The Bollard Wiki
Everything you wanted to know about bollards in one place
A bollard is an obstruction used to create a protective or architectural perimeter around a building or area. When used loosely, the term "bollard" can refer to anything from cannons to boulders but it is generally used to describe short posts found on streets and sidewalks. Bollards can be constructed from wood, iron, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, cement or stone. Bollards are usually 36 to 52 inches (914 to 1321 mm) high. Architects incorporate bollards into design plans most often as protective barriers, to give demarcation to an area, or to control vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow. Bollards are an effective means for communicating a traffic management plan and traffic flow expectations.
There are many legends and opinions about the history of bollards, and even some confusion with the use of bollards in marine applications.
- Bollard History - Where did bollards come from?
The History of Bollards
Originally, bollards were used for mooring ships. Still used in marine applications today, most bollard designs feature a shaft with an enlarged head under which a dock line can be fastened. The marine origins of bollards can still be seen today as this feature is prominent on bollards used in traffic applications.
The use of bollards in traffic applications began in ancient Rome. Roman bollards were made from either wood or stone and used as mile markers, horse troughs and tethering posts. The Romans later began to use them to protect buildings and people from horse-drawn vehicles.
In medieval Europe, city officials began to use captured enemy cannons as boundary posts and town markers. When the supply of cannons depleted, iron castings were produced to perform the same function. Bollards began to evolve into varied forms and bollards began to be used in different applications. Aside from being used as markers, bollards were employed to direct traffic on urban roads and pathways, to highlight architecture and to provide preventative security to countless buildings and structures.
In the early 1800’s, manufactured cast iron bollards became widely used in the Netherlands. At this point in history, streets did not have curbs and bollards were an ideal solution for differentiating the street from the sidewalk and preventing carriages from breeching pedestrian areas.
Iron bollards eventually migrated across the Atlantic to North America where they were used as boundary markers for old west towns in the late 1800’s. Often, they would also be placed in front of homes and businesses with a horizontal connector that allowed for the tying of horses.
As methods for casting iron improved, so too did the creation of new forms of bollards and the use of bollards greatly increased.
After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the use of bollards began to grow in the US. With heightened security concerns, architects began to incorporate bollards into building designs more frequently. They found that bollards were an effective tool for preventing vehicles from illegally entering the areas surrounding secure buildings. Bollards are now a requirement for most government buildings.
Starting in the early 2000’s Cycling also began to grow at an exceptional rate in the US and this also contributed to the increased usage of bollards. Additionally, environmental concerns increased the levels of pedestrian foot traffic and there were heightened calls for increased safety. Architects, business owners and city planners began to hear the calls of the newly emerging cycling and "green" communities and they found bollards to be an effective means for segregating the new forms of traffic and for providing efficient, public bicycle storage.
The term "bollard" generally refers to a post that demarks a perimeter.
How to choose the right bollard design
Modern-styled bollards are an ideal highlight for contemporary architecture.
Perhaps no aspect of a bollard will affect its suitability for an application more than its design. When used with bollards, the term "design" refers to all of the factors that contribute to a bollard’s appearance, its structural capability and its composition. Bollards can be designed with either a security or aesthetic priority and many factors within the bollard’s design will play a role in this. Bollards can be designed in styles that match almost any architecture and they can be designed to serve a multitude of functions. A bollard’s design will designate the material from which the bollard is composed and a finish that will provide adequate elemental endurance. Today, designers of bollards must also be environmentally conscious and take into account the level of sustainability a bollard will provide.
Impact Resistance - Do all bollards have the ability to stop a car?
Impact resistance refers to a bollard’s ability to withstand impact without breaking or shattering. Bollards are generally designed to provide either high impact resistance or low impact resistance. Bollards that offer high levels of impact resistance are used in security applications whereas bollards that provide low-impact resistance are used in aesthetic, architectural or decorative applications. Though they do not have the ability to physically stop a car, low impact bollards do perform many useful functions. The level of impact resistance a bollard will provide is determined by both its design and the manner in which it is installed.
- Low-Impact Bollards
Low-Impact Resistance Bollards
Security and anti-ram posts are not used in the installation of low-impact bollards. Bollards that offer low impact resistance are used in decorative applications to create and define perimeters that are solely visual. Low-impact bollards are commonly used to highlight architecture or to enhance landscaping projects. Because impact resistance is not a priority in decorative applications, low-impact bollards can be installed in a wide range of methods, quickly and easily. Common low-impact installation methods include the use of concrete anchors, anchor castings and bolting with a flanged mount.
Marine Bollards give any business or community a time-honoured, nautical feel.
High-Impact Resistance Bollards (Crash, impact, attack resistant)
Functioning either on their own or with a decorative cover, high-impact resistance bollards provide anti-ram protection. Bollards that offer high- impact resistance are used in safety and security applications to create and define perimeters that halt the advance of errant vehicles. The installation of high-impact bollards will directly affect the level of resistance provided. Installing high-impact bollards requires the boring of a large hole and the application of cement. High impact bollards are commonly found in parking areas, at the entranceways of retail outlets and surrounding government buildings. High impact bollards are used whenever pedestrian safety and security are the top priority.
In the US, the department of state has created a standard by which to measure the level of impact resistance that a bollard will provide – the K rating. It measures a bollard’s ability to stop a truck and prevent penetration of the payload more than 3 feet (1m) past the bollard. The level of impact resistance a bollard will provide is determined by both its design and the manner in which it is installed. The following video demonstrates the level of impact resistance provided by a K-12 rated bollard:
Department of State Crash Test Certification
Crash Test Certification standards have been developed by the U.S. Department of State for its embassies and other buildings deemed to be at high risk of terrorist attacks.
DOS standards specify that the rated bollard would stop vehicles completely, not allowing the bed to travel more than three feet after impact, and have enough integrity to deter a second wave of attack. Prior to Department of State (DOS) certification, vehicle barriers must be tested by an independent crash test facility to meet DOS standards.
