By Marianne Nghidengwa
POWERCOM Pty Ltd says it is in the process of refurbishing its Walvis Bay tower.
The refurbishment exercise forms part of the company’s commitment to provide routine maintenance to infrastructure and ensure that tower structures remain in good condition throughout their lifetime.
PowerCom CEO, Alisa Amupolo, commented that the exercise is vital for the safety of the ecosystem that the company operates in. “The end user benefits through safety and the life expectancy of the tower is increased, creating confidence when networks are rolled out on PowerCom’s sites,” Amupolo said.
The Walvis Bay tower was originally constructed in 2006 and is 50m wide, carrying a capacity of 14-m2. Located at NPTH Building, it is one of two tower sites in Walvis Bay, with another 21 towers situated in the Erongo Region.
The company said that the refurbishment has been taking place over the last two months at an estimated cost of N$700 000. The process involves quality assurance inspections by both PowerCom and the contractor.
“The usual quality assurance process when refurbishing involves correcting and repairing any work highlighted in the structural analysis. The final inspection will be conducted 12 months post-handover, with any flaws reported back to the contractor. Contractors are expected to fix any deficiencies before the 10 percent retention is paid,” the company said in a statement.
Amupolo elaborated on the specifics of the refurbishment, explaining that the process included removing and replacing all corroded parts of the tower, including nuts and bolts, as well as repainting the structure to bring it into harmony with towers constructed more recently.
“For instance, newer towers, especially based in the coastal area, have benefited from utilizing upgraded materials. This includes replacing the standard galvanized steel cat ladders and inspection platforms with Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic (GRP).”
She also discussed the challenges of the refurbishment saying the long distances to the site were problematic for transporting materials, with some imported from abroad as they are not manufactured locally.
She adds that in addition, the country’s vast landscape as well as the climatic conditions in coastal areas, makes the towers more prone to corrosion than you would find elsewhere.
“This necessitates more routine maintenance than you would usually expect to undertake inland. Generally, tower refurbishments do not require frequent upgrading unless structural instability is identified, or client, personnel and community safety is at risk. Other direct and indirect benefits can be attributed to the tower refurbishment. For instance, maintenance work of this nature can create employment for local residents, thereby having a positive effect on the economic development of the town.”
“Similarly, we are playing an enabling role in the development of communication network coverage to the residents of the town, a hub of connectivity for all operators,” Amupolo said.
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