An introduction to bollards for businesses

Choosing the best and most effective bollard?

Welcome to the first in our series of posts on bollard selection, in this initial post we'll look at:

  • The definition of a bollard
  • The different types
  • General uses of bollards
  • Bollards for businesses, including the five major considerations when purchasing bollards for business use


What is a bollard?
Black bull bollard small
The term bollard was originally used to describe a post on a ship or quay used for the most part to moor boats. More recently however, bollards are shorter security posts installed in retail areas such as shopping malls, along high streets, car parks, which provide safety and security to motorists and pedestrians alike, providing traffic calming measures and helping to prevent ram-raiding and car ramming attacks.

Bollards, also known as security barrier posts are usually of steel construction coated with a primer to protect against rust and corrosion. A lot of bollards such as the Black Bull bollard pictured are painted yellow for maximum visibility.

These safety and security posts can also be designed to blend with their environment, providing discreet protection against potential threats. For example, certain benches and other street furniture have a dual functionality.



Bollards: Types and uses

Cannon mooring bollardMooring and Maritime bollards - From the 17th and 18th centuries, old cannons were buried muzzle first along embankments, these can still be found in some places however in the 19th century when bollards were purpose made they were still built in the same cannon shape, one of the benefits of this shape prevents mooring lines from coming loose.

Traffic bollards - Used to calm, control or limit the movements of traffic, these bollards are usually designed as permanent fixtures which when mounted close together create a car-free zone, such as a pedestrianised areas of retail zones.

Illuminated bollard - Usually internally illuminated, these bollards are widely seen throughout the United Kingdom, most commonly found on traffic islands in the middle of the road with the appropriate signage to direct traffic around the island.

Bell bollards - Designed to deflect vehicle tyres as the tyre mounts the base of the bollard and is pushed away by the increasing slope of the bollard. This type of bollard is said to be most effective against heavy goods vehicles which may destroy conventional style bollards.

Removable bollards -  This type of bollard is available in a selection of removable options, through, for example, a hinge to allow the bollard to fold flat, the removal of a padlock and bolt to allow the bollard to be removed entirely or a bollard which can retract entirely under the ground. Removable bollards can also be either manual, require a person to remove/retract the bollard or automatic carrying the title 'robotic bollards' which have the capability of moving themselves into position.

Flexible bollards -  for example the bollard pictured which is designed to bend and flex when contact with a vehicle is made, usually up to 90 degrees, avoiding damage to both the vehicle and bollard and offering visual guidance for drivers over security and safety.

Protective bollards - Used by local councils, businesses and public organisations to protect people, buildings and other assets from car ramming attacks. These bollards usually have a simple steel post anchored to concrete, or buried into the ground to ensure strong foundations when the bollard is struck. As well as car ramming attacks, protective bollards also protect pedestrians against accidental collisions.

Telescopic bollards - Retract into the ground, can be manually operated or electrical through key fob.

Bollards for business

The bottom line is, bollards can be found just about anywhere, but let's look specifically at bollards for businesses (don't worry, we're going to look at residential and public areas soon!). So, as a business purchasing security bollards there are quite a few points to take into consideration before making a commitment:


Chichester anti ram bollard
    1. Use - first of all, you need to determine the actual use of the bollard, will it be used to improve the security of a shop front? Restrict access? Or as traffic control/ segregation?


    2. Access - How much is required? If, for example no access is required at all and you're simply protecting a shop front we would tend to recommend something like the Chichester Stainless Steel Anti-ram bollard, which looks good and offers superb protection. If occasional or regular access is required, a folding, removable or collapsible bollard may be best.


      3. Location - So, we know the use and access requirements of the bollard, the next consideration is the bollard's location, if for example you're protecting a shop front we've already looked at the aesthetic and protection benefits of the Chichester, but what if you're protecting a warehouse? This is where Black Bull come in. For example the Black Bull XL Flexible bollard flexes up to 25 degrees and returns to its original position. Dubbed the 'smart protection', protecting assets, property and people.


        4. Environmental/Material - There are different materials, suitable at different times so let's take a look at a few:
          • Steel - Resistant to corrosion, chips and abrasions, steel bollards are usually customisable with regards to colour as they are finished with a galvanised/ hot dip finish. Steel bollards can also come with anti-ram features
          • Stainless Steel - While similar to a standard steel bollard, stainless steel is very corrosion resistant, as well as being resistant to staining.
          • Timber - this type of bollard tends to be quite uncommon within a lot of the UK. While they are resistant to decay, they do not have a lifespan as long as steel or polyurethane. Timber bollards do however has an aesthetic appeal.
          • Cast iron/ aluminium - are very commonly used by local councils and are very commonly seen on high streets as they offer high impact and corrosion resistance as well as being customisable when they are cast.
          • Polyurethane - Also resistant to corrosion, abrasion and chips, polyurethane bollards are very durable and can be moulded into varying shapes and sizes. They are also, in general, resistant to freezing and as such will not be as cold to the touch during the winter months as steel or other materials are.
          • Recycled rubber/plastic - Strong bollard with a long-lifespan and not subject to rot etc. As the bollard isn't steel/iron/metal it cannot rust or corrode and is relatively low maintenance. Take a look at the Berkley bollard for example. We always recommend where possible to use recycled materials. Going green is often more cost effective for you and has major benefits for the environment.

            5. Cost - So, we've looked at most of the major considerations, but cost always has to be a factor because as well as filling your needs be it protection, traffic calming or segregation it must also be cost effective. Our recommendation is to set out a budget for the number of bollards required and work to this cost projection. 


              To sum up...
              Berkley Rubber Bollard

              There are many types of bollard for a variety of uses, but the main types are maritime and mooring, impact protection, traffic calming and traffic segregation. We've also looked at five of the major considerations when purchasing and installing bollards, those are: Use of bollard, access requirements, the location of the bollard, materials and finally cost. You can see our full range of bollards here.



              Speak soon,