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No maintenance spells impending disaster

February 17, 2012 • Features

Like any valuable asset, not maintaining lighting and telecoms infrastructure will cost you in the future, someone their safety or even their life.

Francois van Zyl, Divisional MD of Jasco Carrier Infrastrucutre (image: Jasco Carrier Infrastrucutre)

South Africa lacks awareness of the task we face regarding structural integrity and electrical fitness of lighting and telecoms masts and towers. In short, there is a big gap in the market for this service.

Infrastructure build-out continues to gain momentum in several sectors. This is good. However, it is clear many organisations are unaware of their infrastructure’s condition, posing a safety risk. Most private companies and state owned enterprises focus on the final delivery points e.g., keeping the lights on, neglecting budgets for ongoing maintenance to keep the lights up.

What can go wrong?

As manufacturer and supplier of monopole type steel masts for the communications industry’s lights, masts and towers, we are aware of structure vulnerabilities in their life cycles. The biggest challenges are age, environmental conditions and mechanical failure. But vital component theft or accidents (e.g., a vehicle striking a lighting pole) can also damage structures. Their impact might not be profound, but they should make you think of implementing regular maintenance checks.

Compromised infrastructure poses a safety risk to on-site personnel. Focus on preventing major disasters, but never neglect smaller things in the process. Having no lights or communication capabilities at night are equally important.

Get it checked

First understand the state of existing infrastructure, deal with critical items and ensure implementing an upkeep schedule. For most it will mean budgeting now for a secure future.

Thorough structural integrity checks should look at corrosion, missing members, loose nuts and bolts, mechanical working components and mast climbing facilities.

Use skilled professionals willing to issue a certificate of structural integrity upon refurbishment. Finally, keep a full service record.

Regular infrastructure maintenance allows you to meet occupational health and safety regulations. Similarly, maintenance of telecoms infrastructure allows you to meet service level agreements with subscribers. Annual planning and budget considerations are essential.

Francois van Zyl, Jasco Carrier Infrastrucutre Divisional MD

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