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FW: [TowerTalk] Re: TowerTalk Digest, Vol 20, Issue 73

To: "Towertalk@Contesting. Com" <>
Subject: FW: [TowerTalk] Re: TowerTalk Digest, Vol 20, Issue 73
From: "Shannon Boal" <>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 17:57:30 -0000
List-post: <>
The Ark was built by Amateurs!
  The Titanic was built by Professionals.....
             Shannon K4GLM

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Lux []
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 5:38 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Re: TowerTalk Digest, Vol 20, Issue 73

At 05:16 AM 8/25/2004 -0400, wrote:
>Would you climb a tower built by some one other than a pro?
>   Sammy F. Smith
I think the more relevant question is whether you'd climb a tower built by
someone competent.

While professionals (in the sense that they get paid to build towers for a
living) carry liability insurance (hopefully), and if they've been in
business a while, presumably have some practical experience (and would have
left the business if incompetent), being paid to do something doesn't
guarantee competence.

Likewise, an amateur is perfectly capable of building a well engineered and
safe tower installation.

The real question is one along the lines of:
"I'm standing in front of this tower, how likely do I think it's going to
have a problem?"

If the tower were built and installed by a professional with longstanding
good reputation, I wouldn't think the problem likely, and presuming the
tower "looked ok", I'd hook up my PPE and have at it.  If it were installed
by a professional who I didn't know (personally or by reputation) and
especially if it looked "weird" (like rusted hardware, or obvious big dings
in the components), or it was recently painted or regalvanized, I might
want to know a bit more about where it came from and its history, and might
want to check the installation details a bit more.

Exactly the same would be true if it were an amateur.

After all, all it takes to be a "professional", is to hang out your shingle
and get that business license.  It's not like being a Professional Engineer
(with the capital letters) where there is some education, experience, and
testing required (not that licensure guarantees quality or honesty, as
would be evident from the newsletters I get from the California Board of
PEs).  And, from the licensed contractor standpoint, all that does is
impose some requirements for bonding/insurance, and ensures that the
contractor company meets certain requirements for how they do
business.  Not much about the inherent quality of the work factors into a
contractor's license (at least in CA).

I suppose if a licensed professional were to be truly incompetent, they
might get their license revoked, or they'd become uninsurable (after enough
disasters), and then their license would get pulled, however that's a many
year process.

Being a licensed professional myself, I think that the value comes from:
1) The odds are better that the professional is going to do "the right
thing", just by experience (which you can verify, see #2, below).
2) A professional has usually done it before, and will have no problem with
a customer calling previous customers to check on or go look at other
examples of their work.
3) A professional will generally do things in a more rigorous and
consistent way.  In the case of engineering studies, they get done in a
certain way, with certain standard analyses, etc.  The added rigor makes it
less likely that something was overlooked.
3) If a disaster or just something unexpected DOES occur, the pro is more
likely to have the resources and inclination to "make good".

A secondary benefit is the idea of "professional ethics and
responsibility", but I am cynical enough after having worked in the
entertainment industry to know that not all folks who claim to be
professional, really are, in the "professionalism" sense.  Perhaps the
Reaganesque: "trust but verify" philosophy is best?

Jim Lux, P.E. #E16972


See:  for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless Weather 
Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any questions 
and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.

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