We’d like to think most drivers follow the rules of the road—and that streets and parking lots are safe for vehicles and pedestrians. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Clear road boundaries and effective signage often aren't enough to prevent vehicles from entering sensitive or restricted areas. For property managers and owners, security bollards are a necessary means to protecting site assets. On their own, security bollards might not be much to look at, but we're going to explore more decorative alternatives below.
Security bollards can take many forms, but their most basic function is to prevent vehicle access while allowing unobstructed pedestrian flow. Rated bollards, tested for very specific impact performance, are available for high-security locations—but for most site managers, steel pipe security posts are the most common.
Steel pipe security posts are manufactured from structural grade steel designed to withstand significant impacts. Posts are filled with concrete and embedded deep in ground surfaces to ensure robust protection.
Inattentive driving threatens safety
Why are bollards important? Vehicles are a common threat—whether this be from inattentive driving or actual intent to attack a building's premises. Both may seem unlikely, but consider the range of factors that can lead to accidental vehicle collisions. A foot on the wrong pedal, or a transmission in the wrong gear, is enough to put a vehicle through a cinderblock wall or large storefront window.
Local traffic patterns and associated approach angles can also pose safety risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving is the cause of more than nine deaths and 1,153 injuries per year in the United States. Cell phone use is a major concern, but so are other distractions, including in-vehicle meals and onboard navigation systems. Buildings with long approaches—those at the end of a T-intersection, for example—can be more susceptible to collisions. And, downhill trajectories can also make for higher velocities and poor braking during wet or icy conditions.
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It might sound like something out of the movies, but smash-and-grab robberies can be a common occurrence in unprotected areas. What do they look like? Once thieves scope out a vulnerable location, they'll steal a vehicle and use it to crash into a building, often penetrating an entryway or large window. Within a few minutes, they'll take as many valuables as they can and escape in another getaway vehicle. Aside from lost merchandise, building repair can be costly and may deter customer visits.
Cover solutions for unsightly pipes
Bollards prevent vehicle access and protect pedestrian areas
Steel pipe bollards are ideal for out-of-the-way areas where they protect utilities and other site features. On their own, however, steel pipes don't offer much in terms of aesthetic appeal—and may not be ideal for more customer-facing areas. The appearance of storefront entrances and approaching walkways, for example, can influence visitor perceptions.
Making bollards look attractive and consistent with surrounding areas is key. In other words, security doesn't need to come at the expense of site design.
Steel pipe bollards can be painted, but this requires ongoing attention. Bollards should be painted regularly to prevent bare metal surfaces from being exposed to outdoor environments—especially in wet or high-saline conditions, which invite corrosion. Pipe bollards may also need to be filled with concrete or finished with a cap to prevent moisture and refuse from collecting inside.
Covers are a low-maintenance alternative to painting, and they're available in a variety of materials and styles to suit any location.
Reliance Foundry manufactures a wide range of decorative bollard covers, using a selection of quality materials. Ornate cast designs are available in ductile iron or aluminum. Ductile iron offers exceptional strength and durability, while maintaining the castability of standard cast iron materials. Aluminum is also highly castable, more resistant to corrosion and lightweight.
Steel bollard covers are also available. Not only is steel exceptionally strong, but it's one of the most widely used construction materials in the world. It's an affordable option that's available in larger sizes to accommodate steel pipes with large diameters. All Reliance Foundry decorative bollards are powder coated to protect against corrosion and wear. Select from one of six standard colors or enquire about custom color options. Stainless steel and plastic bollard covers are also available.View a visual breakdown of our signature bollard.