These standards are expressed in K-ratings. K-4, K-8 and K-12 each refers to the ability to stop a heavy truck weighing up to 15,000 pounds (6804 kilograms) within three feet (.92 mm) approaching at 30, 40 or 50 mph (48.2, 64.4 or 80.5 kph), rating 4, 8 and 12 respectively.
Resistance depends not only on the size and strength of the bollard itself, but also on the way it is anchored and the substratum it's anchored into, with deep anchoring into cement generally the most secure.
What styles are available for bollards?
Bollards are available in a wide range of styles to suit the architectural requirements of almost any site. The most prevalent form of bollard is the concrete filled steel pipe and many suppliers of bollards have also created unique mounting systems that allow their bollards to act as ornate covers. From historic to contemporary, from unadorned and industrial to classic and ornate, bollards can be made to correspond with most architectural styles. In many instances, a bollard’s style will allow it not only to coincide with architecture but also to enhance the site’s design value. The following is list non-exhaustive list of Bollard styles:
Historic Bollards (Traditional, Classic)
Traditionally-styled bollards are composed of iron or steel in styles that coincide with various historic periods. Historic bollards usually have more elaborate shapes and surface details than their modern counterparts. They generally feature three parts: a base, a shaft and a cap or crown. The shafts of classically-style bollards are often fluted. In order to maintain a conservative appearance they are generally finished with paint or powder-coating in a dark color, most often black. Bands, scrolls and other forms of elaborate ornamentation are also common on historic bollards. As bollards are usually the first piece of architecture one encounters when entering a building, a properly chosen style encourages the proper reverence due to historic buildings.
The term modern refers to a wide range of bollards and modern-styled bollards can be created from a wide range of materials. Like the historic models, they may be composed steel and iron but they are also frequently created from stainless steel, aluminum, plastic and even wood or wood composite. Modern-styled bollards generally feature a more simplistic and functional style that coincides with most architecture. With function taking precedence over style, un-ornate modern bollards are easy to maintain and their simplistic style makes them versatile in application. Modern-styled bollards are commonly found at transit centers, retail outlets and in parking areas.
- Nautical Bollards
When discussing style, the term "nautical" refers to bollards that are designed in a maritime fashion, not bollards that are used in ship mooring applications. Nautically-styled bollards, however, are generally composed of steel or iron in old-world designs to resemble mooring devices. They are typically installed in communities or neighborhoods near bodies of water where they help to complement and promote the area’s seaside or lakeside connection. Nautically-styled bollards would most often be installed in decorative applications, though, some manufacturers produce models that can be installed with impact-resistant hardware. In these applications, the bollards help tie the perimeter security of a building into the surrounding maritime-themed architecture. Because nautical bollards are designed in time-honored-styles, they are generally finished or coated in darker styles to coincide with traditional architecture. Nautical bollards make a very pronounced statement, on streetscapes, that is ideal for defining perimeters that separating pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
- Changing Access
Function – What do bollards do and why are they used?
The visual presence of non-rated bollards helps to guide traffic direction.
The term function describes the overall architectural or security plan into which the bollard fits. Function differs from application in that it does not address specific designs or models of bollards nor does it address the installation method. Common security, architectural and traffic management plans in which bollards play a role are: traffic control, ship mooring, pedestrian safety, perimeter security, architectural highlighting, parking facilitation and asset protection. Bollards are most commonly used to perform the following functions:
- Traffic Control
Bollards are often used to manage both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. They are an efficient means of communicating the expected route people, bicycles, cars, and trucks must take. When used as traffic guides, bollards are also often used for lane delineation and to prevent vehicles from being parked in restricted areas.
Traffic direction is primarily achieved through the visual presence of the bollard, although in some applications they may be installed to provide a higher level of impact resistance. Traffic guidance relies on the cooperation of drivers and pedestrians and do not require impact resistance. A line of bollards linked by a chain presents a visual cue not to cross the boundary, even though it may be easy enough for a pedestrian to go over or under the chain if they choose. In the same manner, a bollard may not be able to prevent vehicle incursion but it does serve as a signal not to enter.
When traffic bollards are installed to provide impact resistance, they are generally constructed from cement-filled steel pipes. They are often placed in parking lots to protect pedestrian walkways and ticket machines. Vehicles regularly misjudge turns and cut close to sidewalks. Anti-ram bollards stand guard to absorb any accidental impact.
Several types of bollards that are commonly used in traffic guidance applications are: flexible bollards, composite bollards, telescopic bollards, break-away bollards, steel pipe bollards and traditional iron bollards.
- Ship Mooring
- Pedestrian Safety
Perimeter Security (Terrorism Prevention)
The technology and weaponry used by criminals is more advanced today than it has been any other time in history. Vehicle bombs, for example, can be made using instructions found on the internet. As such, concerns are high to protect governmental and private facilities and people from not only vehicular ramming, but also from acts of terror in the form of cars or trucks loaded with explosives.
Following the1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11, 2001 attacks there was a sharp rise in the installation of bollards for security purposes. Much of modern security design focuses on the threat of bomb attacks. Most significant in protecting against explosions is the distance between the detonation and the target.
The more distance that can be placed between the detonation and the protected structure, referred to as "standoff distance," the greater the threat resistance or, conversely, the less blast resistance needs to be built into the structure.
Therefore, creation of a secure perimeter is the first step in the overall design of blast resistance. Standoff is valuable architecturally because it allows a building to be protected without having to look like a bunker. It also has economic impact, because it is frequently less costly to create standoff than to bomb-proof the structure itself.
Security bollards are designed specifically to resist deliberate attacks by vehicles, used when the likelihood of a ram-raid burglary or attack by a vehicle loaded with explosives is found to be a concern.
Some steel bollards are also rated according to U.S. Department of State impact resistance guidelines, discussed in the next section, which also makes it possible to use retractable bollards in higher security areas.
