Bollards Essential Principles

Security bollards aren’t standalone entities. No matter how advanced their design characteristics or technological aspects are, these barriers only function properly when they’re used correctly.

Designers, engineers, planners and security teams must consider diverse environmental, structural and situational factors to implement and maintain effective vehicle security barriers. Here are some important factors to think about.

Security bollards aren’t standalone entities. No matter how advanced their design characteristics or technological aspects are, these barriers only function properly when they’re used correctly.

Bollards Essential Principles Infographic
Bollards Essential Principles Infographic

Threat-Conscious Protection

Many modern security risks involve vehicle-borne attacks. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other devices may be employed to conduct layered or
independent acts of violence that result in severe human casualties.

Bollards and other vehicle security barriers, or VSBs, provide 24 hours a multilayered physical defense against these threats. By controlling access to
assets like buildings and public spaces, they may be able to minimize the impacts of vehicle-borne IED attacks.

Hostile vehicle mitigation, or HVM, techniques are most effective when they keep IEDs and similar threats as far away from protected assets as possible.
Maximizing the blast stand-off distance between potential threats and a building or space requires an awareness of diverse factors, such as:

  • The speed and force with which vehicles could travel during attacks
  • The distance between VSBs and other structural elements
  • How debris, fire, shock waves, and other blast effects might propagate

Considering Asset Particulars

Different assets necessitate unique protection schemes. In some cases, service and utility vehicles must access otherwise blocked areas or pedestrians
routinely have to move through public spaces. Vehicle access control points need to consider these situations and institute appropriate oversight to
maximize the efficiency of bollards and eliminate security backdoors.

VSBs are commonly combined with planning features like route controls that force vehicles to approach protected spaces indirectly or at limited speeds.
When employed with bends and other roadway features that calm traffic, bollards may be used to totally or temporarily prevent vehicle transit in specific

Active or Passive VSBs?

Passive VSBs include architectural, environmental and structural features that perform their function while remaining largely unchanged. Permanent
bollards, walls, fences, and trees all fit this category.

Active VSBs are generally deployed as needed. They may include actuated gates, retractable bollards folding blockers and other devices. Many are configured
to activate in response to electronic vehicle speed monitors, mechanical triggers or manual security controls.

Active and passive VSBs both have their strengths and weaknesses. Active devices are more flexible, for instance. They may take the time to deploy
correctly, and they lose efficacy when security staff or automated mechanisms fail to identify threats. They’re also vulnerable to mechanical deficiencies
and system errors. On the other hand, passive VSBs may disrupt public spaces or pedestrian activities although these effects are generally easy to mitigate
with proper planning. Some passive VSBs also demand additional hardening or protection to resist environmental forces or tampering. Neither HVM tool is right for every situation, and each requires intelligent, proactive security management.

Selecting Threat-Appropriate Bollard Solutions

As with any security device, bollards must be tested thoroughly. Publicly Available Specification, or PAS, documents are commonly used to define what
constitutes correct testing methods and procedures.

PAS 68:2013, “Impact test specifications for vehicle security barriers,” identifies tolerances, test methodologies and vehicle criteria that barriers must
satisfy to be granted satisfactory impact test classifications. PAS 69:2013, “Guidance for the selection, installation, and use of vehicle security barrier
systems,” defines how different barriers should be employed to minimize risks.

Although vehicle impact tests and selection guides seek to cover a range of situations, usage remains an important factor long after initial installation.
For example, natural VSBs, like trees, are only functional when used in groups, and they require regular inspection and maintenance. While bunds and other
embankments are effective when they have a front-facing angle of at least 50 degrees and heights of 1.25 meters or more. Earthworks that lack geotextile
reinforcement may lose their efficacy over time.

Natural VSBs aren’t the only HVM tools subject to strict oversight. Individual security bollards each have to satisfy demanding requirements, and testing
must be administered every seven days following the pouring of concrete. In the same vein, active barriers and their support systems, such as
speed-detecting high-speed cameras, timing gates, and pressure pads, also require routine conformance auditing.

When used properly, security bollards save lives and help authorities mitigate terrorist activity. These devices are most effective when they’re employed
in conjunction with smart threat management practices, so it’s important that designers, property owners, and security personnel all understand what’s at
stake and work together to reduce risks.

To learn more about the positive difference security bollards can make, please contact us, it is our pleasure to assist you.