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Bollard Installation Guide

Bollards control traffic to protect vehicles, workers, pedestrians and buildings from danger. Depending on your needs, you can choose from a variety of bollards and barriers. Consulting with a professional and considering why you will be using the bollards will help you find the best product to ensure safety for your site. Installation of a traffic control bollard requires knowledge of how to use a bollard, the benefits of having a traffic control bollard on your site, and a step-by-step guide to installing the bollard safely and securely.

D.E. Gemmill Inc. provides and installs traffic control bollards for contractors, construction crews and public works departments in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. We seek to share our insight with you about each state’s legal requirements and other factors before choosing the best product for your traffic control site. 

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Types of Safety Bollards

Bollards can be metal or plastic, and they are installed to protect pedestrians and buildings from harm or inconvenience. Here is a general list of the different types of bollards and when you would need to use them:

  • Removable bollards: Removable bollards are physical as well as visual barriers that are useful for temporary work zones. These types of bollards let drivers and pedestrians know about lane closures, roadwork or heavy traffic.
  • Collapsible bollards: Unlike removable bollards, collapsible bollards are built into the ground. These types of bollards raise and lower to only be present when in use. Collapsible bollards are popular in parks or places that host public service equipment. They could also be helpful in a work zone area that consistently needs maintenance.
  • Fixed bollards: Fixed bollards are used to protect areas from the flow of traffic. They are common in shopping plazas or in front of government buildings. These types of bollards are permanently inserted into the ground and cannot be easily removed.

Benefits of Safety Bollard Installation

Safety bollards offer many benefits that serve the community. For example, they:

  • Enhance the appearance of an area: Decorative bollards can add a creative touch to private driveways and commercial properties.
  • Protect storefronts in busy areas: A bollard can reduce the risk of theft or prevent someone from accidentally — or intentionally — driving into a storefront.
  • Protect pedestrians: Bollards keep any vehicle crashes away from pedestrian areas, such as bike lanes, park entrances, schools and airports.
  • Protect drivers: Every day, approximately 60 vehicles drive into buildings. Bollards prevent vehicles from driving into buildings and harming those inside.
  • Light up dark areas: To discourage wrongdoers from crime and to improve visibility at night, safety bollards can now be customized with lighting devices. Reflective bollards reflect oncoming headlights to warn of upcoming pedestrian areas.
  • Offer temporary traffic control: Removable bollards can provide traffic control during specific events and times of the day, such as school pick-up, drop-off and worship services.
  • Protects drivers at racing events: Safety bollards indicate sharp corners and other hazards for competitors in racing events. Collapsible bollards detach from their base in case a vehicle hits them, so there is minimal damage to the car and driver.
  • Prevent access: Police officers use safety bollards to prevent pedestrians from entering crime scenes.
  • Preserve historic sites: Historic sites are prone to damage or vandalism. Safety bollards can protect against accidents and harm to these historic sites.

Benefits of Safety Bollards

Selecting Your Bollards for Installation

D.E. Gemmill Inc. offers the following traffic control bollards for our customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia:

  • Protective and security bollards limit access to worksites and industrial areas under construction while providing traffic control to guide vehicles in the path of these areas. Pipe or tube bollards, typically made of concrete, can be customized in various colors and can include a concrete cap or composite sleeve.
  • Sign bollards protect road signs from potential accidents. These are especially useful in busy areas prone to minor collisions. Parking lots and warehouses install sign bollards to protect pedestrians and decrease damage to road signs. Bollards can have signposts installed inside them to communicate a message to drivers in the area regarding information like parking restrictions. These restrictions can include handicapped parking or time restrictions. Sign bollards are ideal for areas with heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
  • Collapsible bollards designate access for authorized maintenance, deliveries or emergency vehicles, while also blocking pedestrian and vehicle traffic. These types of bollards come in various shapes, sizes and features. Collapsible bollards also damage vehicles less, as they bend when they are struck.
  • Architectural and decorative bollards enhance the beauty of a property while also protecting it. They are popular in front of buildings, near entrances or along pathways. Architectural or decorative bollards often include decorative chains for added charm. Our decorative bollards come in a wide variety of types and covers and can accommodate both historic and modern styles.

