Prefabricated Towers: The Best View From Above


Fire Tower Although, our tower systems are used for a number of different reasons, they typically serve you with one main advantage, providing an unobstructed, long-distance view of a landscape. Just like all of our projects, these towers are prefabricated at our facilities and shipped out to the project site.  However, our tower systems are unique when it comes to Panel Built’s product line.  These modular structures combine two of our strongest manufacturing divisions, our wall panel buildings and our steel mezzanines systems.  We are a single source provider for these systems, and all components are manufactured in our facilities, including mezzanine towers with metal stairs and railings and insulated rust-resistant booths that provide year-round comfort and protection for personnel.  Groups utilize these tower systems for a number of different reasons, from bolstering their own security systems to providing a bird’s eye view of the horizon. In this post, we will discuss all of the different applications of Panel Built’s observation towers and why they are always so effective. Most frequently, our tower systems are used to monitor an area for safety purposes. In this case, the towers are used as surveillance to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is occurring over their area.

Range Towers

In our first application, our towers provide a clear view over firing ranges for military and police applications.  The United States Air Force alone operates approximately 7 million acres of military ranges in the United States. Military and police officials use these areas to simulate real life combat situations, as well as the testing of firearms and other munitions.  The main focus of these areas is to ensure the men and women in training are performing all of their tasks up to the expectations of their supervisors.  So, as you can imagine, a range tower provides their drill sergeant with the perfect view to see everything they are doing right (and wrong).  These towers are oftentimes designed with an exterior walkway around the building to allow for observing from all angles.   

Air Traffic Control TowersAir Traffic Control Tower

Out of all special use tower systems, air traffic control towers are probably the ones with the strictest design standards.  For an air traffic controller, full vision of their airfield and all surround vehicles is of the utmost importance to ensure the airspace and runways are clear for take-offs and landings. In fact, the official “Airport Traffic Control Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility Design Guidelines” from the FAA is 256 pages long (with a title that is just as long-winded).  These rules ensure that air traffic control is able to route each aircraft to have a minimum amount of empty space around them at all times.  Some of the most common accommodations made for these towers are slanted windows to prevent glare from the sun and a full 360-degree view of the area around the tower. 

Fire TowerFire Tower

Fire towers, as you can imagine, are used to spot fires over an incredibly large area.  In this case, our modular tower systems will most likely have a longer height than usual because the area of surveillance will be much larger.  Typically, these tower systems will either sit towards the peak of a mountain, or in a flatter area, anywhere in which it will sit well above the tree line.  Fire Towers cover a larger area for a couple of reasons.  First, a wildfire in a densely-forested area will not be an immediate threat to others, however, if it not noticed and taken care, the situation can become out of hand.  For this reason, most fire lookouts cover a large area so they can see as much area as possible, not allowing a smaller fire to grow without their knowing.  The second reason the fire towers will cover more area is because the smoke plume from the fire can typically be seen from a large distance away.

Training Towers

Training Tower The most unique of all of our tower systems, training towers can vary greatly from project to project, depending on their specific use.  In most instance, training towers are multilevel structures that can be used to train anything from firefighters to military personnel.  These towers provide a unique environment that allows firemen and soldiers to practice a wide range of maneuvers that are different from situation to situation, but vital for them to complete their tasks. Therefore, they must have these procedures perfected before they are put to use in real life scenarios.  One of our training towers included a specially designed repel tower for Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This structure was a three story “air attack” training tower. The open tower system provides areas for cover and attack from the inside, and the exterior contains a custom design climbing wall with rappel hitching posts, fast rope slides, and winch slide.

Lifeguard TowersRange Tower

Although they are typically the shortest of the group, lifeguard towers serve possibly the most important purpose.  Usually located in a beach area, these towers do not look over a very large area, but only because the lifeguards need to be able to focus closely on the view in front of them.  Unlike fire towers, when an emergency occurs in front of an occupant of a life tower, it is never as obvious as a giant cloud of smoke rising above the horizon.  These lifeguards have to focus on a very small area, where a person may be struggling and needs help as soon as possible. 

Observation TowersObservation Towers

Finally, observation towers typically act almost as a combination of the towers previously mentioned.  Historically used to look over a landscape for enemies approaching, they are now often used to offer a clearly visible line of sight across the horizon, looking over tree lines to see miles away.  However, these towers can be used as a tourist attraction as well, providing views from sprawling mountain ranges to vast city landscapes.  However, since observation tower is such a broad term, these towers can be used for a multitude of different things.  Many observation towers sit in national parks or forests and are used to spot fires, while others are multi-million dollar structures that are used around cities and major tourist attractions. 
However, for the erection of these structures, it can often prove to be difficult to use traditional building methods.  With modular construction, the entire structure will be fabricated in our facilities and shipped to the job site.  At this point, the only thing left to do is installation! With one of our installation teams, your tower can be installed in no time at all. This means that if you are looking to place an observation tower on national forest land. You will not have the chaos and hassle of a construction site in the middle of your park.  Instead, you just need a concrete slab and an install group to put your pre-made tower into place.  With Panel Built, we can work with you through the design phase of your project to ensure your structure works best for your particular application.  Our number one priority is to ensure your building is perfect for your unique needs. 

If you have any questions about our tower systems or any of our other modular structures, just call us at 8006363873, email us at, or use the LiveChat in the bottom right-hand corner.