Q. What are the advantages & disadvantages of fiberglass poles?
A. Advantages: Lightweight, easy to install, colorfast throughout the pole, non-conductive, 15 to 20 year lifespan, low maintenance, corrosion and rust resistant, not susceptible to harmonic vibration, percentage of strength increases in cold air, smooth or textured finish, anchor base or direct burial.
Disadvantages: Susceptible to UV damage, easily damaged by mowing and trimming, "blossoming" or "delaminating" and chalking, poor color match, no recycle value - expensive to dispose, limited mounting heights.
Q. What are the advantages & disadvantages of steel poles?
A. Advantages: Low cost, strength, multiple shapes, 15 to 30 year lifespan depending on environment, base plate & bolt circle flexibility, anchor base or direct burial.
Disadvantages: Subject to corrosion / rust, Heavy weight requires larger equipment to unload and install, Higher maintenance costs
Q. What are the advantages & disadvantages of aluminum poles?
A. Advantages: Corrosion resistant, low maintenance, lightweight, greater manufacturing flexibility (taper rates, wall thickness, diameter), long life 50+ years, flagpole applications, anchor base or direct burial.
Disadvantages: Lower strength than steel, less flexibility on bolt circles, limited mounting heights.
Q. What are the advantages & disadvantages of concrete poles?
A. Advantages: Strength, not susceptible to harmonic vibration, long life 50+ years, low maintenance, corrosion resistant, direct burial installation.
Disadvantages: Difficult to install and unload from truck, difficult to ship, limited options, poor color match, difficult to dispose or recycle, direct burial only - limits opportunities.
Q. What are the advantages & disadvantages of wood poles?
A. Advantages: Lightweight, easy to install, 20 year lifespan, environmentally "green", natural or stained finish by manufacturer or on jobsite, treated against decay and insect damage, anchor base or direct burial.
Disadvantages: Lower strength than other poles, limited mounting heights, few options.
Q. Why does AASHTO recommend “breakaway” bases?
A. The Federal Highway Administration requires breakaway poles on high-speed highways if Federal funds are involved.
Q. What are the different bases and their uses?
A. Anchor Base (Flange): least expensive way to attach pole to foundation.
• T-Base: Originally for housing ballast is now primarily a breakaway device.
• Breakaway Couplings: Go between anchor base and foundation to provide breakaway capability.
• X-Base: Functions as anchor base but provides breakaway mechanism.
Q. What is the difference between embedded- and anchor-based poles?
A. Embedded poles are directly buried into the ground — as a general rule: 10% of the pole’s overall length plus 2 feet is buried into the ground. Anchor-based poles are attached to the ground with a base plate or transformer base and anchor bolts. The pole is welded to the base and the base is bolted to a concrete footing. When the concrete footing is poured, anchor bolts are "cast" into the concrete and stick up above the surface. The base has holes to attach the bolts to. In sequence: concrete footing poured with bolts cast in; bolts attach to base/pole; base is welded to the pole in our plant.
Q. In what applications do you use embedded poles?
A. Embedded poles can be used/substituted in many applications. Areas of concern would be sandy, very loose soil areas, in which case embedded could still be used but degree of burial would have to be increased. Embedded poles are used for easier installation, cost and time savings. They eliminate the need for expensive anchor base footings and bases.
Q. Can Acuity Brands provide direct burial (embedded) poles when only anchor base poles are listed in catalog?
A. With exceptions (Hinged Poles), we can provide embedded versions of virtually any pole type and material.
Q. Do we offer anchor base concrete poles?
A. No. Though they do exist in the industry, they are rarely used; alternative pole types are generally preferred for anchor base applications.
Q. Can a concrete pole be drilled for arm-mount fixtures?
A. Drilling a concrete pole sometimes gets off center depending where the cables are located inside the concrete. We recommend using a tenon and our T20 adaptor option which allows side mount fixtures to be installed on a tenon.
Q. Why do arm-mounted fixtures require a tenon slip fitter when using a concrete pole?
A. Concrete poles are essentially solid at the tip - no room or access for fixture back up plate - fixtures must mount to tenon.
