Although motorists often take guardrails for granted, the barriers are essential for the improvement of road safety conditions. As such, it is imperative that the W-beam guardrails be manufactured according to the requirements of the relevant standards, including SANS 1350:2005.

With it being essential to ensure standardisation in the usage of road safety products across South Africa, it makes sense to purchase W-beam barriers from a trusted local manufacturer, familiar with the South African road construction and safety requirements. Imported products do not necessarily meet the SANS 1350:2005 requirements and can thus not be used. Our firm is reputed for superior quality products, made according to the relevant manufacturing, road safety, and functionality requirements such as SANS 1350:2005. We supply the W-beam guardrails in lengths of 3,81 metres and 4 metres, although special lengths can be made according to client requirements.

The sections can be curved for installation on curved parts of the road. Indeed, curving can be done to fit a radius of 3 to 45 metres. All our W-beam guardrails are manufactured according to the requirements of SANS 1350:2005. Where needed, bull-nose end wings can be fitted, also available from us. These end terminals protect the barriers from weather conditions and serve to prevent the guardrails from penetrating the body of a colliding vehicle. The steel panel ends can also be buried to perform the same function.

We supply the guardrails hot-dipped galvanised according to the requirements of SANS 121 /ISO 1461 or uncoated as required by the client.

The Advantages of Hot Dipping and Galvanisation

Hot dipping holds several advantages:

  • Complete coverage of the entire surface.
  • Coverage also of the corners and ends.
  • Consistency in the zinc coating.
  • Standardised procedure.
  • Measurable results according to the requirements of  SANS 121 /ISO 1461.

Galvanisation also holds several advantages:

  • No need for protective coating.
  • Protects the steel against corrosion.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Durability of the materials improves the environmentally sustainable profile of the barriers.

Pre-manufacturing, according to SANS 1350:2005 offers the following benefits:

  • Assurance of quality according to recognised specifications.
  • Standardisation of processes and outcomes.
  • Compliance with product requirements for use in road construction projects.

The W-beam guardrails are widely used, also in European countries. Indeed, our firm has received international recognition because of our W-beam guardrail system. The W-beam design provides for extra strength to minimise the risk of a vehicle breaking through the panels.

The steel panels are attached to standard timber posts, each measuring 1 800 mm in length and 150 to 175 mm in diameter. These posts are available with bevelled or dome-shaped tops to protect motorists and other road users from sharp ends. The bevelled or domed tops are treated to protect the wood from rot or cracking as the result of exposure to weather elements. The timber posts meet the requirements of SANS 457. We also manufacture steel posts to meet client requirements upon request. The steel posts are durable and made to meet the road safety product requirements as relevant to South Africa.

The W-beam steel panels are fitted with delineators that are also known as reflectors. We supply the type D to meet the Department of Transport’s requirements although clients can also request the type V delineators. We manufacture the reflectors from Chromadek. This ensures the longevity of the reflectors.

The retro-reflective materials used are selected in compliance with CKS 191. Customers can choose the colour coding. We supply these units with slotted bases, enabling easier installation. The installation guidelines are available upon request.

Guardrails – Importance of Correct Installation

The manufacturing of W-beam guardrails in compliance with the required standards such as SANS 1350:2005 and SANS 121 /ISO 1461 ensures safe and durable products. It is essential to install and maintain guardrails in the correct manner. This is so because the beams, posts, bolts and end-terminals work as a system to prevent breakthrough while providing for adequate absorption of kinetic impact energy and redirecting the erring vehicle.

Factors that can affect the performance of guardrails include, but are not limited to:

  • Distances between posts to which the panels are attached.
  • Attachment method and materials used.
  • Length of the sections between posts.
  • End-terminal placement.
  • Soil in which the system is installed.
  • Height of the barrier.
  • Whether double-sided (median) or single-sided (on the edge of the road).
  • Repairs after impact damage.
  • Clearance area behind the system.
  • Barrier terminal design and treatment.

It is thus imperative to ensure that installation is done for optimal performance on the specific stretch of road. The barrier height must be high enough to prevent vehicles with higher ground clearance from going over the guardrails at high speed. There must be sufficient space between the system and the obstacle or hazard against which it protects to allow for some movement of the steel material upon impact without the vehicle and beams hitting the hazard or object behind the guardrails. The end-terminal must be appropriate for the particular placement of the guardrail.

Before the installation of guardrails, it is imperative to determine whether the W-beam barriers are necessary. This is so because any type of barrier is also an obstacle. The question is whether its presence helps to protect and reduce risk more than it being a fatal hazard. To this end, consideration must be given to the type of object or hazard against which it protects and the distance between the barrier and the object.

If it is more likely for a vehicle to be able to return to the road or to come to a controlled stop when it ventures from the road without hitting something than it is for the vehicle to be damaged when it hits the barrier, then the first option is better. In this instance, the barrier is not essential.

However, if the absence of the barrier poses a bigger risk for the motorists, then the guardrail is essential. An example is a mountain pass. Insufficient space between the road and the cliff or excessive slope makes it difficult if not impossible for a vehicle to safely come to a stop or to return to the road on a mountain pass. It thus makes sense to install a barrier. The barrier must be strong enough to keep the vehicle from going down the slope.

It must also have some redirection capacity as is the case with our W-beam guardrails. In addition, the barrier must be low in maintenance to reduce the need for work on the roadside, which can pose a risk to the motorists and the workers. Our products, as manufactured according to the requirements of SANS 1350:2005, meet the requirements.

Guardrails – In Conclusion

Road barriers are safety products, intended to reduce the number of incidents, the fatality rates and the risks associated with using roads. With such importance, it is essential to install guardrails that meet high manufacturing, quality, and safety standards. Our products meet the requirements as is evident in the compliance with SANS 1350:2005. Get in touch for quotes and product information.