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Re: [TowerTalk] Engineering advice on above ground foundation

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Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Engineering advice on above ground foundation
From: "Richard Elizondo" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 17:54:03 -0500
List-post: <">>
The following are some things that could help in the review process.

Type of concrete and rebar used.

Soil samples.

Pictures of the installation. 

Was the excavation belled into the soil at the lowest part of the form?

>From what you have explained, her are my opinions, and only opinions, do not
take my word as proof, have it reviewed by a PE.

Your foundation design is what is known as a "Gravity Block". It relies
primary on shear weight and very little on vertical earth frictions.

With that information in mind, we use the following gross mathematics:

11x11x5 = 22.41 Cu Yards of concrete
Weight assuming 3500psi or better concrete = 73953 lbs (not including
reinforcing steel - Rebar)
Using standard leverage formulas it would take 8.0kips of force at the tower
top to topple this foundation, however that has no assumed safety factor. If
we use the industry standard safety factor of 10-1 this leaves only an
acceptable overturning momentum force of .827 kips (approx 827 lbs). Now
these factors only hold in perfect world scenario, this foundation was
designed with very little room for safety/fudge factor. If your contractor
was a grade A guy and did everything by the book, in my opinion, and only my
opinion, this would be an acceptable amateur radio tower installation, since
it does not have to meet current Rev. G. industry standards. :)

However, please do not take my word for it. Have the construction and
engineering reviewed by a PE from your area, who is familiar with your local
weather concerns. 

Richard Elizondo
Senior Consultant
Ionos Communications

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 5:17 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Engineering advice on above ground foundation

I agree with KK9A.  Your project needs to be reviewed/studied/stamped by a
PE licensed in your state before you do anything else!  Safety is first,
second, and third! Don't risk anyones life or property with the existing

73, Scott W3TX  

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 6:13 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Engineering advice on above ground foundation

Instead of relying on the undisturbed earth to hold your tower in position, 
you are basically relying on a 60,000 pound weight with a 10 foot square 
footing to hold up a 90 foot tower.   Since this is a drastic change from 
the tower manufacture's design, you should not erect your tower until your 
have an engineer evaluate your tower base.  It's unfortunately that you have

gone this far with the project and probably spent thousands of dollars on 
this base, but you can loose much more if it should fail.   There may have 
been other solutions or ways to install a base below the water table. 
Perhaps AN Wireless can assist you with the base design?

John KK9A

Subject: [TowerTalk] Engineering advice on above ground foundation
From: Rudy Bakalov
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 11:41:58 -0700 (PDT)

I have a rather complex situation that certainly can benefit from
the collective wisdom and experience of this reflector.
My property has a very high water table and as a result my builder and I
decided to build the tower foundation mostly above ground. Specifically, we 
a hole, filled it with compacted gravel that is above the water table, 
the gravel with very thick sheets of plastic, and inserted 2' styrofoam 
around the base. Then we poured the concrete.  As a result, only about 1.5' 
the foundation is below ground, 3.5' are above.  The overall dimensions are 
x 10' x 5'.
Now I wonder what are the additional engineering issues we need to address 
make sure the foundation will last and the 90' AN Wireless tower will stay 
 Currently, we have identified the following next steps:
1) Waterproof the concrete using silica based solutions, such as Penetron,
Xypex, etc. as permanent solution against water getting into the 
Add extra waterproofing using tar/asphalt-like solutions to make sure we 
extra protection should cracks emerge3) Add styrofoam boards to prevent 
freezing (it gets as cold as -25F in Ontario)4) Backfill around the 
to create a mound that takes the rain and melting snow water away from the
concrete. I have also proposed we layer more plastic sheets about a foot 
the mound surface to make sure no water gets near the foundation
Any further comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Rudy N2WQ


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