Charles Broadhurst has always been security conscious. When he and his family emigrated from South Africa, the 200 metre driveway to his new home on a lifestyle block in Paeremoremo, just north of Auckland, was a concern. If everyone was out, the place was open for the taking. The question was how to gain security? Electric gates were ruled out as being too flimsy.
A bollard was a substantial barrier so with son David, an electrical engineering graduate, he had a look around at how other people were doing it. The Broadhursts believed they could improve on the price, design and function.
They came up with an innovative design using compressed air and a simple but unique and now patented assembly much different from others in the market.
David Broadhurst looked after the electronics software and the pneumatic side of the controls and Charles, who had a background in construction management, sorted out how to build the product they had designed together.
A Bully Boy assembly does not incorporate motors, pumps, valves, hydraulics, pneumatic cylinders or high voltage wiring. The completely sealed assembly means regular clean out of debris from the casing is not required.
The Bully Boy has just one moving part, uses a single conduit for the compressed air supply and electricity and has sophisticated electronic controls enabling activation by a pin pad, swipe card or remotely by cell phone. It has built-in intelligence which records when the bollard is activated.
Settings such as ‘aggressive’ prevent tailgating or ‘sensitive’ allow following vehicles to enter safely.
Using compressed air allowed the Bully Boy to be tough in terms of the loading it can withstand from something like a truck driving on top of it in a situation where the bollard may be partly raised.
“We discovered later in one of the projects we did in Wellington that this presented quite a challenge – people don’t like waiting for the green light before driving on. It’s the orange light mentality,” says David.
“And they were getting a surprise from the Bully Boy.”
He says electromechanical bollards or those using a hydraulic ram must try to support the weight of the vehicle. They often don’t survive and maintenance costs become a major factor.
Still the Bully Boy itself is very strong and difficult to cut. The full length of a barrier ram is a solid filled composite and the total length of the barrier ram is over twice the raised height of the bollard, reducing the stress on the reinforced concrete foundation.
Another point of difference, the Broadhursts say, is that the unit is completely sealed – from the road surface all the way into the ground.
“This means there is no drainage required at the bottom of the foundation. It can be a major cost if you have to dig two metres down to run drainage. The seal profile was custom made for us in Auckland and suits our needs in terms of friction and not requiring machined parts to hold it in place.”
Corrosion is not a problem because of the materials selected and how they are used – there is no reliance on paints or other coatings.
The air is generated by compressors within 100 metres off to the side or in a building where they are securely housed in a suitable environment.
Bully Boy has been around for about four years but it was only this year that the company adopted a more aggressive marketing stance, taking in partners to allow its expansion and drive into overseas markets.
“Our orders so far have all come from word of mouth but New Zealand is a small market. It is a great environment to verify and validate the market but we are looking to Australia for our expansion.”
Bully Boy has 15 installations in New Zealand and Australia for traffic management, site health and safety and security in public spaces, businesses, schools and universities, churches and banks.
“We have installed some Bully Boys at private residences – more to prevent expensive cars from being stolen than keeping anyone out,” says David.
Two automated retractable bollards and four fixed bollards control vehicle traffic crossing the bridge between the Viaduct Basin and North Wharf in central Auckland.
The Bully Boy bollards were installed before the 2011 Rugby World Cup to help safely integrate approved vehicles with the hundreds of thousands of pedestrians who visited the Auckland Waterfront during the event.
Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building is one of the world’s oldest exhibition pavilions. High security is essential as some of the building’s contents are irreplaceable. In 2010 a major upgrade was made to the entrance area. A strong, secure and easy-to-use system was needed to allow tour buses and authorised cars through the main entrance. Two Bully Boy bollards are installed in the entry lane and two in the exit lane.
They interface to an access control system allowing swipe card operation. The Bank of Baroda installed eight fixed Bully Boy bollards across the front and side of its Auckland branch which had the added advantage of enabling the bank to meet insurance company security requirements.
“We don’t currently have accurate information to quantify the impact strength of the bollards but are currently undertaking a project to address this extensively. The strength of the smaller diameter bollards (127mm and 152.4mm) will be calculated and then verified to a large extent by stressing the barrier ram in a test jig,” says David.
The larger 203mm diameter bollard will be crashed tested to cater for increased enquiries for The Bully Boy in high security applications.
“The test is to be conducted to an American standard defined by ASTM [www.astm.org]. This standard replaces an old standard which was set by the US Department of State,” says David.
“The standard defines the complete test methodology and gives several options for the vehicle type, weight and speed that should be used. In our case we have found the market specifies 6800kg at 48.28kph for high security installations with bollards. So this is a small truck with a payload. The designation for this condition under the ASTM standard is M30 however people still refer a lot to the conditions defined in the old department of state standard which calls the condition K4.
“We are lucky that one of the few places in the world certified to and experienced in conducting these tests is in Christchurch,” David says.
Massey University’s Manawatu campus has 13 student halls of residence and units on the campus catering for over 900 students. The car park for Mogenie Hall was controlled by a vehicle barrier arm but it was often damaged and broken, providing no real security. There were many incidents of theft and damage to vehicles in the car parks and university security staff decided they needed to install a solution which provided a substantial barrier to thieves and vandals.
“For us the challenges were really around the fact that this is a high traffic area and we needed a system that was robust enough to have students and their visitors coming in and out at any time,” says Massey University operations and security manager Kerry-Lee Probert.
Massey University replaced the vehicle barrier arms with Bully Boy bollards.
