How to Remove Bollards


In today’s help article, we’re going to show you how to remove bollards safely.

W H Y do you need to know how to remove bollards?

Bollards are frequently employed to regulate traffic in public areas, both for vehicles and for pedestrians. However they occaionally cause trouble or get in the way. Or other times they just need to be moved. So sometimes you need to remove bollards. It’s important that you follow correct and safe techniques when you remove bollards to prevent damage to property or injury to person. Either whether you need to remove a bollard to create room for another, for construction or to replace a damaged one.

In this post we show you a step-by-step guide on things you need to consider and how to remove a bollard

1. Assess the situation

Before attempting to remove a bollard, you should importantly evaluate the situation. Is it safe to continue? When you are assessing this, you should take note of any potential obstacles like the kerb levesl, tress, or lighting – so be sure to look around your nearby surroundings. You should also really think about any other underground utilities or other infrastructure that might be in the way. If you can, we really suggest that you conduct a Dial-Before-You-Dig request.

2. Gather the tools and equipment you’ll need to remove a bollard

Depending on the type of bollard and the removal technique, you may need a range of tools and pieces of equipment. Most commonly you’ll need:

  • hammer
  • crow bar
  • pipe wrench
  • drill with masonry bits
  • saw or angle grinder
  • jack-hammer

You’ll also need to get your safety gear together, which should include gloves, eye protection and maybe even a hard hat!

Row of fixed steel bollards separating a pedestrian walkway from the road with vehicle traffice

3. Determine the type of bollard you’re removing

Each bollard is going to be different, and the way they are installed also varies. Some are surface-mounted, while others are embedded in-ground into concrete or bitumen. Often they may be core-drilled and fitted with fasteners or cemented into the concrete. Others may have “wing” fixings below ground, so this is another factor you need to consider when removing them.

4. Removing a surface-mounted bollard

Generally, surface-mounted bollards are going to be a lot easier to remove. For these, you should start by using a wrench or socket-drill in reverse to loosen any bolts or screws holding the bollard in place. Usually these will be clearly visible if the bollard is in good shape, and so these will be very straight forward to remove. Just find the right size drill socket, pop it on your drill, and reverse the fixing out. A great example of surface mounted bollards that are easy to remove with the right tools are our smartphone parking bollards. This means that if you remove them according to instructions, you can take them to another location and they can be easily re-installed.

Then just carefully lift or pry the bollard with the base right off and you’re all done! Easy As!

5. Removing bollards fixed with chemical anchors

Sometimes the fixings are anchored with a chemical anchor as well. If that’s the case, the fixing won’t come out as easily as just reversing with a drill. And that’s when you’re going to need to use a bit more elbow grease. And you also need to take care not to strip the fixing head.

So if a fixing bolt or screw has been further strengthened by using chemical anchors to install, it’s more than likely it’s not going to come out so easily. In this case, your best bet is going to be to use an angle grinder to cut the head of each fixing off. Once you do that, you should be able to pop the base-plate of a surface mounted bollard up and off. This is also the neatest way to remove anchored fixings, as it minimises damaging the surface paving or concrete. Finally once you take this bollard off, just make sure you grind the fixings back down to the same surface level of the concrete. You don’t want to leave any sharp fixings sticking out of the ground which could damage tyres or be a trip hazard.

Often when we install into bitumen, we’ll use chemical anchors around the fixing to ensure that the bollard doesn’t move or give with temperature changes. We do this regularly with our manual folding bollards – especially the taller ones which can lever a bit more easily in bitumen.

6. Removing in-ground bollards

In ground bollards can be a lot tricker to remove. In this situation, before you do anything you need to find out:

  • how deep the bollard goes
  • what’s it set into in the ground? Is it concrete, dirt or bitumen?
  • does the bollard have any concrete fill? that makes it really heavy and hard to lift
  • are there any other embedded services nearby? electrical cabling? water or gas pipes?
  • have you done a dial-before-you-dig?
  • what are you going to fill the hole with when you’ve removed the bollard?
  • do you have enough protective gear and the right tools to extract it?
  • do you need to fill the hole with concrete after? and if so, how long will it take to dry? do you have proper fencing to make it a safe worksite?
  • do you need any permissions from any local authorities?
Removing in-ground bollards can be harder than you think! Ask a professional!

Generally any experienced builder or handy person can get a pretty good idea of what you need to do when assessing. But if you’re not sure, and you’re a weekend recreational handy person without much experience, please make sure you check with a seasoned pro! Also you might need a concrete saw and a truck to remove the heavy concrete!

We do get requests for inground bollards from time to time – especially fixed ones. But often a surface-mounted bollard will work just as well – it just penetrates less into the slab and doesn’t need core-drilling. So have a chat with us about it first!

7. Cut the bollard if you have to!

In some situations where that bollard is just not coming out, you will have to resort to the final option. which is cutting the bollard down. For this, you’ll need either a reciprocating saw or angle grinder. And when using these types of tools, you MUST use safety equipment. At a minimum stiff protective gloves, and eye protection. As you cut the steel of the bollard or the concrete, you’ll often get sparks flying, some metal and sometimes concrete debris. Please protect yourself properly by wearing the right safety gear! Also be careful that you only cut what’s in site. You don’t want to hit any underground electricity cables, water pipes or gas mains – that infrastructure is a pain to fix!

8. Prying a bollard out of the ground

Sometimes bollards aren’t fixed particularly strongly into the ground. Or the surface is softer or looser. Like road base or even bitumen at times. When that’s happened, removing a bollard can often be as simple as prying it out of the ground with a pry bar or pipe wrench. Double check you’ve loosened all fixings, like bolts or screws first. It’s also a good move to use steady pressure and take it slowly, to prevent any injuries or that the bollard suddenly pops out of the ground and startles you.

9. Remove any remaining debris and clean up

When you’ve successfully removed the bollard, now it’s time to clean up after yourself. Any good trades person always shows their best work when they leave a site neat, clean and tidy. So after removing the bollard, make sure you’ve cleaned up after yourself. Dispose of the bollard in a suitable tip or skip bin. And the same goes for any fixings, chopped out concrete or bitumen, or dirt. Check the area for any debris or leftover parts to make the area safe for vehicles and pedestrians, remove any debris. You don’t want to leave any trip hazards, dirt or bits of fixings or concrete chips behind that could damage car tyres, or get stuck in some poor little doggie’s paws!

And if you’re not sure you’re confident enough to do it yourself, get a professional to help! At thatsmyspot we are super experienced at removing and installing bollards in a range of surfaces. Our installers come with their own tools and equipment, are fully insured, and are super neat and tidy. And they ALWAYS clean up after themselves to leave your site clean, tidy and with our new bollards installed.

If you have any questions on how to remove and install parking bollards, please just get in touch and we’d be happy to help. Or check out our installation page for more info on how to install parking bollards or ask us for a quote.