Q. What is EPA and how does it affect my pole selection?
A. EPA is the Effective Projected Area; projected area x wind drag co-efficient. Poles are sized according to their EPA capacity. The area includes everything mounted on the pole including fixtures, arms, brackets, cameras, banners etc. EPA information in the catalog is for poles mounted at grade level.
Q. What is the wind map in the pole selection of the PSG?
A. This is the 50 year Mean Recurrence Isotach Wind Map. It illustrates the fastest wind to be expected in a 50 year time period at 33 feet above the ground. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAH) collects data for the wind map
Q. How do I interpret wind speed calculations?
A. The most important part of the calculations when considering if the pole will handle the intended loading is the CSR (Combined Stress Ratio) value. This includes the stress applied to the pole shaft, anchor bolts and base plate. If any of the three critical parts of a pole are overstressed, then the pole fails. If the total CSR is less than 1.0 the pole is suitable for the application; if it is 1.0 or higher the pole fails. Sometimes engineers just require overturn and bend-moment information to design the foundation.
Q. What is AASHTO?
A. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a Department of Transportation (DOT) organization that publishes standards for DOTs to use. Most DOTs use AASHTO Standards. AASHTO 1994 considers Wind Speed with 1.3-gust factor and AASHTO 2001 uses Wind Speed with 3-second gusts, primarily for Florida.
Q. What is pole vibration?
A. There are two forms of vibration: 1st mode and 2nd mode. Vibration is a local site-specific condition, which is many times overlooked by those selecting a pole because it is difficult to accurately predict. Vibration can be caused by steady relatively low speed wind (10 – 30 mph); topography or the structure the pole is mounted to can also have impact. Studies indicate that the natural turbulence of the airstream at higher wind velocities, above 30 mph, inhibit vibration. Destructive ¬vibration is not an indication of substandard material, workmanship or design of the pole.
Q. What contributes to pole vibration?
A. Each job site has different variables that may contribute to structural fatigue vibration. These pole variables should be taken into consideration, along with environmental and structural factors, to determine if the potential for vibration exists.
• Contributing Variables: Total load (EPA) and shaft length - these two factors, when combined, can be key ingredients for destructive vibration.
• EPA: Light loading, less than 2.0 EPA and shaft length at or above 25 feet.
• Shape: Straight Square Poles have historically experienced more effects of destructive vibration over other shapes, but no shape is exempt.
Installation procedures: Poles are designed to carry a load. Never install a pole without installing the intended light fixture. This is noted on every pole product page in the Product Selection Guide (PSG) and pole spec sheet.
Q. What are some remedies for pole vibration?
A. If poles are to be installed in high risk areas, we recommend vibration dampers at the time of pole selection or quote. If the pole already exists, we can supply field-installable vibration dampers of various designs for either type of vibration. However, they may or may not solve the problem. Generally, embedded poles and concrete poles do not experience wind-induced harmonic vibration.
Q. What is a vibration damper and when is it used?
A. A vibration damper is used to reduce second mode wind vibration. It is used on most poles without an arm and some with arms. Vibration dampers should be used in any application where constant winds in excess of 15 mph are common.
Q. What if a customer reports pole vibration?
A. If it is a pole Acuity Brands provided, contact us as soon as possible with the details of the problem. We strongly suggest that all of the poles at the site be carefully examined immediately for any signs of cracks just above the weldment where the pole is joined to the anchor-base plate. Generally the cracks begin at the corners and spread laterally along the side of the pole just above the weld. Any suspect poles should be removed as soon as possible. Continual monitoring should be part of any maintenance program by the customer. If vibration continues to be an issue after installation of the vibration dampers, then pole replacement with tapered poles should be considered. Generally, embedded poles and concrete poles do not experience wind-induced harmonic vibration.
