A different approach
Why innovation is at the heart of Securiscape
He may have personally overseen every aspect of his company’s product development programmes, but there is always one stage Securiscape managing director Mark Stone cannot watch – the impact test.
“In 18 years of running this company,” says Mark, “I have never been able to watch the crash tests. “The night before them I’m a bag of nerves and my mind’s full of thoughts about whether the product is good enough or what we might have left out. Then the next day I always crouch down behind a car until it’s over because I don’t want to see what happens. There’s just too much at stake.”
In the case of Securiscape’s innovative Glide Bollard flexible HVM barrier system, he need not have worried. Released last year after a three-year R&D programme, the bollards underwent a series of successful crash tests to earn their IWA 14 rating, proving that they can withstand the impact with a 7.2 tonne truck travelling at 40mph.
In one memorable incident the truck had far more to fear than Mark did. In the aftermath of its test it was discovered that the truck had lost its front axle and its cab – and had flipped upside-down. The bollards, meanwhile, were completely unscathed.
Mark set up Securiscape 18 years ago and the Glide Bollards are the latest product to have hit the market, with more new ones now in the pipeline.
Its innovation is what has made Securiscape its name in the industry, with the Glide Bollards acting as a perfect example of what it can do to serve customers looking to protect their premises without turning their close environment into a fortress or stopping people from going about their business.
There are currently three versions of the Glide Bollard on the market, the Glide Bollard 30, the Glide Bollard 40 and the Glide Bollard Nano. All of them comprise of a series of steel bollards fitted onto a rail that is embedded into the surface of a road or pathway. Depending on need, the bollards can either be immobile or they can be slid aside manually to allow a vehicle to gain access and pushed back into place to form an impregnable barrier.
What makes the systems different is the depth to which they are embedded into the road surface and the level of protection they can offer. The Glide Bollard 30 and 40 can stop a truck travelling at 30mph and 40 respectively, while their installation depth is 210mm for the Glide Bollard 30 and 240mm for the Glide Bollard 40. The Glide Bollard Nano can stop a vehicle such as a Ford Mondeo travelling at 40mph and where it scores highly is the shallowness of the trench needed to install it.
Incredibly, bearing in mind the forces that it is capable of withstanding, this measures just 130mm – the length of a standard pencil.
It took many months and a significant investment for Securiscape to achieve this and the result is a system that is capable of being retrofitted in sites where there is a danger of disturbing underground services by excavating too deep. It also causes minimum fuss, takes less time and is more cost-efficient – three considerations that underpin everything that Securiscape does.
The company was born out of Mark’s previous company, which designed and rented out award-winning floral street planters. In 2016, in the wake of the vehicle-borne terrorist attack on Glasgow International Airport, it received a request to design a planter which could double as a defensive installation to stop further attacks on other sensitive buildings.
It produced its first prototype within a couple of years and, after selling his previous firm in 2016, Mark has concentrated on Securiscape full time and now works alongside his daughter, Chloe.
Street planters are still a major part of what the company does – it has installed them outside railways stations, banks and council offices – but it also supplies temporary street barriers for outdoor events, its bollards and a range of pedestrian guardrails which are capable of protecting people from vehicles being driven onto the pavement and used as weapons.
In all of these cases, just like the original street planters, the products have been developed to order, often in the wake of a spate of terrorist incidents where lives have been lost.
The temporary street barriers – called SecuriPods – were developed following the attacks on the Berlin Christmas Market in 2016, while the guardrails – which can also be installed on bridges – were produced following the attack on pedestrians on Westminster Bridge the following year.
Like the Glide Bollards, they are available in different versions and are IWA-14 rated, while they are also capable of being installed in sites which are unsuitable for products which require deeper footings or cannot be used on a slope.
“The Glide Bollards were also created in response to a customer inquiry,” Mark explains. “He got in touch to ask us if we sold a barrier system that could control vehicle movements but which didn’t impede the progress of pedestrians.
“The same is true of the guardrails, which came out of a request from a faith school which wanted to protect its students as they queued up on the pavement to enter the school gate each day. That’s not an easy undertaking because the space we had to work with was limited and there was also the issue of planning permission and so on, but it’s just the sort of challenge we love to take on.”
Securiscape holds eight separate patents and its product development is definitely the side of the job that Mark likes the most. In particular he is proud of the way in which he is able to solve customers’ problems and also create products that, in some cases, have never been seen before.
This includes the manual glide bollards but also Securiscape’s pedestrian guardrails, which were his answer to the inquiry from the faith school and are now in position. Understandably, they are different to normal roadside pedestrian guardrails, which are not designed to withstand a collision. Securiscape’s are and they can achieve a whole lot more, thanks to ground-breaking innovation that has revolutionised HVM technology.
Called the HVM Socketed Guardrail system, the product achieved its all-important IWA-14 rating after being subjected to a Highways England crash test involving a 2.5 tonne pick-up driven at 30mph at the vehicle testing facility MIRA in Leicestershire.
The successful test – it was yet another that Mark couldn’t bear to watch – represented a huge step forward for Securiscape, which is the only firm to sell an IWA-14-rated safety fence, thanks to its unique ground-mounted socket system and SmartPost technology.
This makes it easy to install and, more importantly, super-shallow – the excavation depth of the guardrail is just 400mm, thanks to a design innovation which ensures that the force from any impact is dissipated along the length of the railings rather than the posts having to bear the brunt. This means the fencing can be installed with a minimum of fuss and relatively cheaply – and makes it ideal for protecting pedestrians using the pavements on busy road bridges.
Not only has its R&D underpinned its success over the past 18 years, it has earned Securiscape the opportunity to install its products in some of the best addresses in the country, including One Hyde Park, the luxury apartment block, which is famous for being the most expensive residential development in London.
Its planters are also stationed outside UBS Bank in the City of London, it has recently completed an installation for Leicester Tigers Rugby Club and the mixed development close to Wembley Stadium also doubles as a showroom for Securiscape’s products, with 54 Glide Bollards, dozens of planters and many metres’ worth of Guardrail playing their part in keeping everybody safe.
“It’s amazing when we think about where we install our products, but the best bit about the job for me is working with our designers on new ideas, learning new ways to solve people’s problems and making what sounds impossible possible,” Mark reveals.
“Nobody wants our streets to be turned into a fortress, which is why we make products that don’t look out of place, and everything we do has to be practical and cost-effective. That’s one of the biggest challenges to the sector. Like in other industries, costs are rising and people have budgets to protect, so much of what we do looks at how easy the products are to install and transport because we can save customers’ money that way.
“That takes up a huge amount of my thinking time and our product development, but with Protect Duty on the way, many more organisations are going to have to look at installing perimeter security products and we in the industry have a duty to ensure that they are as affordable and effective as possible.”
To find out more about Securiscape and its products click here