Bollards – Providing Security, Safety, and Design Value
The prominence of bollards has dramatically increased during the past decade due to heightened concerns about security. They are a simple, practical, and cost-effective means of erecting anti-ram perimeter defense without creating a visual sense of a fortified bunker. Bollards are widely used for traffic direction and control, and in purely decorative applications. However, bollards can serve many functions beyond security. They can be used for purely aesthetic purposes, functioning as landscaping elements. Bollards can create visible boundaries of a property, or separate areas within sites. They can control traffic and are often arranged to permit pedestrian access while preventing entry of vehicles.
Removable and retractable bollards can allow different levels of access restriction for a variety of circumstances. They frequently tell us where we can and cannot drive, park, bike, or walk, protect us from crime, shield vehicles and property from accidents, and add aesthetic features to our building exteriors and surrounding areas. Bollards can incorporate other functions such as lighting, security cameras, bicycle parking or even seating. Decorative bollards are made in a variety of patterns to harmonize with a wide range of architectural styles. The prevalence of the most common form of security bollard, the concrete-filled steel pipe, has encouraged the manufacturing of decorative bollards designed to fit as covers over standard steel pipe sizes, adding pleasing form to the required function driveway bollard lights with sensors.
What Is A Bollard?
A bollard is a short vertical post. Early bollards were for mooring large ships at dock, and they are still in use today. A typical marine bollard is produced in cast iron or steel and shaped somewhat like a mushroom; the enlarged top is designed to prevent mooring ropes from slipping off.
Today, the word bollard also describes a variety of structures used on streets, around buildings, and in landscaping. According to legend, the first street bollards were actually cannons – sometimes said to be captured enemy weapons – planted in the ground as boundary posts and town markers. When the supply of former cannons was used up, similarly shaped iron castings were made to fulfill the same functions. Bollards have since evolved into many varieties that are widely employed on roads, especially in urban areas, as well as outside supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, shops, government buildings and stadiums.
The most common type of bollard is fixed. The simplest is an unaesthetic steel post, about 914 to 1219 mm (36 to 48 in.) above-grade. Specially manufactured bollards include not only simple posts, but also a wide variety of decorative designs. Some feature square or rectangular cross-sections, but most are cylindrical, sometimes with a domed, angled, or flat cap. They come in a variety of metallic, painted, and durable powder coat finishes.
Removable bollards are used where the need to limit access or direct traffic changes occasionally. Both retractable and fold-down styles are employed where selective entry is frequently needed, and are designed so the bollard can be easily collapsed to ground level and quickly re-erected. Both retractable units may be manually operated or automated with hydraulic movements. Movable bollards are large, heavy objects – frequently stone or concrete – that rely on their weight rather than structural anchoring to stay in place. They are designed to be moved rarely, and then only with heavy machinery such as a fork-lift.