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Bolt-Down Pole Installation – Guidelines & Requirements for Install<br />

Access Fixtures bolt-down poles can be used for several applications including LED sports lighting and arena lighting. Pole assemblies must be designed and installed by taking extra precautions to ensure their structural integrity is suitable for the wind conditions in your area. Before purchasing and installing any poles, there are several steps you need to take to guarantee your pole installation adheres to structural, environmental, and local practices.

Key Takeaways

    • Customization and Durability: Access Fixtures provides poles that are customizable in color and specifications, including options for high wind resistance and corrosion protection, ensuring a long-lasting installation suited to specific environmental conditions.
    • Local Compliance and Safety: It is critical to consult with local structural engineers and adhere to regional building codes and regulations to guarantee that pole installations are safe and do not pose any hazards to the public.
    • Professional Guidance: Leveraging expert advice from Access Fixtures lighting specialists can help in accurately performing essential calculations like EPA load and choosing the correct fixtures, thereby enhancing the project’s overall success and sustainability.

Bolt-Down Pole Specifications

pole installationAll of Access Fixtures poles and hardware are protected from rust and corrosion with baked-on, polyester powder-coat finishes that help guarantee the ideal hardness and weather resistance. These hassle-free poles are extremely durable, which means years of maintenance-free reliability. Do you need to color-match the poles to match your environment or other fixtures? No problem! Access Fixtures specializes in custom-painted finishes and can custom-color your poles to any RAL color of your choice. If your project has unique mounting requirements, our lighting specialists will help you explore each option to ensure you get an optimal layout and light distribution.

Lighting large, open spaces—like basketball courts, soccer fields, rodeo arenas, parking lots, and elsewhere—often requires pole-mounted fixtures. Access Fixtures offers 4-inch and 5-inch poles in 20-foot, 25-foot, and 30-foot heights and built with steel or fiberglass. Standard poles are stocked and ready to ship, though if your project requires custom poles (e.g., custom cutting, heavy gauge, high wind rating, etc.), the lead time is usually 6–8 weeks. In any situation, the team at Access Fixtures is prepared to discuss the most reliable, affordable, and reasonable solution for your project.


How Fixture Type and Quantity Affect Your Pole

Before deciding on the type and quantity of poles that would be best for you, you should first evaluate the fixture options; they will in most cases have a significant impact on your pole selection. Wind conditions are commonly the greatest concern for pole lighting, and selecting a fixture-and-pole combination that can endure the wind in your location is crucial. Each luminaire housing has an effective projected area (EPA), which is the exposed surface area of a fixture or bracket, multiplied by its shape factor. Adding multiple fixtures or changing the type of fixture being used will impact the EPA load on the pole; every pole has a maximum EPA rating.

To calculate the total EPA load being placed on a pole, find the product of the EPA measurement for each fixture and the number of fixtures; add it to the product of the mounting hardware EPA and the number of mounting hardware pieces; and add that to the product of the EPA of any wires, signs, or other equipment and the number of those pieces. Any element that adds weight or surface area to the assembly should be factored into the calculations. By taking these steps, you can be assured that your poles and fixtures will meet or exceed local regulations. More importantly, knowing the data will ensure that your project is safe, secure, and built for longevity.


Wind-Induced Vibrations

If you are installing poles greater than 25 feet and are in a windy area, take extra caution to ensure the stability of your pole. Wind-induced vibration is a factor that can affect your poles in certain locations where wind speed is increased. In certain circumstances, it is necessary to take extra precautions to reduce wind-induced vibrations on your light poles, particularly when poles are subjected to high wind speeds. This can sometimes cause a fracture of the weld, typically between the base plate and pole. If this is a concern, contact an Access Fixtures lighting specialist today. A member of our team will help you find a solution that matches exactly what you’re looking for.


pole installationWhat Kind of Below-Grade Work Has to Be Done to Support My Poles?

Burying a steel or fiberglass pole may involve more consideration and planning than you think. Anything buried underground will be subject to many corrosive elements that affect the durability of your pole. These elements include soil types, groundwater, the aqueous phase (soil moisture), gases, and more. Considerable research and management should be taken into account before installing poles. We recommend contacting a local structural engineer and building inspector, who can carry out an inspection and advise on what can and cannot be done. Factors differ from area to area and your local engineer will know the requirements concerning the soil conditions and specific codes of your facility. Because these requirements vary so drastically from location to location, Access Fixtures cannot and will not provide specific instructions for below-grade pole installation.

