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


We provide the following services:

* GIS Corrosion Mapping and Drone Inspection and Thermographic Imaging for Tower Condition Assessment
* Paint Coating Selection for Above Ground and Underground Applications
* Custom-designed cathodic protection systems with deep well design for tower facilities
* Remaining Life Modeling and Estimation for Underground Assets
* Monopole Fatigue, Fatigue Sensor and Fatigue Mitigation
* Why stray current is an important issue in corrosion and How to detect it?
* Corrosion Engineering Training

Our condition assessment considers:

  • High Elevation Atmospheric Corrosion
  • Low Elevation Atmospheric Corrosion
  • Ground Level
  • Shallow Burials
  • Deep Burials due to low pH (not considered by many)
  • Concrete Degradation
  • Coating Degradation
  • Stray Current Corrosion
  • Copper Grounding


Condition Assessment By Climbing Inspection

Inspection Overview and Procedures

The overall condition of the tower structural members, climbing facilities, fasteners, and other components are evaluated as outlined in this section. Visual and physical checks are performed to ensure that the tower and subsystems are structurally sound and functional.

Tower load bearing members , conduits, ladders, stairways. fasteners, and all load bering primary and secondary members will be checked, documented and severity of corrosion will be reported by our experienced climbers and NACE certified corrosion engineers. Corrosion mitigation: coating selection, surface preparation and application of coating per SSPC and NACE specifications will be provided for the Client’s review.

Physical inspections and UV thickness measurements  are performed  to determine steel member thickness using Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge. All corners of the towers are checked at the ground level and at any location that appears questionable with a three-point check that covers the leg and the braces on either side of it Coating thickness is also checked at these points using an Elcometer 456 Coating Thickness Gauge. ASTM A-123A is referenced for coating thickness requirements. Galvanized Thickness and protective organic coatings are measured as well.

Concrete foundations and anchoring hardware are visually checked for wear and damage.Concrete hardness tests are performed using  Digital Concrete Test Hammer. Two hardness measurements are taken per foundation corner – one set of four readings on the top of the foundation (vertical reading) and one set of four readings on the side (horizontal reading).

MATERGENICS provides corrosion inspection/monitoring services, and corrosion risk assessment for different types of telecom structures including:

  • Guyed-wire towers,
  • Self-supporting towers,
  • Tapered steel monopols.

If corrosion is not detected and mitigated at its early stages, shortly it will lead to expensive refurbishment of corroded members, while in a longer time it can affect tower safety and increased risk for injuries, and fatalities. Periodic corrosion inspection and risk assessment is a cost-effective method to bring certainty to core asset safety. Team Matergenics can assist you on these tasks. At your request we can provide a comprehensive.  presentation on our approach and experience in this important field

We can assist you with the following important tasks:

  1. Construct soil corrosivity maps for  sites for system-wide corrosion risk assessment and maintenance
  2. Prioritize towers for corrosion risk assessment based on corrosion map, age, design/material, tower criticality, consequence of failure (high consequence areas- HCA)
  3. Evaluate existing aging assets (based on prioritization order) and assess corrosion damage in high elevations, low elevations, ground level, and underground and for guy wires through visual examination, drone inspection and NDT techniques
  4. Perform indirect assessment of towers, and galvanize anchors
  5. Perform condition assessment of concrete foundations by inspection and petrographic analysis
  6. Perform direct assessment (excavation/climbing and focus measurements)
  7. Measure grounding resistance and document grounding components
  8. Evaluate tower coating systems and select coating for various environments
  9. Perform failure analysis root cause determination for accidents and incidents
  10. Determine acceptable or unacceptable risks and provide engineering solutions for risk mitigation
  11. Engineering solution for material selection, coating, cathodic protection, structural repairs
  12. Sensor development and corrosion activity monitoring
  13. Post assessment and development of tailored inspection program for long-term cost-effective corrosion mitigation and maintenance

Why Matergenics

Team Matergenics is able to provide many unique services to assess the corrosion risk and to determine the remaining life of towers and anchors. We are also able to provide best-in-class CP design for helical anchors and special situations where installation of galvanic anodes is not feasible. What distinguishes us from our competition are the following:

