AM Ground Systems Company

 

Winter is Coming again this year.

Duh...

 

Every year we get at least one call in October wanting to know how quick we can build a ground system.  My standard answer is, "It will take about a week start to finish for a single tower and probably less than 2 weeks for multi-tower arrays".

The caller meant but didn't state; "It is 33 degrees here today.  Even though I have had my CP for two and a half years, I have waited until the forecast is calling for a FREEZE warning and I still haven't gotten my station built.  AND the CP runs out in January.  How QUICKLY can you drop everything and get my station built before winter?"

Winter work in general costs more than fair weather work.  Equipment preparations, clothing requirements, speed of work, length of work day, weather delays ALL cause winter weather work to be more expensive than summer work.  Not to mention the impact on safety.  Restricted vision, dexterity and movement are serious concerns when working on and around heavy equipment.

As anyone involved in building broadcast stations is aware, more government agencies have their fingers stuck in the radio business more than maybe even the Nuclear Power industry (I could be mistaken on this).  Three years can barely be enough time by the time all of the acronym's are satisfied.

HOWEVER, most of the rush-before-winter projects that we do are for one of 2 reasons:

  1. Procrastination

    I'll get that done tomorrow! Or the next day! Maybe...  If I get to it...  Oh... Hey! Its October... Again.

    More time and money is wasted on site construction because of procrastination than any other preventable cause.  RUSH costs money.  Getting materials in a hurry costs more, travel costs more, guaranteeing delivery of other materials and services cost more, etc, etc.

  2. Saving Money

    I have provided proposals to stations that have point-blank told me that I was too expensive.  They hunted around and found someone that said that they could do the work for a small percentage of my proposal (see my treatment of the exceeding cheap quote).  And then they never show up.  On one memorable project, it cost the client almost 50% more than my original proposal from a year earlier.  Materials and mobilization were up due to availability and market factors.  Shipping was astronomical due to speed, weight and location factors.  Mobilization was driven up by lack of advance purchase time.  Rush costs money.  Extra labor was required to finish by the CP expiration.

    I have also had a RUSH client tell me that they would have called AGSC to start with but had been convinced by someone that they could do the job cheaper than anyone around.  They were absolutely correct.  The work was never done, henceforth, it cost the station NOTHING!  Until we/they had to pay expedited shipping charges and shuffle properly planned projects around.  RUSH costs money.

Regulatory delays comprise a fairly small portion of our compressed time line work. 

When we (Or anyone. Even you.) order materials and make travel plans on a compressed time line, the costs will be higher.  Every facet of the project will usually be impacted when adhering to a compressed time line.  The more compressed, the more expensive.  Rush costs money.

 

 

We Specialize in Compressed Time Line Projects 

We have the resources, equipment and knowledge to make a project "happen" just in time.  By saying that we specialize in compressed projects doesn't mean that we encourage or like them.  Just that we can "git 'er done" if needed. 

Some tips to help make your project go a little smoother.

  1. Choose your venders and contractors (tower, ground system, building, utilities, equipment, etc) early.  You should already be talking to venders and contractors before the initial application is filed.  Contractors and equipment should be lined up AS SOON as the CP arrives.  Even if the proposed construction date is months away.

  2. Choose your venders and contractors wisely.  A great deal isn't necessarily a good value.

  3. Avoid the "Delay Snowball".  Don't schedule unrealistic time frames for work.   Allow plenty of time for all phases of your project.  Defining an overly strict time line often results in unexpected delays. It is often the case where a single short delay at the beginning of a project becomes a significant delay at the end of the project.  This typically happens when the project planner schedules project events too tightly.  If one contractor has a delay (materials, weather, etc) it is often the case with tightly scheduled projects that the next contractor in line cannot wait out the delay and has to go to another project.  Then the third contractor can't comply with the new time frame and is another week or two getting to the site, and the 4th contractor had to proceed with another project and will be weeks more getting there, etc, etc, etc.  A few days delay at the beginning of the project results in the project being weeks over scheduled time due to the schedule being too optimistic and compressed.  Delays are NEVER cumulative but grow at exponential rates.  IE, the "Delay Snowball".

  4. Ask for references.

  5. Regularly follow up on equipment delivery, construction dates and contractor status.

  6. Know EXACTLY what permits and permissions will be required BEFORE you file your application.  Moving to another site may save a large sum of money if permits or remediation can be avoided.

  7. Contractors should be in touch with each other for coordination.  However, SOMEONE (you, your engineer, GC, or even myself as a site coordinator) MUST be in overall control of the time line AND scheduling.

  8. Return contracts, proposals and payments according to the vender/contractor requirements.  Failure to return a contract or payment in a timely manner may result in unplanned delays.

  9. Go to the doctor.  Get something for your stomach and something for your head.  The larger the project the more/better something you may need.  For the humor challenged, this is only half joking.  Especially if you didn't contract AM Ground Systems Company.

 






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