ANSI O5.1-2022: Wood Poles – Specifications and Dimensions

Wood utility pole, under ANSI O5.1-2022, beneath blue sky

The wood pole is a relatively basic, yet robust and useful, structural resource, dating back to antiquity in usage and maintaining significance today as it numbers 100 million in the United States. Despite the objective simplicity of the common natural material, guidance for defining the quality, dimensions, and basic engineering data of preserved wood poles has been in use for the past century, undergoing refinement throughout the years to assure reliable performance of contemporary utility poles. ANSI O5.1-2022: Wood Poles – Specifications and Dimensions is the result of this process.

What Is ANSI O5.1-2022?

ANSI O5.1-2022 provides minimum specifications for the quality and dimension of wood poles that will ultimately be used as single-pole utility structures. The poles described in the standard are to be, as stated in the standard, “simple cantilever members subject to transverse methods only”.

ANSI O5.1-2022 covers the species, length, and class of the wood poles to be used by electric and other communications utilities, as well as their associated strength values, the types of treatment (such as seasoning and steam conditioning details), and aids to penetration (such as incising, groundline boring, or kerfing).

Furthermore, ANSI O5.1-2022 addresses prohibited, permitted, and limited defects, such as cross breaks, sap stains, and bark inclusions, respectively. Manufacturing requirements, including bark removal, sawing, trimming, shaving, and marking, are also designated in the standard.

Beyond this, there is a great deal of definitions and material requirements covered within the ANSI O5.1-2022 document. If the specifications of this standard are modified in any way, such as when meeting special considerations, complete detailed instructions should be given to the supplier.

Wood utility poles chopped down and stacked

What is ASC O5?

ANSI O5.1-2022 was developed by the Accredited Standards Committee O5 (ASC O5) and published by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA). AWPA is a non-profit organization that promulgates voluntary standards for technologies that protect wood from degradation. The development of these standards is advanced through the involvement of producers of preservatives, producers of treated and untreated wood products, end users, engineers, architects, building code officials, and others during the consensus process of the organization’s technical committees.

ASC O5 is accredited by ANSI, and it maintains this accreditation jointly with AWPA as its current Secretariat. Committee O5 traces its origins back to 1924, when it was organized by the Bell Telephone System and the U.S. Independent Telephone Association’s American Standards Associations (ASA) Telephone Group. Today, the Committee develops standards for utility poles, crossarms, and wood bracing used by electric and communications utilities, like ANSI O5.1-2022.

ANSI O5 Standards

Other standards for utility poles developed by ASC O5 include:

ANSI O5.2-2020 – Structural Glued Laminated Timber for Utility Structures
ANSI O5.3-2021 – Solid Sawn Wood Crossarms and Braces – Specifications and Dimensions

ANSI O5.1-2022: Wood Poles – Specifications and Dimensions 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

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