Challenges

The following is a list of challenges frequently encountered by the police, urban planners, designers, engineers, security and facility managers who share the job of keeping cities safe with the use of bollards whether as HVM bollards, safety bollards, or traffic bollards.

Selecting the Right Bollard 

Every bollard system is designed for a specific purpose, location, application, and site-specific conditions. Designers and building owners need to understand how to select the right bollard design with all options and limitations. Selecting the wrong design could put people’s lives at risk or could lead to unnecessary costs.

A complete guideline is available to help the safety, security, and design team as they go through the process of bollard selection without the need to consult manufacturers or suppliers.

Environmental Conditions

Bollard manufacturers understand that bollards will be exposed to different environmental conditions all year long. Thus, bollards need to be selected with long term durability in mind. Considering the environmental conditions of the location such as the harsh summer heat in the Middle East, the design or security team can then choose the appropriate material, finishing, and accessories. While these can be addressed during the site design stage, it may be more prudent to exercise frequent bollard inspection in locations where bollards are exposed to extreme weather conditions to check for corrosion, dents, cracks, repair or replacement.

The Real Rating of HVM Bollards

Security bollard is an industry term frequently misused and abused by manufacturers and suppliers. Strictly speaking, this term should only be used to refer to bollards designed to withstand and provide protection against hostile vehicles. With such a critical purpose, the most important aspect is for the bollards to pass crash testing. 

However, some workshops wrongly identify their bollards as security bollards or HVM bollards without the benefit of crash testing. When looking for the right manufacturer or supplier of security bollards, ask for a copy of the crash rating certificate or simulation test report equivalent to the physical crash test report. Without this, there is no assurance that the bollard will resist the impact of reckless vehicular accidents. They must be able to present a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) with animation as proof that the bollard will function as a security barrier as designed.

As a result of the misuse and abuse of the term, many building owners have installed bollards believing that the bollards they have can resist vehicle accidents. If the bollard is light and can be lifted by a person easily, then it is not a real HVM bollard or crash-rated bollard. The K-4 rated bollard has a minimum weight of 200 kg and can only be moved by crane or forklift. In addition, the thickness of bollards is another way to recognize crash rated bollards. The minimum thickness of a crash-rated bollard is 14 mm.

In some cases, the bollard certificate was issued for a group of bollards. The certificate will show the test results for two or more bollards as a set. When manufacturers offer them as a single bollard, the test and certification become invalid and void.

Foundation Generic Drawing Versus Shop Drawings of HVM Bollards

Contractors are often unaware that HVM bollards are crash-tested as a system along with its specific foundation design. This is because manufacturers often sell bollards as a standalone product and the foundation design is often excluded in the offer. By the time contractors find out that the foundation has to be procured, it becomes a hidden cost. Without the crash-rated foundation drawings, contractors will need to hire a consultant accredited by certifying bodies to do the foundation design. 

In addition, when bollards are tested, they don’t consider the terrain, soil conditions, and other site-specific factors that deviate from the generic foundation drawings submitted during the crash testing. Contractors will have to hire a consultant to make the foundation shop drawings. A simple simulation report can solve this problem as it is easier to simulate the bollards in shop drawings to give an accurate report of the vehicle impact with video animation.

Excavation and Underground Services

As most security bollards need excavation work, it is often a challenge when retrofitting barriers in existing buildings located in city centers. Working with underground services presents a hazard and requires coordination work with city governments and utility service providers of gas, electrical, and water supply. A solution to this is to implement shallow-mounted HVM bollards or surface-mounted bollards that eliminate the need for deep excavation work.

Bollards are not always on the ground floor

Another critical area is securing multi-floor parking of commercial buildings where it is hard to have deep excavation due to thin floor slabs and complicated networks of services hidden in the floor slab. A solution is to implement bollards that require minor excavation. This option is often less costly and less time-consuming. 

Maintaining Access for Emergency Vehicles

Another design concern for building owners who wish to secure their facility is maintaining access for emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, maintenance vehicles without compromising perimeter security. A solution to this would be to implement retractable or removable bollards that can allow temporary access to gates as the need arises.

Providing Safe and Secure Access for People of Determination

Modern-day building codes now require the provision of access for people of determination or people with special needs. However, mere compliance of industry standards still presents a question of whether these access gates and doors are safe and secure for people with varying disabilities. Providing obstruction-free ramps and access doors for people with disabilities is crucial during emergency evacuations.

Lack of Regulatory Information

Although industry standards have been established in the US, UK, and Europe for HVM bollards, designers and building owners proactively search for consultants with significant local experience to help resolve site-specific problems and guide them through the selection, installation, and maintenance of security bollards.

Integrating Aesthetic and Unobtrusive Security Measures

Imposing security barriers in the environment can have an adverse psychological impact on people. Most times, people feel unwelcome in their own living environment. To avoid this, many consultants across the world including Dubai and Abu Dhabi have started to use a new design approach. They are experimenting and innovating the use of HVM bollards in planters, benches, and other site furnishings to create safe and secure living spaces. For consultants and designers, the goal is to protect the perimeter of the buildings but preserve its aesthetics and design, encourage people to commune with nature and most of all, foster community interaction.