The U.S. General Services Administration suggests that top security ratings are needed when the likelihood of attack is high. They should, however, be used carefully because high security may add significant cost and decrease the visual appeal of a project.
Design standards, of course, also increasingly suggest situating building entrances so that a vehicle can't attack at high speed, using turns and curves rather than long straight lines of entry. Concentric Circles of Protection are often used to help attain this objective.
- Perimeter Security (Anti-Theft)
- Parking Facilitation (Hitching Posts, Bike parking)
- Asset Protection
Asset protection bollards are devices that are used in indoor applications to protect retail property and personnel. They are generally constructed form stainless steel or composite plastic. Common uses for Asset Protection Bollards include providing protection for refrigeration units, warehouse racks, ATM’s and retail shelving. They are also an effective means for warning personnel and customers of impending danger. Asset protection bollards are typically only installed with anchor bolts and therefore do not provide a high level of impact resistance. They are designed to protect merchandise from carts, dollies and hand-powered, cleaning equipment.
Composition – What are bollards made from?
A bollard's composition is highly determined by its purpose and location.
A bollard’s composition will play a huge role in both its aesthetic value and in its endurance. Certain materials will fare better than others in different environments. Bollards can be created from numerous materials and each composition offers different advantages. Stone or cement generally provide the greatest durability with steel and stainless following closely behind. Iron provides slightly less endurance but allows for greater ornamentation. Plastic is ideal for providing protection from the elements in most environments. Aluminum provides the highest level of corrosion resistance and its light weight makes it ideal for applications where the bollard may need to be transported. A bollard composed from the proper material for any given site will perform to its expected longevity, enhance the site’s architectural value and reduce the level of maintenance required. Typically, bollards are constructed from one of the following materials:
- Cast Iron
Cast iron is the most common material from which traditionally-styled bollards are constructed. Its durable and aesthetic features make it a top choice for bollard applications and cast iron bollards are heavy enough to be used in standalone or bollard cover applications. Standard cast iron is not as malleable as ductile iron and is more susceptible to cracking but provides cost advantages. The malleability of ductile iron allows for greater freedom in design, often making more detailed ornamentation possible.
Cast iron bollards are available in a wide range of architectural styles and can be mounted with many different mounting systems.
- Ductile Iron (Spheroidal Iron)
Ductile or spheroidal iron is commonly used to create traditionally-styled bollards. Ductile iron is imbued with graphite in spherical form and provides superior performance because it is significantly more flexible and elastic than other forms of cast iron, which can be brittle. The flexibility and elasticity of ductile iron bollards allows for greater flexibility in bollard design. Ductile cast iron is also less likely to shatter on impact, thereby preventing pieces of bollards and post covers from becoming dangerous projectiles or shrapnel. This makes it a preferred choice when choosing covers for security bollards.
Steel is somewhat lighter than iron. Steel bollards may be solid or filled with concrete. When solid, steel bollards are generally used in decorative applications. Steel pipe bollards are set into a concrete substrate and filled with concrete to provide an increased level of impact resistance. Steel bollards designed for concrete fill may arrive primed, or, for more corrosion resistance- galvanized or powder coated.
Steel can be used to create a wide variety of bollards and bollard covers. When compared against other bollard materials, steel is highly durable and is generally used in applications where a maintaining structural integrity is a top priority. Steel is less prone to denting but may be more susceptible to corrosion than other bollard materials.
Steel is an alloy, meaning that it is formed from several different elements. Iron, manganese, silicon, and carbon are all elements included in steel, with iron filling the biggest role. Different ratios of all of these elements will create steel with different levels of hardness, tensile strength and ductility.
- Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is used to create bollards with a sleek, functional and contemporary look. Stainless Steel bollards also offer an extremely high level of weather resistance and are often used in applications where moisture presents a serious concern. Stainless steel bollards may be more to oxidization in areas near salt water and areas where de-icing chemicals are frequently used. Suppliers offer stainless steel bollards in non-coated and coated models. There are two grades of stainless steel that are most commonly used to create bollards:
304 Stainless Steel
In industry, 304 grade is the most commonly-used type of stainless steel. It can be used to meet the requirements of applications, ranging from architectural to industrial. For the level of corrosion resistance it provides, 304 stainless steel is a suitable option for many applications but it may tarnish over time. 304 Stainless Steel bollards are generally used in typical, dry, inland bollard applications.
316 Stainless Steel
316 stainless steel provides a higher level of oxidization-resistance than 304 stainless steel. It is more resistant to saltwater corrosion and well suited for use in coastal applications. The more durable nature of 316 stainless steel means that it is often sold at a higher price than other grades. It is important to note that though it provides a higher level of oxidization-resistance, it may still be susceptible to rust in extreme environments.
Aluminum is a light weight material and often preferred for removable applications. If there is an increased risk of the bollard becoming scratched or damaged, aluminum bollards are often preferred as they oxidize to shades that blend better than the red rust that develops on iron or standard steel bollards. Because aluminum does not provide a high level of impact resistance, aluminum bollards are primarily used in decorative applications. In these applications, aluminum bollards are installed with aesthetic priority where there is little danger that they will be struck. Aluminum can be easily cast and machine-finished to create a wide variety of bollard styles.
A low density, metal alloy form of aluminum is used to create bollards. It is lighter than alternative bollard materials but more susceptible to dents and dings. Aluminum bollards are known for their rust-resistance. If oxidization does appear, it is generally in an unnoticeable shade. Aluminum is very malleable which allows for a high level of freedom in design. Aluminum will provide differing levels of durability and hardness, depending on the heat treatment used in its production.
- Plastic (Polyurethane)
Plastic is used to create both economical bollards and bollard covers. Plastic provides a high level of protection from the elements and requires little in terms of ongoing maintenance. Bollards and bollard covers can be created from a wide range of plastics but the most common form is polyethylene.
