As North America recently marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1994, in which Timothy McVeigh’s truck full of explosives killed 168 people and injured more than 500, including children in a day care center in a United States federal building, security directors are looking for innovations in building perimeter security. McVeigh didn’t actually drive the truck into the building; he parked it in front of the building and used a remote detonator. The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was caused by a truck parked in the building’s garage. Around the world, hundreds of suicide bombers have driven vehicles packed with explosives into buildings.

Today, security directors choose a variety of methods to prevent building penetration and explosion by vehicles; setbacks, security gates, anti-ram walls, bollards, Driveway bollards protective glazing, structural hardening, etc. Bollards, specifically, have become more and more commonly used in today’s architectural and construction projects. Bollards are those often-unnoticed posts people walk by every day going in and out of public buildings, designed and spaced to prevent vehicles from getting past a safe perimeter. Many are plain cement, which are effective, but detract from the appearance of the building. More and more building owners, security directors, architects and specifiers are choosing to use security posts with decorative bollard covers that enhance the building’s landscape while keeping those inside safe.

Engineered security bollards can effectively block even the largest trucks, up to 66,000 pounds or 30,000 kilograms when properly installed into new concrete foundations, according to Done. Security bollard manufacturers, such as Delta Scientific Corporation (Palmdale, CA), RSA Protective Technologies (Upland, CA), and Secure USA, Inc. (Atlanta, GA and Int’l) offer perimeter defence and security bollard products for such high security needs. However, these security bollards by themselves, generally concrete filled steel pipes and embedded steel fabrications, can create an architectural eyesore. Decorative Bollards and post covers – available in various materials including iron, steel, aluminum, stainless steel and plastic – are available to fit over top of these permanent security bollards, creating an aesthetic feature out of the security necessity.

Other safety and security bollard products can help to prevent unwanted vehicle entry near or into buildings. By themselves, traffic & parking bollards provide safety and security by their mere presence, deterring traffic away from pedestrians and buildings. Retractable bollards retract into the ground, and are often used for driveways that must be open for deliveries, maintenance or emergency vehicles. Removable bollards function in much the same way, providing roadway and pathway definition, while diverting vehicle access when required.

There are unlimited Bollard products in the market, available in a variety of materials, colors and finishes. While many bollards can be installed by themselves for aesthetic or traffic deterrence purposes only, those interested in using Bollards for security should insist on using decorative bollard covers that can be installed effectively over steel security bollards. Bollards are the simplest, most secure and least expensive way to protect structures from security threats – from break-ins to terrorism. They are becoming a routine architectural feature in the design of new buildings, and additions to existing structures. Many designs use standard bollards in utility areas, but add covers in public entry areas.