Challenges of Make Ready Engineering (MRE)
Utility work does not always get the recognition it deserves, though it’s incredibly important in establishing our lines of communication and keeping us connected. We help design and plan the infrastructure for delivering content all around the world. The fiber and cables we help to attach deliver internet, telephone, and television services across our communities.
BHC’s Make Ready Engineering (MRE) services ensure utility poles are prepared to receive new attachments. Depending on the client, these attachments are usually fiber optic cables. To do this we must work alongside several groups, such as the pole owners and telecom clients. As more entities become involved with the project, the more difficult it could be to coordinate and plan. Additionally, we must confirm the project and parties are in compliance with the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) guidelines. Fortunately, BHC is an experienced firm with a sturdy foundation in the utility sector. Our consistent communication and project understanding will help us complete your job on time.
The most prominent challenges of MRE services are heavily tied to communication. Joint use utility poles are efficient in that several parties can utilize them, but this can also lead to delays. Oftentimes these poles are owned by local governments, electric, or telephone companies, and varying service providers request to attach their lines. The pole owners must know who is currently attached, as well as the remaining capacity to safely permit new attachments. With all of these moving parts, vital information can sometimes slip through the cracks and ultimately slow the project.
BHC puts an emphasis on collaboration by establishing the correct point of contact to avoid these delays, simplifying the project, and gathering as much data as possible before fielding. Getting in contact with the right people can make all the difference in joint use projects. Not only this, it allows us to make sure the pole is up to code, within the owner’s standards, and the project is completed on time. There are a lot of steps in the MRE process, but effective communication is an invaluable tool; it does not matter how much data we have if we cannot relay it. BHC’s experienced team has been a part of joint use projects all over the country, and can quickly adapt to meet each job’s needs.
Code & Standards
The NESC is published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and updated every five years to confirm that standards and regulations are current. Technological and procedural advancements have a direct impact on utility work, so it is important to note changes. Pole owners can impose their own additional regulations, but they cannot go below NESC. Working within different markets could also mean different requirements, we may have to do additional work in gathering and understanding regulatory data. This is another area that can be simplified through BHC’s proactive communication.
These codes are in place for several reasons; if a pole were to fail the owner is held liable and expected to cover the costs as well as damage to the surrounding area. The regulations also protect the well-being of utility workers and the public alike. BHC makes it a point to follow all regulations and seek out potential violations or overloaded poles.
Overloaded Poles & Violations
In some instances, clients may want to attach to an overloaded pole. These issues are resolved by either replacing the pole entirely or burying the cable. Designing and building buried utilities can be a costly decision. The region’s terrain, distance between poles, and attachment type often dictate the best course of action. With 30 years in the telecom industry, our staff has first-hand experience and knowledge to recommend an educated decision on the most efficient option for our clients. If we determine the pole has an active or potential violation, we inform the owners immediately. This added value to our clients can help to mitigate potential issues in the future.
Fielding is an integral piece of our MRE work. Our field technicians have a variety of tools at their disposal to gather pole data. They carry an extendable height stick, pen tablet, compass, laser, and digital camera, among other things. These tools, especially the tablet, allow us to be more versatile when in the field. BHC’s technicians also inspect the surrounding area and look for any discrepancies or details that may have been missed in the plan. After using all these tools and detailing the pole specs, the data is ready to be sent to the office for collection.
At this point, we complete several distinct types of analysis: structural analysis, space planning, midspan clearance, and pole load analysis. These practices provide the data required to complete our measurements in-house and comply with NESC standards as well as those of the pole owner. After completing our analysis, the reports are approved, stamped, and delivered to the parties involved. We also perform a post-inspection after work has been completed to ensure safety and client satisfaction.
Engineering can be a particularly challenging field, but BHC’s knowledge and experience can streamline the MRE process for our clients and their partners. Our “No Problem” customer service pledge is our commitment to providing professional expertise for all client projects. Get in touch with one of our experts today at ibhc.com/connect/ to learn more about how we are committed to helping connect communities.