Understanding the Importance of the Bollard Rating System

In the dynamic realm of building security, the role of security bollards as formidable barriers against vehicular threats cannot be overstated. As the demand for effective protective measures grows, professionals in the building security industry must navigate the intricate world of bollard ratings to fortify structures with precision. This article delves into the bollard rating system and explains the importance of various K and M ratings and provides real-world examples that underscore the significance of each parameter.

Bollard Rating System Overview

The bollard rating system is a meticulous framework designed to assess and categorize the performance of security bollards in real-world scenarios. It encompasses a spectrum of factors, including strength, safety, and impact resistance, to provide a holistic understanding of a bollard’s capabilities to stop moving vehicles at various speeds of impact. Typical standards are based on measuring how a bollard stands up to a 15,000-pound medium sized truck moving at speeds from 30 to 50 mph at impact.

Example: Ontario Bollards recently conducted crash tests of a 15,000-pound flat bed truck colliding with our M-30 bollard at speeds of 30mph which resulted in a zero penetration result of the truck’s payload area. This would categorize the M-30 bollard with a P1 certification rating. Click here to view crash test video.

Bollard Strength Assessment

At the core of the rating system is the bollard strength assessment, a process that involves rigorous crash tests simulating potential threats. These tests evaluate a bollard’s ability to withstand impact forces, considering variables such as vehicle speeds and impact angles. The results are translated into the M-rating system that classifies bollards based on their resistance to impact. For more information on crash testing refer to our bollard testing partner Calspan.

Vehicle Impact Protection

The rating system introduces specific metrics such as M-rating and K-rating to address the diverse range of vehicular threats. Originally developed by the United States Department of Defence (DOD) back in the 80’s, the “K-rating” system was the standard for measuring the strength and resiliency of bollards. In 2003, post 9/11 concerns around terrorism and the use of vehicles as ramming weapons saw a revision to the K-rating standards that became the industry excepted norm.

More recently the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has established the “M-rating” system that is now the standard and accepted certification internationally. While the systems are similar, and K-rating is still often referred to in the industry there are differences primarily around vehicle penetration distances. M-ratings range from P1 for less than 3.3 ft of payload penetration to P4 for any vehicle whose payload penetrates beyond 98.4 ft from impact.

Example: Imagine a bustling urban environment where a facility faces the risk of both compact cars and larger delivery trucks posing potential threats. In such a scenario, an M30-rated bollard strategically placed can provide a comprehensive defense against a spectrum of vehicular threats. Learn more here: https://ontariobollards.com/blog/k-rated-bollards-vs-m-rated-bollards/

Customer Safety Considerations

Ensuring the safety of store occupants and the surrounding environment is paramount in bollard design and implementation. The rating system accounts for factors such as the potential for vehicle penetration and the risk of debris projection during an impact. Safety ratings guide security professionals in selecting bollards that not only repel threats but also minimize the likelihood of collateral damage from deliberate or accidental vehicular ramming.

Example: Consider a scenario of a high-traffic location such as coffee shop or convenience store that experience a steady flow of pedestrian walk-in traffic. The implementation of bollards with high safety ratings ensures that, in the event of a vehicle impact such as brake failure, driver error or deliberate “smash and grab” robberies, the risk of injury to pedestrians and the surrounding infrastructure is significantly reduced. For statistics and more information visit the Storefront Safety Council website at www.storefrontsafety.org

Bollard Impact Resistance

A crucial aspect of the rating system is the evaluation of a bollard’s impact resistance. This encompasses an assessment of the materials used in construction, design features, and overall structural integrity. Bollards are assigned ratings that reflect their performance in scenarios where impact resistance is paramount, aiding security professionals in selecting solutions tailored to their facility’s unique requirements. The majority of bollards provided by Ontario Bollards are constructed with stainless steel which ensures durability and corrosion resistance. Refer to this article for more details about stainless steel bollards.

Example: Picture a municipal or government building that has to project a professional and aesthetic entranceway but is also vulnerable to potential vehicular attacks. Stainless steel bollards with high impact resistance ratings, strategically placed at vulnerable access points, act as a robust deterrent against unauthorized vehicle penetration while still blending with modern architecture.

Types Of Bollards

Understanding the diverse types of bollards is essential for tailoring security measures to specific scenarios. The rating system accommodates various bollard types, including fixed, removable, and retractable options. Each type serves a distinct purpose, and the rating system empowers security professionals to choose the most suitable option based on the unique security challenges of each location.

Example: In a mixed-use development where traffic flow requirements vary throughout the day, retractable bollards with adjustable bollards provide the flexibility needed to balance security and accessibility.


As the security landscape continues to evolve, the bollard rating system stands as a beacon of precision, guiding professionals in the building security industry toward tailored protective measures. By considering factors such as strength, safety, and impact resistance, the rating system empowers security experts to make informed decisions that not only deter potential threats but also prioritize the safety of occupants and the surrounding environment. In a world where security is non-negotiable, the bollard rating system emerges as an indispensable tool, seamlessly integrating into the broader strategy of safeguarding buildings and facilities with precision and efficacy.

For more information Contact Shawn Lowry at https://ontariobollards.com/contact-us/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *