Shallow Mount Bollards: An Introduction

Historically, the primary use of bollards was to control the flow of traffic and vehicle access. Whilst bollards still hold the same requirement, the shift in demand and necessities have changed, in particular, to protect both people and places from hostile vehicle attacks.

In this article, we review evolving security requirements and uncover the innovation of shallow mount bollards, and how these have revolutionised the perimeter security industry.

Installation Challenges

Across the UK, more and more bollards are being installed to keep city centres safe from hostile vehicle attacks. However, the installation of bollards into built environments does not come without its challenges.

After a string of vehicle attacks, most notably the 2016 Nice attack, councils and governments addressed that extra security measures needed to come into place putting perimeter security high on the agenda.

As the requirement for securing high profile places continues, security manufacturers are having to innovate to take into account the legacy of built environments and in particular infrastructure which has been installed close to the surface such as gas and water pipes, fibre optic cables and other underground infrastructure such as the London Underground. 

Underground infrastructure has resulted in a huge challenge when it comes to installing security measures, which are usually in the form of deep mount products, to sufficiently protect from vehicle attacks. Because of this, security companies have worked fast to innovate their perimeter security products to provide products which offer the same level of protection with surface and shallow mount bollards.

Shallow mount bollards have an excavation depth of less than 500 mm and have several advantages when it comes to installation. Surface and shallow mount products do not usually require pre-casting of the pit. There is also no need to divert underground utilities, contributing to a quicker and easier installation.

A quicker installation also means there is minimal disruption and noise pollution in the area due to less machinery required to install. Savings on the amount of concrete is also relevant which also has a positive impact on carbon footprint, as less concrete is needed when fitting the bollard.

Is a shallow mount product still high security?

Just because a bollard is shallow mounted, it doesn’t mean that it is less effective than its deep mounted counterparts. Many shallow mount bollard products on the market are available with a variety of crash ratings, meaning the product is capable of halting a specific weight of a vehicle travelling at a particular speed.

Historically in the UK we crash tested to the PAS68 standards. This can and is still used, however, the latest crash test standard that has been introduced is IWA 14. This combines PAS68 and the American ASTM standard.

A product that has been successfully crash tested will come with a rating, which may look like this:

IWA 14-1:2013 Bollard V/7200[N3C]/64/90:1.3

When broken down, this means that the product was crash tested to the IWA standard (International Workshop Agreement) halting a vehicle weighing 7.2 tonnes (N3C being the model of the vehicle) at 64 kph. The product was tested head-on at 90 degrees, with 1.3 metres of penetration. This is measured from the datum line, which is at the front of the product.

IWA 14-1 Explanation

What areas are suitable for shallow mount bollards?

Shallow mount products are suitable to be installed anywhere where deep mount products can be installed. However, there are a few advantages of where shallow mount bollards can be installed where deep mount bollards are not suitable:

  • The need to secure bridges was highlighted after the London Bridge Terrorist Attack in 2017. However, deep mount bollards cannot be installed due to the foundation depth required. Surface or shallow mount bollards are therefore a great alternative.
  • Town centres and pedestrianised areas. As these are busy places, disruption should be kept to a minimum. Shallow mount bollards can help aid this process, with sliding bollards being a good alternative as they allow a constant pedestrian flow as well as controlled vehicle access.
  • Temporary events. A solution to secure temporary events is surface mount security systems. These can be simply bolted to the ground and removed when necessary.

Heald’s Surface and Shallow Mount Innovations

At Heald, we have over thirty years’ experience in installing perimeter security products around the world. Our product range includes the world’s only sliding bollard solution, the Matador which addresses the most complex of install requirements. For more information on Heald’s shallow mount product range view our product range here.

For more advice, contact our friendly and knowledgeable sales team by calling +44 (0)1964 535858 or send an email to

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