All a bollard is—-is a post installed next to something you don’t want whacked by something, or something you want to exclude access to.
Out and about, one can see Bollards next to electrical transformers, gas meters and gas pumps at service stations. You might also find them in the middle of a road, if the road is not for public use. The bollard can then be removed to allow authorized vehicles to use the road. Lots of parks and forest service roads have these kinds of bollards.
In homes you will find them primarily in the garage to prevent the furnace and/or water heater from getting hit by vehicles—-as in the picture to the left.
So, how does the inspector inspect these bollards? A really good test would be to get in the car and give the car a good go at it. Of course this could have disastrous consequences that would also likely result in the inspector never doing another inspection.
There is actually no really good way to test the effectiveness of a bollard because it is a function of scale. No bollard can stop a 2000 pound car going 20 miles an hour with no breaks. In that scenario the water heater is going to eat the car. I am not sure that the bollard could even stand the same scenario at 10 miles per hour; however, I do think it should be able to withstand a moderate karate kick from a 65 year-old.
The one in the picture did not. One good kick pulled the bolts right out of the concrete.
Mechanical type bolts should never be used to resist “pull-out” type forces. Epoxy type bolts should be used for this type of installation. Epoxy bolting will break the floor before it pulls out the bolts. Some jurisdictions don’t allow bolts but require that the post be imbedded in concrete—-steel pipes filled with concrete. The nice thing about bolting them is that they can be removed to make replacement of whatever they are protecting easier.
A bollard should not just give the “appearance” of protection—-it must actually perform as intended—-to protect against moderate forces applied to it.
The best solution of all of course is to stay sober, make sure your breaks work and keep the keys away from 6.5 year-olds
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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