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Comparing MASS Crash Tested Barriers, Water-Filled Barriers and Concrete Barriers

Although what a barrier does can usually be recognised by its name, many of those different types out there – MASS crash tested, water-filled and concrete – could all suit a range of purposes. So if you’re researching which barrier is fit for your purpose, it makes sense to find out which barriers are the best-fit across a range of different jobs …

MASS Crash Tested Barriers

One of the most readily spotted highway barriers across Europe, popular for their durability, stability, easy deployment properties and cost-effectiveness, MASS Barriers offer the benefits of being:

  • Ideal on low-speed areas (up to 30 mph) as their roll-on, roll-off protection design deflects errant vehicles, as the stability of the barrier is enhanced during impact.
  • Non-permanent fixing, ideal for short term use as there is no drilling or coring involved, which also allows for speedy deployment.
  • Available in a range of high-visibility colours.
  • Fully linkable barrier bases which can incorporate a wide range of top sections. This increases their versatility across a range of sites and situations with the addition of anti-debris, anti-gawk and anti-climb fencing panels.
  • Designed to allow bends up to 90o to be accommodated.
  • Suitable in a range of locations, including weather-vulnerable areas as the design of MASS crash tested barriers offer a significant level of wind resistance.
  • Designed to meet all European standards.
  • Relatively lightweight to allow easy stacking and string, transportation, installation and repositioning.

With these many features, MASS barriers are often the go-to barrier. However, although extremely effective in low-speed areas, it’s important to remember that MASS barriers do not offer the optimum protection for high-speed areas, where concrete barriers may offer more effective protection for sites and highway workers. Additionally, MASS barriers may not be the ideal choice where more permanent traffic calming deterrents are required, such as anti-ram raid barriers.

Water Filled Barriers

Water Filled Safety Barriers

Water-filled barriers tend to be of polyethylene construction, with a hollow core which is filled with water for stability and additional strength. These barriers are particularly suitable for general use on roadways as traffic control or barriers to work sites or for delineating pedestrian restrictions and flow. Water-filled barriers are a popular choice due to specific design features which mean they are …

  • An extremely cost-effective option, as water-filled barriers are highly durable and designed for a long user-life.
  • Highly portable, as these barriers are relatively light-weight when unfilled, making them easy and lower cost to transport and install. Many designs also incorporate grooves to allow easy lift and transportation by forklift.
  • Versatile, as these barriers are available in a range of sizes and high-visibility colours. They can also be fully customisable with signage and safety notices.
  • Non-permanent so ideal for reuse (cost-effective in respect of cost per use) and redeployment as required.
  • Fully interconnecting thanks to their integral interlocking design, to achieve continuous barrier runs without the worry of pins or cables which could be tampered with.
  • Constructed from environmentally friendly polyethylene, which is 100% recyclable.
  • Available in designs which can include a steel framework for additional crash resistance.

However, although water-filled barriers offer these many benefits which make them appropriate for many sites and uses, there are some restrictions as to when and how some can be used – for example where heavy plant such as construction vehicles or agricultural vehicles are frequently in proximity or part of the site, or where barriers need to be deployed in a particularly vulnerable location. Because they do not offer the same strength limits, water-filled barriers may not be suitable in offering the optimum level of protection that other barriers, such as concrete barriers, can afford.

Concrete Barriers

Concrete Barriers with fence - Battersea Power Station

Typically used for long-term deployment and heavy-duty protection, concrete barriers are constructed from reinforced concrete, making them particularly suitable for high-traffic areas or traffic-vulnerable sites. They also offer enhanced safety and risk reduction when both sides of the barrier are vulnerable, for example pedestrians and road workers. Concrete barriers offer …

  • Availability in a surprising range of designs and sizes, from 1.5m length (ideal for smaller areas) to 3m (ideal for blocking vehicle access). There are also innovative substantial ‘lego block’ designs and universal design versions which allow for use on either side of traffic streams.
  • Designs which can be custom made to include posts.
  • A permanency which makes them ideal for protection against unwanted access and anti-social behaviour such as illegal gatherings and fly-tipping.
  • Designs which incorporate fence for additional security – this can include bespoke fencing and interlocking systems to create continuous runs of robust barrier protection, ideal for site safety and security.
  • Additional suitability for securing buildings, particularly those in disrepair, as concrete barriers can also act as a retaining wall when in situ.

It’s worth considering though, that despite all these advantages concrete barriers offer (in particular their suitability for use on the highways) the heavy-duty advantage of these blocks means that they are not so flexible or economical when it comes to short-term or ad hoc deployment. Additionally, to create a complete concrete barrier system requires significant outlay, although the cost of this can be reducing by hiring (rather than purchasing) from SafeSite Facilities.

Happily, each of these types of barrier – MASS Crash Tested, water-filled and concrete fits a range of purposes and one of these types is likely to suit any unique situation, location and budget. The key starting point is to ensure that the safety requirements of the site are identified and then to choose the barrier type which meets those requirements. If you’re still unsure, a call to SafeSite Facilities brings expert advice on all of these types of barrier, which can be hired as well as purchased, allowing a cost-effective trying-before-buying approach with full delivery and installation as required.

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SafeSite Facilities Ltd
Unit 1, Martello Enterprise Centre,
Courtwick Lane
West Sussex
BN17 7PA

Call: 0800 012 5352

Registered Company: 6885921