Board Installation Specifications

The type of bollard you choose and the area in which it will be placed determine how you install the bollard. No matter what, consider these factors before you begin the installation process:

consider these factors before installing bollards

Legal Requirements

Local codes and ordinances are in place to ensure bollards are installed correctly and safely. Seek counsel from your local Building Code Department regarding bollard code requirements, such as any permits you may need or the recommended digging depth for the base. By law, passages must allow emergency vehicles to enter. Check with your site planners and local authorities to find out which bylaws and ordinances are in place. If done incorrectly, your bollards may be removed.

Site Plans

The architect typically creates site plans for bollard installation in an area. Refer to site plans to figure out the spacing and installation method for your bollards.

Spacing of Bollards

Bollards are typically installed in a row so pedestrians and drivers can see them. The spacing between bollards is an important factor to consider. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, bollards must have enough space between them for pedestrians in wheelchairs and motorized chairs to pass through.

The space between bollards relies heavily on the area your bollard is protecting and who will need to pass through the area. For example, certain bollards are designed to prevent vehicles from passing, but not pedestrians and people on bikes. Typically, bollards in areas where pedestrians are present must have three to five feet between each post.

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Preparing for Bollard Installation

Before you learn how to install bollards, you need to learn how to prepare for the installation. For any type of bollard, you will need to prepare the site so your bollard will stand up straight and function properly.

Prep for Bollard Installation

Check for Hazards

Before digging, check for underground hazards, like pipes, gas lines and wiring. Usually, site plans provide this information, if not please contact a professional before you do any digging. 

Drill the Holes for Bollard Bolts

Center the drill bit. Mark centers with a smaller drill. Drill to the full depth of the drill bit.

Clean the Site

After drilling holes and mixing cement, you may find dirt and debris has infiltrated your worksite, blocking your vision and interrupting the placement of your bollards. Use a broom, pressure washer or blow-out pump to clean the concrete surface before you begin installing the pipe bollard. Vacuum any water or debris that may be on site.

Make Concrete Base

A Concrete Base is Needed for Bollards

If you’re installing a bollard in any surface other than concrete, you need to create a concrete base. Concrete is least affected by changing weather and less likely to deteriorate. Your bollard needs a stable platform that only concrete can provide. Follow these steps to create a concrete base:

  • Cut the tubing for the base: The tubing must have a diameter equal to or larger than that of the bollard base. Cut the concrete base to the correct length, so when it’s installed on the site, its top will be in line with the finished surface.
  • Leave space for landscaping: When installing a decorative base in a landscaped area, leave enough space at the top of the current surface for landscaping material to be added on later. Discuss the plans with your landscaper to figure out how much space is needed.
  • Make the concrete: Next, create concrete with water and concrete mix. Use the manufacturer’s directions on the label as necessary. The goal is to have a similar texture to moldable clay. Add a half-gallon of water to make the mix a little moister. Doing this will cause the concrete to flow smoothly and fully pack the hole.
  • Pour concrete evenly over the base: Fill the hole completely until it’s level with the surface.
  • Place the anchor casting inside the concrete form: Cover the bottom hole with duct tape, so debris does not infiltrate the area. Lower the anchor casting into the concrete form. Continue pouring the concrete until the form is filled and level with the surface.
  • Let the concrete cure: Allow two to three days for the concrete to cure before continuing. In case of moisture or cool temperatures, you may have to wait longer. Apply landscaping material as desired around the concrete form after the curing period is complete.

How to Install Removable Bollards

Removable bollards are helpful in temporary work zones. Follow this step-by-step guide for installing removable bollards on your worksite:

  1. Handle with care to prevent scratching or damage to the surface of the bollard. Keep bollard in its packaging until you are ready to install it.
  2. Use a high-powered auger to drill holes through the installation site.
  3. Create a hole at least six inches wider than the bollard’s diameter.
  4. Clean any debris or water with a vacuum.
  5. Place a rebel cage and gravel on the site below the bollard to control moisture and to strengthen the integrity of the bollard.
  6. Lay the bollard’s ground sleeve in the ground, keeping it still while you fill the hole.

