Allstate Tower is a one-stop shop for building, installing, inspecting, maintaining, repairing, and dismantling communication towers. The Henderson, Kentucky-based company offers complete tower maintenance. In short, there’s nothing that Allstate Tower can’t do – regarding communication towers.
“We’re probably one of the few companies that can actually do everything,” said Allstate Tower Vice President Kevin Roth. “I don’t think there’s really anything that we can’t provide. There are certain companies, really good companies that may just do certain things, and that’s it. A customer can call us, and we’ll be able to provide them a quote and get that job done to their satisfaction.”
Allstate maintenance services include freelance modifications, anchor inspections, anchor replacements, and re-guys. Tower inspections, plumbing tensions, and relamps are the most recurring services. As towers age and get further into their maintenance cycle or need a refreshed tower design, Allstate can also offer modifications. Allstate adheres to EIA/TIA 222-G and EIA/TIA 222-H, as well as OSHA, FAA, FCC, UBC, and IBC regulations.
Allstate can maintain and repair all kinds of communication towers – guyed towers, self-supporting towers, monopoles, and even stealth structures made to look like a church steeple or water tank to hide the communication equipment they house behind their façade. We also work on rooftops with antennas on them and doppler radar towers.
“If it is some kind of communication structure, we’ve probably worked on it,” said Roth. “We can handle any of their needs. I feel like we’re very affordable, and I think we get to our customers very quickly.”
Allstate Tower works throughout the United States. As of August 2021, Roth said Allstate had completed jobs in every state this year except for Hawaii. Allstate has shipped steel for communication towers worldwide and completed projects in Italy, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Canada.
“We have six -in-house maintenance crews that can perform a vast majority of work we are contracted to perform,” said Vice President of Field Operations Nick Riley. “We have over 100 years of combined experience with our six foremen. Over the last several years, we have developed a great training and safety program that is just part of the many reasons we have been successful in the current tower industry.”
Since Allstate works all over the country, it’s easier to group jobs in a geographical region, which benefits the customers and the company. For instance, if there are five or six jobs in Texas, Allstate would mobilize a crew and group that work together.
“We always try to package our maintenance with our customers so our guys can hit sites in close proximity,” said Roth. “It keeps prices down and is more efficient for us.
“Sometimes will get into a tower that hasn’t been looked at in thirty years and there are some real problems,” said Roth.
Allstate has to be very careful working on towers with severely corroded guy wires and guy anchors.
“We check these things so we can keep everybody safe,” he said. “But guy wires and anchors on a guyed tower definitely are a weak link, and if there’s a problem you could lose your tower.”
Guy wires on a guyed tower are the most critical component, so they must be inspected closely. Plumbing tensions should be performed frequently – with a re-guy completed every 25 years or so.
If communication towers are well maintained, they can last indefinitely, said Roth. Guy wires on a guyed tower have a life expectancy of 25 years, but Allstate has worked on towers with wires in good shape that are well more than a quarter-century old.
“We’ve been on towers that are very, very old, built in the ‘30s, but we have no fear of climbing them because they’ve been maintained,” he said. “There’s been towers that were built in the last 15 years. It just depends on what they’ve been subjected to and what kind of maintenance program they are part of.”
Towers that suffer heavy storm damage or are just not maintained or repaired might get so bad that the only option is to dismantle them.
“Towers built in the ‘70s onward, if solid, should be in good shape if they are maintained, especially guy wires,” Roth said. “If guy wires aren’t being checked and inspected on a regular basis you could have a problem but anything built in the ‘90s to the 2000s I really feel like would be in excellent service.”
Acid rain beating down on a communication tower can cause it to rust. Any tower located along the coast, particularly a guyed tower, will be subjected to salt air and moisture, a recipe for corrosion. Towers located near coal-fired generating plants tend to corrode faster too.
Per the Energy Information Administration, guyed towers have biennial inspections. Self-supporting towers need to be inspected every five years. Towers struck by an ice storm or a high wind event such as a tornado or hurricane should be inspected immediately.
“An ice load on a tower destroys more towers per year than hurricanes do,” said Roth.
Service interruptions depend on the cause. If lightning strikes a tower, causing the lights to go out, Allstate can usually get the light system back in service with 72 hours of customer contact. If a cellular tower loses a radio, it might take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few days to repair.
Allstate can perform inspections, maintenance, and repairs without interrupting service.
“Generally, we do not have to take a tower out of service,” said Roth. “We can climb on them while they are still active.”
When working on a radio or tv broadcast tower, Allstate will work with the tower owner to reduce power so that RF doesn’t affect our climbers. Occasionally, we also have to reach out to owners of adjacent communication towers to lower their frequencies, too, so it’s safe enough to climb.
“Our relationships with customers able to do that and make sure the environment for our guys is really good,” said Roth.
Allstate works with customers to accommodate their schedules.
“This starts with the project manager and how they develop a schedule that meets the customers’ expectations and ours,” said Riley. “We typically try to get materials ordered and ready within a few days on most maintenance projects. We have six house crews that are capable of performing all tasks and give us the flexibility to move around our schedules to meet customer expectations.