Bollards and posts are a highly effective way to enhance the security of your land or property – providing they are installed properly. An inadequate installation can limit the effectiveness of your security measures and, more importantly, pose an extreme safety risk. That’s why it’s essential to install security bollards and posts in accordance with established guidelines. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about installing bollards and posts. However, we always recommend using a professional installation service like ours to ensure maximum security and safety.
How Deep Should a Bollard Be Buried?
One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to installing security posts is how deep should a bollard be buried, but there are numerous variables to consider when determining the depth of a bollard.
For example, the type of bollard you’re installing and the mounting method used can impact the requisite depth. As a general rule, however, fixed bollards that are installed with concrete should be set at least 450 – 600 mm into the ground.
Furthermore, the type of soil or terrain in which the bollard is being installed can also play a crucial role. Sandy soils or those that are loose and less cohesive may require deeper installations or additional stabilisation methods compared to more compact soils.
On the other hand, rocky terrains may pose challenges and might necessitate modifications in depth or the use of specialised equipment.
The purpose of the bollard is also vital in deciding the depth. Commercial bollards meant for high-security areas – like those around governmental buildings or vital infrastructure – might have more rigorous depth and installation requirements to withstand potential vehicular threats.
It’s always advisable to consult with a bollard installation expert or refer to specific guidelines when determining the exact depth for your needs. Proper installation will not only ensure not the functionality of the bollard but also its longevity.
To extend the lifespan of your bollard, it’s also important to maintain it properly. Our dedicated guide to bollard maintenance will help you do so!
How to Install Bollards
Once you know how deep it will be buried, it’s now time to install your security bollard. The installation process can vary depending on the type of bollards you’re using, so it’s vital to adjust the installation method accordingly.
Using professional installation services is always the best way to ensure that bollards are situated effectively but – if you do want to install bollards yourself – it’s vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
In addition to this, you’ll need to consider legislative and regulatory requirements if you are installing bollards on public land.
Before you begin the installation process, mark out where each bollard will be installed. We have also written a guide on bollard spacing to help direct you on this part of the process.
Then, scan the area for potential hazards, such as wires or pipes. Specialist scanners MUST be used to confirm that the installation won’t interfere with existing underground infrastructure. Otherwise, the process will become very dangerous. Following this, you can begin the installation process.
Written by our team of industry experts, here is our recommendations for installing security bollards:
1. Excavate for Installation
You will need to dig into the ground and ensure the bollard will have enough depth to remain secure and perform effectively. When it comes to the horizontal size of the hole, remember to leave sufficient space for installation material, such as concrete.
For most bollards, a 300mm x 300mm square will be sufficient but larger bollards may require a square that measures 400mm x 400mm.
2. Allow for Drainage
When you are digging into the ground, it’s advisable to leave another 10mm – 20mm of depth so that drainage stones can be added to the bottom. This will prevent a build-up of water, frost, or snow from negatively impacting the bollard once it’s in situ and, therefore, keep the bollard securely in place.
If you’re installing fixed bollards, you may not need to add drainage stones, as they do not feature an operational element. For telescopic or removable bollards, however, effective drainage measures are essential. If you’re adding removable bollards to your land, it’s advisable to place 20mm of loose stone in the hole before installing the ground socket.
For automatic bollards, proper drainage is paramount. Given their retractable nature, they are susceptible to malfunctioning if there is a buildup of water or debris. A well-drained installation ensures that the automatic mechanisms function smoothly, reducing the chances of jams or failures.
It’s often also recommended to integrate drainage solutions, such as weep holes or channels, within the ground sleeve or surrounding areas to promote efficient water runoff. This not only maintains the bollard’s functionality but also extends its lifespan by preventing corrosion or rusting.
3. Install Root Bar
If you’re installing telescopic bollards, they are likely to feature a root bar. This sits below the ground and enables the bollard to be retracted. If so, place the root bar inside the outer casing and then lower it into the ground. The top of the root bar casing should be flush with the ground, providing you have dug to a sufficient depth.
4. Place Bollard and Backfill
For fixed bollards, you can add the bollard to the pre-dug hole and check to ensure it’s level. Then, you can use a medium slump mix of concrete to backfill the remainder of the hole.
For telescopic bollards, 20mm of stone should be added around the casing and this should reach a depth of approx. 20mm. After checking the operation of the bollard, backfill around the casing with 20mm of shingle and fill the remainder of the hole with medium wet slump concrete.
For removable bollards, place the ground socket in situ and lock in the bollard to confirm it is fully functional. Following this, you can backfill the hole with concrete to keep the ground socket securely in place.
For automatic bollards, begin by positioning the bollard and its integrated mechanism into the pre-dug hole. Ensure that all wiring and hydraulic or pneumatic lines are properly routed and unobstructed. Prior to backfilling, test the bollard’s retraction and extension functionalities to make sure they operate without hindrance.
Once confirmed, backfill around the mechanism with drainage stones, especially near the base, to provide optimal water runoff. Fill the remainder of the hole with a medium wet slump concrete mix, ensuring that no concrete infiltrates the bollard mechanism. After the concrete has set, carry out a final operation test to guarantee the smooth functioning of the bollard in its permanent position.
5. Test Functionality
Once the backfill material (usually concrete) has dried, it’s important to double-check the robustness and functionality of the bollard so that any installation issues can be quickly identified.
- Fixed bollards should remain immovable
- telescopic bollards should transition seamlessly
- Removable bollards should be able to be locked in and removed with minimal effort.
- Automatic bollards should retract and extend smoothly, responding promptly to control commands.
How Easy Is It to Install Bollards?
Put simply, it’s not easy at all.
When the installation process is broken down step-by-step, it may seem fairly straightforward but knowing how to install bollards and feeling confident enough to undertake your own installation project are two very different things.
Although DIY installations are possible, you’ll need to ensure that you have access to the requisite materials, equipment, and expertise so that you don’t encounter any unnecessary problems.
If you’re installing bollards in the ground that have been concreted or tarmacked, for example, you’re likely to need a stone-cutting saw with a diamond blade. We do NOT advise you to use this piece of equipment yourself.
Should Security Bollards Be Professionally Installed?
Professional bollard installation means you won’t have to worry about planning or carrying out the work yourself and it also ensures that your bollards will be installed in accordance with best practices.
At Bison Security Posts, our experienced team is on hand to install all types of bollards, including automatic bollards, retractable and telescopic bollards, fixed bollards, and removable bollards.
To find out more or to book an installation today, contact Bison Security Posts now on 01708 956833 or send us a message here.