Modern building designs now integrate safety and security in the design stage. Buildings that go beyond mere compliance of standard building codes can demand a high market value and attract more investors. Whether constructing a new facility or remodeling existing buildings, architects, engineers, policymakers, security managers and facility management professionals have to work together to design facilities and its surrounding environment that ensure safety in the event of accidents and intrusions while minimizing damage to property. Carrying out simple alterations and regular facility maintenance provides an opportunity for building owners and facility managers to implement better safety and security with the following design factors.
Layout Design Factors
Restricting Vehicle Access and Traffic Control
For sites requiring restricted access and high-end security, site design often includes the use of security bollards as Active Vehicle Barrier (AVB). Automatic bollards raised and lowered electromechanically or hydraulically can be used if there is a high volume of authorized drivers moving in and out of the access lane. If access to the lane is irregular and limited to a handful of people, semi-automatic bollards operated by gas spring can be proposed in the site design.
Urban planners and traffic control planners have to think creatively with the limited space and the increasing population in cities. Urban designers and traffic control use bollards to ease traffic flow by creating a visible barrier for drivers and directing them to the proper traffic direction or to temporarily or permanently separate lanes. Bollards complement road signs physically and visibly to off-limits areas to promote safety and ease congestion.
The most important use of bollards is in facilitating safe access for pedestrians. Pedestrian-vehicle collisions account for thousands of injuries and fatalities every year in large metropolitan cities. Bollards restrict vehicle access so people can cross or enter building premises safely.
In addition, bollards are used to guide drivers to the proper parking gate and prevent illegal parking. Pedestrians and passengers can walk freely and safely between parking buffer zones to enter the premises.
Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM)
Increasingly, designers of new commercial projects such as mixed-use facilities with commercial and residential buildings are also putting in place HVM measures and often use crash-rated bollards to design properties that seamlessly integrate safety and security. It is recommended that the design team work with security specialists to conduct a risk assessment of the project site because not all areas of the project site will have the same security requirements.
Building Type and Location
When designing factories, warehouses, and workshops with high risk for explosion, the design team can also employ bollards as the first line of defense against out-of-control vehicles and malfunctioning heavy equipment. The use of bollards can prevent property damage and provide a safe working environment against vehicle-related occupational hazards.
Access for People of Determination (Special Needs)
Street designers and facility managers can also use bollards to protect street service equipment and devices such as traffic lights and signs, fire hydrants, street lights, parking gate barriers, bus, tram and taxi stops, sculptures, memorials, and fountains from vehicle crashes.
Safe Emergency Egress
Designers can use bollards to facilitate emergency evacuation flow by installing bollards outside the exit point leading to the assembly points. In the UK, a study was conducted to help designers plan the location and arrangement of bollards to meet security and operational needs while minimizing any negative impact for safe emergency egress. Bollards were strategically placed outside the exit points to minimize crowd diffusion and protect people from vehicles while finding their way to the assembly point.
Access Points for Maintenance Vehicles
Not all bollards should be fixed, removable or retractable bollards can be considered when designing access points for cleaning and maintenance service vehicles. For maintenance work that requires long periods, fixed bollards that are bolted to the ground can be employed to effectively block an access point or a road.
Underground Services for Existing Buildings
When designing an underground parking facility, it is necessary to reduce the risks associated with crime and terrorism. Aside from the recommended screening and vehicle access control, designers and security specialists can integrate crash-rated or impact-resistant bollards in doorways and entrances to restrict and block vehicle movement. This applies to buildings with large traffic flow such as shopping malls.
Anticipating Security Threats, Changes, and Future Expansion
At the design stage, the cost of installing high-level safety and security measures may be difficult to justify but ultimately pay in the long-term in the form of asset protection, emergency egress safety, and fewer injuries and incidents. A risk assessment will help designers and project stakeholders design a safe and secure architecture considering local social trends and security threats. Making changes to a site’s current layout of security systems and Integrating Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) measures in vulnerable sites such as factories, schools, commercial centers, entertainment centers, petrol stations, high-rise buildings, business, and financial districts, transport hubs and sports centers will prevent loss of life and damage to property if and when accidents and attacks happen. Physical security measures can be expanded as new forms of safety and security threats arise.
Bollards improve the safety and security of facilities as part of Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) measures and Vehicle Security Barrier (VSB) and reduce the risks and associated costs of these incidents There is a need to balance design objectives with operational, technical, and physical safety goals. Through a collaborative effort among the design team, safety and security team, the operations team and other building stakeholders, bollards can provide community resilience and business continuity for progressive urban centers.