In their simplest state, bollards are metal posts rooted in the ground to block vehicle access. This could mean protecting a fire lane or path, preventing contact against buildings or venues, or shielding fences or landscaping. Bollards are typically evenly-spaced across an area to keep vehicles out while still allowing a path for pedestrians, strollers and bicycles.
But bollards can be more complex. Some are removable — you can manually detach them and set them aside for temporary vehicle access. Bollards can even be automatically activated through hydraulic or pneumatic pressure. They come in architectural designs that blend into the landscape, appearing aesthetically-pleasing while still providing impact-resistance. High-tech bollards are equipped with electric illumination and photo-luminescent reflective coatings to make them stand out in any lighting.
Bollards are also built of various materials. Concrete-filled steel posts are most common, followed by stainless steel and aluminum. Along roadways, you’ll see polymer plastic bollards that withstand occasional collisions and come back standing. There are also collapsible bollards that can be folded and stored when not in service.
Categories of decorative bollards
Some bollards are more decorative than practical. They delineate foot and vehicle traffic, preventing a jumble of disorganization. Other bollards perform safety duties. They stop drivers from potentially accelerating into storefronts. And then there’s the security detail. These tough guys stand ready to block intentional intrusion from robbers or vandals.
So, bollards can be separated into three distinct categories:
Decorative collapsible bolalrds have low impact ratings. They’re designed to identify paths and walks while discouraging vehicle traffic. Most are installed four to six feet apart and are usually bolted to the ground. Common materials are plastic, aluminum and light-gauge steel.
Safety bollards are rated for medium impact. Usually, they stop rolling vehicles or prevent accidental movement against building fronts. You’ll often see safety bollards in front of utility services like gas meters and electrical boxes. These safety devices can be closer together and are fixed into the ground with concrete sleeves and footings. Safety bollards incorporate heavier materials, like concrete-filled tubes or thick-walled steel.
Security bollards are heavy-duty. They’re made to take high impacts from fast-moving vehicles or heavy trucks with full loads. They also prevent intentional intrusion from criminal acts. Security bollards often have wider diameters than safety bollards. Their strength lies in mass, but they can also be designed with a decent
Legislative buildings, courthouses, police stations, fire departments and ambulance garages all use bollards to protect property and identify traffic flow. At all levels, the government takes increased terrorist risk seriously and protects its facilities with safe and secure bollards.
Benefits of using bollards for government buildings include keeping visitors safe when touring government buildings and prohibiting vehicle access from restricted areas. Recommended types of bollards for government buildings differ depending on the area, but you likely will want a stronger crash-rated bollard, such as a safety or security bollard. Keep in mind, you can always add a cast-iron bollard cover to maintain aesthetic and safety requirements.
What to Consider When Purchasing Bollards
In any venue that combines buildings, vehicles and pedestrians, purchasers strategically place bollards for various uses. Bollards are becoming much more of a requirement no matter the industry. Based on your role in the purchasing process, there are several considerations to think about when selecting bollard types and placement.
Business Owners: Business owners place bollards at their front doors, in their parking lots and on their delivery bays. When selecting bollards, businesses must consider the safety of their customers and storefronts. The cost of one bollard may save thousands of dollars in property damage or personal injury, which impacts business bottom lines.
City planners: Because city planners must integrate safety with security to protect public spaces and buildings, they must think about traffic guidelines, citizen safety, street regulations, public events, community needs and even the aesthetic considerations of the buildings they protect. City planners use combinations of fixed and removable bollards to accommodate the public.
Contractors: When performing a service, providing manual labor or overseeing construction, contractors must consider the safety of people and property, the regulation of work zones and the reduction of liability. Bollards are important aspects of designating proper zoning and keeping the public out.
Property managers: Whether properties are private or corporate, property managers must always consider the importance of asset protection and the safety of their customers or tenants. Prime property managers make sure bollards provide aesthetic interest and protect property values.
Schools, universities and educational facility managers: Those in charge of grounds management for educational facilities must consider pedestrian and vehicle traffic, student safety and property regulations when choosing bollards to regulate campus sites. They use decorative, safety and security bollards throughout their grounds to give a subtle suggestion without an overbearing security appearance.