Q. Does pole height determine placement of a vibration damper?
A. A factory install vibration damper is installed approximately two-thirds of the length of the pole from the bottom.
Q. What is 1st mode vibration?
A. There are two forms of vibration also known as harmonic resonance: 1st mode and 2nd mode. 1st mode vibration is present if the top of the pole continuously moves back and forth an EQUAL distance in its cycle, approximately one cycle per second (Hz). This will eventually cause a pole to fail if not addressed. If a pole moves an UNEQUAL distance in its cycle, then it is not vibration, but rather sway. Sway is not harmful.
Q. What is 2nd mode vibration?
A. There are two forms of vibration: 1st mode and 2nd mode. When a pole experiences 2nd mode vibration it moves back and forth in a constant motion at the center of the shaft, with little or no movement at the top. It is at a higher frequency than 1st mode vibration; typically three to six cycles per second. This can cause the pole shaft to crack and fail just above the weld at the base.
Q. What are some methods to reduce or eliminate pole vibration?
A. Field-installable vibration dampers (FVD) are available. The FVD is a stiff plastic (PVC) coil tube that can snake up through the hand hole. The tubing contacts the inside of the pole at random points, and transfers the energy of pole movement to other points of the pole to break up the natural harmonic frequency of the pole. The FVD is effective in most cases. Generally, embedded poles and concrete poles do not experience wind induced harmonic vibration.
Q. What side is the hand hole side of a pole?
A. The hand hole determines the orientation of the pole sides; hand hole is always considered as side A. In the case of aluminum hinged pole, the hinge point and direction in which a pole descends is considered side A. Arm-mount drilling for fixtures is always side B (90° to the right of the hand hole (unless specifically noted otherwise).
Q. Will field modifications to a pole void the warranty?
A. Yes, unless Acuity Brands is advised by the customer prior to making any modifications to the pole. This allows us to assess any potential hazard issues and provide correct modification procedures.
Q. Are poles installed on a hillside, parking deck, side of a building or a bridge considered special poles?
A. Yes. From a loading standpoint, the total height of the light fixture must be considered, not just the height of the pole. Acuity Brands can provide a wind analysis of the pole in these situations.
Q. What if the bolt circle of the anchorage is too large for the pole base plate?
A. Depending on the application, adapter plates or "spools" can generally be fabricated to install between the pole's anchor base plate and the foundation; or Hilti (800-879-8000, www.hilti.com
) can offer technical support and special anchor bolts to install in newly drilled holes in existing foundation using epoxy adhesives. Some or all of the original bolts would be cut off at foundation surface.
Q. Can I get base covers for embedded fiberglass (composite) poles?
A. We can provide a protective shroud or guard for the pole that protects the pole from abrasion and impact damage at the ground line from landscaping equipment use. Also, decorative bases can be added for aesthetic purposes as well – there are many designs available.
Q. I can’t find 7G in the catalog – what is the bolt circle?
A. The bolt circle and template would be same as used for the 7E shaft. It is the shaft’s outside dimension at the base, “7”, not the wall thickness, “G”, which determines the base plate size and bolt circle.
Q. What is a fabreeka pad?
A. A rubber-based pad, also known as a vibration pad, used under the base of some roadway poles to isolate vibrations from passing traffic.
Q. Are round cast aluminum base covers available for SSS poles?
A. We do not have a qualified supplier for this. Additionally, a round cover (of any type) for a square base plate as supplied on SSS poles would have to have a very large diameter to clear the corners of the base plate. Round covers are used on round poles having round anchor base plates. We can provide steel base covers for SSS poles if desired.
Q. What if the anchor bolt projection is not long enough to allow use of leveling nuts?
A. We can provide leveling shims instead of leveling nuts if required.
Q. What is the recommended torque for anchor bolts?
A. Because calculating torque is unpredictable due to condition of threads, it is generally recommended to tighten 1/3 turn past snug fit. Further information regarding the installation of anchor bolts is available from FHWA publication “Guidelines for the Installation, Inspection, Maintenance and Repair of Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaries, and Traffic Signals”. This can be viewed and downloaded at: www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/signinspection.cfm
. Tightening of connecting bolts and anchor bolts is addressed in Chapter 6 of this publication. Anchor bolts for breakaway devices often have very specific installation instructions including requirements for tightening of the bolts. For specific requirements for installation of these devices refer to the device manufacturer’s recommendations. In a nutshell: Chapter 6 recommends tightening by turning the nut a certain rotation (say 1/3 turn).