Polyethylene is used to create bollards and covers that provide the best UV-resistance to maintain color and withstand cracking. Bollards created with polyethylene offer exceptionally long service lives and post covers created from polyethylene will extend the service lives of bumper posts. It requires little in terms of maintenance and is often used to create bollards that are used in applications where function takes priority over aesthetics. Polyethylene bollards are commonly seen in parking lots and other areas with a mix of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
Suppliers offer polyethylene bollards in both low (LDPE) and high (HDPE) formulations. LDPE is the softer of the two and its softness allows for a more ornate design. HDPE, on the other hand, is harder and provides a longer service life. Both formulations are generally created from recycled material.
Composite materials are economical and durable. They are generally used to create bollards for applications in which function takes priority over aesthetics. Often, composite materials are used for flexible/bendable bollards. They are typically made with a mixture of polymers that provide UV resistance and durability. The material most commonly used to create composite bollards is polyurethane. Polyurethane is a polymer composite with reinforcing nanoparticles.
Polyurethane is an economical material that is used in bollard applications where there is less of an aesthetic priority. It provides a great deal of flexibility and is often used to create bendable or flexible bollards. It is highly resistant to the elements and polyurethane bollards are highly visible and increase safety on streetscapes. Polyurethane bollards are light weight and can be designed in styles that match a wide variety of architectural approaches. Polyurethane bollards are generally used in traffic applications.
Polyurethane combines the best properties of both plastic and rubber and different variations of polyurethane can be created through a wide range of formulas. A polyurethane bollard’s chemical formula will affect its elasticity, hardness and service life. Much like iron bollards, they are cast into shape but they are also shatterproof. Polyurethane provides an exceptionally high level of durability and will not fade.
Normally concrete is not used on its own to create bollards. Concrete is brittle in post form, so many manufacturers recommended against the use of its own. It is generally used to fill galvanized steel pipes to create high security or anti-ram bollards. Decorative metal or plastic covers are often used to improve the unattractive appearance that these security bollards present. Very large concrete bollards are sometimes used to combine the bollard function with landscape accents. In rare circumstances, concrete can also be used to create moveable or high security bollards.
Mounting Systems – How are bollards installed?
Secure bollard mountings required boring of the concrete substrate.
Bollards can be installed with a variety of processes and a multitude of mounting systems. Every mounting system employed in a bollard installation is designed to provide a specific level of impact resistance and the mounting system will play a crucial role in the level of safety that a bollard will provide. Changing mounting systems will often change the scope or capability of the entire bollard. Bollard mounting systems can generally be grouped in two categories: fixed and removable. Fixed mounting systems permanently set the bollard in place and fixed mounting systems can be either secure or decorative. Whereas the secure version will offer a high level of impact resistance, the decorative version will simply hold the bollard in place. With few exceptions, removable mounting systems are almost always decorative. Bollards installed with removable options are generally designed to operate as visual deterrents and will offer little impact resistance. Bollard mounting systems can be categorized into four different groups:
- Fixed Bollard Mounting (Secure)
- Fixed Bollard Mounting (Decorative)
- Removable Bollard Mounting (Secure)
- Removable Bollard Mounting (Decorative)
Finishes - What is used to protect a bollard from the elements or brighten its appearance?
For most metal bollards, a quality finish is essential.
A finish is applied to a bollard in order to add aesthetic value, provide protection from the elements and to increase visibility. Finishes are available in many colors that will allow a bollard to enhance or coincide with a streetscape’s architecture. A properly chosen finish will resist corrosion and this in turn reduces maintenance and the costs associated with it. Certain finishes will also differentiate a bollard slightly from the environment in which it sits, increasing visibility and safety. Each finish has an application for which it is best suited. Being the most cost sensitive option, paint is the most prevalent finish applied to bollards. A more expensive yet more durable option is powder coating that provides a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint. Using plastic covers, will provide the bollard with the most durable finish but also a frugal appearance. A bollard’s finish plays a huge role in the architectural style that any streetscape will project. Bollards are typically finished with one of the following:
Powder coat finishes are heat-fused to metal. Standard and custom colors are available. Powder coating provides superior protection for scratches and nicks by pedestrians and vehicles as well as petrochemical residues and splashes of diluted road de-icing salts. Factory-applied powder coating – available on iron, aluminum, steel and even stainless steel bollards– is an especially durable form of paint-like finish. The application process builds up a coating with very consistent coverage. During coating, any bare metal attracts the powder, eliminating even pinhole-sized breaks in coverage. The baking process that completes the finish gives it additional toughness and abuse-resistance. In typical North American climates, powder-coated bollards will require little in terms of maintenance and deliver an exceptionally long service life.
- Plastic Sleeves
- Unfinished Surfaces, Polished
Sustainability – Are bollards environmentally-friendly?
As bollards contribute to pedestrian and bicycle safety, the use of bollards can be one step in towards creating a more sustainable environment. Bollards are noted for the role they play in improving public spaces and increasing livability. With the exceptionally long life that bollards provide, they are low-maintenance and do not require environmentally-harmful cleaning agents. Today, bollards are even commonly designed with sustainability in mind. The most environmentally-conscious suppliers offer bollards that are produced from materials that are both recycled and recyclable. Bollards are ordinarily composed of iron, steel, aluminum, concrete, plastic or polymer composite, all of which are recyclable. Many bollard producers have committed to the stewardship of the environment and have implemented green processes in the production of bollards. The LEED building system has also established guidelines for the use of bollards in "green" projects. Learn more about how bollards can be used in sustainable building projects:
Bollards are commonly designed with sustainability in mind.
- Sustainable Materials and Processes
Bollards are most often created from steel or Iron. Steel and iron bollards are usually composed of recycled material. Once they have reached the end of their service lives, the iron and steel, used to create bollards, can usually be recycled. The most common forms of plastic used to create bollards can also be recycled, once the bollard has reached the end of its service life.
