- Adam Schmehl
Third-Party Attachments Solutions
Updated: Apr 4
Over the past two years, Katapult Pro has become more finely tuned to handle the third-party pole attachments process as the industry has changed. The most notable changes being the FCC ruling, a nationwide push for faster broadband, and the rollout of small cell antennas for 5G wireless in cities across the country.
Thanks to these developments, the Katapult Pro platform is now a full-stack solution for managing and engineering the third-party attachment process. From the creation of a new application using the Attachments Portal to the entry of compatible units for make ready construction in Katapult Maps, each step of the process can be managed, tracked, and delivered from the Katapult Pro ecosystem. Below, I'll break down the process in more detail.
Once applicants have an attaching agreement with the power company, they can select which poles they would like to attach to and upload a guying plan and information about their new attachment (using the Attachments Portal). After submission, the application will be reviewed for completion before data collection begins.
Upon submission, the application will now begin being tracked through each stage of the FCC pole attachment timelines. System emails will automatically be sent to necessary parties as the app passes through various stages, and applicants can track each of their submissions by status, region, or any other necessary job attribute.
The applicant's selected poles will be pushed to Katapult Maps, where a designer will review the selected poles using the guying plan provided, aerial imagery, and street view to create a full design for field crews to collect. In areas where aerial imagery is poor or street view doesn't exist, the designer may ask crews to take a high-end GPS to complete the design from the field.
Once the design has been completed, field crews will travel to the site and take photos of the mobile interface to synchronize the internal clocks of both field cameras. The crew then proceeds to document the existing conditions through photographs. As the crew moves through the job, the SLR operator marks the design complete on the mobile device so that photos associate to the right locations after upload. Field crews further interact with the design by leaving notes, entering down guy and anchor information, and adding elements of the design that were missed during the design phase. Back at the office, they upload photos to Katapult Pro via the upload page.
When the field crews have finished uploading their collection photos, photo processing staff can view all photos awaiting categorization and calibration on the photos dashboard. Team members will tag each photo with attributes that will be used for QA/QC purposes later on in the process. Some photos require more data entry than others, such as height photos that require calibration (clicking the targets on the height stick) and birthmark photos that require the entry of pole length, pole class, and species.
Photo Association and Scraping
After each photo has been processed, our engineering team will associate photos to the design and scrape the photo data to the map using mapping tools. Because timestamps were placed on the design during field collection and photo processors have categorized and calibrated each photo, engineering staff can associate and scrape photo data very quickly. Within a few moments, each element of the design will have its photos and attributes in the information panel.
At this stage, our engineering team will begin measuring each attachment on the poles in question to document existing conditions. During this step, staff will also enter equipment and crossarm bearings, conductor specifications, and other details necessary for robust export to PLA software.
Make Ready Engineering
Now that the existing conditions are fully designed, engineering staff will add the proposed attachment and utilize Make Ready View to make sure that there is space on each pole to accommodate the new attachment. Custom logic can be set up to make sure each attachment on the pole is in compliance with both NESC requirements and the pole owner's distribution standards. During this step, pre-existing violations will be discovered and noted if they affect which party will be financially responsible for make ready construction. In the example below, markers in the midspan are in violation because of clearance above a state road, and the proposed fiber is within 30" of the neutral conductor.
Pole Loading Analysis
After a solution for each violation has been proposed, engineering staff will download the SPIDAcalc JSON for the job (or PoleForeman JSON or O-Calc PPLX). In SPIDA, our team will analyze each pole to make sure the poles are not currently failing loading analysis and that the new attachment won't cause any poles to fail, either. While analyzing poles in SPIDAcalc, small changes may be made regarding proposed and existing guying to ensure the reliability of the electrical grid.
Once the make ready engineering and loading analysis is complete, our electrical make ready team will build a bill of materials for power make ready construction needed for the job. This step is done in Katapult Pro using the CU Entry Tool seen below. Once the job is complete, this data can be easily exported to utilities' workflow management systems and design studios.
Make Ready Notification
Once the bill of materials is complete, our engineering team will release a comprehensive make ready notification to the attacher and all affected parties on the poles in the job. In some situations, costs will be shared by attachers with pre-existing violations. This notification has all the make ready necessary for the job and is split up by work location and company responsible for the work.
Thanks for reading! To learn more about how the Katapult Pro platform can be used to streamline the third-party attachments process, call us at 717-432-0716 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!