Foundation Facts: Pole Base Light Pole Foundations vs. Universal Bases

Pole Base light pole foundations and universal bases (sometimes referred to as “pre-engineered”) aren’t that different. Both offer a product that can be delivered to your site and installed the same day, so you can avoid possible weather issues and the hassle of scheduling a ready-mix truck delivery to pour labor-intensive, time-consuming cast-in-place bases.

But there are a few differences between Pole Base light pole foundations and universal bases, and they may just matter to you and your project.


Pole Base precast light foundations are built exactly to your project’s specifications so you won’t have to worry about meeting engineer requirements such as wind load or soil compatibility. With Pole Base, you receive exactly the base your project demands. Universal bases can claim to be “custom”, but in actuality, they’re more “adjustable”. The bolt locations can be manipulated to a degree and the conduit sleeves are designed to accommodate every job, not YOUR job.


Your Pole Base light pole foundations offer clean, great-looking finishes, and can also feature natural-looking textures and colors that vary by local supplier. The pole connection point of a universal base is often a metal plate with grooves spidering outward that host the sliding bolt assemblies. When the pole is secured to the universal base, the unused portions of the grooves are sealed.


Universal bases have some drawbacks when compared to truly custom Pole Base light pole foundations, but they can still play important roles in one particular situation. If a planning hiccup leaves you needing light pole foundations same-day, a universal base may be your best (and only) choice. Otherwise, most projects will allow you to order your made-to-spec Pole Base light pole foundations and schedule their production and site delivery when you want them.


How are light poles typically secured to Pole Base light pole foundations as compared to universal bases?

Anchor rods are typically cast a minimum of 30 in (762 mm) into the concrete base and spaced per the project specifications. The light pole is affixed directly to these rods with bolts. Universal bases often feature a slotted metal plate cast into the base and separate bolt assemblies that affix the light pole to the base. This results in two possible points for failure when stress is placed on the light pole by wind loads or other factors.