Crowd Control Barriers for ’08 Beijing Olympics: Not Built To Last

The “crowd control barricades” used at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games inBeijingwere cheaply-manufactured products intentionally designed for one-time-only use.

Some suppliers are now trying to sell barriers manufactured to the same specifications as theseBeijingbarriers.  If any seller touts their barriers’ similarity to those used at the Beijing Olympics, it is a clear signal for “buyer beware.”

The Beijing Barrier Bottom Line

Experienced buyers of crowd control barricades know the difference between cheap knock-off barriers and high-quality products that meet the standards established for use atU.S.events and public facilities.  But first-time customers can be misled by a product that looks good in a color photograph – one in which the quality deficiencies can not be seen.

SomeU.S.manufacturers of barricades (or re-sellers operating from start-up websites) are trying to pass off sub-standard barriers manufactured with the same low-quality goals as those used at the 2008 Olympics.  One company even mentioned the Beijing Olympics in their sales brochure.

Unfortunately, most Chinese imports in the market today follow the pattern of low quality that began with the barriers made for the Olympics.

Make no mistake – these barriers looked good from a distance, and in television shots. Therefore, it is even more important to be informed if you’re looking for a crowd control barricade which will last more than a couple of weeks.

Cutting Corners was the Goal

Prior to the Olympics, a Chinese company sub-contracted the work of manufacturing barriers out to local fabricators.  The directive was to make the barriers as cheap as possible.  They were told to do whatever it takes – use cheap materials and sacrifice quality – to keep the cost down.

There were at least five different variations of barriers at the Beijing Olympics.

It was understood that these barriers would be for one-time use only.  The primary objective was to have barriers that looked good on television.  But there was no need for the barriers to retain any value once the Olympic Games were over.  Also, they were designed to function as directional devices and to visually delineate areas, but not for crowd control – their quality, strength and stability were not sufficient to serve a true crowd control purpose.

These barriers began rusting during the Olympic Games.  Because of their low quality, they had no resale value.  Most of the barriers remain in piles at various places aroundBeijing – they can’t be re-used or salvaged, and no other company or event wants them.

The Deficiencies

One of the primary deficiencies with these barriers sprung from the fact that they were painted, not hot-dip galvanized.  Cheap white paint was used. The barriers began to rust very fast.  Simple scratching of the paint – which happened any time one barrier bumped against another – resulted in almost-immediate rust.  For all intents and purposes, barriers could not even be moved without getting scratched, and therefore rusting.  In addition to the external scratches, the barriers rusted from the inside out.

Rust was frequently seen at the weld points.  And because the bases were often crudely welded on, rust was also frequently seen at the point where the base met the frame.

The barriers were manufactured from cheap, basic steel, with a thin wall thickness.  (Standard barriers used in theU.S.are made from a thick gauge.)  As a result of this, theBeijingbarriers were very lightweight; lacking in strength and stability.

Beijing-style barriers featured simple hooks.  Thus, these barriers could not truly interlock.  Without a true interlock, these barriers could easily be lifted by an individual, sacrificing the integrity of any line of barricades.

These barriers also featured uprights that were simply spot-welded to the frame; not inserted.  They also included fewer uprights than standard barriers used in theU.S.  Uprights on these barriers were spaced out wider – a 2.5-meter Beijing-style barrier only has 15 uprights, compared to 18 uprights in qualityU.S.barricades.

For some styles of barriers manufactured for the Olympics, the frame could simply be lifted out of its bases.  Some variations featured the same size of base on both ends of the barriers.  When these barriers were placed at angles, this resulted in an unstable and unbalanced barrier.

These barriers would not be appropriate for crowd control.  They lack the quality characteristics to serve that purpose.

The Alternative

Even if you think you only have a one-time need for barricades, you’ll likely find that it would be more economical to rent quality barricades, as opposed to purchasing cheaply-manufactured ones.

If you have budget concerns, an experienced manufacturer and supplier like The Tamis Corporation (manufacturer of Blockader crowd control barricades) can work with you to arrive at a solution which saves you money, while retaining some degree of quality.  We can help you avoid any embarrassing situations.  You can acquire a product which will retain value after its first use.  You can use these barriers again and again, or if you have no need to do so, the barriers will have re-sale value.

You’ll actually end up wasting money on a cheap product such as Beijing-style barriers.  Talk to us ([ifbyphone]) to discuss more viable options for your needs.

Author: Eric Mayhue

Share This Post On