Pole Condition Assessment

Because a single pole  failure can be catastrophic, it is essential for municipalities, commercial property owners, utility  and other individuals responsible for public safety to routinely retain the services of NACE-certified inspectors and failure analysts. Matergenics  provides structural condition assessment, integrity inspection and corrosion risk assessment services for aging infrastructure including monopoles and high-mast lighting towers, in addition to a wide range of similarly critical structures.


MATERGENICS’s Knowledge-Based Inspection (KBI) is an inspection condition assessment methodology that is used to detect, among other things, corrosion risk on the embedded portions of assets such as poles, lattice towers, grillage and anchor rods without the need for extensive and costly excavation.

Based on the KBI test results, the rate at which corrosion is taking place can be calculated and an estimated life expectancy determination can be made. KBI can include the identification of structures at risk of corrosion prior to on-site assessments, estimating corrosion rates, life expectancy determinations and setting a baseline that can be used for future evaluations. As part of our KBI protocol, we also evaluate the above grade portion of assets.


  • Painted Steel, Galvanized and Cor-ten Utility and  Light Poles
  • Galvanized and Cor-ten Traffic and High Mast Lighting Poles
  • Aluminium Traffic and Light Poles

Matergenics certified engineers and technicians have many years of experience  in condition assessment, corrosion risk assessment and corrosion mitigation for these type of structures.

Cracking of Traffic and Light Poles can result from wind loading due to improper design. Manufacturing defects and improper paint coatings result in early failure in service. Corrosion on poles is directly related to the atmospheric and soil conditions present for the unique location of a given pole structure, as well as to the materials of manufacturing and the quality of these materials.

1-Internal corrosion due to the presence or entrapment of corrosive water (electrolyte)

2-External corrosion due to corrosive atmospheric and environmental conditions

3-Fatigue of Traffic and Light Poles due to wind loading and inadequate design

4-Manufacturing defects and improper paint coating selection and application

5-Little or no maintenance in corrosive environment

6-Accumulation of debris and soil under base plate


MATERGENICS offers a complete package of on-site support, data collection, GIS mapping and analysis and delivery of solutions customized to your application. Our team of trained and certified data technicians and extensive support staff provide expert analysis utilizing the very latest in technology in order to present the most accurate and reliable information.Additionally, MATERGENICS has the ability to develop customized data integration solutions for your existing management software. From small to large, simple to complex, we turn data into decisions to help manage your risk and recovery programs. This comprehensive program can be used for better decision making, improved communication and record keeping and can offer the ability to answer questions and solve problems – often before the problems materialize.



Accelerated Corrosion, Perforation and Degradation due to corrosive environment and aging.


Deep Burial Corrosion and Base Plate Corrosion of Light Poles


Cracking Failure of Light Poles Due to Fatigue


External and Internal Corrosion  of Light Poles


Matergenics Inspection and Condition Assessment Services 

        Transmission/Pole                     Tower Inspection        Utility Pole/Lattice Tower Inspection
·      Communication Tower               Inspection ·      Galvanized, Cor-Ten and Painted  Tower and Poles
·      Corrosion Inspection and         Analysis ·      Failure Investigations & FEA Analysis
·      Cathodic Protection                   Inspection ·      Anchor Rod Inspection and Failure Analysis
·      Non-Destructive                         Inspection ·      Evaluation of Pack Out (Corrosion Build-up)
·      Paint and Coating                       Inspection ·      Technical Audit of Galvanized Pole & Lattice Plants
·      Remaining Life                             Estimations ·      Pole/Lattice Integrity Assessment
·      Quality Control                             Inspection ·      Computerized On-Site Inspections
·      Crack Growth Monitoring ·      Visual On-Site Inspections
·      Hurricane Damage                     Evaluation ·      On-site and Laboratory Investigation



Failure Analysis Root Cause Determination

Failure analysis is the method that is used to determine the root cause of failure when light poles, components, assets, or systems fail to meet performance expectations.  The findings of a root cause failure analysis provide decision makers with the tools they need for remedial actions and preventative measures to be taken.