As well as being composed of sustainable material, bollards can also help to create more livable environments. They play a key role in optimizing the use-potential of a site and limiting harm to operational and maintenance practices. They remind daily users of the overall integrity which a building and its environs portray. They warn potentially errant intruders that their intentions have been anticipated even during initial design planning. Bollards, standing in pairs or as long lines of sentinels are integral players in sustainable design.
In some situations, however, safety, security and sustainability must be balanced. The use of bollards, reinforced planters and site furnishings to withstand assaults by moving vehicles can result in undesirable increased development of open space, habitat disturbance, and possibly erosion.
Application – Why are some bollards better than others for use at specific sites?
The term "application" emphasizes the features of a bollard that will benefit its use in any specific project. Bollards are predominately used in four categories of application: architecture, traffic control, security and landscaping. A bollard intended for use in an architectural or decorative application, for example, is designed with an emphasis placed on ornamentation. A bollard intended for use in a traffic application, may have an accentuated focus placed on safety and durability. Many bollards are created for use in specific applications and feature elements that benefit and strengthen those applications. Elements of a bollard’s design, composition and mounting will all affect a bollards success in any given application.
In decorative or architectural applications, security posts and anti-ram technology are not employed in the installation of the bollard. The purpose of decorative bollards is aesthetic enhancement and thus the bollard does not provide a high level of impact-resistance. Bollards are used in decorative applications to create perimeters that are solely visual. In these applications, decorative bollards "Stand-alone" on the surface on which they sit. Although they may be embedded, decorative bollards are commonly surface-mounted or applied with concrete anchors and anchor castings. Highlighting the architecture that surrounds them and the streetscapes on which the sit, decorative bollards are manufactured to harmonize with both traditional and contemporary architectural styles. Modern styles are functional and lean towards visual simplicity whereas styles made to match various historic periods usually have more elaborate shapes and surface details. Decorative Bollards are most commonly constructed from the following materials:
- Decorative Iron Bollards
- Decorative Steel Bollards
- Decorative Stainless Steel Bollards
- Decorative Aluminum Bollards
- Decorative Plastic Bollards
Bollards are often used to communicate expected traffic routes.
When employed in traffic applications, bollards are devices used for communicating expected traffic routes and traffic flow expectations. Traffic bollards are used in applications that are performed on roadways, parking areas, sidewalks and sometimes trails. In traffic applications, the focus of the bollard is on safety and the prevention of injury or damage to property. Unlike bollards used for other applications, traffic bollards are generally designed to provide optimal levels of visibility. They can also be an ideal tool for creating delineation between different types of traffic if necessary. Traffic bollards can be mounted in numerous ways, providing either high or low impact resistance and several models allow for changing access. Other options, such as the flexible and break-away mountings found on some models, enhance a traffic bollard’s level of safety. Many different types of bollards are used in traffic-guidance applications:
- Composite Lane Delineation Bollards
- Removable Bollards
Removable bollards can be temporarily dislodged to allow vehicular access to normally-restricted areas. They have a base that is permanently installed in the ground that allows the bollard post to be inserted and locked in place. The bollard can be lifted from the base and reinserted when needed. Removable bollards deter the general public from entering restricted areas, but can also be removed to allow temporary access to maintenance, delivery, or emergency vehicles. The locking mechanisms can be quickly opened by authorized personnel, but the bollard does deter and discourage vehicles from trying to get through uninvited.
Removable bollards are an ideal solution for changing access applications and are generally more cost sensitive than retractable bollards. They are commonly installed at parks, in courtyards, alleyways and other large venues like stadiums. Removable bollards are available in a wide variety of materials, ranging from steel to composite plastic.
- Retractable, Rising and Telescopic Bollards
Retractable bollards are also often referred to as collapsible or telescopic bollard.
A retractable bollard is a short post which can be lowered, either manually or automatically, into the ground to allow temporary access to a normally restricted area. Retractable bollards are especially useful in mixed-use public spaces as they can facilitate pedestrian use and emergency and or service vehicle use. This flexible use creates opportunities to increase livability and limit traffic use in pedestrian areas.
Manually retractable bollards are the most common type. They are appropriate for both new and reconstruction projects, since they do not require retrofitting into existing landscapes, or any electrical hookups or hydraulic systems. Retractable bollard receivers are installed in concrete below grade. A manually retractable bollard is lowered with a key mechanism. When retracted, the bollards are flush with the pavement to prevent trip-fall hazards. Many of these bollards have integrated locking systems, preventing unauthorized removal or adjustment of the bollards above or below ground. In place, the bollard posts are easily lifted from within the in-ground receiver, and locked into place. With a simple twist the bollard cylinder retracts flush into the surface. Many suppliers also offer retractable bollards with electrical or hydraulic systems that facilitate the telescopic function.
Retractable bollards are often used in applications where seasonal access may be temporarily restricted. Parks often use them to close off areas in winter and to open them in the spring. Sporting venues will also use them to allow vehicle access in the off season and then restrict it during the season to protect fans converging on the stadium.
- Movable Bollards
Movable bollards are heavy objects or posts, frequently constructed from steel, stone or concrete. They 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. Some models are also equipped with wheels to facilitate movement. Movable bollards do not provide a high level of impact resistance and are therefore only intended to act as visual guides our cues.
- Flexible Bollards
- Fold Down Bollards
- Self-Righting Bollards
- Bounce Back Bollards
- Reflex Bollards
- Traffic Sign Bollards
- Breakaway Bollards
Breakaway bollards are bollards that are designed to break from their mounting when struck by an emergency vehicle. The most basic form is a wooden post that features a cut the runs partially through its diameter. More elaborate metal versions are also available that feature a special pin that causes them to fold to ground level when impacted by a vehicle. Designers and safety planners often insist that breakaway bollards be used at any entrance they may require emergency access because they do not hinder the response time of emergency crews as other systems may.
