Security

Bollard Security Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

By January 31, 2020 No Comments

Perimeter security is a concern everywhere, from neighborhood homes to bike lanes in the city. While protection is the most obvious function of bollards, they can also serve as guides and community accents for safer and more attractive spaces. At Atlas, our singular goal is the satisfaction of our customers. To that end, we provide a variety of reliable, crash tested bollards designed for quick and easy installation.

Our guide covers everything you need to know about bollards, how they offer almost any perimeter better protection, and how you can benefit from installing them on your property.

What are Bollards?

Bollards are durable metal poles that are typically filled with and surrounded by concrete or other materials. You’ve likely seen many different styles of bollards in public areas, often lining the street or blocking vehicle access in an otherwise open space. On an aesthetic level, they can be built to functionally blend in with their surroundings, attractively pairing with the nearby street or building while also serving to guide traffic away from pedestrians. On the more functional side of things, they also serve to prevent ram-raiding or vehicle-ramming attacks on properties, whether those sites are government buildings, open sidewalks or store fronts.

Bollard fencing is also a high security measure for areas like borders between countries. When optimally placed, they provide both protection and visibility so they don’t damage the surrounding aesthetics or block potential attackers directed at the area. It’s important, however, to distinguish bollard fencing from bollards: while they both use metal poles, bollard fencing tends to feature much taller poles that are closely spaced together. They serve functionally different purposes, too, with bollards generally keeping areas open to foot traffic while bollard fences prevent any penetration by both people and vehicles.

Why Install Bollards on a Property?

It may not always be clear where or why bollards should be installed. These are just a few locations that can benefit from the safety and visibility bollards provide:

  • Government Facilities: Places like courthouses, fire stations, post offices and air force bases often have a need for secure access without blocking high traffic areas. They also tend to house expensive equipment and facilities paid for by taxpayers, which makes them important to protect.
  • Bike Lanes: As previously mentioned, bike lanes can greatly benefit from bollards. Bikes have long been a popular method for getting around cities, but it can get dangerous very quickly when they share the road with cars. On a bike lane, bollards provide great visibility to guide drivers away from bike lanes while also offering protection to bikers if a driver accidentally swerves toward them.
  • Schools and Universities: The large, open spaces of public schools and college campuses can present a massive security risk. Whether the attention is to thwart any potential ramming attacks in a highly populated space or to guide traffic away from common pedestrian areas during events, bollards can provide irreplaceable protection.
  • Storefronts: Both malls and street side shops are vulnerable to ramming attacks. Bollards can go a long way toward protecting the goods, employees and shoppers from potential ram and raiding attempts by vehicles.
  • Parking Lots & Garages: These areas experience a lot of traffic from both pedestrians and vehicles. It’s often a busy enough area to cause distractions and mishaps that may leave certain areas prone to property damage or other accidents. Installing bollards in areas like this will help provide both visual guidance and protection.
  • Property Perimeters: You can protect residents and employees with perimeter security established by bollards. Besides preventing unauthorized access, you can also find specific bollard types that can be removed to allow passage as necessary.
  • Utility Protection: A city’s water or electrical supply is an absolutely critical asset to the community at large. You can protect these utilities from irresponsible or dangerous drivers by placing bollards around potentially vulnerable areas.

Types of Bollards

Different properties often require customized protection suited to the area, as security needs change according to the frequency of traffic and other concerns. Bollards are no different in the ways that they can be designed and installed. Consider these options when planning for perimeter security:

Permanent Bollards

If you know a certain area will need the same kind of protection for years to come, a permanent bollard is a great investment. These types of bollards are installed directly into the ground with enough structural security to protect an area from potential vehicle crashes for years. They can also be ideal for areas with constant, high traffic where security is always needed to keep people safe. 

Collapsible Bollards

If you need more flexible protection for a perimeter, collapsible bollards offer access when needed. These can be designed a number of ways with surprisingly innovative features, such as the ability to fold when in contact with a first responder vehicle. More common types of collapsible bollards will simply allow authorized personnel to fold down the barrier to allow street side clearance for vehicles. Collapsible bollards are ideal for areas that need frequent protection without completely blocking off the zone to authorized vehicles when necessary.

Removable Bollards

Unlike both collapsible and fixed bollards, removable bollards can be completely removed from the ground. When they’re initially set up, removable bollards are secured in a ground sleeve where they remain locked in place. When the temporary security they provide is no longer needed, they can be unlocked and removed, leaving behind only the ground sleeve that often has an accompanying cover. These types of bollards are ideal for areas that only need protection from vehicles temporarily, which may include areas like a bike lane or a parking lot that closes during certain parts of the day or year.

How are Bollards Made?

You might be surprised by just how many different materials are used to create bollards. Traditional designs like those built for our fixed bollards use sturdy metal filled with concrete for maximum security and ease and installment. Other types of bollards require lighter or more flexible materials to make them removable or decorative.

Concrete Bollards: These are made with high-pressure cement for permanent security. While they’re relatively easy to decorate and maintain, they’re generally not acceptable for higher security applications. This is because concrete can be dangerous when struck with a powerful impact, causing debris and shrapnel to essentially explode outward and cause damage to both people and property.

Metal Bollards: You can find these made from a variety of metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, ductile iron and structural grade steel. Each of these offers a different level of cost and security, with aluminum favored for decorative, removable bollards. Structural grade steel provides outstanding impact resistance and benefits from a bollard cover to protect it from corrosion.

Wood & Other Materials: Wooden bollards are largely visual guides and decorative elements, as they don’t provide particular protection against vehicles. Other materials, like polyurethane are both flexible and durable to at least slow down passing vehicles. 

How are Bollards Installed?

Once you decide on the level of protection a property needs and the type of bollard that will work best to provide that security, you will also need to consider how the bollard will be placed. Fixed and removable bollards need to have the area excavated before installation so the foundation of the bollard can be placed and layered over with concrete.

Our bollards are easy to install with differing excavation needs depending on the type of bollard you want. Shallow bollards only need 9” – 13” of accommodating trenches while our fixed and removable bollards need a greater depth of 48” for the foundation.

The recommended distance for each bollard largely depends on how you intend the security to be used. Pedestrian areas, for example, have a standard of spacing of 3 – 5 feet between posts. Other common placements for bollards will vary; loading bays for commercial buildings, lane delineating on streets and parking lot safety should be placed according to regulation and standards for safety.

Find Secure and Reliable Bollards Today

At the end of the day, no one neighborhood is exactly the same. Bollards can provide both stylish and reliable protection so you don’t have to worry about crisis situations where dangerous vehicles may cause harm to people or property. They can also be constructed from a variety of materials and designs to get you the flexibility you need, whether that entails better visual guidance or allowing authorized vehicles into a space when needed. Regardless of the product you choose to work with from us, you can expect quality, crash tested bollards that will provide security for years to come.

We also go the extra mile to ensure that bollard assemblies are individually shipped with no field assembly required. You’ll be able to use unique assembly connectors for flexible installation when dealing with sloped or curving roads and sidewalks as well.

Curious about how you can get quality bollards for your property today? Contact us here for details about our pricing, products and installation details.

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