Understanding Impact Barriers (Armco)

We receive a number of phone calls every week asking how to specify impact barriers, in particular the following issues:

  • How many Post and Lap bolts do I need?
  • How many lengths of barrier do I need?
  • How many posts do I need?
  • Which type of post do I need?

This post is intended to explain exactly how to specify the sizes of impact barriers and when to use custom length pieces.

Impact Barrier Basics

The most important concept to understand about standard impact barrier is how barrier sections and ends are connected together.

At the end of each piece there are 9 holes.

  • 8 of these holes are for Lap bolts. These bolts secure the ends to each other. Each lap bolt is M16x35mm.
  • 1 centre hole is for the Post bolt. This is the bolt that secures the crash barriers to the upright posts.

The diagram below illustrates this.

Impact barriers hole spacing
The red holes are for Lap bolts, the green hole is for the post bolt.

Lengths of barrier

There are two lengths that are commonly referred to when talking about impact barrier lengths:

  • Actual length: This is the total length of the barrier from the very end to end.
  • Effective length: This is the length between the post bolt holes. This is also the post spacing.

For example, if you fixed together two pieces of 3.5m (3.2m effective) impact barrier, distance between posts at each end would be 6.4m, with a length from end to end being 6.4 + 0.15 + 0.15 = 6.7 metres.

Post Spacing

Depending on the application, you can space your posts at either 3.2 metres or 1.6 metres. A post spacing of 1.6m will obviously offer a lot more protection and strength once installed.

Post Types and Mounting

There are two types of post available and two types of mounting system. Post types include:

  • Z section – This is the most economical type of post available and is formed from a single piece of 5mm steel plate – forming a ‘Z’ shape when looking from above.
  • RSJ / ‘I’ Beam – This follows the same shape as many RSJ beams used in construction. They are considerably more expensive but are the strongest type available.

Both types are available in:

  • Bolt down – The post is welded to a large plate that is designed to be bolted down with our impact barrier bolts.
  • Cast in – The post is designed to be set into concrete.

Corners and Finishing a Run of Impact Barrier

Typically it is advised to allow an additional 0.5m from the post to the apex of the corner. Our flexible corners can be bent from the standard 90 degrees to other angles to suit your application.

Tolerances of Impact Barriers

When designing an impact barrier application on paper it is common to design to very precise measurements – and this in turn usually adds significant cost as custom lengths are required to meet these dimensions.

In reality, because of the scale of impact barrier installations being within half a metre of the perfect length will often be good enough. This avoids having to have increased costs, lead times and instead we are able to deliver direct from stock without any waiting.

The new Watchman Barrier MKII

A compact and lightweight barrier system, the Watchman Barrier, has recently been revamped – the Watchman Barrier MKII.

Watchman Barrier MKII
The new Watchman MKII includes anti-trip feet – 2M kit shown.

This redesign is intended to introduce a number of improvements to the older design that includes.

  • HDPE Planks for longer lifespan – These don’t go brittle or crack easily.  These are available in yellow or white.
  • Non-trip feet and revamped posts – even more stable. An innovative foot design means that the trip hazard is reduced to virtually zero.
  • A range of reflectives and lamps are available for the system.
Watchman Barrier non-trip foot
The new Watchman Barrier has a new anti-trip foot.

The feet in the new system are almost completely flat, yet maintain rigidity by using a single GRP rod throughout the middle.

The Watchman Barrier plank hooks

The new, long lasting planks are built to slot into the posts without wobble or slack, and within the post is a heavy duty recycled weight that gives additional stability.

When space is a premium, this is the barrier system to choose – and improves on the original post and plank system in every way.

Please contact us if you would like a quote on the Watchman MKII barrier system.

New Skipper Barrier Accessories

Recently Skipper have released three new products to compliment their Skipper barrier range.

  • The Skipper Recycle bin.
  • The Skipper Safety dispenser.
  • The Skipper Hand sanitiser bracket.
New Skipper Barrier Accessories
From left to right: The Skipper waste bin, The Safety dispenser and the Sanitiser dispenser.

Skipper Recycle Bin

The new Skipper recycle bin offers a versatile approach to waste disposal. The bin can attach to the Skipper post & base collar, the magnetic & cord strap holder/receiver and the suction pad holder/receiver via the suction cup bracket. This allows the Skipper bin to be moved around to wherever it may be needed and used to be used in many environments.

Skipper recycle bin
The new Skipper recycle bin on its own.
Skipper bin and barrier
The Skipper bin and dispenser

Skipper Safety Dispenser

The Skipper Safety Dispenser is designed for environments where safety equipment or PPE needs to made available. Ear buds and safety glasses are common items to dispense. Like the recycle bin above, it works with the rest of the Skipper system allowing it to be attached or placed anywhere – freestanding or on a wall.

