A Beginner’s Guide to Bollards
An overview of bollard types and their uses
Written by: Brad Done
Bollards Around Town
A bollard is a short, thick post. You most likely see them every day in a variety of places...
- The yellow pole that keeps you from getting too close to the drive-thru window.
- The side-by-side security barriers that prevent you from driving your vehicle onto a walking path.
- The line of flexible guards that keep you from veering into oncoming traffic while exiting a parking garage.
- The posts that encircle fountains, statues and other public landmarks.
- Stanchions that protect the front of building entrances and direct pedestrian traffic
Bollards are likely seen every day in a variety of places.... hospitals, schools, roadways - almost anywhere a vehicle or pedestrian can travel
The word bollard
likely stems from the Middle English word ‘bole,’ a word meaning ‘tree trunk’. Whereas bollards were once just used on a ship or a wharf for securing ships with ropes, now, bollards are a standard feature on roadways, in parking lots, surrounding buildings, guarding landmarks, defining spaces and more.
Why? Because architects and designers have found that bollards have much to offer in terms of traffic control, perimeter definition, asset protection, landscaping and security. They can be installed into concrete, sidewalks, brick-paved areas or in gardens.
Look around your neighborhood and city - you will begin to notice bollards everywhere.
Types of Bollards / Bollard Meanings:
The main types of bollards include:
Fixed bollards are installed with the intention they will be permanent in their position. They are the most common bollard type and are ideal for providing security and protection. Security bollards are made to be strong and protect buildings or other assets. The wide variety of decorative options means the fixed bollard can be functional and aesthetically appealing to the building / property design. Property owners can choose a decorative fixed bollard, or a decorative bollard cover
added over existing steel or concrete bollards.
This heavy-duty architectural iron bollard is one of Reliance Foundry’s largest bollards
Removable: Removable bollards
are installed into an in-ground receiver. Different receiver types offer differing locking features. For areas where traffic access may need to be changed, receivers can be installed in the various needed patterns and then rearranged for events, seasons, etc.
Retractable: Retractable bollards
are most often in an upright, locked position, but can be quickly telescoped into the ground. They can be installed in fire lanes, or places where generally vehicles are not permitted, but access must be granted for emergency vehicles, delivery or maintenance vehicles. They work a bit easier than the removable bollards in terms of providing quick access.
Flexible: Flexible bollards
are able to withstand impact from a vehicle and will return to their upright position when force is removed. Used in parking garages, lots, to line roadways or through pedestrian areas, they have the look of a fixed bollard - but are a better choice when vehicular impact is a strong possibility.
Bollards are produced in a variety of metals including plastic, aluminum, iron, steel, and stainless steel. The type of bollard selected generally depends on whether or not security strength is required, if the bollard needs to be removed or retracted quickly to allow access, if the bollard needs to have decorative features, or if it needs to be flexible because it is likely to be hit by cars.
Fabricated steel versions offer strength when used in stand-alone settings. Decorative cast-iron or cast-aluminum bollards provide ornate design features that make bollards an aesthetic enhancement to a property.
Flexible or bendable bollards are made from composite or polyurethane materials that typically require little in terms of maintenance and care. This makes them useful in areas where they are likely to be accidentally bumped by cars (such as parking garages).
Flexible bollards are ideal for areas where they may have contact from cars or other vehicles
Bollard covers fit over top of concrete-filled, steel pipe bollards and are used for highlighting and protection. Bollards covers are available in several materials, designs, colors and sizes.
Some of the more common bollard accessories include:
Plastic bollard sleeves:
These cover steel bollard posts and provide protection. Plastic bollard covers
are less expensive than metal bollard covers which are valued higher for their design and structural integrity. Plastic bollard covers are available in many standard colors and offer reflective striping at the top of the bollard, making bollards more visible. The use of plastic sleeves to cover steel bollards requires little by way of maintenance.
Bike parking / lifting arms: Bollards with arms
give bollards additional functionality as a place to securely lock a bicycle or to assist in lifting removable bollards from their mounting.
This heavy-duty decorative iron bollard with arms is perfect for an area that needs bicycle parking
Chains / chain eyelets: Chains can attach bollards together
to provide pedestrian control around gardens, fountains or other outdoor areas. They can be easily removed and replaced.
On both commercial and residential properties, bollards have much to offer. Architectural features, security and traffic control are all enhanced when bollards are brought into the design process as early as possible. With the many sizing, color and decorative options available, finding the right bollard type to make the outdoor function and features of a property safer and aesthetically pleasing is simple.
Visit Reliance Foundry’s bollard web site
to see their entire selection of bollard products.
About Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.
Reliance Foundry has been a family-owned business since 1927. Bollards are one of its main product lines, along with bike racks, industrial wheels and investment castings. Reliance sources products globally and offers quick and convenient delivery in the United States and Canada from its Vancouver location.