Deflection in Telecom Structure Analysis

Deflection in telecommunication structures refers to the deformation or displacement of a structure from its original position under load. Deflection is a serviceability limit, that is, it does not automatically constitute structural failure, thus there are often differing requirements on the acceptable levels of deflection. There are typically two categories of deflection limits considered in telecoms analyses: General structural deflection limit and Operator’s deflection limit.

The operator’s deflection limit is specified by the site operator in the telecoms industry. They specify levels above which the structure becomes unfit for use based on ancillary equipment operational guidelines and specifications.

The general structural deflection limit is specified by design codes e.g., Eurocode & BS code an offers guidance on the level of deflection that will not cause discomfort/alarm to the site users.

The operator’s deflection limit can be a little generous. We often find that a structure can be within it operator’s limit but has exceeded its general deflection limit, therefore a decision must be made. Designing a structure that is below the general structure deflection limit may incur additional costs which the site operator may be opposed to. It is responsibility of the engineer to ensure that all stakeholders participate in the decision making and to balance the interest of all parties.

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.

Conservatism but not over-designing

“Why do you consider the safety factor of 1.5 instead of 1.3, or why deliberately increase the pole size to CHS114.3 if CHS88.9 would work? – It is for conservatism.”

Sometimes we like to use of the word “conservative” to imply that we’re assigning values that we know to be too large (or too small, depending on the situation), when in reality we simply don’t have an accurate handle on the “real” value. The implication is that we might produce wasteful structural designs by using additional material which leads to unnecessary cost increase for clients. More interestingly, there seems to be more perception about that engineers are more conservative than they used to be. Or that structures are bigger than they once previously might have been. We often encounter a case that the analysis performed on the existing telecom structure that has been in service for over 10 years show failed result. So what is changed? Is it the materials? The factors of safety?

As engineers we try not to make any assumptions, but in reality there are many unknown inputs during design process. In this case, conservatism might have to be involved in the analysis. However, conservatism sometimes can be mitigated by in depth consideration of the design variables. For example, applying the wind loads based on the actual wind direction instead of applying the worst wind load for all directions. During the completion of thousands of telecom projects, KAEG never stops refining and improving our design process and methodology to enable our structural analysis as closer to reality as possible by utilizing our in-house database and programing capability. We are always aiming to provide our clients with not only economical but fast turnaround design solutions.

Design Safety Factors

The major responsibility of engineers in society is to design and implement systems that make it easy to navigate our immediate environment. Telecoms infrastructure makes communication easier in our built environment. However, suppose these telecom infrastructures are not properly designed. In that case, it could lead to a catastrophic event which could lead to loss of life and valuables, and post-recovery of the environment is almost impossible.

Materials used in telecom systems design are often subjected to uncertainties affecting their performance and deviating from their ideal state. These uncertainties are related to their material properties, geometry, environmental conditions etc. Hence, applying design safety factors to simulate uncertainties related to material properties became a critical consideration in engineering designs.

The design safety factors are applied to material properties and loads applied to the system, enabling it to account for uncertainties and fostering the design resilient infrastructure.

At KA Engineering Group, we are always passionate about designing resilient telecom infrastructures. Safety is our paramount consideration. We also take responsible steps to consider, advise, and optimise each site, ensuring cost-effective design, installation, and maintenance for build contractors and efficient operator utilisation.

Fundamentals of Engineering

As engineers, the importance of analysing a structure using fundamental engineering principles cannot be over-emphasized. Without a doubt, the development of software for engineering design and analysis is one of the greatest engineering breakthroughs, assisting in carrying out complex calculations quickly and accurately. However, today’s alarming trend is that many civil/structural engineers are heavily reliant on software to provide all the answers without a sound knowledge of the underlying principles. The understanding of first principle is essential in being able to work with software and make them work for you.

If one relies too much on software in developing structural designs, one becomes a technician instead of an engineer. A mantra in software usage is “garbage IN, garbage OUT”, meaning that any analysis results generated by the software are only as good as the input data. Good software can produce good results, but only when used by a competent engineer. The sole purpose of using these tools and software is not just to use them, but to use them to further our fundamental understanding as engineers.

At KAEG, we believe that no matter how easy design software may make our jobs, we will never lose sight of this core value – the fundamentals of engineering.

Takeaway: Keep calm & always review fundamentals!

We are committed to keeping up with the changes in technology and staying on top of new and innovative software. KAEG aims at cultivating a culture that produces young engineers that know how to use these powerful tools while retaining a complete understanding of the foundation of this specialized discipline.

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

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?

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

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.

Structural Analysis of a Tower Array

At KA Engineering Group, we recently completed a project involving the structural analysis of a sequence of towers supporting netting enclosing a sports complex to ensure that the structures could withstand the wind and weight loading on the, tower, connecting wires and netting, protecting the public from stray balls.

The towers are connected as an array, so it is important to analyse the full connected structure to properly define the system response. However, analysing a large number of lattice towers in a single finite element analysis is complex and computationally expensive. To simplify, we completed preliminary analysis by replacing the lattice towers with single poles. We had to ensure that the poles were representative of the global behaviour of the individual towers. The closer the poles are to the towers, the more analogous the global interaction between the actual tower sequence.

We determined the global properties such stiffness, deflection, of each individual lattice tower. The structural characteristics of the poles (main inner and outer diameters) were iteratively refined until the pole and lattice tower responses were equal. The benefit of continuous refinement is greater accuracy. Using the resulting loads (forces, moments) from the sequence analysis of the poles, we were able to assess then perform detailed analysis of each lattice tower.

Using poles in the sequence analysis allowed us to deliver the project in good time to the client. At KA Engineering Group, we continue to push boundaries, developing new and unique ways to tackle structural issues and advancements in a range of applications. The dynamic nature of the development in our company sets us apart from our competition as we are always seeking to improve existing methods.

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