How Well Do Concrete Bollards Stop Cars?

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Concrete bollards are a common sight in public parks, town centres and other pedestrian areas across the UK. But how good are concrete bollards at withstanding the impact of moving vehicles?

While concrete bollards have their advantages, they may not always offer as much protection or impact resistance as steel security bollards. In this guide, we explore the advantages and limitations of concrete as a bollard material, and when concrete bollards should and should not be used.

What Are Concrete Bollards?

A concrete bollard is a thick, solid post made from cement, aggregates like gravel or stone, and water. The concrete mix is poured into a mould then left to set hard. Concrete bollards are a simple and affordable way to designate pedestrian zones and prevent accidental incursions by motor vehicles.

Concrete is a versatile material that can be cast into various shapes and sizes. It has a natural stone-like appearance that helps concrete bollards blend in with landscaped environments, but can also be painted to suit a particular design aesthetic. Concrete bollards are commonly found in public parks, town and city centres.

Impact Resistance of Concrete Bollards

Concrete security bollards provide a sturdy physical barrier that can successfully stop or slow moving vehicles. However, they often suffer cracking or fragmentation when hit by vehicles at speed. Their ability to remain intact during an impact will depend on factors like the bollard’s dimensions, the type of concrete used and the force of the collision.

While suitable for general traffic calming and access control at low speeds, concrete bollards may not stop fast-moving vehicles as effectively as steel. They are also more prone to damage over time from weathering, wear and repeated minor knocks.

When investigating the suitability of a bollard for its intended application – whether concrete or steel – always check the manufacturer’s data sheets for its impact resistance capabilities. Also, remember that its ability to withstand strong forces depends on correct installation and placement. Speak to an expert at MACs Bollards for advice.

Comparing Concrete and Steel Bollards

Several factors should be considered when choosing between concrete or steel bollards:

Security Level

For applications like government facilities, stadiums and airports needing certified bollards rated to halt heavy vehicles, concrete barriers do not make the grade. Steel bollards can generally meet tested impact standards and can withstand much higher forces without breaking or failing.

Concrete provides a basic level of vehicle access control but lacks official crash-test ratings to verify its impact resistance. Steel typically delivers greater security value through certified performance.

Appearance and Features

Grey concrete bollards have a natural, neutral stone-like look that often integrates well with green spaces, parks and landscaped environments. Concrete can be tinted or painted, but has a more subdued appearance than stainless steel.

Stainless steel bollards deliver a bright, sleek, modern aesthetic that stands out in urban settings. A range of finishes like galvanising and powder-coating are also possible. Optional reflective banding can help to improve visibility and safety. Only steel bollards allow custom lighting integration.

Installation and Access Control

A standard concrete bollard is usually much heavier than a steel security bollard. They require heavy lifting equipment to install and are impractical to remove or relocate once in place. This permanency limits their flexibility.

Steel bollards are lighter and easier to handle. Removable, retractable and automatic steel bollard models allow for changes in access requirements. This gives steel greater versatility across more applications.

Durability and Maintenance

Over time, weathering can cause concrete bollard posts to chip, crack or spall, affecting aesthetics and strength. They can deteriorate faster in cold climates. Well-maintained steel bollards typically have a longer lifespan.

However, concrete’s advantage is its inherent resistance to corrosion. Steel requires galvanising or protective coatings to prevent rust. But modern stainless steel bollards minimise this vulnerability, especially with proper maintenance and care.

Cost

Concrete bollards carry lower upfront costs for purchase and installation. However, their shorter lifespan means replacement is needed sooner. Stainless steel bollards cost more initially but have greater long-term value thanks to their durability and strength.

For locations where aesthetics and security are priorities, the higher investment in steel pays dividends through enhanced protection, easier access control and modern visual appeal.

Ideal Applications for Concrete Bollards

Concrete bollards are ideal in settings where flexible access control is not required, and where the primary purpose of the bollard is to act as a visual deterrent. They may offer sufficient protection for locations like:

  • Urban parks and green spaces
  • Residential areas and car-free zones with low speed limits
  • Communal parking areas
  • Designating parking bays in car parks

Their advantages lie in their simple, effective design and lower cost compared to steel. Concrete bollards can fulfil general traffic calming duties while their natural look contributes to a pleasant environment.

When to Choose Steel Over Concrete

For applications where higher levels of certified security or frequent access changes are needed, steel bollards are the better solution. Some examples include:

  • Government Buildings: Perimeter security rated to halt fast moving, heavy vehicles requires steel security barriers with official impact test certification.
  • Stadiums and Event Venues: Robust retractable steel bollards can be quickly raised and lowered to control pedestrian/vehicle separation during high attendance events.
  • Business Premises: Removable steel bollards allow access for authorised employee vehicles while keeping unapproved parking out.
  • Residential Driveways: Homeowners may prefer modern-looking steel rising bollards to secure the property without permanently blocking the driveway.

Steel bollards deliver superior impact resistance and protection, with the added convenience of customisable access control if required. Concrete simply cannot provide the same level of convenience or vehicle stopping power.

Choose MACs Bollards for Vehicle Resistant Bollards You Can Trust

Whether you’re looking for automatic, steel or concrete bollards for sale, MACs Bollards can supply quality solutions at competitive rates. With over 15 years experience, we are trusted UK suppliers of security barriers for residential, commercial and public applications.

Browse our website to view our full range of bollards and other traffic control products. Our expert advisors can provide tailored recommendations on the best solution for your needs and budget.

To discuss your requirements with our team, contact MACs Bollards today. Fill in the enquiry form, email enquiries@macs-bollards.com or call 0161 320 6463 for a free quote.

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