Skipper safety dispenser
The Skipper safety dispenser on its own
Skipper barrier system with accessories in factory workshop
The Skipper barrier system being used on a factory production line

Skipper Sanitiser Bracket

The Skipper Sanitiser Bracket complements the above accessories – it adds the ability to hold a bottle of hand sanitiser or other dispenser. Ideal for hospital or health-conscious environments where it can be placed literally anywhere.

Skipper sanitiser bracket
The Skipper sanitiser hand bracket on its own
Skipper hand sanitiser bracket in use
The Skipper hand sanitiser bracket with wall mount (sold separately)

How they can be used together

All skipper accessories are designed to work together using a standard mount – The image below shows how you could use the bin and safety dispenser. It has been used with the post and base system, including a standard Skipper retractable barrier and A4 Sign holder.

Skipper post and base, safety dispenser, recycle bin, retractable barrier and A4 sign holder
The Skipper barrier system with accessories in use

The Skipper collar is an accessory that allows any of the above to be connected to the Skipper post and base.

Skipper barrier collar
The collar fits over the post and base, allowing many other Skipper accessories to be fitted.

These are available to buy from Start Traffic here:

Skipper Recycle Bin
Skipper Safety Dispenser
Skipper Hand SanitiserSkipper Collar for Post and Base

Premium Quality Stop and Go Sign

Standard Stop and Go sign (or lollipop signs) often come with reflective or non-reflective faces that are vulnerable to scratches, can discolour over time and may have bubbles caught underneath. This is not only unsightly but will reduce the visibility and lifespan of your product. Why waste your money on a stop / go sign that won’t last?

Our new, Premium Stop and Go Lollipop Signs are built to take the conditions out on the road and offer real value for money.

Why use our Stop and Go Sign?

comparison of stop-go signs

We use 3M Engineer Grade Prismatic Reflective Sheeting which is a non-metalised microprismatic sheeting for permanent road traffic signs meeting the performance requirements of BS EN 12899-1:2007 Class RA1.

  • Reflective faces designed for a seven year effective performance life.
  • Durable – provides a seven year effective performance life.
  • Improved legibility, due to better colour contrast.
  • Enhanced brightness by day and by night.
  • Better visibility in all weather conditions.

3M reflective sheeting

In addition to the reflective face being very high quality, this is stuck on to a body that has the following features.

  • Single molded body from HDPE – virtually impossible to break and doesn’t rust.
  • Detachable handle for more compact transport between locations.

The premium stop and go lollipop signs is available in stock, ready for same day dispatch from Start Traffic here: Premium Stop and Go Lollipop Sign

Stabilising Pedestrian Barriers

With the introduction of new wind speed code of practice and stabilising pedestrian barriers, Oxford Plastics has released an innovative new ballast tray which allows the barrier to withstand even the worst windspeeds.

ballast tray for Avalon barriers
The new ballast tray for Avalon barriers.

The feature that makes this unique is that the tray can be filled with Heras fence feet, sand, soil or  other ballast. These are usually on-site where the barrier is being used!

Below is a table that lists the weight required in the ballast tray to meet the specific wind speed class regulations. This varies according to the barrier type being used.

Kg required for each windspeed class BS8442
Barrier Type C 19.5mph B 38.4mph A 58.8mph
2m Avalon 0 37 90
2m Pro 0 25 65
1.25m Watchman 0 0 16
1.5m Watchman 0 3 24
2m Watchman 0 12 44
3m Watchman 0 34 97
Tray weighs approximately 45kg when level filled with soil
Standard fencefoot weighs 18kg
Oxford Plastics Ballast Tray
The Oxford Ballast Tray can be purchased on its own or with the Avalon barrier

The ballast tray is available in stock, ready for same day dispatch from Start Traffic here: Oxford Ballast Tray.

An alternative – the JSP Cross Link Barrier

Whilst the new ballast tray solution is suitable for almost all jobs, other alternatives do exist to add stability. One of these is the JSP Cross Link system for the Frontier Barrier.

Frontier barrier introduction to stability poles
The new Frontier barrier form JSP

Using two telescopic stability poles, it is possible to cross brace barriers to each other or alternatively to weighted blocks. This gives some flexibility in certain applications.

Cross-link pole in detail
Cross-link pole in detail

The Surefoot bloc is a high density PVC weight which can be used in one of two ways.

  • It can be placed over any JSP foot, adding weight and increasing stability.
  • It can be combined with the telescopic stability poles to provide even further wind resistance and stability.
Anti-tamper system for the Frontier barrier
An anti-tamper device is also available for the Frontier barrier

The Frontier barrier system is in stock and available from Start Traffic, ready for same day dispatch here: Frontier Barrier from JSP