The Difference Between Bollards & Barriers
Bollards are vertical posts installed in a concrete footing to provide a barrier which deters or prevents unauthorized vehicle incursions. Being vertical, the spaces between each bollard allows passage to pedestrians, bicycles, shopping carts, wheel chairs, and so on. Barriers are most often horizontal fabrications or construction elements which can deter or prevent vehicular traffic but which will also restrict foot traffic and other access.
Choosing which of these devices to use depends entirely on your site requirements. Every site (and every client) has a different set of physical conditions, different levels of protection requirements, and different dangers and threat; all three of these have to be considered within the functional parameters and design aesthetics of the project.
Security Bollards: A Power Plant Perimeter Application
Let’s look at an example of a common security installation; protecting the perimeter of a power plant. The perimeter around such a large infrastructure project might be more than a mile. The security of the plant and the high value equipment inside the perimeter is paramount. Very likely, a great deal of the surrounding perimeter will incorporate a horizontal barrier such as fencing. In areas where vehicle access is possible, this fence might be reinforced to make it resistant to deliberate vehicle attack, while in more remote or protected areas, a sturdy chain link fence may be sufficient . At some driveway entrances, a gate with a lock may be appropriate due to very infrequent use, while at others, very frequent use by very large vehicles may require a robust security installation featuring access control, remotely operated gates or bollards, and perhaps the presence of security personnel to verify authorized vehicles for entry and to prevent unauthorized intrusions.
Further Discussion of Security Bollard Applications
Many of these same methods and design parameters are the same for other high value installations that face mixed threats; government installations, military bases, embassies, and commercial establishments where there is very high value goods or cash on premise. Products and materials and installation methods for high security projects such as these should be tested to guarantee performance of the products; in the case of fences, gates and bollards, ASTM 2656 is the prevailing testing standard for security barriers to affirm their impact resistance. The ASTM tests replaced the older Department of State “K Ratings” in 2010.
[st_table cols=”DOS K-RATING||ASTM RATING” data=”||K4||M30||K8||M40||K12||M50″]
The ASTM standards and high security applications generally, concern themselves with larger and faster vehicles (over 5000 LBS with speeds exceeding 30 MPH) which fits the profile of a deliberate attack. This standard is used by architects, engineers, and security specifiers to make sure that there are no weak points in the perimeter security of an installation or building.
Why You Need A Security Integrator For High Security Projects
High security installations often require the expertise of a security integrator, who will know the threat environment and know the products and design methods necessary to prevent terrorists from gaining access to destroy equipment, or thieves from ramming their way into warehouse facilities . There are accepted codes and standards and crash-tested products which give facility owners and government officials confidence that the designs and products will function to protect the site as planned. All of this is of course quite costly – just protecting a single large entrance can cost well over $100,000.
Safety Bollards: A Shopping Center Application
In contrast, let’s look at an example of a common safety installation; a shopping center or lifestyle mall with mixed use retail, offices, theaters, and restaurants. In this sort of commercial project, the outer perimeter is not designed to keep people out – it is designed to be inviting so that people are attracted to come in. Once on the property, the traffic pattern, parking lot layout, and pedestrian areas channel traffic to designated parking areas . In the commercial environment, a driver parks his car and becomes a pedestrian. Once he has walked inside, he becomes a customer.
Whereas in the previous security example, bollards and barriers were used to protect the facility from intentional vehicle incursions by thieves or terrorists trying to break into the facility; in contrast, shopping centers should be more concerned with the protection of pedestrians from inadvertent vehicle incursions (curb-over events where the sidewalk and traffic are in parallel) and protecting pedestrians, store employees, and shoppers from vehicle-into-building crashes . This type of crash is very common (as many as 60 per day) and most often occurs when traffic pattern points oncoming traffic directly at storefronts (usually glass) or when drivers approach the storefront to park in a nose-in parking space . Protecting people and property from these kinds of low energy crashes is relatively simple from an engineering point of view and also relatively inexpensive.
Security In A Safety Environment
A large mixed use retail project will have some aspects requiring a security rated product, whereas most areas can rely on the less costly (and more cosmetic) safety devices such as steel safety bollards and barriers. Some areas where traffic speeds are high or where large numbers of pedestrians might be gathering might require a crash rated bollard or barrier system to provide the proper level of protection. Also, some of the retailers in a center might be vendors of high value products which will need to be protected from thieves using vehicles to commit Crash and Grab “ramraids” to break into the stores after hours. Properly selected devices that protect against crash and grab ramraid theft can also double as pedestrian safety devices and similarly, pedestrian safety devise such as bollards in front of store entrances protecting against inadvertent accidents can also deter or foil deliberate vehicle incursions.
Safety Bollards According to New ASTM Test Standards
A new standard from ASTM covering impact resistance for low speed vehicle safety barriers is now under review and should be voted on in Fall 2014. ASTM WK13074 will provide a standard test method for all safety barriers (such as bollards and fences and gates) that are intended to protect people or property from vehicle incursions from normal street vehicles at street traffic speeds (5000 LBS or less at 30 MPH or less.) “ASTM WK13074 will provide architects and engineers with tools to evaluate products and materials that will be put in place to provide simple security, pedestrian protection or denial of access to vehicles less than 5,000 pounds at traffic speeds of 30 miles per hour and under.” says Dean Alberson , Ph.D, P.E., chairman of the ASTM F12.10 and research engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. Dr. Alberson is co-chairman of the ASTM working group with Rob Reiter, a storefront safety expert working with Blockaides Inc. of Placentia California. Reiter says of the new standard that “the prevailing standards for testing bollards and barriers (ASTM 2656 or the K ratings from the U.S. Department of State) do not apply to most cases where bollards or barriers are used…as opposed to high security installations, most bollards are used for either simple access denial or pedestrian safety…most people don’t live, work, shop or eat dinner inside the perimeter of a high security facility.”