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Blog posts tagged with 'best practices for installing concrete bollards'

Best Practices for Installing Concrete Bollards: From Site Preparation to Final Placement
Best Practices for Installing Concrete Bollards: From Site Preparation to Final Placement

Concrete bollards are sturdy vertical posts that are used to divert traffic, protect buildings and equipment, and provide security barriers. Installing concrete bollards properly is crucial for safety and security purposes. This comprehensive guide covers best practices from site preparation to final bollard placement.


The process entails evaluating the installation site, preparing the necessary equipment and materials, digging holes to the proper footing specifications, placing the bollard anchors and bolts, lowering the bollards into position, allowing time for curing, and finally maintaining the bollards over time. Following these essential steps correctly helps ensure maximum stability, strength, and longevity of concrete bollard installations.


Site Preparation



Before beginning the bollard installation, the site must be fully prepared. This includes:


Checking for Buried Utilities: Identify any underground pipes, wires, or infrastructure to avoid damage. Contact local utilities for assistance if needed.

Clearing the Area: Remove debris, plants, pavers, or other obstacles where bollards will be placed. The area should have clear access.

Digging Footing Holes: Mark out the exact bollard spacing. Excavate holes for footings as per the bollard base dimensions, generally 12-16 inches in diameter. Depth is determined by soil type and climate frost line, typically 3-4 feet.


Materials Needed



A bollard installation relies on having the proper equipment and materials prepared in advance. Common bollard varieties include steel-reinforced posts for maximum strength, fiberglass-embedded types to prevent rust corrosion, removable designs with quick access lift-out features, and crash-rated selections engineered to withstand high vehicle impact forces. Determining traffic load levels and security needs dictates choosing the optimal bollard style.


Crew safety depends on standard construction gear like hard hats, high-visibility vests, steel-toe boots, rigid brace supports, and durable gloves. Ensure properly operating installation tools are on hand as well - shovels, concrete forms, masonry drill bits, bollard rigging gear, a truck crane for safe lifting, and potentially a concrete saw for subsurface work. Sturdy worksite barriers and temporary traffic control signs, as well as other traffic control equipment, are present to prevent unauthorized access to heavy equipment activity and placement operations.


Take time to assemble all necessary bollard types, safety protection, powered tools, anchors, and reinforcing accessories required so installation happens efficiently. Verify all install fixed bollards tools and bollard installation materials are on hand.


Mounting Methods



Bollard mounting techniques differ depending on the site surface. For locations with existing concrete pads or paved areas, installers can utilize a surface mount method by core drilling anchor holes through the slab to bury the steel anchoring hardware at the proper depth per specifications while leaving the circular sleeve casings visible at the pad level to accept the bollard.


For softer ground or unpaved zones made of soil, grass, or gravel, excavators must dig larger width holes several feet below frost to then pour a concrete footing flush at the prevailing grade with steel pieces embedded, allowing the bollard post base to be buried directly into this footer for optimal holding strength.


Footing Installation



With holes aligned and dug to specifications, the footing process may begin:

  1. Set circular forms in the excavated holes to create a mold for the concrete pillar. Center the form in the hole.
  2. Place anchor bolt hardware and any steel rebar cages into the form, secured upright in the middle.
  3. Pour premixed high-strength concrete into the form surrounding the anchor hardware.
  4. Allow the concrete to fully cure per manufacturer specifications, typically 48-72 hours. Do not disturb.
  5. Remove concrete forms. Double-check anchor bolts remain plumb and centered in the cured concrete footing.
  6. Insert washers and nuts onto anchor bolt ends, down near the footing surface.


The concrete pier footing with anchored hardware awaits the bollard placement. Take precautions not to damage bolt alignment prior to installation.