When impacted, metal breakaway bollards usually require a new shear pin to be restored to upright, so owners need to have extra pins on hand at all times. With wooden breakaway bollard systems, an entire new wood post is required after the bollard is struck. Breakaway bollards require personnel who can restore the bollard as soon as possible after an emergency.
- Internally Illuminated Bollards
- Bell Bollards
A bell bollard is small bollard, generally only between 1' and 2' high, with a round shape that is designed deflects vehicles' tires. They are often used on corners to prevent trucks from navigating corners too narrowly. When a wheel mounts the lower part of the bell bollard, it is deflected by th
e increasing slope. Such bollards are effective against heavy goods vehicles that can damage or destroy other types of street furniture.
- Life-Like "Child" Bollards
- Parking Bollards
- Bike Parking Bollards
In the past, security bollards were used simply for preventing the accidental ramming of buildings and pedestrian areas but today, designers have also had to consider more sinister motives. In security applications the primary objective of a bollard is keeping buildings and pedestrians safe from errant vehicles. When used in security applications, bollards delay, prevent and protect against illegal vehicle infringement. Because of this, security applications must involve anti-ram technology and the use of security posts. The simplest security bollard is constructed from carbon steel structural pipe that is filled with concrete. In security applications, these pipes filled with concrete will constitute a bollard. When used to cover one of these pipes, a post cover or decorative bollard, however, should also be considered to be part of security application. Security Bollards are often certified by the Department of State with a K-rating. Security bollards fall into the following classifications:
- Steel Pipe Bollards (Security Bollards, Bumper Posts)
Steel Pipe Bollards, sometimes known as security bollards or bumper posts, are used to provide anti-ram resistance in security applications. The simplest security bollard is a piece of 203-mm (8-in.), 254-mm (10-in.), or 305-mm (12 in.) carbon steel structural pipe. Some impact resistance is achieved even with a 102-mm (4-in.) steel pipe bollards, depending on the engineering of its foundation. It is often filled with concrete to increase stiffness, although unfilled pipe with plate stiffeners inside may actually produce better resistance in the same diameter pipe. Without any form of internal stiffening, the pipe’s wall-thickness needs to be significantly greater. For fixed-type security, steel pipe bollards may be functionally sufficient, if properly mounted. Steel Pipe Bollards generally require weather resistant protection and, for most applications, aesthetic enhancements. Elemental protection and ornamentation are usually achieved with paint or plastic or iron post covers. Undecorated pipe-type bollards are also specially manufactured for industrial sites.
- Security Post Covers (Bollard Covers)
- Ram-Raid Applications
Ram-raiding is a variation on burglary in which a van, SUV, car, or other heavy vehicle is driven through the windows or doors of a closed shop, usually a department store or jeweller’s shop, to give perpetrators the ability to loot.
Many bollards can be used to prevent vehicle incursion for the purpose of ram-raiding .They provide an attractive and affordable way to deter vehicles from being rammed into buildings by would-be thieves. Security bollards are the simplest, most secure and least expensive way to protect structures from security vehicle penetration threats like break-ins.
Anti-ram bollards are becoming a commonly-seen architectural feature in the design of new buildings, and additions to existing structures. They are installed close to entranceways so decorative bollard covers are often used to enhance their architectural style and to avoid creating the visual sense of a fortified bunker that a plain steel or cement barrier may create.
- Unrated Bollards
- K-Rated Bollards
Anti-ram resistance is commonly measured using a standard developed by the Department of State, called the K-rating. K-4, K-8 and K-12 each refer to the ability to stop a truck of a specific weight and speed and prevent penetration of the payload more than 3ft (1m)past the anti-ram barrier. Resistance depends not only on the size and strength of the bollard itself, but also on the way it is anchored and the substrate into which it is anchored.
Videos of bollard crash tests are featured on a number of manufacturer's Web sites. The truck impacts two or three bollards at high speed, and the front of the vehicle often crumples, wrapping completely around the centermost post. Part of the cab may fly off the truck, the front or rear end could rise several feet in the air, and front or rear axles might detach. The bollards and their footings are sometimes lifted several feet upward. In all successful tests, the payload on the back of the truck does not penetrate more than 1 meter past the line of bollards, thus satisfying the standard.
Sample Bollard K Test Video:
Landscaping bollards can deter vehicle access to green areas, gardens and parks.
In landscaping applications, bollards are used to highlight natural features and rural scenery. Landscaping bollards are commonly found in parks and other green areas, surrounding pathways, trails and gardens. Bollard landscaping applications are similar to architectural applications in that the function of bollard is ornamental and aesthetic. Because a high level of impact resistance is not required, landscaping bollards generally stand alone. Often anchored by their own weight, they may also be installed with small patches of fresh concrete and concrete anchors or castings. Although the objective of landscaping bollards is decorative, they also serve practical function in that they visually deter entrance to green spaces, gardens and other areas that must be protected. Landscaping bollards can be created from the following materials:
- Iron Landscaping Bollards
- Steel Landscaping
- Stainless Steel Landscaping Bollards
- Aluminum Landscaping Bollards
- Stone Landscaping Bollards
- Plastic Landscaping Bollards
- Wood Landscaping Bollards
In recent years, innovative technology has been applied to bollards to allow them to perform in applications outside their traditional scope. Research and development efforts have focused on the installation of software that will increase offerings, convenience and improve the level of security and safety that a bollard provides. Recent technical upgrades have allowed bollards to serve new functions that are as futuristic as moving into position via laptop computers and verifying personnel in security applications. With new technology being applied daily, Bollards will be at the forefront of plans that are created to define future architectural and security perimeters. The following is a list of recent, innovative bollard uses:
- Card Reading Bollards
- Actuator Bollards
- Camera Bollards
- Robotic Bollards
Bollard Installation - How are bollards put in place?
