Safety and Maintenance

To keep Sutro Tower structurally sound, independent outside engineers inspect the tower every year and identify any potential maintenance needs resulting from the tower’s exposure to wind, sun and moisture.

Our Structural Engineer evaluates the inspection and lists both the routine and more critical issues to deal with.  Tower maintenance experts perform the actual work; the repairs then are confirmed by an independent quality assurance team.

We work on one of the Tower’s three legs and facings each year for routine maintenance, thus covering the entire tower over three years before starting over. We also do any specific work noted in the annual engineering inspection. Most work involves replacing bolts or scraping away rust and re-painting the scraped areas.

Once a decade, the work includes additional maintenance on deeper, interior elements of the tower, removing the skin of the beams on certain levels and replacing elements as needed.

A report of all Sutro Tower maintenance work is submitted each year to the Department of Building Inspection and posted on our website. Click here to see the safety reports.

The City has permitting authority over the tower and the buildings on the 5.6-acre site through a conditional use permit issued in 1966. In addition, all radio and television broadcasting is regulated by the FCC, and certain other service providers are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.



2018 Maintenance

Sutro Tower’s 2018 maintenance includes the annual work on one of the tower’s legs and one of the facings – this year, the West leg and North facing. We will also be doing maintenance work on the South leg and East facing that is pre-identified as needed in advance of the formal annual inspection by the Structural Engineers, which will occur later this year. Sutro Tower maintenance work is scheduled to conclude in the fall, and includes removing old paint and rust, coating steel with a high-quality epoxy paint, and replacing any bolts that are nearing the end of their useful life.

We are continuing to meet our goal of minimizing the noise impact on neighbors. Tower workers use quieter tools as much as possible and use their louder heavy-duty air tools only when absolutely necessary in order to meet maintenance requirements. We have agreed with the neighborhood associations not to work on holiday weekends.