Q. Customer wants pole for upgrade but bolt projection is 1” less than required for the desired pole?
A. This can work if the customer does not use the leveling nut on our anchor bolts. We always send two nuts and washers with our bolts: one goes on top of the base plate to secure it in place; and, the second one goes under the base plate and is used to level the pole. The customer could set the pole without using the nut that is under the base plate and the bolt projection will work. We can provide leveling shims when this occurs.
Q. How do you determine the inside dimension (ID) of a pole?
A. If the wall thickness of the shaft material is known, then you can subtract two times the wall thickness from the outside diameter or side dimension (OD) of the pole to calculate the inside dimension (ID).
Q. What height is the hinge point on STSH poles?
A. STSH 20 4.0B = 12' 0" STSH 30 4.0B = 17' 0" STSH 35 7.1B = 19' 5" STSH 39 7.1F = 19' 11"
STSH 25 4.0B = 14' 6" STSH 30 6.4B = 16' 10" STSH 35 7.1F = 19' 5"
STSH 25 6.4B = 14' 5"
Q. With SSS poles the higher the pole the bigger the anchor bolt, but with RSS poles they are all the same size?
A. It is a function of the anchor base plate required for the shaft. Because the base plate is different due to the shaft size, SSS 30 4G poles use ¾” and SSS 5C and 5G shafts use a 1” bolt. The RSS poles all use the same base plate in their construction so the anchor bolts are the same size as well, ¾”. You may also note that the SSS poles of same height as RSS poles are capable of handling greater EPA and weight loads.
Q. Can extra hand holes be added?
A. Yes, as long as a minimum distance of 12" is maintained from another hand hole or festoon if on the same side of pole; 6" distance if on different side.
Q. What is a festoon?
A. A festoon is a provision that allows a switch or ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle and cover to be mounted to the pole.
Q. Where can a festoon be located?
A. Festoon placement restrictions vary by pole type and supplier, but in general the following guidelines apply to all poles: Minimum height above base is 30" on same side as hand hole; 24" on any other side. After the minimum height is cleared the festoon can be put anywhere in 3" increments however, it is preferred that heights above minimum be designated in whole foot increments. Exception: If the pole is large enough in diameter, the festoon can be put at the same height as the hand hole at 180° apart — it must be reviewed by engineering prior to order placement.
Q. Can a festoon be place in a 3” shaft?
A. No, 4" shaft is minimum diameter required for a festoon.
Q. Can a festoon be placed below the hand hole?
Q. What if customer wants a non-standard drill pattern or position?
A. We can provide non-standard drilling positions and drilling patterns by special quote only to ensure the pole manufacturer is supplied with all information needed.
Q. Can a junction box for a switch or receptacle be field mounted to a pole?
A. A receptacle box can be surface mounted onto the pole but it must be at least 12" above the hand hole. For example, a 4C pole may have a hole drilled up to 1” in diameter for wire passage into the surface-mounted box from the back side. Note: the box should be mounted using galvanized or preferably stainless sheet metal screws and advise that the newly drilled conductor hole should have all unprotected metal exposed from the drilling be painted with primer to prevent corrosion. We further advise that the box should be sealed at its contact point to the pole with silicone sealant to prevent water intrusion behind the box. Any electrical code compliance is the responsibility of the local contractor as he will have to supply the weatherproof box and GFCI receptacle or switch along with weatherproof cover from local sources.
