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How to

Learn how to

Recover a halyard rope from the top of the flagpole

Sooner or later, everyone looses their halyard to the top of the flagpole and can't get it down, or maybe the flag clip or flag breaks and leaves a short piece of rope hanging from the top of the pole.  The obvious way to fix this problem is to call Federation Flagpoles and get us to fix it, but by the time we drive to your pole and fix the problem, it could be weeks and cost a fortune!  Far more satisfying, and cheaper, is to fix it yourself.

 

Poles up to 9m tall can usually be lowered to the ground easily and the rope recovered while the pole is on the ground.  Poles over 9m tall can also be lowered to the ground, but it is slightly more difficult than with a shorter pole.  The process is the reverse of that required to erect the pole.

Most flagpoles are at the shorter end of the scale and halyards on these poles can be recovered with the help of an extendable pool pole and a schnapper sized fish hook.  Simply tape the fish hook onto the tip of the pole, extend the pole to the same height as the flagpole and go fishing for the end of the rope or the flag clip.  Make sure you have your sunnies on, they come in handy!

Half mast a flag

A flag does not have to be half way up the pole to be at half mast, anything other than full hoist can be interpreted as half mast.  It is generally accepted that the approriate height is 1-2 flag widths down from full hoist.

If raising the flag from the ground, the flag should be hoisted to full height before lowering to the half mast position.  At the end of the day the flag should be raised to full height before lowering to the ground.

Work out what Size and type flagpole I need?

What pole you need depends on what you are trying to achieve with your flagpole and of course, your budget. Pretty much all flagpoles fly the flag equally well, so it comes down to how big and how much.

Your choice is then dependant on the winds in your area and the chances of vandalism or casual flag theft.

If you live in an average Australian house and just want to fly the flag to show your allegiance and pride in your country or your footy club, then the chances are that a 6m pole will do the job, and an un-tapered one at that because they are more economical than a tapered pole.  On the other hand, if you live on fifty acres and have a four storey mansion on top of a mountain, a 6m pole will look like a pimple on a pumpkin and a more substantial pole is justified.

Be aware that council approval is required in Australia for flagpoles more than 10m tall even if they fly a national flag, any nation, not just Australia.

If using flags and poles as a form of signage for a business means then you will want either a single large pole that makes a landmark statement, of a group of smaller poles set out in a cluster or line reasonably close together. 8m is usually the height limit for this application as anything taller gets lost in power lines and the general streetscape well above the eye line of passing traffic.

Whether you are buying a flag pole for a business, your home or holiday shack, the answers to the following questions will help you choose the best pole for you.

• If you just want to fly the flag, then go with 6m

• If you want to make a statement, then go with 8 m or taller.

• If the budget for the pole is critical, stick with a garden master style.

• If the pole will be in a high wind area, go with a 6m Heavy duty garden master, an 8m or 10m pole.

• If the pole will be in a secure location, then go with an external halyard rope.

• If the pole is likely to be vandalised then go with an internal halyard.

• If you want your pole to be a landmark, then go with 25+m tall and sign write and illuminate the pole!

There is no right or wrong answer here. If in doubt look at the flagpoles as you drive around town and when you see one you think looks right, find out how tall it is.  Attach a tape measure to the halyard rope and pull the tape up the pole!

Another good trick is to print a digital photo of your house and draw a flagpole on it in the spot you would like to put the pole and to a size that looks good, then scale the height of the pole and you have your answer!

install a flagole

Installing your new Federation Flagpole is not difficult, or expensive, but it pays to get it right or the results will be less than satisfactory and you will either finish up doing it again, or have a flagpole that detracts from, rather than enhances your property.

If you can use a shovel and a spirit level, you can install your flagpole.

Location

The first step is to locate your pole to maximum effect, this is a matter for individual tastes, but a flagpole tucked away in a corner, behind trees etc won’t have much visual impact. A flagpole will enhance the appearance of a house significantly, so place the pole in a prominent position. When using multiple poles in a commercial situation, locating the poles in a group will maximise the visual impact of the poles and any message you are trying to convey with the flags. Safety can be a consideration too; don’t position your pole near overhead power lines. When positioning a pole near trees remember that trees will grow over time and that flags snagging on a branch will have a relatively short life. Similarly don’t position a pole so close to a building that the flag will touch the structure.

