> As a lawyer in a previous life, I have had direct experience with
> litigation over tower safety.
> Personally based upon what I know, and I that knowledge I am
> no expert... but still, I would never erect a tower in any manner
> that was not specified by the manufacturer.
> Yeah... Yeah... I know there are plenty of towers which has been
> up for a long time without conforming to specifications -- but I
> would not bet my farm on it. All that needs to occur is have it
> fall on someone, and, ...well, ... I predict you will be writing a check
> to the widow.
> Now this is just my personal take, and I know it is not a popular
> take, but I marvel at all the ways some ham operators try to
> out-think, out-engineer, the manufacturer, and stray from original
> manufacturer specifications and installation technique. This is not
> a matter where I would cut any corners, and when I erect my
> tower later this year, you can be assured I will do it to the letter
> of the instruction manual, just to keep all liability where it
> belongs -- on the manufacturer and the installer. In fact, you
> can bet I'll be out of town when my tower goes up, but that
> installation shall be exactly as specified. Once you deviate
> from that, liability tends to follow you, instead.
Jumping in late here (foolish me, I haven't read through all 500 emails
from the last week, so I might be flogging the corpse..)
I agree with 'JHR, in general. However, something to consider is that
people do put up temporary structures all the time, with temporary guys,
made with materials and subassemblies that the manufacturer doesn't
provide "installation instructions" with. However, they also carry big
liability insurance policies, and risk going out of business if
"something goes wrong".
More to the point, at least with big structures (i.e. potential for
injury or death), you have some documentation that what you are doing is
"standard practice" for your industry or that you have written analysis
that you can point to saying you made a good faith effort for reasonable
safety. (an example would be the fairly common practice in the movie
business of attaching equipment (lights, rain rig, sfx gear, etc.) to
the basket of a snorkle-lift truck.. I'm sure that's something that the
manufacturer doesn't specifically recommend, but it's pretty common
practice, and done right, within the design space of the lift truck)
And, still, if something goes wrong, you're going to spend lots of time
talking to attorneys while the whole issue of "reasonable" is explored
in depth (with the plaintiff's side taking a much narrower view than
The saving grace on this sort of thing is that it's temporary.. it's not
like you're trying to last for 25 years. And, typically, you've
designed things for "fail-soft" behavior. If the wind gets too high, it
might bend and be damaged, but not total collapse, and if it does
collapse, it's into an area with no people or important stuff, not a
preschool full of kids..
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