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Wood Pole Testing – Service Life Extension & Safety

wood pole serviceWood pole testing, through typical visual and hammer test inspection techniques there are often large numbers of wood poles identified that are unsuitable for service due to decay or damage. These poles are generally classified as “D” Decayed and “S” Suspected decayed and regarded as unfit to remain in service or unsuitable for climbing. Exact Projects have developed the PASS (Pole Analysis and Structural Security) to provide a more detailed condition assessment of these wood pole structures. The results of contracts to date show that PASS safely re-classifies 10-20% of “D” poles and 50-70% of “S” poles, resulting in significant reductions in pole replacement costs.

The PASS process records the extent of every form of pole deterioration/damage and calculates the impact on pole Residual Strength Value (RSV). Any measured timber loss from the pole cross-section, irrespective of cause (e.g. internal decay, damage, cattle rubbing etc.), is automatically registered as a loss of residual strength (i.e. a reduction from 100% RSV). The field operative inputs the deterioration data and the program calculates RSV at 5 points determined by both longitudinal pole position and type of deterioration. The PASS process will only permit a “D” or “S” Pole to be re-classified for further service life if certain criteria are met.

The PASS software program also includes a standard facility whereby the specific pattern and extent of deterioration on a failed pole will recommend Pole Reinforcement to permit the pole to be retained.

PASS is not just about reducing pole replacement. A major benefit in the use of PASS is the positive identification and extent of below ground decay which is generally missed by the standard visual and hammer test techniques.

Adopting Exact Projects PASS process will provide overhead line owners and operators with a safer and more reliable wood pole network


Steve Horsman BSc MIET, Technical Director, Exact Projects UK, Mob: 07789 934918

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