Installing Bollards



Once footings have cured, lower each bollard carefully into position:

  1. Attach lifting straps or chains securely around the bollard at balance points. Use a forklift or crane to hoist each bollard.
  2. Carefully position the bollard directly over the anchor bolts protruding from the concrete footing.
  3. Lower the bollard slowly until it rests completely seated on the footing surface. Keep the bollard plumb.
  4. Slide washers over each anchor bolt and tighten securing nuts using proper wrench sizes, as per engineering specifications.
  5. Allow concrete adhesive to fully cure before subjecting the bollard to any loads, a minimum of 5-7 days. Vehicular bollards may require longer curing periods.
  6. When ready for use, perform final checks that each bollard remains firmly anchored without any play or rotation possible.


Various Bollard Types



There are several different varieties of bollards, each with their own specific placement requirements during installation.


Removable bollards allow for easy access when needed. Their footings include a sleeve design to drop locking pins into place.

Decorative bollards often have ornamental surfaces that require protection during the installation and placement process to avoid marring or damage. Typically, they are made of cast iron, stainless steel, or other metals.

Anti-ram bollards, designed to withstand vehicle impact force, traffic control bollards need significantly more robust footing preparations with deeper holes, wider diameters, increased steel rebar reinforcement, and rigorous anchoring to pass vehicle crash testing. Their customized security footings also adhere to special anti-ram bollard design regulations.


Proper placement according to the needs of the bollard type ensures optimal functioning for access control, aesthetics, and attack deterrence.


Ensuring Long-Lasting Bollard Integrity



Properly maintaining bollards over time ensures they remain structurally intact and visually appealing for maximum lifetime security and access control. This involves:


Allowing Adequate Concrete Curing Time

It is essential not to allow any vehicle traffic, impact loads, or weight bearing on newly placed bollards before the concrete footing has initially cured to specifications, generally 5-7 days. Attaching signs or barriers during this period prevents premature wear. Rushing this process risks cracking and destabilizing the foundation.


Regular Cleaning and Touch-Up Painting

Periodically wash stainless steel or coated steel bollards to prevent corrosion and check for any visible steel rebar exposure on anchors or bases. Apply antitrust coatings immediately to any exposed rebar to prevent moisture ingress and corrosion, which could expand and crack the concrete. Also, repaint decorative bollard surfaces when faded to maintain visibility and aesthetic integrity. Ensure even surface pavement markings.


Frequent Stability Inspections

Inspect the area around bollard footings to check for any shifting, sinking, space opening up, or crack formations that indicate a compromised foundation. Also, check bollard bases for plumb alignment and test for any loose movement, which requires shoring up anchors. Catch minor footing or anchor issues early on before catastrophic failure occurs through regular monitoring.


Proactively carrying out these standard bollard maintenance procedures extends optimum bollard integrity for the facility over time. Have a structural engineer assess any discovered deficiencies and recommend remedial repairs.


About Furniture Leisure


Furniture Leisure provides heavy-duty concrete bollards made from commercial-grade steel-reinforced concrete. Choose from classic cylindrical posts, spherical bollards, or vibrant sports ball shapes to fit your space. Make each bollard uniquely yours with acid-washed textures, Weatherstone finishes, or exposed color aggregates. For sports venues, customize bollards in team colors using our various color options available.


Our bollards are sealed to minimize weathering, prevent chipping, and stop graffiti. The steel-constructed concrete allows the bollards to manage traffic and restrict access for years at destinations from local parks to bustling stadiums. Concrete bollards from Furniture Leisure contain over 300 pounds of reinforced concrete engineered to be impact-resistant, tamper-proof, and incredibly durable. They are the go-to solution when you need decorative flair, traffic direction, or vehicle control!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How deep should I make the concrete footings?

For freestanding bollards, depth depends on climate but generally requires digging 3-4 feet below frost lines and grade. Follow local building codes when designing site plans.


How much space is needed between bollards for vehicles?

Typical vehicle access bollard spacing is 4-5 feet on-center. Emergency vehicle access may need up to 8 feet of clearance between posts.

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