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Design/Engineering

Design and Engineering for Wood Poles

Engineering for Poles

Preservative-treated wood utility poles are essential to the North American electricity distribution system. Each pole serves as an engineered structure, supporting considerable weight from power lines, transformers, co-axial cable, fiber optic cable and other loads.

Standards that define the quality, dimensions and basic engineering data for preserved wood poles were first written in the early 1900s. Design values for wood poles have been refined over the decades by testing and an extensive record of in-place performance under rigorous conditions.

Review and download the following engineering reference materials and design tools for your computer, smartphone and tablet. Please note the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) maintains the basic standards for wood poles and crossarms, which must be purchased directly from ANSI.

Engineering & Design

ANSI_Dim ANSI Dimensions for Wood Poles
Excel spreadsheet that calculates the minimum circumference of a wood pole 6 ft. from the butt, based on selection of species, class and length. Requires Excel 2007 or higher.
ZIP file (151KB), 03/14

Get this tool for your smartphone or tablet!
Download the free Wood Pole Guide app.
PDF
Pole_Weight Wood Pole Weight Estimator
Excel spreadsheet that calculates range of pole weights for shipping based on selection of species, class and length. Includes estimators for single poles and multiple pole selections. Requires Excel 2007 or higher.
ZIP file (115KB), 03/14

Get this tool for your smartphone or tablet!
Download the free Wood Pole Guide app.
PDF
O51 ANSI O5.1-2017 - Wood Poles, Specifications and Dimensions
FOR PURCHASE ONLY. The minimum specifications for the quality and dimensions of preservative-treated wood poles that are to be used as single-pole utility structures.
Buy for $50 at ANSI eStandards Store
PDF
O53 ANSI O5.3-2015 - Solid Sawn Wood Crossarms and Braces
FOR PURCHASE ONLY. Specifications covering solid sawn-wood crossarms and braces manufactured from coastal Douglas fir and Southern Pine. The specifications are intended to cover communications crossarms, power crossarms, heavy-duty crossarms, and heavy-duty braces.
Buy for $50 at ANSI eStandards Store
PDF
TB_Values Technical Bulletin - Wood Utility Pole Design Values in the NESC
Provides the fiber strength and Modulus of Elasticy (MOE) design values for all species used for wood poles in the U.S. The values are listed in the 2017 edition of ANSI O5.1 Wood Pole, Specifications and Dimensions.
4 pages, 09/18
PDF
TB_Design NEW! Technical Bulletin - Wood Pole Design Considerations
Explores the basics of wood pole design, including the structural criteria that must be considered in determining the proper wood pole for specified loading, wind, ice and other conditions under the National Electric Safety Code.
16 pages, 07/19
PDF
TB_Overload NEW! Technical Bulletin - Unique Overload Capacity of Wood Poles
Reviews how natural variations and recognition of such variations in the National Electric Safety Code allow wood poles to have a much greater overload capacity in extreme weather events compared to poles made from alternative materials.
8 pages, 10/19
PDF
Equiv Technical Bulletin - "Wood Equivalent" Poles and the NESC
Discussion of issues in marketing thin walled steel poles, prestressed concrete poles, and fiber-reinforced polymer poles as "wood equivalent." Includes details on how the NESC applies different strength and load factors for each material, which means there can be no true "wood equivalent" poles.
8 pages, 05/17
PDF
WPOver NEW! National Wood Pole Standards
Presentation on wood pole standards in the NESC, reviewing the standards process, strengths, loads, groundline stresses, transverse loads and other technical data. Presented by ANSI O5 Committee Chairman Nelson Bingel.
104 pages, 07/19
PDF
SPReview Verification of ANSI O5.1 Southern Pine Wood Pole Strength Values
A 2014 research paper on research verifying published ANSI strength values for Southern Pine utility poles, confirming that poles with higher summerwood percentages are as strong as slower growing trees. Published in the 2014 AWPA Annual Meeting Proceedings.
12 pages, 06/15
PDF
JuvyWood Juvenile Wood Concerns in Southern Yellow Pine Poles
Statement addressing juvenile wood concerns and the impact on strength of treated Southern Yellow Pine poles.
1 page, 04/04
PDF