding of an idea and remove any ambiguity. It can also save clients’ time on coming back for clarifications. At KAEG, we aim to provide our clients with not only economical and fast turnaround design solutions but in a clear, legible, and easy-to-understand way.

KAEG are always passionate in pursuing engineering excellence, best design practice and new technology to provide our customers with cost-effective, reliable, and fast turnaround design solutions. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Ps: We have explored several sketching packages and are currently loving the Microsoft paint 3D. It was used to generate the sketches in the blog image!

Workplace Stress

This month, our team will receive training on how to better manage their mental health and wellbeing. Stress, whilst not a mental health problem itself, can have a major impact on our mental wellbeing. When we experience periods of poor mental health, it has a knock-on effect on our productivity and our ability to fully engage with our work community. For this reason, it is important that we are able to identify and manage stress effectively.

We have put together a list of our top tips for dealing with workplace stress.

  • Identify your triggers. They might be one-off events or issues that come up regularly. Whilst you may be unable to avoid these situations, being prepared for them will help. Brainstorm ideas for ways in which you can minimise the stress they place on you.
  • Organise your time. Manage your workload based on your energy levels. Tasks which are mentally strenuous should be done when you are likely to be at your most energised. Ensure to schedule in rest breaks and try not to do too much at once. By setting yourself small, manageable goals, you will be able to see your achievements.
  • Tell people how you feel. This may take a bit of practice but learn to say no when you feel people are making unreasonable demands of you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you may find that someone is unaware of the pressure that they are placing on you.
  • Look after your physical health. We are able to better manage stress if we are physically healthy. You should try and get enough sleep each night and eat small regular meals to keep your energy levels up. Exercise has been shown to have many benefits such as reducing fatigue, improving concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function.
  • Build your support network. Having a strong support network will ensure that you have people who can provide advice and guidance which may help you to find better ways to cope with difficult situations. It will also prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness which have been associated with a number of different health issues.

Spot the Difference

KAEG recently completed a project which neatly underlines the importance of being able to look behind the workings of black-box finite element analysis (FEA) software. Perhaps, even more important is the ability to probe and understand the output once you get behind the black-box.  See if you can spot the simplest strengthening scheme that we applied for this failing structure by comparing the left and right image!

We received the telecommunications headframe (left image) and it had been marked as failed. It had been run through some FEA software which showed that structural utilisation was over 100%. We took the results apart, probed every member for loading in 6 degrees of freedom. We were able to pin the issue down to one member which was over-utilised in one direction causing loads to be improperly distributed.

The fix: add a simple bracing strut in the left hand corner of the middle triangle to bring the utilisation down to 80% (right image).

KAEG are at the forefront of providing cost-effective design solutions to over-stressed telecommunication structures to ensure continuous safe operations. Contact our expert team at: info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.

Fasteners in Telecoms

The element enabling the connection of the two dissimilar materials (steel and concrete/masonry) are fasteners, which resist the tension component of the applied force. The fasteners transfer the applied tension and shear loads to the base material (concrete/masonry) through various mechanisms shown in the attached image. For an efficient and reliable design, we must understand the behaviour of each element forming a post-installed connection.

Mechanical fasteners work via interlock (keying) and friction while chemical fasteners work via adhesive bonding between the fastener and base material. We will discuss more on working principles of post-installed fastening and their failure modes in subsequent blogs.

At KA Engineering Group, we leverage on our extensive experience to design and recommend most efficient fastening solutions for new as well as existing systems in telecom construction.

Contact our expert team at info@ka-engroup.com to learn more and discuss how we can best serve your needs.