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Out of Sight

Out of Mind
A N T E N N A C O N C E A L M E N T H A N D B O O K
STE ALTH
®

CONCE AL MENT SOLUTI ONS, I NC.
b
|
ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
YOU’RE LOSING MONEY
ON EVERY CONCEALMENT YOU BUILD.
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
1
EVERY ANTENNA
YOU’VE HIDDEN COSTS
20% - 30% MORE
THAN IT SHOULD HAVE.
WHY?
THE REASONS ARE MANY.
1. Control of design has shifted from people in the
wireless business to cities and towns and the well-
meaning citizens who sit on zoning boards.
2. People create designs unaware of the most cost-
effective materials and methods.
3. Installation relies on outdated methods; wireless moves
at the speed of sound, except when it comes to towers.
THE SOLUTION.
We believe educated and informed participants in
this process can solve this problem. On the following
pages, we will illustrate how you can get more for
your concealment dollar while avoiding traps that
frequently confront the typical project.
W
O
W
!
W
O
W
!
T
h
a
t
’s
a

lo
t
!
YOU’VE HIDDEN COSTS
20% - 30% MORE
THAN IT SHOULD HAVE.
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meaning citizens who sit on zoning boards.
2
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ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
R
e
m
e
m
b
e
r

t
h
e

B
R
I
C
K
?
!
This book offers a before, during, and after primer
on concealment. We could benefit from STEALTH’s
experience. There’s no reason to hide from concealment.
FIRST
A BIT OF HISTORY
Concealment was born about 20 years ago. The industry’s
first sites were made of plywood. The sites worked with
plywood, but the water compressed inside the wood made
them a less-than-ideal option. That didn’t matter much,
though, because the networks were pretty unreliable.
Impeded signal wasn’t a concern then; it was cooler to have
a phone than it was to be able to make a call.
Plywood was fine until it wasn’t: enter STEALTH
®
. Slowly, but
surely, all those wooden concealments required retrofitting.
That drove the need for a proven, RF-transparent panel that
could remain relatively invisible when placed in front of an
antenna. That panel also had to match its surroundings,
meaning transparency and camouflage – often bordering
on true artwork – were key.
The biggest evolution is that concealment is no longer a
“nice to have;” it’s a must have. Municipalities seek quality
concealment. End users understand they have options,
and are focused on getting sites ramped up and serving
customers. Today, we’re part of a vast network of designers,
builders and suppliers conjuring up concealments for just
about anything the wireless industry needs.
surely, all those wooden concealments required retrofitting.
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
3
PART 1
BEFORE THE CONCEALMENT
4
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ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
Site acquisition for concealment requires that considerations
be made during the search ring process (the time when
carriers or their agents are negotiating for the rights to use
land or airspace). A carrier should approach a site with a
couple of options for concealment in their hand. The more
detailed these initial options are (i.e.: photos of past sites
that have been concealed, an initial sample drawing or a
photo simulation) the better you can set the expectations.
Pre-thinking concealment can help steer the team to the
right site, and the right camouflage. Plus, people who appear
organized and thoughtful inspire confidence.
Another benefit is you gain control of the complexity
and — by default — the cost of the concealment. After all,
concealment is generally the last thing any carrier wants to
consider because of the additional cost involved. However, the
longer the site is delayed the more revenue is lost. At what
point does it become cheaper to conceal than to resist?
What really matters during this phase of the project is that
maximum goodwill is established with all the stakeholders.
Goodwill is best achieved through full disclosure regarding
potential for the site(s) in question. Practical, real-world
solutions for questions and concerns that pop up will be prized.
And pop up, they will. If you go to a hearing, or visit with a
landlord, without an idea of what the most cost-effective
concealment option is, you cede all control to others. Be
proactive and have your choices and details on hand as you
engage your owner(s). Manage the decision process or it will
surely manage you.
Our 20 years of experience tell us that a casual approach can
drive cost increases anywhere from 25% to 75%.
WHY
DOES EVERY CONCEALMENT COMPANY SAY THEY HAVE
TO BE INVOLVED AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE IN ORDER TO TRULY
INFLUENCE THE COST, TIMELINESS AND QUALITY OF A PROJECT?
TIP: Always approach a landlord or town with
options that you’ve vetted and priced.
Site acquisition for concealment requires that considerations
be made during the search ring process (the time when
that have been concealed, an initial sample drawing or a
photo simulation) the better you can set the expectations.
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digit
al phot
o
illust
rat
ion show
ing
a proposed concept
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
5
HOW CAN YOUR CONCEALMENT
PARTNER HELP YOU GET TO
“YES”?
Collaborate. Bring your concealment company along on the
search ring process and listen to the advantages/disadvantages
of potential sites.
Entertain options. Work with them on 2 – 3 simple sketches
and cost estimates.
Prepare your case. Outline likely objections from the landlord
and have solid answers.
Arm yourself. Have written references speaking to your
concealment partner’s quality and professionalism.
Listen to your concealment company. Any major concealment
vendor can probably tell you what concealments they’ve done
in a given zip code. A vendor’s institutional knowledge is a
powerful tool.
Get hitched. Centralizing your concealment relationship with
one vendor could save you time — and money — on future
projects. Consider it!
Now that you’ve engaged your concealment partner, set the
meeting. Write an agenda and guide the conversation.
Know your goal.
P
a
rt
n
e
r
w
it
h

