[TowerTalk] Tower Foundation (was Concrete Prices)

W7ZZ w7zz at wavecable.com
Thu Jan 2 22:41:07 EST 2014

I'll add my experience, for what it may be worth. A number of years ago, 
I purchased two new AN Wireless freestanding towers, an HD70 and a 
LD60.  The HD70 requires a foundation that is 10'x10'x5' and the 60 
footer requires a foundation 7x7x5.  I had the holes dug by my 
landscaping contractor (the house was a custom and was under 
construction at the time).  However, by the time I started getting the 
bids more than a year later, one hole had sloughed a bit and so some of 
the bidders put in some amount for excavation work.

Bids for whatever excavation work needed tobe done, fabricating the 
rebar cage, hiring the concrete pump truck or line pumper (the holes are 
not otherwise accessible due to their location), the concrete and the 
labor to do the job ranged from a low of $9,000 or so to a high of 
$16,000, I think it was (gee, I didn't keep a copy of that one). One 
contractor was kind enough to explain why:  The pump truck or line 
pumper was $1,000 (every contractor told me that; one had his own line 
pumper so that cost was built in); depending on when I got the bid (this 
went on over several years), the cost of the concrete was $85-110/yard 
(at the time, I was told there was a shortage of concretedue to some 
massive dam construction going on in China, sucking it all up); 
approximately one tonof rebar would be needed for the two foundation 
rebar cages. The contractor's men would have to carry that rebar from 
the front of the house, where it would be dropped off by the fabricator, 
to the two holes, a distance of 100 feet or so for the big tower and 300 
feet or so for the smaller. Labor in each case turned out to be about 
1/3 of the bid or less and every contractor told me it was a several day 
job.  Every contractor expressed concern about the need for the buried 
tower stub to be perfectly level (so that, when attached to it, the 
tower wouldn't lean).  One potential bidder told me after eyeballing the 
site, seeing the foundation plans, etc., that he didn't want the job.

The moral of the story is that,at least for a freestanding tower 
designed for big wind loads, the cost of the tower is just the tip of 
the iceberg.  The foundation work and the boom truck needed to get the 
towers up in the air is a major expense.  I've lived in the house for 5 
1/2 years now.  My towers consist of two very large holes in my back yard.

73 W7ZZ

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