Pole Installation: Height and Depth Considerations

There are some variables to consider when selecting the most appropriate poles for your project. Pole height, depth, and diameter are major factors to consider. The standard pole heights are 20, 25, and 30 feet. The advantage of using taller poles is increased light distribution, which means fewer dark spots, shadows, and hot spots. The disadvantage of taller poles is that you may require higher-powered fixtures to make sure the light reaches the ground; this can increase cost, EPA loads, and even the number of necessary poles. Many cities also have pole-height regulations that ensure the light does not interfere with traffic and does not introduce the need for warning signs. Each city requires a different height, though the standard is typically around 25 feet. Pole height also depends on many factors: Lamp wattage, pole spacing, the distance between poles, light intensity, and area illumination must all be considered.

pole installationA professional evaluation should be carried out to ensure your poles adhere to local codes and can withstand the weather conditions of your location. Additionally, the pole height should be compliant with the load consideration of the pole and fixture weight, brackets, wires, and any other items that increase the weight of the pole.

There is no standard depth to which a foundation should be prepared or laid. Each engineer has his or her methods for evaluating the depth of pole foundations. One method is to calculate 10% of the pole length and add two feet, though this is not always the best approach. Some engineers may simply ensure the foundation is set below the ground frost point. Note however that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) states that the ground-frost point is not intended to be a recommended embedment depth.

The bottom line is that it is of paramount importance to consult a building instructor and/or engineer to evaluate the area before any installation. This is an investment in the integrity of your solution and is one well worth making. Access Fixtures cannot and will not provide specific footing requirements for your poles.

Most local engineers will know the recommended pole foundation design for your area. They can then modify these recommendations to best suit your specific project. In certain parts of Florida, for example, code suggests a 30-inch diameter pier with a reinforcing rebar cage in an eight- to ten-foot-deep Sonotube. In Georgia, however, all poles under fifty feet are recommended to have a twenty-fourinch diameter with six–foot–deep reinforced concrete. Each city and state differ in its requirements.

Codes and Regulations

Selecting a pole height is not always just down to preference. Local codes and regulations are typically in place and it is important to research this information before making any decisions for your project. These outdoor light provisions are established to control lighting from factors such as light pollution, overlighting, light trespass, and glare, all in the interest of promoting a safe, secure, and energy-efficient environment. The safety of the public should always remain a top priority when installing any kind of pole lighting. By closely following local codes and guidelines, you will provide satisfactory results for all involved.

pole installationGroundwork Preparation

Whether lighting your backyard sports or lighting a professional space, the prep work is equally important. Before installation, ensure sufficient clearances and approvals have been received. Determine the location of underground systems such as water and gas lines, lawn irrigation, pipes, and other underground systems that could potentially be affected by the installation of your poles. Consult an engineer and your electrician to ensure your poles adhere to local guidelines and regulations, including local weather conditions. If you are mounting multiple fixtures on a single pole or if your project is based in a high-wind zone with strict EPA requirements, our lighting specialists will do an EPA analysis and may suggest using stronger poles. Correctly preparing the area before installation can avoid costly complications down the line.

Concrete Foundation

To ensure your bolt-down pole is correctly installed, some steps should be carried out to guarantee your pole is supported and safe. A foundation should be designed by an engineer with extensive knowledge of the soil conditions in your area. What depth does the ground freeze? Are there water table concerns? Is there a risk of extreme temperatures or high wind speeds? What are the specific town and city codes? These factors play a huge part in creating a suitably prepared area for work to begin.


Final Installation Procedures

Installation procedures should be closely followed to establish a safe environment. Poles and fixtures are heavy components when put together, particularly if many fixtures are mounted to one pole. Your electrician should double- and triple-check that all fixtures are appropriately and securely mounted to each pole.