Power lines, phone lines, fibre optic cables, irrigation, drainage and plumbing pipes etc, can lie underground and will likely spoil your day if you accidentally hit one. Remember,

LOOK UP AND LIVE – DIAL BEFORE YOU DIG

Footings

The following table gives the recommended footing depth for common heights of flagpole or goal post. The sizes have been calculated for average soil conditions in metropolitan Adelaide and represent a minimum acceptable footing . For loose sandy soils or exposed sites increase the footing size. If in doubt a good rule of thumb is for a footing depth equal to 10% of the pole height. A 350mm dia post hole is sufficient up to a 12m flagpole. Try to avoid a site where the soil is constantly waterlogged as the footings may move with time.

Pole height    Adelaide urban site depth         Exposed site depth              

           6m 600mm           700mm

        7.5m 600mm           700mm

           9m 700mm           800mm

          12m 800mm           900mm

 

When installing poles using ground spigots or ground sleeves, rapid set or speed set concrete is of adequate strength and assists with the speed of the installation. When using hold down bolts we use and recommend normal instant concrete, or if installing lots of poles we may use 25 mpa ready mix delivered by concrete truck . Speed set concrete is not strong enough for use with hold down bolts!

How to do it

Spigot mount

Having decided on your position for the pole, dig or bore a post hole to the minimum depth appropriate for your height pole and site conditions. Next place the pole, with ground sleeve if using one, in the hole and get an assistant to hold it plumb for you while pouring the concrete in accordance with the mixing instructions on the bag. It is important to plumb the pole as you pour the concrete because you may not be able to adjust the plumb once the concrete is poured. The bottom of the aluminium should finish up about 10-20mm above the finished height of the concrete. Ideally the concrete should finish above ground level to allow water to drain away and prevent corrosion. Allow the recommended curing time for the concrete before flying a flag on the pole.

Flange base type

First assemble your hold down bolts and template and check they match with the flange base on the bottom of the pole. There should be one nut and washer below the template, and two above the template on each bolt. Next dig or bore you hole to the dimensions appropriate for your pole and site. It may be necessary to enlarge the hole to accommodate the bolts. The bolts should not be closer than 50mm to the edge of the hole.

Use a string line and string level if installing multiple poles. If installing your pole on a plinth now is the time to insert the formwork.

Mix the concrete in accordance with the instructions on the packet and pour to the desired depth in the enlarged post hole. Finally push the bolts and template into the concrete so that the bottom of the template is level with the concrete. It is a good idea to wrap some PVC tape around the threads to prevent them becoming fouled with concrete splashes. It is also a good idea to use a small spirit level to get the template and the tops of the bolts level.

The finished concrete level should be just above ground to minimise the possibility of corrosion.

When the concrete has cured, strip away any formwork; remove the template and screw on the lower set of levelling nuts and washers. The very bottom set of nuts will be buried in the concrete, leave them there; you should be left with two sets of nuts and flat washers, and one set of spring washers. It will help if you use a spirit level to level the bottom nuts and flat washers before placing the flange base on the bolts.

With an assistant pushing down on the flange baseplate, walk the pole upright, place the pole on the bolts and immediately install the flat washer, spring washer and top nuts to stabilise the pole. After plumbing the pole it is desirable to prevent the lower nuts from vibrating loose by grouting them in place using non-shrink grout. This has the added advantage of making the baseplate installation look more attractive as well as distributing the baseplate loads.

Flagpoles flex and vibrate in day-to-day use. During the first week after installation this vibration may result in the top nuts becoming loose. It is recommended that seven days after erection the hold down nuts be checked, and if necessary tightened.

What can go wrong?

If you have followed these instructions carefully nothing should go wrong. However if you are having a problem please call us on 08 83465655 or email and we will talk you through the problem and work out a solution. We want your flagpole experience to be a good one as much as you do.

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