Rethinking bollards to enhance public safety and design value

National Precast looks at the benefits of using precast safety bollards in a variety of applications in the public space.As a practical means of guiding traffic and increasing awareness, the need for bollards to protect people from unwanted vehicular intrusion in particular, has been a sad reality in recent times. With tragic terror attacks in various parts of the world, authorities are looking to bollards and other measures, as a means of protecting innocent people from these unwanted events. The need for bollards to be incredibly robust has never been so paramount.

When it comes to public safety, there are many different types of bollards that urban planners, designers and architects can use to protect people and properties.

Guiding traffic and increasing awareness, bollards provide visual cues to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. They are useful for creating a visible boundary of a property, separating areas within a site, controlling or guiding traffic and permitting pedestrian access while preventing vehicular access.

Bollards come in a variety of materials, predominantly concrete, steel and timber.

But, as bollards fulfil their role of providing security and safety, they don’t need to be confined to a typical short post size and shape, nor do they need to look unsightly.

Rather, they may be designed in a range of shapes to make a positive contribution to the surrounding landscape and can serve myriad other functions as well as providing protection.

Precast concrete bollards are a prime example of bollards which, as well as providing protection, can also be designed to be multi-functional and look good.

Function redefined 

Precast concrete bollards are a simple and practical means of effectively protecting people and properties from unwanted vehicular access or crashes. They are inherently robust, heavy and not easily moved.

The beauty of specifying precast bollards goes beyond their structural properties. All of a sudden the design possibilities become infinite. No longer do structures that serve an essential safety function need to serve that function only.

Precast concrete bollards can be multi-functional. As well as meeting the primary need of protecting people or differentiating one space from another, they can serve many other purposes. Bollards can double as structures, including planter boxes, public furniture, signs and statues.

The versatility of precast concrete is highlighted at Brisbane’s Riverside Plaza, where planter boxes perform a dual purpose.

Comprising precast elements manufactured by National Precast member Precast Concrete Products, the planter boxes simultaneously function as safety bollards, while providing seating amid a green retreat for shoppers and visitors to the centre’s riverside location.

While the planters may look straightforward on the surface, their complex free-form design necessitated they be manufactured with a high level of expertise. Using the precaster’s CAD modelling software and moulds made from a variety of materials, the planters speak for themselves and complement beautifully the centre’s magnificent riverside location.

Form redefined 

While bollards might be installed to increase security, they can also form an essential part of landscape design. Functioning as landscaping elements, decorative precast concrete bollards can be manufactured in an array of shapes, colours and finishes to harmonise with a wide range of architectural and societal styles.

Achieved by using different concrete mixes and/or aggregate selections, these finishes would be difficult to achieve using in-situ methods of construction and help to ensure that the bollard is as attractive as it is strong.

Stylish spherical bollards in Canberra are robust enough to deter vehicular entry, yet are elegant in form to complement the surrounding leafy streetscape. Manufactured by National Precast member Hanson Precast, the bollards have an exposed aggregate finish for a long, maintenance-free life.

Made to last

Precast’s superior weathering and corrosion resistant qualities offer excellent protection within a range of climatic conditions.

La Perouse Headland is located on the northern shores of Botany Bay in New South Wales and provides spectacular cliff-top views.

The corrosive coastal environment created by salt spray means the cliff-side crash barriers need to be durable and require minimal ongoing maintenance. Precast concrete, therefore, was the obvious choice when designing the bollards. Manufactured by Hanson Precast, the bollards that line La Perouse Headland not only act as safety crash barriers, but also offer seating and present a unifying urban design along the Coastal Walk.

Precast concrete bollards play an essential role in the security, safety, and visual appeal of a public space. Specifying precast concrete bollards means that both public protection is heightened and the surrounding infrastructure, landscaping or architectural styles won’t be visually disturbed.

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