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con
ce
a
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ost

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solu
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ion
.
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pa
ct
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on
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ou
’v
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lre
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d
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a
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ge
d
INSIDE INSIGHT
Cities all over the United States are hiring consultants to write concealment
ordinance language. This has the potential to drive costs higher. It’s already too
late in some parts of the country, but if you follow the simple guidelines in this
handbook, you can be a proactive part of the dialogue and control costs.
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ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED
1. Bring a concealment expert into your site selection
process from the start. A good vendor is a partner as
interested in your long-term success as theirs.
2. Determine the advantages/disadvantages for each
potential concealment site.
3. Based on this upfront work, create 2-3 options using
existing drawings, photo simulations and/or samples from
the site in question or a similar, existing site.
4. Know, in advance, what types of concealments are good -
fast track, low hassle - candidates, in the eyes of the other
party (be that the building owner, local government or
whomever).
5. Standardize the concealment selection purchase process
while it’s still a relatively small portion of the site budget.
6. Centralize the purchase of concealment products to share
designs and material costs across several projects.
T
a
k
e

c
o
n
t
r
o
l!
O
w
n

t
h
e

a
e
s
t
h
e
t
ic
s
!
D
r
iv
e

t
h
e

d
e
c
is
io
n
!
Video testim
onials that incorporate
both the site and residents are
especially im
pactful.
Approach your first meeting armed with drawings, photo
simulations, samples and examples of existing installed sites.
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
7
PART 2
“I HAVE TO BUILD WHAT?”
8
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ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
This sounds good, but is usually not. It’s good when someone
with more than 20 years of experience is behind it; not so
much when a newbie conjured it up. The difference goes
beyond aesthetics. Design integrity, durability, build-ability,
RF transparency, the ability to gain municipal approval on
the first attempt and a host of other factors matter. And
experience is key to navigating them all.
Adding concealment after the site has been chosen carries
a host of challenges. Pre-determined designs are more
expensive to quote, fabricate and install. Why? Picture
yourself designing a car, sending the drawing to a factory,
and expecting the cheapest possible price for your one-of-a-
kind wheels. That’s not cost saving, it’s a cost snowball, and
you lose all benefits from the experience and connections of
your vendor.
So, what drives up costs during this phase? Typically, a
pre-selected concealment arrives on site in pieces. The local
contractor, who built a carport yesterday, struggles to make
sense of the drawings. Busy people, they underbid the job
and are now in a hurry to get it done. They skipped the pre-
construction team calls. The clock ticks and, at some critical
point around the 11th hour, they call the designers for help.
Now the meter is really running and everyone is scrambling
to meet the deadline. Soon, everyone is pointing fingers in a
desperate attempt to avoid back-charges on a project that was
already quoted close to the bone.
TOO OFTEN,
THE PROJECT ARRIVES AT THE CONCEALMENT
COMPANY ALREADY DESIGNED.
INSIDE INSIGHT
It may not be possible to have a concealment provider do the design, but you can
still benefit from their experience. Make sure your architecture and engineering
firm gets input from a concealment company to maximize the design.
beyond aesthetics. Design integrity, durability, build-ability,
RF transparency, the ability to gain municipal approval on
the first attempt and a host of other factors matter. And
describes a material
that is able to
let RF signals pass
through with
minimal dB loss
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
9
IT DOESN’T HAVE
TO BE THIS WAY!
HOW TO MAKE THE “DURING” PHASE WORK
• Customer calls a meeting with all the involved parties,
previewing potential sites.
• The team discusses the best options for each, and
approaches customer with their ranked choices.
• The customer makes their choice, and seeks a general
design approach – complete with concealment.
• A frank conversation is had between carrier, contractors
and concealment partners about ideal options, costs,
maintenance and more.
• An option is chosen, priced, and goes to the design
department.
• Customer demands that their installation team meet
at least once with the concealment designers before
delivery.
Sound like a lot of communicating? Bingo, but all that pre-
thinking means engineering costs are reduced, knowledge
is shared, projects are completed faster and mistakes are
minimized. In fact, just the initial meeting alone has been
proven to cut project costs by 20% to 30%, and cut project
completion time in half.
INSIDE INSIGHT