How to Install Collapsible Bollards

Collapsible Bollards Prevent Vehicle Damage

Collapsible bollards prevent damage to vehicles and are more flexible for temporary work zones. Use this step-by-step guide as a reference for installing collapsible bollards on your worksite:

  1. Set the depth control on your Hammer Drill according to the bollard installation specifications listed in the manufacturer’s manual.
  2. Follow the instructions for mounting to determine the diameter and depth of your holes.
  3. Drill the holes and clear them of all debris and water using a vacuum.
  4. Place a drop-in insert into each hole, as described in your instructions.
  5. Insert a setting tool into each hole, securing each one with a hammer. By doing this, the internal expansion plug will set the concrete insert in place.
  6. Set the fold-down base over the holes.
  7. Secure the fold-down base with washers and bolts.
  8. Attach the padlock with the bollard in an upright position.
  9. Stand from a distance to ensure that the bollard stands upright.
  10. Test your collapsible bollard with a vehicle or by manually raising and lowering it.

How to Install Fixed Bollards

Fixed bollards are easier to install than removable bollards because they do not require the rebel cage or gravel. Refer to this step-by-step guide to safely install fixed bollards:

  1. If available, check site plans provided by the client to figure out where to install your bollards.
  2. Scan the location for underground cables, wiring or other hazards.
  3. Break the surface and dig a cube-shaped hole in accordance with the bollard’s specifications.
  4. Insert the base of the bollard into a concrete mix and hold it in place to ensure the bollard stands straight.
  5. Continue to fill the cube hole with concrete mix until it’s level with the ground.
  6. Rinse off any concrete residue with a soft cloth and water. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the bollard.

Completing and Finalizing the Process

Bollard Finish

To prevent dust, debris and water from gathering on a pipe bollard with a flat top, finish your bollard with a concrete top, bollard cap or bollard cover.

  • Concrete: Craft a mound of concrete on top of the bollard and mold it into a dome shape. After the concrete has cured, it would be difficult to add a bollard cap or cover.
  • Bollard cap: If you choose to add a cap to your bollard, add it while the concrete is still wet. Make sure there is a flat surface at the top of the pipe bollard to give your bollard an even, uniform appearance.
  • Bollard cover: To reduce future maintenance and give your bollard a nicer appearance, you can paint it or place a plastic cover over it. Clean the surface of the pipe bollard with a cloth and allow the concrete to cure.

Installing Bollards in Asphalt

Asphalt, made of liquid petroleum, is a popular material for urban construction, especially on roads, racetracks and runways. It’s waterproof, adhesive and malleable. You can produce asphalt by mixing an assortment of materials with a bitumen binder.

Asphalt is popular for urban construction

Depending on where you are in the world, you can benefit from any of the following types of asphalt:

  • Hot-mix asphalt is usually paved in the summertime. It’s typically used for racetracks and air-tracks. It produces a harder, finer surface. Aggregate must be dried before mixing.
  • Warm-mix asphalt is produced by adding waxes, zeolites or asphalt emulsions with a binder before mixing. This asphalt requires a lower consumption of fossil fuels and lower emission of aerosols and carbon dioxide. It can be done in any season and is useful for roads with moderate traffic.
  • Cold-mix asphalt is produced by mixing asphalt with water and soap. Over time, the water evaporates, and the asphalt takes on the same properties as hot-mix asphalt. Cold-mix asphalt is popular in rural settings.
  • Cut-back asphalt is not environmentally friendly, so it’s not recommended for use.
  • Mastic asphalt is heated until it becomes viscous. Add to an aggregate mix and cook for six to eight hours. The entire mixture is emptied out and laid directly onto the site where road construction will be formed.

