For the third time this week, we have been asked to replace Cafe Barriers of unknown origin which fall far short of the quality required for street furniture.
So we’ve put together a few tips for you when you’re selecting a cafe barrier system. See www.brandlineproducts.com for our products
The Posts – If the system is for external use, ensure it is manufactured in stainless steel. Many systems sold are produced in mild steel and chromium plated. The system will start life looking fine, but within just three months you will notice a deterioration and a flaking of the chrome plating. Whilst this finish is fine for internal use away from any entrances, externally it is both a health and safety liability and an eyesore.
The image above shows two supports, the bottom manufactured in mild steel and chrome plated, whilst the top Brandline support is manufactured in marine grade stainless steel. Both products were subjected to 90 days external ambience.
If you plan to purchase a painted system (black posts etc), again ensure the substrate is Stainless Steel. Depending on the coating used, extra protection can be given, however eventually corrosion will take over if a mild steel substrate is used.
What weight should they be?
This is a tough one. Whilst many providers will tell you that it is better to have cafe barrier posts which weigh only 12 Kgs so that your staff can take them in to your building effortlessly every evening, what they’re not going to tell you is that the posts are likely to be falling over every 10 minutes on windy days unless you’ve managed to weigh them down some how. We suggest the minimum weight of a post be 16 kgs. Our barriers start at 15 Kgs and work their way up to 25 Kgs. We also have surface mounted and floor socketed cafe barriers if you’re really stuck. (You may need planning permission for the latter)
Bungee or Bottom beam?
We will hardly ever supply a banner between two posts which is held in place with elastic bungees. The main reason for this is that the lower or bottom beam is set at a height which acts as a lower tapping rail for the visually impaired. Having loose bungee chords will not act as a barrier. Brandline Products have chosen this path since the disability discrimination act (DDA) was amended.
Ensure you look for a system with graduated base weights allowing easier access for prams, push chairs and most importantly wheel chair users. Remember access to your property is subject to the DDA and your responsibility. The shape and weight of the base also reflects how easy the post will fall over.
Over posts can lean over by 48-50 degrees before they fall.
Avoid sharp edges.
The image below, again shows a support from a cafe barrier post. As can been seen in the image the material is very thin and has already started to distort. Signs of heavy corrosion are evident.
Furthermore, the beam ends used already exhibit very sharp edges. The system was only a few weeks old when we were asked to replace it due to customer catching the clothing.
Ensure you source from a company that is willing to provide a warranty. If the construction of the posts are appropriate, any reputable company should give a guarantee of at least two full years.
The Cross Beams & Beam Ends.
The most common failure of Cafe Barriers is the cross beam end. The reason for this is that the end is the most handled part of the system and the one which takes most of the force.The ends have to be secured to the post. The image below shows a system of cafe barriers in which the user can just place the cross beams into the post. There is no securing methods, the weight of the cross beam will hold the system together.
The problem with this system is that as soon as a gust of wind develops, the banner will bellow and the top beam is ejected from location.
As you can see from our system above, a small sprung loaded lever has been integrated into the system to ensure cross beams are locked into place.
Materials of Beam Ends.
Our beam ends are turned. Although this is an expensive manufacturing process, it is also one of the strongest.
Many cafe barrier producers use a common and cost effective method of producing the beam ends. This is casting. As the cafe barriers are handled roughly during their lives casting is a poor solution and will undoubtedly end in failure. The image below shows the material construction in casting. Very brittle and easy to break. We replace around 20-30 competitor beam ends per week.
The cross Beams should be at least anodised Aluminium. Untreated aluminium will exhibit signs of white corrosion which, in turn, cause an unacceptable appearance and will stain the banner.