Wood utility poles line even the road less traveled. Ubiquitous as they may be, these structures that support electric power and telecommunications lines can vary. In fact, according to ANSI O5.2-2020: Structural Glued Laminated Timber For Utility Structures, structural glued laminated timber can derive from Southern Pine (including longleaf, slash, shortleaf, loblolly), Coast Douglas-fir, Hem-Fir, and other species of similar treatability.
Structural Glued Laminated Timber Utility Poles
This type of composition for utility poles, structural glued laminated timber, refers to a specific stress-rated product of a timber laminated plant. According to ANSI O5.2-2020, it is made of assemblies of wood laminations securely bonded together with adhesives. The grain of these laminations is parallel longitudinally. Timbers may comprise pieces end joined to form any length.
American National Standard for Structural Glued Laminated Timber, ANSI O5.2-2020
For utility structures composed of structural glued laminated timber, ANSI O5.2-2020 outlines requirements for materials, manufacturing, marking, testing and inspection, storage and shipping, and quality control systems. In its guidance, users can find information pertinent to moisture content, fiber strength, dimensions and tolerances, appropriate grades of lumber and lumber species, and a variety of related areas.
Since timbers produced in accordance with ANSI O5.2-2020 are intended for use outdoors, they are exposed to both wet and dry conditions of use.
The requirements in ANSI O5.2-2020 are based on those in American National Standard for Structural Glued Laminated Timber, ANSI A190.1, to which this standard is supplemental.
Accredited Standards Committee O5
Utility poles, as the most cost-effective method to give electric power and telecommunications services throughout the United States, are a prime area for standardization. ANSI O5.2-2020 was developed by Accredited Standards Committee O5 – Wood Utility Products (ASC O5) under the procedural administration of the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA).
Organized in 1924 by the Bell Telephone System and the U.S. Independent Telephone Association’s American Standards Associations (ASA) Telephone Group, ASC O5 develops standards for utility poles, crossarms, and wood bracing for use by electric and communications utilities.
Other standards for utility poles developed by ASC O5 include:
ANSI O5.1-2022: Wood Poles – Specifications and Dimensions
ANSI O5.3-2021 – Solid Sawn Wood Crossarms and Braces – Specifications and Dimensions
ANSI O5.2-2020: Structural Glued Laminated Timber For Utility Structures is available on the ANSI Webstore. It and these other two standards can be acquired together as the ANSI O5. – Wood Poles Package.
There are also three withdrawn standards developed by ASC O5:
ANSI O5.4-2017 – Naturally Durable Hardwood Poles – Specifications and Dimensions
ANSI O5.5-2010 (R2016) – Wood Ground Wire Moulding – Specifications and Dimensions
ANSI O5.6-2010 – Solid Sawn-Naturally Durable Hardwood Crossarms & Braces – Specifications & Dimensions