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Pole Construction: The Power to Change Communities

Posted 05 May 2021 by Scott Cowen, Director R&D, Construction Adhesives Utilities and Infrastructure

The Power to Change Communities

Rural regions around the U.S. rely on utility poles to supply power, internet access, and television servicesSome of these rural areas experience cold, harsh winters, and installing or repairing utility lines often requires crews to implement a temporary fix and return to the site laterwhen the warmer months allow for comprehensive repair. This can result in repetitive outages in these areas, which ultimately frustrates residents. The temporary measures are not built to meet the demands placed upon them. Further, regions that experience cold weather often have fewer warmer months, making construction work evermore challenging with less time to work freely. So, waiting for warmer months isn’t always an option to get a permanent solution in place.


Challenges Solved Through Partnership

H.B. Fuller partnered with a rural electricity infrastructure company in Ontario, Canada, to tackle a problem stemming from delays in establishing electricity for a community park in the dead of a Canadian winterThe electric company has strong community ties to the regions they servebringing reliable electricity and the growth that comes with having strong frameworks for success in residential and commercial areas.


Winters can not only belong in Northern Ontario, but come with temperatures well below freezing. These conditions eliminate concrete as an option, as it would not set well, and the soil wouldn’t support effective tamping. The rural park in Ontario also has limited water supply, and the workers have a short duration in which to complete winter work because of the freezing conditions.


Digging in, we researched the best product for the project and proposed Q-Set 250, a concrete alternative that needs no water and offers maximum efficiency when timeframes are short. The snowfall would not present a problem, as Q-Set 250 can set effectively even in soils with as much as 2-inches of standing water. And the product has proven performance in all weather conditions.


Efficiency Exemplified

The temperature at the construction site held at around -14°C, and the crew was permitted only a couple of hours to be in and out of the job siteThey went to work quickly, prepping holes for the utility poles to the exact dimensions to maximize the work's speed.


After prepping the installation sites for the poles, they began mixing the two components of Q-Set 250’s material. In only a short 45 seconds of mixingthey were able to begin pouring the material into the hole. After the first kit expanded in mere minutes, a second and third kit was able to be immediately poured to complete the installation of the first pole.


With installation of all three kits at the construction site done so quickly, the potential for pedestrians to interfere with operations or compromise their safety was minimized. And, because Q-Set 250 kits are small, transporting it required only conventional pickup trucks, eliminating the need for intrusive cement trucks and heavy equipment at the jobsite. Even better, the lack of messy mixing with Q-Set 250 let the crews clean up quickly with no fuss.


Using Q-Set to anchor a telephone pole into snow covered groundTelephone pole with construction cone in snow

The installation went quickly and smoothly. Q-Set 250 eliminates the need to worry about backfill blocking between excavation and tamping. The hard setting product eliminated backfill settling that forces crews to return to the site and complete repairs.


A Unique Product for Specialized Projects

Q-Set 250, a mainstay in post and pole applicationsin the utilities and telecommunication industries around the globe for over 20 years, is convenient and high performing. It needs no added moisture, so limited access to water does not prohibit useIt also expands rapidlybackfilling the site of set polesso soil tamping is not an issue.


The size of the kits for this concrete alternative makes it possible to carry by handeliminating the need for large transportto deliver heavy bags of cementEven small amounts of Q-Set 250 replace vast quantities of traditional concrete, expanding roughly twelve times the original volume. It takes only 20 minutes to set well enough for a complete post installation, whereas concrete typically takes much longer.


Severe weather, vehicle collisions, and unexpected events during winter require the full repair of utility poles to keep rural communities operating. An engineered expanding polyurethane composite construction aid like Q-Set 250 helps crews solve challenges regardless of problematic weather and limiting factors to complete work effectively.


Contractors and technicians save time, effort, and space with this product. It’s waterproof and environmentally friendlyadding no toxic materials to the environment.


Partner with Us

In cold weather, the challenges of working on utility poles—improper soil tamping, ineffective concrete setting, constraints on the time crews have to work—can prove difficult to overcome without the right materials. At H.B. Fuller, we know the construction industry and have the best solutions for utility poles, 5G cell towers, and traffic light poles. We see the big picture and provide innovative products that account for a range of applications and conditions in constructing posts and poles. 


Contact us to learn how we can help you tackle your toughest projects in record time.

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