High-Traffic Safety Bollards: The History Of The K-Rating
Designing the perimeter around any building calls for several safety parameters such as fences, gates, and bollards. The right bollards, in particular, make any commercial or industrial complex significantly safer because they can withstand vehicular accidents. Reducing pedestrian and driver injuries as well as property damage often requires bollards rated specifically for crash safety. Known as K-rated or anti-ram bollards, these products offer the most protection against vehicular accidents and have existed for several decades.
Ratings Based On Speed
In 1985, US Department of State (DoS) developed K rating standards to assess structural resistance to impact or assault. These standards were further developed by the department as well as the US Department of Defense (DoD) in 2003. Bollards had to successfully withstand the impact of a 15,000-pound vehicle, with ratings based on the speed of the vehicle making said impact: K4 for 30 miles per hour, K8 for 40, and K12 for 50. The ratings also refer to residential, arterial, and highway speeds, respectively. In 2003, DoS K-ratings additionally focused on preventing truck flatbeds from going more than 3.3 feet through a building structure.
The deep interest in K-ratings resulted in the development of another industry standard for crash ratings. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) created guidelines for measuring crash ratings not only for cars but for pick-up and semi-trucks of varying sizes. This meticulously-designed system has replaced DoS K-rating work in testing centers around the country; however, the term “K-rating” is still commonly used within the industry in reference to crash testing and safety ratings.
Crash-Rated Bollards & Anti-Terrorism
In 2009, the NYPD created their Engineering Security document featuring risk assessment guidelines for buildings that included anti-terrorist crash-rated bollard recommendations for
“High and Medium Tier” buildings. These buildings were defined as those with “exceptional” impact characteristics.
The covers used for crash-rated bollards are of special importance because of the shrapnel factor. Bollard covers made of plastic and steel do not produce shrapnel upon impact the way other cover materials do, which is especially important if the vehicle carries combustible products. Anti-ram bollards also require more planning because they come with subgrade footings made of steel. Working with an engineer is subsequently strongly recommended if you plan to use crash-rated bollards in your design plan.
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