Concerns over public safety have continued to grow over the last 18 years. In the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12977, which established a permanent Interagency Security Committee (ISC) within the executive branch to address “continuing government-wide security” for federal facilities and one of the first issues they addressed was establishing a directives that would spell out how much distance there should be between a street and a federal building.
In the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building attack, the close proximity for the truck to the building was a primary reason for why it was able to inflict as much damage as it did. With this in mind, the ISC created the New Federal Office Buildings and Major Modernization Projects Manual. To prevent potential vehicle bomb attacks, the manual recommended that new federal buildings be constructed at a minimum distance of between 20 to 50 feet from the nearest perimeter barrier and often the federal perimeter barriers are created by bollards. Bollards are part of a site-wide approach to security and they are often used to create buffer zones (also called Concentric Circles of Protection) that prevent illegal vehicle encroachment.
Bollards are those often-unnoticed posts people walk by every day going in and out of public buildings. They are generally 36 – 52 inches high and can be composed of a wide variety of materials. Most often, they are created from steel piping that is embedded in a concrete substrate but bollards are available in a vast array of styles that offer differing levels of impact resistance. A high level of impact-resistance is required to create buffer zones and because of this embedded steel pipe bollards are almost exclusively used for these applications.
For many high-security applications, bollards must provide high levels of impact resistance and a rating system is used to measure the amount of anti-ram protection the posts will provide. The system is known as a K-Rating and it describes a bollard’s ability to stop a truck of a specific weight and travelling at a specified speed to from breeching passed the posts more than 3” (or 1m). The level of anti-ram protection that a bollard will provide is determined by its size and strength as well as the manner in which it was installed. To determine the level of anti-ram resistance required for an application and the suitability of specific bollards for anti-ram applications, an engineer should always be consulted.
"Steel pipe bollards are the simplest, most secure and least expensive way to protect structures from security threats from break-ins to terrorism,” says Rick Pasternak, Bollard Sales Manager at Reliance Foundry. “They are becoming a routine architectural feature and engineered security bollards can effectively block even the largest trucks, up to 66,000 pounds when properly installed into new concrete foundations”
Steel pipe bollards increase safety and security by their mere presence. They make a pronounced statement on roadways an in front of buildings and the prevent vehicles from entering restricted areas. There is one downside though – they are architecturally unattractive and they can make buildings look like a fortified bunker.
Steel pipe bollards, however, can still be installed without disrupting a site’s architecture. An ideal solution for blending impact-resistant security with virtually all architectural approaches is the use of metal bollard covers. Bollard covers and metal post covers come in a variety of powder coated metal finishes and materials, including stainless steel. While they can be installed by themselves, for aesthetic or traffic deterrence purposes only, they can also be installed over security bollards as a decorative highlight. Bollard suppliers, offer metal bollard covers in countless varieties and styles and they have been used at many federal buildings as help security posts blend with their surrounding architecture. The Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse and Customhouse in Louisville, Kentucky, for example used Reliance foundry’s model R-7593 metal bollard covers to prevent security bollards from clashing with the site’s historic architecture.
Many describe bollards as “eyesores” and have claim that they have become overused but they are a necessary component of security on modern streetscapes. Products that enhance the visual appeal of bollards can transform these “eyesores” into architectural highlights.
“Steel pipe bollards are effective, but detract from the appearance of the building," said Brad Done, Vice president of Sales and Marketing at Reliance Foundry; "So, as their use continues to grow and more and more building owners, security directors and architects are choosing to use security posts with decorative bollard covers that enhance the building's landscape, while keeping those inside safe."
Bollards prevent illegal vehicle encroachment and create buffer zones that protect those working within federal buildings. New security concerns have understandably become a pervasive part of life and options have become available to provide impact-resistant security in an aesthetic manner. With revised government regulations, the use of security bollards has steadily grown, over the last ten years, and they have become a crucial step in helping to address continued concerns over public safety.
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