At Matergenics, our diverse engineering team of Ph.D. level scientists, professional engineers and   NACE certified engineers (materials, metallurgical, corrosion, mechanical), and chemists can assist you with your root cause failure analysis needs.  Areas of specialization include the steel making, manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, electric power, telecommunication, and wind tower industries.

Although Matergentics materials testing work is vital to its clients, it is rarely seen by the public. Here are some examples of recent projects in which our experienced Matergentics engineering team provided the timely, competent, customer-oriented engineering analysis that made the difference.

1-Cracking at base plate of light poles (see the above pictures) due to improper design, fatigue and dynamic wind loading

2-Accelerated Corrosion due to deicing salt exposure in North East

3-Coating delamination due to improper surface preparation of the pole

In summary, the corrosion prioritization program for electric power utility and light poles may be developed based on the following

  • Geographical Region and Service Condition
  • Age and Time in Service
  • Circuit Condition Criticality
  • Potential Impact of Structural Failure
  • Galvanized Steel or Weathering Steel Vintage and Quality
  • Existing Corrosion Protection (Coating and Cathodic Protection)

Matergenics can assess and mitigate the corrosion before it becomes a structural issue and Hazard.


Dealing with the effects of corrosion is an ongoing struggle for most industries. Because it affects the performance and lifespan of your assets, incorporating a scientifically proven corrosion mitigation program is one of the most important decisions a company can make.MATERGENICS offers a wide array of services in this area designed to mitigate the risk of corrosion and extend the service life of aging assets including poles, towers, anchor rods, tanks, pipelines, and other equipment located in corrosive conditions. These services include cathodic protection to effectively protect underground or submerged metallic structures and materials engineering to improve performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness of both processes and products. Additionally, we offer services designed to produce meaningful data to help in making informed and efficient pre-planning management and purchase decisions. We also offer repair services for damaged coatings, above and below grade and design for structural repair.


Recent articles in Materials Performance, the official trade publication of NACE International, were co-authored by Dr. Zee (M. Zamanzadeh, PhD, NACE and ASM Fellow), Director of Matergenics’ Corrosion and Materials Engineering, and Lana Gilpin-Jackson, Specialist Engineer in Lines Strategy and Standards for BC Hydro. Packed with useful information, the article educates and informs the reader on many important factors related to the life of galvanized steel structures and corrosion risk assessment. The content of the two-part article is pertinent to anyone responsible for electric reliability and grid asset management at electric utilities.

• Part 1 – Corrosion Risk Assessment of Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Structures
• Part 2 – Corrosion Risk Assessment of Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Structures

Further corrosion inspection information is available. Download free Matergenics  white papers to learn more about these relevant topics:

• Laboratory and Field Corrosion Investigation of Galvanized Utility Poles
• Electrochemical Testing on Above and Below Grade Structures

Additional technical papers and resources are available in the Matergenics Knowledge Center.



Dr. Mehrooz Zamanzadah or Dr. Zee as he is known to the pole industry has been for many years a valued consultant to Valmont Industries.  His new company, Matergenics, continues Dr. Zee’s legacy to provide expert analysis and solutions to extending the life of the infrastructure through corrosion mitigations and failure analysis.  I have had the honor or working with Dr. Zee professionally in committee work and in the pole business for many years and Valmont has benefitted greatly from our association.  I look forward to continuing working with Dr. Zee and Matergenics.   
Carl D. Kempkes | Project Manager,  NACE-Certified Coating Inspector-Level 3, Cert. No. 14464 ,
Valmont Industries, Inc

We Are Here to Help

We respond to all inquiries promptly by sending a technical proposal detailing scope of work and estimated costs.  Please call Dr. Zee at 412-952-9441 or Ed Larkin at 412-788-1263 for additional information, and how we may be able to assist you in the risk assessment, inspection, failure analysis root cause determination and corrosion mitigation of your assets.  Alternatively, you can send your request to  Call us today for a quote!




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