DCAN 14: Siting and Design of Radio Telecommunication Equipment
Installations on Existing Buildings & Other Structures
3.13 A wide range of buildings and other structures can be used for siting equipment. These may include:
- tall chimneys;
- water towers;
- floodlighting towers;
- office and tower blocks;
- churches; and
- agricultural silos.
3.14 The architectural style and materials used in a building or other structure will help influence the siting and design of equipment. Buildings or other structures of historic or architectural value will usually only be capable of accepting the installation of equipment where it can be disguised or concealed. There may however be instances where no installation is acceptable. Modern buildings, or buildings that already have telecommunications equipment sited on them, may be more suited to accepting new equipment.
Antenna equipment mounted in a church tower
3.15 The aim is that equipment on a building or other structure should:
- be coloured to match the background or reduce contrast;
- be in proportion to the size of the building or structure;
- relate to the architectural form;
- have minimal impact on the roof line;
- respect important views or skylines; and
- avoid a visually damaging cumulative effect.
3.16 Placing equipment below a roofline or against existing rooftop structures, such as a plant room and painting it a matching colour minimises the visual impact and protects the building’s silhouette. These positions may not provide exactly the same level of coverage as a position above the roofline but there can be technical solutions to overcome gaps, such as installing microcell antennas in areas that experience shadowing.
3.17 Positioning equipment in a group with symmetrical order will help achieve a balanced composition. For technical reasons this may not always be possible, but encouraging this type of arrangement rather than scattering equipment across a rooftop will help the various elements appear as a single feature.
Antenna placed below the roof line of an existing building
3.18 The use of existing buildings and other structures may be constrained by structural limitations. For example many were not designed to take the additional weight and wind loading of radio telecommunication equipment. Checking that the loading capacity can hold the proposed installation is a matter for the operator and the building control authority.
3.19 Existing buildings and structures may affect radio signals.