Many groups take part in a bollard installation. An installation begins in the design room, where architects and project planners will determine not only the style and composition of the bollard required but also the layout of the project. Although there are standard practices and guidelines for determining bollard placement and spacing, many times a project will call for unique solutions. In North America, there are many bollard manufacturers and suppliers that offer a wide array of styles and compositions to meet the installation requirements of any installation. The quality of the bollard provided by a supplier will play a significant role in the success of an installation. Once the bollard is received on site, an installer plays the critical and final role. Because a bollard’s installation, through every stage, so greatly affects the overall aesthetics of the project and the longevity of the bollard, a proficient installation is essential.
Project Design – How to plan a bollard project?
A bollard installation project begins in the design phase with an architect, landscape architect or project planner. These groups will generally have access to engineers or resources that will help them determine the level of impact resistance required for any project. In this phase, the guidelines for the bollard’s composition, design, finish and arrangement will also be decided. The following groups are typically involved in the design phase of bollard projects:
- Landscape Architects
- Engineering and Construction Firms
Bollard Placement – How far apart should bollards be placed and where will they be most effective?
No universal guidelines have been established to govern the placement of bollards on streetscapes and other areas. Certain municipal governments have created standards for their jurisdictions, however, bollard placement usually differs on a project to project basis. Certain suppliers and architectural firms have created recommendations on the optimal spacing and placement of bollards to regulate vehicular access and maintain pedestrian circulation. Adhering to these recommendations can help to increase the effectiveness of bollards and prevent vehicles from breeching pedestrian areas. Several sets of design guidelines are are commonly used in bollard projects:
- Bollard Spacing and Placement Recommendations by Reliance Foundry
- List of Various Municipal Standards
- 5 Bollard Performance Based Concepts and Guidelines on Placement
Bollard Manufacturers and Suppliers – Where are bollards purchased?
Bollards are manufactured and supplied by numerous companies throughout North America. Companies that offer bollards generally fall into three categories: foundries, fabricators and importers or suppliers. The quality offered by any of these groups will play a significant role in the life of the bollard and the overall aesthetic value of any project.
- Architectural Iron Company, Inc. | http://www.architecturaliron.com
- Ironsmith, Inc. | http://www.ironsmith.cc
- Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd. | http://www.reliancefoundry.com/bollard
- Trystan Site Furnishings | http://www.trystanproducts.com
Concrete and Stone Bollards
- Petersen Manufacturing Co. Inc. | http://www.petersenmfg.com
- Wausau Tile, Inc. | http://www.wausautile.com
- Holophane | http://www.holophane.com
- Phillips Lumec | http://www.lumec.com
- Sternberg Lighting | http://www.sternberglighting.com
Plastic Bollard Covers
- Ideal Shield | http://www.idealshield.com
- INNOPLAST™ | http://www.innoplast.com
- Post Guard | http://www.postguard.com
- Sureguard Security Products | http://www.sureguard.ca
- Beacon Industries, Inc™ | http://www.beacontechnology.com
- Vestil Manufacturing Corp. | http://www.vestilmfg.com
- Calpipe Industries Incorporated | http://www.calpipebollards.com
- Delta Scientific Corp. | http://www.deltascientific.com
- RSA Protective Technologies | http://www.rsaprotect.com
- SecureUSA | http://www.secureusa.net
- DuMor, Inc. | http://www.dumor.com
- Forms+Surfaces® | http://www.forms-surfaces.com
- FS Industries | http://www.fsindustries.com
- Landscape Forms, Inc. | http://www.landscapeforms.com
- Leader Manufacturing, Inc., | http://www.fairweathersf.com
- Maglin Site Furniture | http://www.maglin.com
Traffic Control Bollards
- Blue Ember Technologies, LLC | http://www.maxiforcebollards.com
- TrafficGuard® Direct, Inc. | http://www.trafficguard.net
Bollard Installers – Who secures bollards at a site?
Installers play the critical final role in a successful bollard project.
Because installers apply the bollards, their work is critical in ensuring the proper lifespan and performance of the bollard. A properly installed bollard should enhance the design value of the streetscape on which it sits. Meticulous attention to detail and accurate placement are both necessary components of a successful installation. Types of bollard installers;
- Construction Firms
- Fence Contractors
- Security Contractors
Typical Bollard Installation Sites – Where are bollards found?
Bollards are used virtually everywhere and can be viewed in many everyday settings:
- Bollards on Streets
Bollards are commonly used on streets in applications where clear delineation between different types of traffic is necessary. For example, bicycle lanes may be separated from car lanes with flexible bollards; streetcar or bus stops might be designated with bollards to keep cars from crossing over to where vehicles are stopped; bollards can mark an entrance or off-ramp to a highway, separating slower-moving traffic from vehicles moving at higher speeds; bollards are used to align lanes as they approach highway toll booths to keep vehicles in their chosen lanes.
Often these roadway bollards are installed with a flexible mounting and feature reflective striping. They are meant to direct and keep appropriate vehicles in proper lanes, however it is likely that they will experience accidental contact or bumping from cars. Flexible materials minimize damage to vehicles, while keeping traffic in place.
- Bollards on Sidewalks
Heavier bollards can be used to guard pathways or crosswalks where pedestrians may be standing close to a roadway waiting to cross. This is especially necessary when a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway is emptying into a vehicular street. Bollards both warn pedestrians that they are approaching a roadway while also alerting drivers that they are approaching an area frequented by people. Often, these are safety yellow, or another brightly colored bollard that is strong and heavy, to prevent pedestrians from being accidentally struck by vehicles that pass too closely. On streetscapes that feature historic architecture, decorative iron bollards, with or without chain, are also often used to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic on sidewalks. These decorative iron bollards may or may not be installed to provide impact resistance.
Bollards on sidewalks benefit pedestrians within school zones, near parks, surrounding senior citizen residential facilities, around museums and other public places where pedestrians frequently cross over roads.
