160 Murray St Rooftop Aerial
(The picture displayed shows how busy a rooftop can become with multiple carriers. It is an aerial view of the roof of an existing building with equipment, shelters, antennae, cable trays and ducts from 4 different Telecom Carriers. )

OWNERS & PROPERTY MANAGERS:
As an owner/manager, have you ever wondered:
- Why does the telecom company keep asking for approval to “upgrade” their equipment, or why their contractors keep going in and out to swap equipment and antennae?
- Why has the telecom company never offered to increase the rental rate at the same time as asking for your approval to make these “upgrades”?
- Is the telecom company still complying with the requirements of their lease?

The problem is that owners and property managers interested in having proposals for rooftop telecom installations reviewed on their behalf by qualified professionals have few choices for two reasons:
- there are a limited number of consulting engineering firms with a background in building structures, who are also familiar with the telecom industry,
- engineering firms who are familiar and conversant in both buildings and the telecom industry are typically doing work already doing work for the big three telecom carriers, and so acting on behalf of building owners or managers puts them in potential conflict of interest position.
Consequently owners and property managers are simply not as well served as the telecom companies, and so may be at a disadvantage in dealings with these large companies. For the most part, owners and property managers are left to their own devices. We at Prosum Engineering Ltd. would like to change that.

Prosum’s first exposure to the mobile phone industry was in 1989. Since that initial encounter, Prosum has worked on the better part of 1000 projects for mobile phone companies, with a few hundred of those being installations on buildings. Because of our long and extensive involvement with the mobile phone industry, we have seen it grow from the few sites originally serving only the major urban centres and accessed by a very small percentage of the population, to the thousands of sites that exist today covering metropolitan and rural areas throughout Ontario and serving millions of users. Visit our Telecom Picts page for examples of Prosum drawings & work carried out over a quarter of a century of service in the telecom sector. As a result of our early entry into this sector, many of the details we developed are now in use throughout the telecom sector. Check out our Industry Standards page for some examples.

We at Prosum believe that it is time that building owners and property managers are as well served as the mobile phone companies. Prosum offers the benefit of the decades of experience Prosum has accumulated in the mobile phone sector to building owners/managers as opposed to the mobile phone companies. Our services include review of telecom carriers drawings submitted for approval by building owners/managers, for new installations, or for modifications or additions to existing ones.

The telecom carriers regularly install equipment for new cell sites onto existing buildings. But what are the effects that such installations might have on the buildings from both short and long term perspectives. The answer is not simple. For example, Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 (SC6) sets limits to the public’s exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation. Industry Canada requires that SC6 analyses be carried out by the mobile phone service provider, and such calculations are to be kept on file whenever antennae are added or modified in any way. If it is found that members of the public (including people working on the building) are exposed to RF levels that exceed SC6 levels, the building owner can be held responsible by Industry Canada, even though the carrier is the one that installs and operates the cell site. To avoid such responsibility for something that in essence is outside of the building owner’s control, the lease between the mobile phone carrier and the landlord should include language that requires the carrier to:
-design the installation to the limits that SC6 sets for access by the general public,
-ensure that SC6 analyses are carried out by qualified personnel,
-carry out and provide the landlord with a full copy of an updated signed and dated SC6 analysis in the event of any antenna additions, substitutions or modifications to existing antennae azimuths, elevations or downtilts,
-provide written confirmation that compliance requirements are being met and if they are not, that the carrier will take steps to address and remedy this, and
-to protect and hold harmless the landlord against claims, litigation and/or fines from Industry Canada or members of the public due to RF emissions from the site.

For existing cell sites, the mobile phone carriers regularly modify their antennae and equipment installations to implement new technologies. When contacting the landlords to obtain approval for such modifications, the real estate representatives for the mobile phone companies may euphemistically refer to such changes and additions as “regular maintenance”, or “equipment upgrades”, to obscure and obfuscate the fact that changes and/or additions are being proposed. Yet, if changes have been made to the cell site installation that are not reflected in the lease, and that have benefitted the telecom company, such changes might not be within the scope of the original lease. In such instances, Prosum can also help with a review of the lease relative to any proposed changes, not from a legal standpoint, but to assist the owner/manager to determine if the telecom company is adhering to the technical aspects of the lease. It just might be time for a renegotiation of the lease, possibly at a higher rate.

So, if you are a building owner or property manager, and you have been approached by a mobile phone company (or more commonly a representative from their real estate department) to install a new cell site on your building, or to perform “regular maintenance” or “equipment upgrades” (more likely changes and additions to their antennae or equipment) to an existing cell site, get an experienced industry professional on your side and give Prosum a call.