Q. Are banner arms available?
A. Yes, banner arms can be stationary or breakaway depending on the specification. Breakaway arms are designed to fold in when the wind reaches a certain speed, usually 50 – 70 mph, and they allow a lighter duty pole than the stationary arms. When the wind reaches the breakaway speed the arm folds into the pole, it does not fall to the ground. Arm length, banner length, pole height, location of arms on the pole, wind zone and fixture EPA and weight all play a role in determining the best arm design for a project. A banner is essentially a sail on a pole and can cause a failure very fast if not properly designed for the project. The pole would also need to be designed to accommodate the additional wind load. Acuity Brands can help you with the pole selection if banner arms are required.
Q. Can banner arms be added to a pole and what information is needed for calculations?
A. Wind loading analysis is mandatory when adding banner arms to a pole, do not use catalog EPA's. When adding banner arms to a pole the following information must be provided:
• Width of banner
• How the banner attaches to the pole
• Banner arms to be fixed or breakaway
• Height and orientation on the pole of each banner arm.
Q. What is satin finish?
A. Satin aluminum finish is achieved by rotary sanding or chemically cleaning and etching.
Q. What does “anodized finish” mean?
A. A finish achieved by immersing the material into an acid solution and passing a direct current through the material in such a manner as to form a durable oxide film on the surface of the pole. This is meant to increase resistance to corrosion and abrasion. However, this process inherently results in color variations where there are chemical or physical differences on the pole or between parts of the pole castings. See "Thermoset Powder" as alternative.
Q. What anodized colors are available?
A. Natural Anodized = ANA; Light Bronze Anodized = ALB; Medium Bronze Anodized = AMB; Dark Bronze Anodized = ADB; Black Anodized = ABL.
NOTE: Anodizing inherently results in color variations on aluminum where there are chemical or physical differences in the materials. Extreme color variation occurs between the tube (Alloy 6063-T6), castings (Alloy 356) and weld metal (Alloy 4043). These color variations in anodized finishes are unavoidable and not covered under warranty.
Q. What is hot dipped galvanized?
A. Galvanizing is the practice of immersing clean, oxide-free iron or steel into molten zinc in order to form a zinc coating that is metallurgically bonded to the iron or steel's surface. The zinc coating protects the surface against corrosion by providing protection to the iron or steel in two ways:
1. It shields the base metal from the atmosphere
2. Because it is more electronegative than iron or steel, the zinc gives cathodic or sacrificial protection. Even if the surface becomes scratched and the base metal is exposed, the zinc is slowly consumed while the iron or steel remains protected from corrosion. For more information, click hyperlink: www.metalplate.com
Q. When is galvanized or paint over galvanized recommended?
A. Galvanizing is recommended when a steel pole is subjected to a corrosive environment such as near the ocean. Paint over galvanized offers increased corrosion resistance than galvanizing alone, plus the aesthetic benefit of color should the customer desire.
Q. What are the guidelines for painting poles in the field?
A. Surface Preparation: Remove all loose foreign materials by hand scraping. Sand the existing powder coated surface by hand abrading or power abrading (coarse-grit sand paper or emery cloth is acceptable) to achieve a rough surface profile. Solvent wipe entire area to be coated to remove all foreign particle and other contaminants.
Top Coat: Roll or brush two (2) component aliphatic acrylic polyurethane (TNEMEC Series 1074, 1075, or 175 Endura-Shield or equivalent) to prepared surface to a minimum of three (3) mils dry film thickness (DFT). Allow coating to cure per coating vendor's recommendations.
Q. What is best rust proof method?
A. If customer really wants to rust proof the pole the best way is to paint over galvanized. Painting the inside of a pole does not do a very good job of preventing rust. There is no way to eliminate scale on the pole prior to painting and the interior is painted by running a tube inside the pole and pulling it out while spraying powder. The galvanizing process dips the pole in various stages to clean it inside and out then it is hot dipped, tipping the pole to insure the interior is coated.
Q. Can paint be sand-blasted to make this a satin or brushed aluminum pole?
A. We cannot warrant work done by others and would not know how the finish would look after sand blasting.
Q. What is Shaft?
A. The pole only, without top cap or base cover.
Q. What is wind zone?
A. Defined geographic area with a specified historically-based maximum wind speed.