Bollards in Parking Lots
Shopping centres commonly use bollards as a way to keep pedestrians safe.
Bollards have a wide scope of uses in parking lots and garages for providing safety to cars and pedestrians.
Parking garages use heavy bollards at entry/exit ways to protect parking ticket and parking booth operators from accidental ramming. Flexible bollards are often used to separate incoming and outgoing parking garage traffic; particularly on steep, curved ramps with limited visibility where staying in one’s own lane prevents head-on collision. Bollards are also often used to designate parking spots.
Bollards are often used to guard the perimeter of parking lots; preventing unauthorized vehicle entry and exit. Chains may be used to connect bollards to provide the appearance of continuous perimeter security.
Bollards are also used to mark bus stops, taxi queues, and other temporary vehicle parking areas for passenger pick-up/drop-off. These bollards can be removable, flexible or heavy - depending on the permanency of the parking area. Hotels, apartment / condo buildings, office towers with valet parking use bollards to keep pedestrians safe from approaching cars and protect their property.
In most areas, building owners are responsible for the repair of sidewalks abutting their property. As such, they often request bollards to be installed in front of their building to prevent vehicles from parking on their sidewalks. This protects pedestrians and guards against sidewalk damage caused by the weight of cars or trucks.
- Bollards on Walking Paths and Trails
- Bollards in Warehouse and Retail Outlets
- Bollards on University Campuses
There are well over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States and many function similarly to small towns, making safety and security a top concern. The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF), managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences has even made a major investment to promote safe schools and four-year colleges and universities. Many planners and architects have used bollards in traffic management plans and initiatives to increase pedestrian safety. These efforts have seen bollards installed on college and university campuses on roadways, in parking areas, at sports stadiums and in front of institutions and businesses.
For example, here is how the University of Connecticut, on page 12 of its Division 2 Master Plan (PDF) describes its use of bollards:
"Bollards should be used in areas where a clear delineation between vehicular traffic and pedestrians is desired, ... such as at the mouth of major pedestrian walkways where they empty onto streets. Bollards restrict vehicular movements while providing for unimpeded pedestrian circulation.
- Two types of bollards–traditional and contemporary–are needed
- They must be attached solidly to the ground, yet removable
- All bollards must reinforce master plan recommendations for vehicular access and pedestrian circulation
- All bollards should be constructed with mountings to allow removal
- Bollards should be spaced eight feet apart"
- Bollards at Parks and Stadiums
- Bollards at Access Lanes
- Bollards on Docks
- Bollards at Transit Stations
- Bollards at Military Compounds
- Bollards in Gardens
Bollard Maintenance – How are bollards cleaned or repaired?
For the most part, bollards are durable site furnishings that require little maintenance. To ensure the proper life of a bollard, regular inspections and cleaning should generally be performed. How often inspections and cleanings are executed should be determined by the composition and finish of the bollard as well as the environment in which the bollard is placed. Bollard care and maintenance can involve several steps and/or processes:
- Bollard Inspection
- Bollard Cleaning
- Bollard Graffiti Removal
- Recoating, Repainting, Refinishing of Bollards
- Replacement of Bollards
Bollard Resources – Where can more information on bollards be found?
Although bollards by themselves are simply short posts, incorporating them into a security or architectural plan can be a complex process. Many resources are available to aid in the understanding and installation of bollards.
Bollard Installation Resources
- Bollard Websites
Architectural Iron Company, Inc.
Producers of specialty iron work and bollards - http://www.architecturaliron.com
Beacon Industries, Inc™
Suppliers of indoor safety equipment including asset protection bollards - http://www.beacontechnology.com
Calpipe Industries Incorporated
Manufacturer of vehicle-stopping, anti-ram bollards - http://www.calpipebollards.com
Delta Scientific Corp.
Security barricade and bollard suppliers - http://www.deltascientific.com
First Light Technologies
Creators of intelligent light management bollards - http://www.firstlighttechnologies.com
Suppliers of Phillips brand of illuminated bollards - http://www.lumec.com
Petersen Manufacturing Co. Inc.
Creators of strong, concrete site furnishings including stone bollards – http://www.petersenmfg.com
A global supplier of innovative cast metal products, including high-quality bollards - www.reliance-foundry.com/bollard
RSA Protective Technologies
Bollard perimeter security systems - http://www.rsaprotect.com
Provider of intelligent bollards for perimeter defense - http://www.secureusa.net
Trystan Site Furnishings
Manufacturer of quality iron bollards for over 20 years - http://www.trystanproducts.com
Vestil Manufacturing Corp.
Provider of bollards related to material handling - http://www.vestilmfg.com
Looking for a bollard website that isn’t listed here? Ask Reliance Foundry’s Marketing Department to have the address posted.
- Books that Discuss Bollards
- YouTube Channels that Feature Bollards
- Bollard Facebook Pages and Communities
Notable Bollard Installations – What famous sites have bollards been installed at?
Bollards outside the Schermmerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee
Across North America, bollards have been installed at many high profile locations. The following is a list of notable bollard installations in no particular order:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
333 West Camden Street
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7539
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Place
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7589
Gene Snyder United States Courthouse
601 West Broadway
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7593
2227 Summit Road
Kent State University, Ohio
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7589
Casino Del Sol
5655, West Valencia Road
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7572
Eastern Michigan University
900 Oakwood Street
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7589
Water Centre, The City of Calgary
25th Avenue S.E. and Spiller Road
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-7902
Museum of Flying
3100 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, California
Bollards on site: Reliance Foundry, model R-8421
Know of a notable bollard installation? Contact Reliance Foundry to promote a notable bollard application.
*If you have a subject, term or definition that you do not see listed on this bollard wiki, or if you're interested in submitting a piece to add to our bollard wiki, please contact the marketing department at Reliance Foundry. We're always looking for new content to add to our wiki and will gladly accept your submission for review.