Fabrication and Supply of a Tower on Papa Westray

12 March 2021

Supplying a communications tower to Papa Westray

We have recently returned from the Orkney Islands where we successfully completed the fabrication and supply of a new tower which was required to increase microwave capacity.

The tower itself was installed on the island of Papa Westray, one of the North Isles of Orkney. Known affectionately as Papay, Papa Westray is one of Orkney’s smallest islands at just four miles long and one mile in width.

We are no strangers to the Orkney Islands, having completed a challenging decommissioning project on the Island of Sule Skerry. While this job didn’t throw up quite as many challenges, it was still far from straightforward.

The first issue is getting there. As we were carrying a tower, as well as materials for the civils works, we had to go by sea. There are two direct ferry sailings from Kirkwall per week (Tuesday and Friday), however there is no RO-RO facility at the ferry terminal on Papa Westray. This means that all vehicles and goods have to be offloaded using the ferry mounted crane (with a maximum capacity of seven tonnes).

Tower Design

The initial tender required the design, detailing, fabrication and supply of a lattice tower. We were also required to carry out the civils works – the foundations for the base, as well as the base construction itself.

The foundation design was in accordance with specification BS8004 and had to include a provision for a lightning protection earth system.

We also included a provision for vertical feeder cable management, designed to carry feeder cables to the antenna rigged to the tower.

Tower Fabrication

The structure was fabricated in our in-house fabrication unit in Carnforth and a trial assembly carried out to ensure that once all components were on site, the assembly could be carried out as efficiently as possible.

Before the tower assembly and supply, the steel was sent away to be galvanised, ensuring it is resistant to corrosion. After all, with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east, Papa Westray experiences a wide variety of weather conditions.

Our Business Development Manager, Julian Cooper, said; “Due to the exposed nature of Papa Westray, our team encountered challenges throughout the project. However, the team overcame these and completed the project on time, on budget and to the required specification.

“The supply of a new tower is never straightforward. Having to transport it several hundred miles to one of the smallest islands in the Orkneys makes it a little more complex. However, the new tower is now in situ and doing its job. Well done to everyone involved.”

If you’re interested in joining LARS, keep an eye out for any vacancies on our Opportunities Page or send your CV to info@lars.co.uk

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