The existing road surface was removed across the full width of the car park entrance, foundation holes were drilled and the bollards were positioned – one automatic retractable bollard in each of the entry and exit lanes and four matching static bollards plus two swipe card reader posts. The four static bollards each have a red/green LED lighting module mounted on top to indicate stop and go to drivers.
Students in the halls of residence are supplied with electronic swipe cards to enter and exit the car park and others who need to use the car park – such as contractors – are given temporary access using a swipe card.
Control of the Bully Boy bollards is integrated into the electronic system used by the university to control access to secure doors and traffic barrier arms all around Massey University’s Palmerston North campus. “Rather than having a standalone Bully Boy system, it is integrated into access system which is centrally managed,” says Kerry-Lee.
“It means I can get reports of when the bollards are used and by whom from the same system iuse for doors and traffic barrier arms. It also means that if we’ve got an Open Day or there’s an emergency needing an ambulance of the fire brigade then we have the ability to lower the Bully Boy bollards from the office.”
The total cost of the Bully Boy installation at Massey University was about $30,000.
A big challenge for Wellington Waterfront was how to safely integrate legitimate vehicular traffic – such as business and residential tenants’ vehicles, service vehicles and VIP cars – with the walkers, runners, skateboarders, cyclists and mums and dads pushing child buggies.
“The problem was unauthorised vehicle access and parking on the waterfront – and that leads to vehicle and pedestrian conflicts. We had never had a serious accident but it was just a matter of time,” says project manager Andrew Howie.
A barrier arm had been in place for two years in the mid-2000s but was continually vandalised. It had to be fixed at great expense and was often not working.
“People who wanted to pick people up from clubs and bars on the waterfront would rip the barrier arm off after dark – usually on a Friday night,” says Andrew.
“We couldn’t get it fixed over the weekend. We would order a new part on Monday, have the barrier arm reinstalled on a Tuesday in time to have it snapped off again on Friday.”
After a year without any access control Wellington Waterfront engaged a security company to put guards on the Queens Wharf Hunter Street access six days a week, 14 hours a day as a temporary measure while a permanent solution was selected and installed. The guards did not provide 24/7 service but covered the busiest times. They were in place for nine months and were a very expensive and ineffective way of controlling vehicle access.
“You can argue with a security guard… you can’t argue with a Bully Boy bollard”.
Three companies submitted proposals for the Hunter Street traffic management system in 2009. Andrew says Bully Boy developer Charles Broadhurst impressed with his personal in-depth knowledge of his product and Wellington Waterfront’s requirements.
“Bully Boy demonstrated a completely sealed design which does not require drainage. Low maintenance and high reliability were very important to us.
“Charles was able to show us the engineering of the bollards right down to examples of the cabling and the seals. From his demonstrations we were very confident that Bully Boy would be able to meet our needs at a reasonable price.”
Bully Boy’s solution was to install 10 automatic bollards and one fixed bollards, all 750mm high and six inches diameter. All are fitted with red/green LED lighting to indicate stop and go to drivers, and impact detection modules.
Three of the 10 automatic bollards are used regularly by day to day users, with typically up to 1000 operations a week. The remaining seven automatic bollards are lowered to allow large trucks to manoeuvre in the area.
The cost of the Hunter Street installation was about $122,000.
A second installation at the TaranakiSt entrance to the waterfront, was completed in January 2011.
The Taranaki St entrance has six automatic bollards, all 750mm high and six inches in diameter. All are fitted with red/ green LED lighting and impact detection modules. There are also two swipe card reader posts (one in the entry lane, one in the exit lane) which visually match the bollards.
Two of the three automatic bollards in each lane are used regularly, the third usually remains raised with its lighting module (and the one on the swipe reader post) providing red/green stop/go indication in accordance with the movement of the two automatic bollards. The third automatic bollard is lowered to create more room for trucks.
The cost of the Taranaki Street installation was about $116,000.
Andrew says different access methods are needed for the different types of people who need to have waterfront access. The two main access methods are swipe card and pin pad. Regular users, such as tenants and suppliers, get a swipe card and may also be given a remote control so they don’t have to get out of their vehicles. Occasional users, such as police and fire service, use a pin number.
“One of the things we discovered along the way is that it’s not possible to have a single system that works for everyone. You can’t give a swipe card to every policeman in town, so they’ve got a pin number that is held in confidence by their central control. If police are despatched down to a bar on the waterfront, they will call up for the code which they can punch in as they come through. Similarly we have one-offs such as visiting diplomats going to Shed 5 for dinner and we will give their driver a one-off pin number that can be used today and cancelled tomorrow.
“We don’t want a whole lot of pin numbers because if other people get hold of them then it defeats the purpose. It’s all controllable out of the office and we can do audits off every card and every pin number to see the number of times someone has come in and when. If it looks as if they are doing it excessively then we can pull them up on it."
Andrew says the Wellington Waterfront bollards are set to sensitive because their main function is traffic management rather than security.
“We’re not protecting the Crown Jewels,” he quips.
The bollards are not revenue generating but they have saved Wellington Waterfront on the cost of repairing frequently vandalised barrier arms and on the, albeit temporary, solution of security guards at the Hunter Street entrance.
The equation there was $122,000 for a permanent 24×7 Bully Boy bollard solution with minimal maintenance costs versus a very expensive on-going 14 hour x 6 days a week security guard solution.
“We are more than happy,” he says.
“In fact we’ve got a number of other places on the waterfront that we are looking at that we would like to install Bully Boy bollards in the future,” says Andrew.
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