Valmont Foundation Engineering

Communication Tower Foundation Design


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In addition to tower and pole engineering prints, Valmont engineers also provide site-specific foundation designs to accompany the tower design.  A soil investigation by a geotechnical engineering firm is recommended for each tower site to determine its unique soil and physical characteristics.  To ensure that the report furnishes useful information to the foundation designer, the guidelines listed below should be followed.

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Geotechnical Data

Soil Properties – The soil report should provide the following, including all applicable factors of safety.

Minimum Required Information
  • Allowable Bearing Pressure – values vs. depth and expected settlement, mainly at tower base (all 
    tower types)
  • Allowable Passive Pressure – values vs. depth (all tower types)
  • Allowable Skin Friction – values vs. depth (SS and guyed towers only)
  • Angle of Internal Friction – (all tower types)
  • Unit Weight – buoyant, if submerged (all tower types)
  • Cohesion – values vs. depth, if any (all tower types)
  • Rock Quality Designation (RQD) – if rock is encountered (all tower types)
  • If rock anchors are anticipated:
    • Ultimate Rock Shear Strength
    • Unit Weight
    • Rock/Grout Friction or Bond Strength
    • Rock Engagement Angle

  • Optional Information (if drilled piers are anticipated for monopole or guyed tower)
  • Lateral Modulus of Subgrade Reaction
  • Strain at 50% of the Maximum Principal Stress Difference (E50)

    Boring Logs
  • Date, sampling methods, and number of samples
  • Soil strata classification per USCS, and their depth
  • Depth of free water encountered and groundwater depth to be used for design
  • Standard Penetration Test (SPT) blow counts (blows per foot)
  • Maximum and average frost penetration depth
  • Unit weight of soil, buoyant unit weight (if submerged)
  • Type of rock encountered

  • Foundation system best suited for existing soil conditions
  • Alternative foundation system that can also be considered
  • Construction problems anticipated (e.g. temporary casings, drilling slurry, rock augers or core 
    barrels, jack hammering, etc.)
  • Other variables that will affect the installation and design
  • Depth of saturated soil if expected
  • Soil resistivity if any special corrosion mitigating measures are required