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  Bollards: What Functions Are Top Priority?
When considering bollard purposes, architects, specifiers, construction managers and property owners must first determine what a particular project needs. Bollards can provide property and perimeter security, can serve as refined architectural accents, or can offer both functions in many cases.

Other types of bollards can be used as warning guides to note areas that are unsafe or under construction, or to divert or direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Some bollards are fixed, while others will collapse or retract into the ground, and others are flexible to minimize damage to both the bollards and vehicles should impact occur. Today's bollards also can do double duty as bike racks along with their primary security function.

Some bollard styles date from the 17th century and look lovely on period property, while ultramodern stainless steel may be favored for contemporary sites. Metal bollards typically come in black, green and several metallic finishes, including bronze and silvers. Bollard manufacturers work closely with all design and construction professionals to choose the best bollards for functionality, weather comparability and site qualities that factor into planning projects. Between the increasing use of bollards, as well as expanding choices in design, many professionals aren't fully aware of the functions, materials and selections available today.

Planning Starts with Function

Function should be the first consideration. If you need to protect the doors of facilities like stores from smash-and-grab burglaries, in which the burglars drive through the front door and count on grabbing inventory, computers and cash, then you should consider security bollards. The simplest security bollard is a piece of carbon steel structural pipe that is often filled with concrete. For fixed security bollards, simple pipe bollards may be sufficient when properly mounted.

The biggest disadvantage of a plain steel pipe is aesthetics. A plain metal, painted pipe doesn't blend into - much less enhance - most architectural schemes. One preferred answer to that problem is to use decorative covers over these steel pipe bollards. Many stand-alone bollards that lack impact-resistance on their own are designed with alternative mountings that equip them to slip over standard pipe bollards, creating an attractive and architecturally appropriate barrier for any site.

Simple security bollards can also be "dressed up" with low-cost plastic bollard covers that provide decorative highlighting or accents. Many sizes and colors, including vibrant yellows and oranges, are available. Reflective strips are normally added to plastic bollard covers for improved safety at night.

For more versatile security applications, simply having a visible bollard often deters unwanted access.

For sites such as driveways, parking lots and delivery areas where bollards are desired but which also need to be opened for delivery, service, or emergency access - removable and retractable bollards provide an excellent solution. These bollards are frequently used to define and cross driveways, roadways, parking areas, and loading docks. Today's retractable bollards are quite easy to operate, they lock in place when either up or down, and they come in stainless steel or several powder coated colors.

For venues that need to reconfigure their site for events or for changing purposes from time to time, property owners can purchase additional in-ground bollard sleeves (or receivers) when purchasing these removable bollards, and then move these removable bollards to new the new receiver configurations as needed.

For parking lots and other sites where the main goal of bollards is to direct traffic, to keep parked vehicles from encroaching on or damaging planters, trees, benches and other landscaping, and to deter vehicles from veering off designated routes, customers can now choose from various flexible bollards available in the market. These types of composite bollards will "flex" on contact or impact - even flattening clear all the way to the ground on impact, and return to upright when the vehicle backs off them. They're available in almost any color, and look like rigid bollards. Many models are also available with optional removable mounting options. These bollards act as passive security barriers in the same way as decorative metal bollards do, while preventing excessive damage to vehicles that impact the bollards when encroaching on demarked areas.

Bike Bollards and Cycle Storage Options

Citing many studies that show the most important amenity to draw bicyclists is bike parking, customers can find bike bollards and several choices of bike racks most favored by bicyclists, bike rider organizations and emerging city codes.

Since most bicycle riders will readily ride about one to three miles for errands, meals and other purchases, bike riders provide a great core of retail customers. Designers find bike parking must be in front of buildings so they remain in view to pedestrians and motorists - a great theft deterrent. Schools and businesses find a steady increase in students, staff and visitors arriving by bike, and need well-planned bike parking to encourage this healthful, no-emission trend, which is expected to be a permanent and growing change throughout North America.

Customers can now also find bike lockers in the bike-parking marketplace, which riders like even more because their bikes are more secure and they can store items like helmets and carriers without fear of theft or having to carry them around.

Security bollards can be topped with decorative bollards with arms, or bike bollards, to provide security and bike parking at the same time.

Reliance Foundry is a leading manufacturer of decorative and architectural bollards and castings. Family-owned since 1927, Reliance has a tradition of quality and customer service.

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