4 factors you should consider before specifying bollards

Bollards are everywhere.

Some offer protection to public buildings. Some separate vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Some are purely visual, providing architectural definition to common spaces like plazas and parks.

Because these versatile fixtures must serve in a wide variety of functions, they cannot all be alike. And that can make it difficult for the specifiers or buyers responsible for sourcing the right product for their project.

To help guide you through the specification process, we’ve listed four factors all buyers and specifiers should consider.

Functionality

Crash-rated and fixed? Or aesthetic and removable? A different combination entirely? Deciding the overall function of your bollards is paramount in specifying the right product for your project. 

First and foremost, does your project call for crash-rated bollards designed to keep pedestrians safe in close proximity to cars and trucks? While stock product lines can be installed with an additional security pipe for enhanced vehicular protection, specifying crash-rated products is an entirely different process altogether. 

Crash-rated bollards are specified for enhanced, measurable protection of people or structures. They’re most commonly found guarding the main entrances of government buildings, other public institutions or some private facilities and are engineered to meet very specific criteria. But while aesthetics have historically been absent from crash-rated bollard specification, some providers are capable of adding visual appeal to these fixtures to ensure they weave into the fabric of the spaces they inhabit more naturally. 

Removable bollards, such as those with our newly patented Twist & Lock mount, offer a unique, additional functionality to our product lines. Allowing for easy removal, these mounts provide the ability to dynamically change the flow of the surrounding area. For example, one day the bollards can be placed to give restaurants and small businesses additional storefront space for extra pedestrian traffic, and removed the next for vehicular traffic or parking space.

Often a product calls for permanent, fixed bollards, while others call for removable options, and there is a desire for the aesthetics of these types to match. As a rare feature, our bollard product line offers varied installation hardware for the same bollard design, allowing all bollards in a specific project to appear the same while serving different functions.  

In this case study, read how our removable bollards helped a small Indiana town develop a dynamic multi-use streetscape and public space designed to allow for vehicular traffic one day and pedestrians the next.

Aesthetic appeal and sourcing materials

The purpose of a row of bollards is deeper than just keeping pedestrians safe and minimizing property damage. These fixtures are a reflection of the spaces they occupy, so how they appear to the public eye (for better or worse) leaves an impression.

After all, bollards are highly visible objects. Their design is defined by their immediate function, but with a little imagination, specifiers and architects can push the bounds of aesthetic appeal by determining the feel surrounding the needs of their project.

Campus bollards for carpool lines and the safety of students, for instance, differ in design than those made for industrial buildings with seldom foot traffic. And though tourist areas such as ballparks and museums might require the structural integrity to stop a moving vehicle, they lend more opportunity for a statement to be made, since they will be frequented yearly. Cemeteries are places of remembrance, so they, too, demand bollards that capture the stylistic integrity of their landscape.

In accordance with minimizing our carbon footprint, BollardsUSA is committed to sourcing regionally repurposed materials including recycled railroad steel. Most of our products are made of at least 84% recycled materials. That means that our bollards can help contribute to achieving your desired project LEED score and play a part in the fight against the deterioration of the environment.

Environmental factors

The responsibility of planning your project’s footer design, utility markings and other preparatory site work often falls on the contractor, but architects ought to consider these factors when choosing bollards, too.

Areas with pre-existing concrete offer a healthy base for decorative or surface mounting bollards. They also reduce installation costs by eliminating expensive site work requirements such as clearing the area of debris, engineering a new pavement foundation and pouring new concrete. 

Certain surfaces, such as asphalt, do not provide a good surface for any bollard installation due to certain factors. When working with these types of surfaces, a concrete footing would need to be poured for any type of bollard to assure a structurally sound installation. 

Other, deeper installation methods can also run the risk of imposing on underground infrastructure like water service lines or irrigation piping. Thorough knowledge of the area is required before installation. If you are considering a deep-mounted, crash-rated bollard and haven’t done a utility survey yet, now’s the time.

Refer to our commonly asked questions guide for an in-depth breakdown of installation costs, including primary costs and extraneous factors.

Customizability

Often secondary in concern when compared to installation area and product function, bollard customizability is an easy way to make fixtures stand out among the surrounding area or fit in perfectly with the color and theme of its environment. 

BollardsUSA services, such as product logo casting and color matching, can help connect your bollards with the community around them. When you partner with BollardsUSA, our design and engineering teams can supply CAD drawings, 3-D product renderings and physical color decks to ensure that you are receiving the perfect product for your outdoor space. 

At BollardsUSA, we know that it is often vital to speak directly with a member of our team during the specification process, especially regarding product customization. In order to create a seamless buying experience, our team is available to help construct a vision of the right product for you, in real-time, from the very beginning.

At BollardsUSA, we make it easy

We know how difficult it is to find information ready for specification. Browse our product page to access 1) installation and product CAD drawings and 2) a three-part Guide Spec written to CSI standards. All available for download to help ease your project planning.

Additionally, our team of experts is ready to speak one-on-one to help guide you through the process. Whether you are starting from scratch or already have an ideal product in mind, we will be there to help from the first call until your bollards are in the ground. 

Contact us now and talk to a real person right away. Call 1-502-554-1178.