Post all your engineering packages in a shared folder and let all Construction
Managers access it. Engineering can be re-used at a fraction of the cost of
recreating a similar package.
minimized. In fact, just the initial meeting alone has been
proven to cut project costs by 20% to 30%, and cut project
is shared, projects are completed faster and mistakes are
minimized. In fact, just the initial meeting alone has been minimized. In fact, just the initial meeting alone has been
completion time in half.
proven to cut project costs by 20% to 30%, and cut project
that could add up to
substantial savings!!!
10
|
ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED
1. Designs locked in stone before reaching the concealment
company cost more, almost without exception.
2. A holistic approach to a carrier’s concealment needs will
drive down cost at every phase of the concealment project.
3. Concealment companies have more design experience:
use it.
4. Exploit similarity in design across regions to reduce
engineering and fabrication costs.
5. Ask concealment companies which products they can
build the best, easiest and most cost efficiently. Look for
opportunities to deploy that design across the company.
6. Get testimonials from all parties involved to grease the
approval skids.
7. Trouble will likely occur on site. Have numbers and contact
information ready. Also, have your fabrication drawings
on hand when calling from the site. This will speed the
solution along.
This is a set of plans that shows how a concealment
structure is constructed. It includes measurements
needed to manufacture and construct, detailed
dimensions of each part and a bill of materials.
Trouble will likely occur on site. Have numbers and contact
information ready. Also, have your fabrication drawings
on hand when calling from the site. This will speed the
INSIDE INSIGHT
Ask your concealment vendor for any photos they might have.
It can be an important addition to your project archive.
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
11
PART 3
AFTER CONCEALMENT
12
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ANTENNA CONCEALMENT © COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.
Abandoned, the concealment is left to the elements until,
generally, something goes wrong.
Absent proactive involvement by the landlord, the
carrier or a designee, there’s little thought given to the
maintenance of the site and its concealment. This is
another expensive problem.
Concealments – and the towers they conceal – need
maintenance. They must adapt to changing technologies.
They must remain structurally sound so as not to create
problems in their surrounding areas. Yet little to no thought
is given to the long, healthy life of a site.
The better approach is to pre-plan and pre-budget regular
inspections. Some sites benefit from quarterly visits; others
less, and some even more. Your region’s weather will drive
the optimal schedule.
Each inspection should be conducted in a rigorous and
detailed manner. Take photos and make notes. Damaged
or worn parts should be replaced or repaired. Connections
should be tested for strength. But don’t expect concealments
to meet the standards you’d apply to permanent buildings:
those are fake bricks and tree branches, after all. And the key
is to use RF-transparent materials, which are automatically
less resilient than traditional building materials.
Twenty years ago, there were so few sites that nobody had
to worry much about them. Some of those original towers
remain, and as they age, it’s certain they will degrade.
90% OF THE TIME
AFTER A JOB IS COMPLETED, HIGH FIVES
ABOUND, ELVIS LEAVES THE BUILDING, AND
EVERYBODY FORGETS THE SITE.
And w
e all know

M
urphy’s Law
!!!
The better approach is to pre-plan and pre-budget regular The better approach is to pre-plan and pre-budget regular
inspections. Some sites benefit from quarterly visits; others
The better approach is to pre-plan and pre-budget regular
© COPYRIGHT 2013 STEALTH
®
CONCEALMENT SOLUTIONS, INC. ANTENNA CONCEALMENT
|
13
HOW TO GET TO
“HAPPILY EVER AFTER”
• Pick a partner you can trust and set up a schedule for
regular inspections.
• Stay in touch with your original contractor or retain a
larger concealment company to maintain the site.
• Categorize your concealed sites from oldest to youngest,
and categorize them into sites with the greatest risk,
based on age and proximity to people and property.
• On new installations, invite your concealment company
to conduct a final approval of the installation.
• Expect your site to be well engineered and to last a good
while. But remember these aren’t traditional materials
and will require routine reviews.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED
1. Reactive replacement and repair processes are recipes
for trouble.
2. Concealment company sign-off is a great way to finish
a project.
3. Set a specific schedule for inspecting your sites.
4. Keep good records. Photographs, videos and drawings
with any approved changes are useful project artifacts
to keep.
W
e’ve lost count
of the new
tow
ers
w
e’ve seen that
w
eren’t installed as
engineered and w
ere
doom
ed from
D
ay 1.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HIDE?
Concealment is simple. It’s not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard,
either. You can seriously reduce the time, frustration, annoyance, and
cost that concealment too often conjures. Come on — stop hiding
from concealment!
800.755.0689
|
6549 FAIN BLVD.
|
N. CHARLESTON
|
SC
|
29406
|
stealthconcealment.com