Why To Install Precast Foundations In Water


A lot of contractors ask us, "Why should I use Pole Base when I could just cast this light pole base in place on site?"

And that's a valid question! Why should an electrical contractor change their habits and do something new when the old system has generally worked in the past? Well, we have an equally valid question - why work harder when you could work smarter?

The reason why electrical contractors choose to use precast products like Pole Base is to have more flexibility on site. They want to have a tool in their toolbox that allows them to get the job done in whatever circumstance they run into, because you know that anything that can go wrong on site, will.

One of the most hazardous elements you can run into on the job is water (whether it be high ground-water below grade, standing water on site, or rainy conditions), especially when installing a light pole base with a cardboard tube! A simple drizzle could call off a day's work if you were planning on casting light pole bases on site. Doesn't that seem like needless risk?

Installing light pole bases in high water levels or rain

Hypothetical scenario - let's say you're tasked with installing the light pole bases in a parking lot. Pretty standard, 8 feet (2.4 meter) by 24 inch (.6 meter) foundation that's 6 feet (1.8 metres) below grade, 2 feet (.6 meters) above. However, after augering your first few holes, you notice something. These particular holes need to be 6 feet (1.8 meters) below grade and at the bottom of your hole, all you see is muck.

There's open water and the sides of your hole are beginning to cave in on itself. This site has a high water table, and your next step is to - put a cardboard tube into open water? These cardboard tubes don't stand a chance in wet conditions like this! The tube will have to sit in open water while you piece together and insert a rebar cage, run conduit segments, level and prep to pour, and wait for a mixer to show up. And THEN this thing needs to sustain the load of a yard of concrete! That's roughly 3,600 pounds (1633 kilograms) of concrete falling a minimum of 8 feet (2.4 meters) into this tube. The tube usually doesn't stand a chance.

Contractors might be tempted to think, "Who cares? We can fill the bottom of the hole entirely with concrete! No problem, right?"

We're not so sure about that. When concrete is introduced to open water, it can disperse the concrete and it may never cure properly around the rebar which could leave you with less concrete supporting the load than engineers and plan sets called for.

Precast light pole base vs sonotube

This could lead to a failure later on! And who do you think the blame will fall on if the foundations are taken out and have 2 feet (.6 meters) of concrete missing from the foundation? The INSTALLER.

Electrical contractors use products like Pole Base because whether it's raining or shining, wet or dry, you can install Pole Base to finish on time and on budget. Pole Base precast products are manufactured in a controlled setting to match your site specific specifications.

With a 5,000 psi (24.5 mpa) compressive strength, set foundation dimensions, and customizable bolt, conduit, and rebar options (along with quality control procedures to ensure spec adherence and aesthetic standards), you can rest assured that your product will get the job done and last in the long term!

Benefits of installing precast light pole bases vs. sonotube

So, the next time you're looking into a project at a marina, near a lake, or at risk of rain or snow, why not give Pole Base a try?

Let's work together and change the world in concrete ways!

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