  • We are trained, academic-disciplined corrosion engineers and we have four top level certifications from NACE; our competition does not have high-level corrosion certifications
  • We have successfully completed thousands of corrosion assessments projects for telecom structures to predict and quantify the corrosion rate and determine their remaining in-service life
  • We have developed patent pending GIS soil corrosivity mapping for corrosion risk assessment as a system-wide maintenance tool
  • We can provide computer-aided anode bed designs for optimum cathodic protection at tower foundations―we are NACE-Certified Cathodic Protection Specialists (CP4)
  • Every year we perform thousands of inspections on transmission lines and communication tower foundations buried in corrosive soils, identifying deep burial corrosion where competition is unable―thickness measurements at shallow burial is not necessarily representative of the integrity of the structure
  • We have a modern materials and soil testing laboratory and can perform failure analysis root cause investigation for different modes of failures at tower component
  • We have published many technical papers that have been reviewed and cited by experts in corrosion field (most recently regarding galvanized anchors, which is attached for your review)
  • We have repeat clients and can provide references form SBA Communications, Crown Castle, Southern California Edison, Consumer Energy, Valmont Industries, to name a few
  • Our corrosion risk assessment includes grounding evaluation, concrete inspection, and petrographic analysis
  • We understand budget limitations and can provide options to fit your budget if you wish

Items 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are unique to team Matergenics and we do not know of any other firm performing these tasks. Please see the onsite photos attached to this document for examples of our work.


MATERGENICS’ corrosion inspection for telecom structure, involves three different stages:

Desk Study

Prior to site visits and field measurements, based on the project requirements, a desk study must performed to complete the following tasks:

  • Review of geotechnical reports,
  • Review of structural drawings,
  • Review of previous reports on corrosion inspection, maintenance/repair, and all other relevant information including service history.

Field Survey

Our NACE certified inspectors collect the key corrosion indicator data at tower base and anchor footings, and perform site-specific tests to characterize the service environment, including:

  • Soil-to-structure electrochemical potential mapping,
  • Soil resistivity tests (ASTM G57 and ASTM G187),
  • Soil pH tests,
  • Cathodic protection current requirement tests,
  • Visual inspection of underground members,
  • Coating inspection and dimensional measurements,
  • Concrete inspection and hardness test (ASTM C805),
  • Photographic documentation of all tests.

Laboratory Investigations

Collected samples during site visits must be examined in a controlled environment to identify:

  • Soil contamination concentration,
  • Microbiologically induced corrosion,
  • Root cause determination.

Documentation & Reporting

All inspection findings and recommendations are included in a comprehensive report, that includes:

  • Corrosion risk factor (CRF) for individual structures,
  • Recommend corrosion mitigation methods such as cathodic protection,
  • Remedial actions,

Engineering analysis and repair recommendations.

Cathodic Protection

Matergenics is able to design, install, test, and monitor cathodic protection systems that prevent any further corrosion and extend the life of buried assets for at least 15 years. Compared to oil and gas industry, the tower industry as a whole is behind on implementation of CP method of extending in-service life of the assets. The oil and gas pipeline industry has been using this method successfully for many years to prevent failures and reduce inspection and maintenance costs.

PhD-level NACE-certified engineers in Matergenics have developed an advance simulation tool to design best-in-class anode bed designs for optimum protection of tower foundation regardless of structural materials and designs.


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Related Services


We design and Install Cathodic Protection Systems for Tel-communication Towers Based on Corrosion Engineering Principles and By NACE Certified Technical Personnel.

We understand budget limitations and can provide options to fit your budget if you wish.

Coating Selection for Atmospheric, Ground Level  and Underground Zones

Another effective way to protect structures against corrosion attack is to use a coating film to shield it from the environment. However, not all coatings are created equally. Matergenics has several coating experts that are equipped to test and analyze coating quality based on common coating failure modes.


Proper coating system and Adequate surface preparation per SSPC and NACE standards are extremely important for atmospheric high elevation zones of the telecom tower. To improve the protection level at foundations of telecommunication structures, Matergenics recommends partial coating application along with CP system installation. This results in improved protection at both deep and shallow burials, also extends the lifespan of anodes. Answers to the following questions are keys for a successful coating application:

  • Coating material – was the coating material suitable for the service environment and the substrate?
  • Surface preparation – was the surface properly prepared to allow for coating adhesion?
  • Application – was the coating applied using proper technique at the correct thickness?
  • Formulation – were the drying and curing specifications followed?
  • Mechanical damage – is the coating susceptible to damage backfilling
  • Cathodic protection shielding – is the coating compatible with cathodic protection?

ASTM, SSPC, and NACE test procedures are followed to assure that the selected coating will survive and protect the structure as intended. These tests include:

  • Accelerated paint exposure
  • Salt spray
  • UV light exposure
  • Tensile and flexural tests
  • Cross section microscopy

Considering our expertise, Matergenics is the only company that can select coatings that work with cathodic protection systems to guarantee maximum protection to extend the life of any structure.

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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