Asphalt typically generates less roadway noise than concrete. Asphalt costs less and has a quicker curing time than cement. It also is softer and has a smoother surface. When using asphalt, be aware of its heat sensitivity. In the hot summer months, it’s more susceptible to degradation. 

asphalt costs less than cement

Bollards will fall if they are not securely installed in a substantial surface. Bollards could be dangerous in crowded areas like parking lots. If one bollard falls, it can harm a pedestrian or damage vehicles and other property. Follow these tips for installing bollards on asphalt:

  1. Install a concrete or cement base to keep the bollard in place.
  2. Provide space for a concrete base and anchor casting.
  3. Pour the concrete.
  4. Place the bollard over the anchor casting.
  5. Thread a rod through the base and tighten for extra integrity.
  6. Allow two to three inches of space for the asphalt.

Bollard Installation in Existing Concrete

Concrete is the most substantial substance used for bollard installation. Follow these simple steps to install bollards in existing concrete:

  1. Study the site plans to find out the specific bollard installation specifications for your worksite.
  2. Figure out how deep you’ll need to dig, based on the manufacturer’s guidelines and bollard code requirements.
  3. Check for hazards underground, such as wiring and pipes.
  4. Clean the surface to reduce the amount of debris.
  5. Using a core drill, make a hole in the concrete with a diameter that allows two extra inches on each side of the pipe bollard base.
  6. Use a vacuum to remove all water and debris.
  7. Dig the hole using an auger or a post hole digger.
  8. Mix and pour the concrete.
  9. Fill the hollow pipe bollard with concrete.
  10. After installing your preferred cement dome, clean the pipe bollard.
  11. Allow two to three days for the concrete to cure before resuming work in that area.
  12. After the curing period, inspect the site for any damage or scratches on the bollard.

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Our Products Related to Bollards

How to Find Bollard Installation Contractors Near You

Since 1986, D.E. Gemmill Inc. has provided high-quality products and services to serve the pavement maintenance industry. Our clients and customers trust our solid reputation over other bollard installation companies in PA. Our customers in PA are pleased with our quality of work and the amount of time it takes to complete a project.

D.E. Gemmill Inc.’s retail location values personal safety, giving you the tools you need to keep your employees safe while working on different job sites, roadways or warehouses. Located in York, PA, we strive to provide the best experience for all the different customers we interact with each day.

Browse our selection of safety products and services, including safety bollards. The core services we provide are:

  • Pavement Markings and Maintenance 
  • Temporary Traffic Control Signs and Rentals
  • Bollards and Site Amenities 
  • Sign Manufacturing and Installation

Our desire is to practice innovation, reliability and awareness of true quality. We are eager to explore new technologies and welcome any feedback you may have to help us serve you better.

D.E. Gemmill Inc. can help keep your employees safe. For any questions about bollard installation in Pennsylvania, Delaware or Virginia, contact us today.

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Craig Adams, Inc. has used D.E. Gemmill exclusively for our Line Painting and Signage needs since the 90’s.  We have always been very pleased with the quality of work performed, jobs completed in a timely fashion, and at competitive prices, on all size projects.  A great company to do business with!

— B. Keller , General Manager    , W. Craig Adams Inc

It has always been a positive experience working with D.E. Gemmill. It all starts in the estimating department where I can always count on receiving a proposal that is accurate and thorough. Then we have the tough task of scheduling on tight time frame jobs where Cary and Dave always seem to work us in when we need it. The field guys always do their best to bring to our attention possible conflicts that could present problems if they notice something that isn’t quite right.

I would recommend D.E. Gemmill’s services for anyone looking to have professional and quality workmanship on their projects.

— W. Stevens , Project Manager , Mainline Excavating

We wanted to send you a thank you for the great job. The men working were very good and completed their job very professionally. I really like when you have a great team to work with. Again thank you and your crew, we would recommend your company to anyone.

— W. Willders , Westminster Place At Stewartstown

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Also if you can get Donnie into singing lessons that would be great.  My ears still feel the pain.


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