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Bolt Down Bollards in Low-Impact Installations

The appropriate use of surface mounted bollards

January 2, 2018

Bollards are short posts that provide visual guidance to traffic and people. They’re often used to create perimeters, whether that be along a path, a park, a lane, a building, or an object like a gas or water meter. Some bollards are installed to provide safety in the event of vehicle crash: these high-impact bollards are installed deep into the substrate, filled, and surrounded with fresh concrete. The visible post is only part of the bollard’s overall length.

However, bollards are also very useful in areas where a high level of impact resistance is not a priority. In these cases, posts can be bolted down with surface mountings. This allows for easy, rapid installation, without the need of expert guidance, at a cost-effective price. Even though these bollards are not impact-resistant against cars, they still can provide safety as physical and visual guides, when used appropriately.

a perimeter of bolt down bollards protect warehouse shelving
For indoor retail and industrial applications, bolt down bollards provide security and visual guidance.

Safety for low-impact applications

In warehouses, showrooms, and other indoor spaces, bolt-down bollards are an easy way to provide security for shelving and merchandise. A series of bolt-down bollards can create a visual perimeter around valuable inventory. Where forklifts, floor cleaners, and other indoor vehicles are being used, these posts can create a physical perimeter as well. Most often, they will protect inventory, equipment, and wall edges from being rubbed against by machines straying slightly off course, by catching and diverting the vehicle back to safety.

However, even if there is full impact with an indoor machine, a bolt down bollard will absorb some of the force of the crash. Sometimes called sacrificial bollards, they may dent or fall over, depending on the speed and size of the machine, but will still bring a measure of protection to whatever is behind them.

Stopping a machine from going full speed into a shelf will often protect the operator, too, who could otherwise be hit by falling items.

Since indoor vehicles are not expected to be going at residential speeds, and are light compared to cars, the bolt-down installation can help provide safety without being automobile-crash resistant.

black surface mount bollards line a sidewalk
Bolt-down bollards add a decorative enhancement to a plain sidewalk.

Decorative bollards

When bollards are used as decorative accents to architecture or landscapes, either indoors or out, a flanged surface mount is often all that is necessary. The bollard can be installed on any hard surface quickly and easily, without a lot of specialized equipment, yet stay maintenance and worry free for years.

Bike bollards

Some working bollards need to be resistant to human interference, rather than vehicular impact. Bolt down installations are usually more than capable to provide security in this sphere. 

Bicycle parking bollards are one such application. Security-minded cyclists are careful with their method of locking-up, and often invest in high quality locks. A secure parking structure is necessary for peace-of-mind. A surface mounting, consisting of bolts set into concrete anchors, is more than enough to discourage would-be bike thieves from targeting a parking bollard.

Lighting bollards

Solar bollards, used for lighting pedestrian pathways and areas, are another type of installation that provide a safety function. Although these are unlikely to be targeted by thieves, solar bollards can be targeted by vandals. These site furnishings are therefore often created with durability in mind, working even when targeted by vandalism or overtaken by extreme weather.

As with bike bollards, solar installations with bolt-down fastenings provide security against opportunistic human attempts.

Having rugged, human-ready outdoor infrastructure is key in creating sustainable, livable environments that encourage walking, bicycling, and other participation in the streetscape.

a fold down yellow bollard lies flat against the concrete
A fold down bollard allows for both ease of installation and variable vehicle access.

Fold-down bollards

Some site designers are looking for the ease of installation of a surface mount, but need to allow variable vehicular access, and so want a bolt-down removable bollard option. Collapsible or fold-down bollards can allow for the best of both worlds, installing easily into existing concrete, and yet able to be unlocked and laid flat when vehicle access is desired.

Surface mounted bollards are easy to install

Bolt down fixtures are easy to prepare and install, without specialized knowledge or engineer oversight. These posts come in two major types. The first features a flanged base as part of the bollard design, usually as a circular or square plate at the base. Holes in the base plate allow bolts to be dropped into concrete anchors in the surface below. The second type features an internal mount, usually circular, that is bolted to the floor. The bollard then slides securely over this internal mounting and is attached into place with set screws. This internally mounted bollard is slightly more vulnerable to impact than the flange mounted one, but its footprint is only as wide as the bollard’s diameter.

For either type, ease of installation allows for easy replacement should there be an accident.

The ease of installation inherent to bolt-down bollards makes it easy to shift them as site plans change. In a warehouse or retail space, this allows for flexibility in floorplan organization.

A variety of styles

Bolt down bollards come in a variety of styles, just as high-impact bollards do. Whether looking for something sleek and minimal, high-visibility and obvious, powder-coated to coordinate with site colors, or chosen for classical architectural detailing, there are many surface mounted bollard styles to choose from. From bike parking to decorative bollards, designers can find a wide range of options to suit their site plan.

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