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How do we maintain communication masts?


This particular job that we’re doing
here at the moment at Winter Hill is for the 700 programme works. What we need to do is reengineer the antennas on this so they can broadcast
outside of the 700 spectrum. What’s broadcast from here is digital TV,
digital radio and also there’s a load of telecommunication equipment on here as
well. Balfour Beatty actually built the
structure. This was initially constructed in the early 60s. Balfour Beatty has been
working in this industry for that many years and many years before then. Since
that time there’s been no ends of works that have been carried out on these
structures. The clients or the owners know that we’ve been part of these
structures for quite a while, we’ve got a lot of records on them and we’ve done a lot of designs on them, and we are quite highly skilled in what we do here. This
mast is over 300 metres high and we are working between 260 metres and 290 metres. To get to that point to work
conventionally is climbing a ladder, a vertical ladder, but with this type of
work that we need to do to get materials up there we need to rig a man-riding winch. At the moment we rig right to the top of the structure, we can let that
in on a pilot wire anywhere on the structure and that’s where we can get
our guys to the point of work usually within a couple of minutes and also we
use the same rigging to actually get the materials up and down. At any one time we have about six high-mast riggers working in a gang. We only usually have about four
at most on the structure. These guys are highly trained in working at these type
of heights and they’re quite experienced. On a previous project we had at Mendip, that particular job we needed to replace the S-1 antenna, which is the
main antenna. For that particular site, it’s on a cantilever, a spine, mounted right at the top of this structure, so we needed something to be able to unhook that antenna and bring it back down and put the new one in. Conventionally, all
this used to be done with a derrick but with the structures nowadays it’s
quicker to do it with a helicopter. The actual helicopter lift itself only took in the region of ten minutes, 10-15 minutes. There was a good six months of planning. Balfour Beatty is proud to be working on
these types of projects. It enables us to upgrade and maintain these broadcasting and transmitting stations, which allows the UK to receive all their TV and radio
coverage.

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