Your electrician and installation team should always follow the manufacturer’s bolt patterns and guides when securing your poles. Following these guidelines is critical to avoid damaging the mounting plates; this damage typically happens when the orientation of the anchor bolts does not match the bolt pattern. Your pole should remain plumb at all stages before securing leveled nuts, flat washers, and lock washers. Once everything is installed and minor leveling adjustments have been made, your electrician will tighten the top nuts according to a specific torque level recommendation. Requirements often call for lightly packed concrete grout between the concrete foundation and base plate to ensure maximum security. Your electrician may also want to install a small diameter pipe between the grout for drainage purposes.

Pole Placement

To evenly and appropriately light your facility, the placement of each fixture and pole is dependent on several variables, including the application, local regulations and guidelines, space requirements, fixture type and quantity, and client preferences. By running a photometric analysis, Access Fixtures lighting specialists can provide you with a detailed report to guide you on the number of poles and fixtures necessary for your project. Pole quantity depends on the number of fixtures and, of course, the size of the space being lit. A photometric analysis will help determine the exact number of poles and fixtures required for your space. Our team of lighting specialists will guide you along the process and provide you with the results you desire. If you would like to discuss the viability of a photometric analysis for your project, give us a call today at 800-468-9925.


The process of installing bolt-down poles involves careful consideration of multiple factors to ensure safety, durability, and compliance with local regulations. From choosing the right pole specifications to taking into account the local wind conditions and soil type, every step must be meticulously planned and executed. Access Fixtures offers customized solutions and expert advice to assist customers through every phase of their project, ensuring that the final installation is secure, efficient, and meets all necessary standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine the correct pole height for my project? Pole height should be chosen based on factors like light distribution needs, local regulations, and the physical environment. It is advisable to consult with a lighting specialist and local authorities to determine the most appropriate height for your poles.

What steps are involved in preparing the foundation for a bolt-down pole? The foundation preparation involves understanding local soil conditions, calculating the appropriate depth for stability, especially below the frost line, and ensuring the foundation is designed to withstand local weather conditions. An engineer should be consulted to design the foundation according to these factors.

How do the type and quantity of fixtures affect the pole selection? The type and quantity of fixtures influence the effective projected area (EPA) load on a pole. It is important to calculate the total EPA load by considering all fixtures, mounting hardware, and any additional equipment to ensure the pole can support the load without compromising structural integrity.

What are the main considerations for wind-induced vibrations on poles? For poles over 25 feet high, particularly in windy regions, it’s crucial to consider wind-induced vibrations which can lead to structural failures such as fractures at weld points. Utilizing vibration dampeners and selecting poles designed for higher wind ratings can mitigate these risks. Consulting with a lighting specialist can provide tailored solutions based on the specific environmental conditions of the installation site.

Can I match the color of the poles to my existing environment? Yes, Access Fixtures offers custom-painted finishes to match any RAL color, allowing the poles to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment or match other fixtures. This customization helps maintain aesthetic coherence across your project.

How do I ensure my pole installation complies with local lighting regulations? Compliance with local lighting regulations is achieved by researching and adhering to outdoor light provisions that control factors such as light pollution and glare. Engaging with local authorities and possibly conducting a photometric analysis will help in understanding and meeting these regulations to ensure the safety and efficacy of your lighting installation.

What should be considered when mounting multiple fixtures on a single pole? When mounting multiple fixtures on a single pole, it is vital to consider the increased EPA load and ensure the pole’s strength is adequate to handle the weight and wind load. Consulting with specialists for an EPA analysis is recommended to determine if a stronger pole is necessary and to prevent overloading, which could compromise structural integrity.

What types of poles are available and how do I choose the right one? Access Fixtures provides poles in various materials such as steel and fiberglass, and in sizes including 4-inch and 5-inch diameters with heights of 20, 25, and 30 feet. The choice of material and size depends on your project’s specific needs such as location, wind conditions, and the weight of the mounted fixtures. A lighting specialist can help guide this selection process to ensure optimal functionality and compliance.

Speak to an Access Fixtures Lighting Specialist about Choosing the Right Fixture

All Access Fixtures poles are built for durability and resistance against harsh weather conditions. Not sure what height to go for? Questions about pole mounting? Need help with custom coloring? If you have any lighting questions, we will be glad to help get you an answer. We want to make sure you get the exact fixture for your needs, your budget, and your goals. We are passionate about lighting and love what we do. To speak with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist, call (800) 468-9925.