The Ultimate Guide to Heras Fencing
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Things to consider
- Public health and safety — contractors need to comply with the rules and regulations that protect the general public from the dangers of construction sites.
- Length of your project — Heras fencing is ideal for short-to-medium-term construction projects, but may be less suitable for longer works.
- Budget — When your budget is tight, Heras fencing hire is a very cost-effective site security solution.
- Type of work — if you don’t want passers-by to see the work you’re doing or the equipment you’re using, site hoarding hire could be a better solution.
At the start of a construction project, building contractors have to consider two main things: protecting the public, and protecting themselves. They have to keep pedestrians and particularly children safe from construction hazards, and they have to protect the site and their equipment from trespassers, thieves and vandals.
A great way of dealing with these challenges is temporary fencing. Temporary fencing consists of free-standing, self-supporting fence panels, and the most common type is Heras fencing.
Heras fences are a flexible and cost-effective means of securing a construction site. However, there are a number of factors you should consider before hiring a Heras fence. This guide will help you understand their benefits and limitations, so you can make informed decisions about your site security measures.
What is Heras fencing?
Heras fencing is a type of fencing made up of individual panels, which are joined together by bracing blocks and metal couplers.
Each panel consists of a metal grid with a welded mesh design, and two tubular framing poles. One pole is short and runs horizontally along the bottom of the grid; the other is much longer, going up one side, over the top and down the other side, with bends in the top corners. The ends of this pole are slotted into concrete bracing blocks that keep the panel in place, and connect it to adjacent panels. Connections between panels are reinforced by anti-tamper couplers.
The typical dimensions for each Heras fence panel are 2 metres in height and 3.5 metres in width.
Heras fence systems generally come in a galvanised finish, or a galvanised and polyester powder-coated finish (which improves the fence’s life expectancy).
The benefits of Heras fencing
The general benefits of hiring Heras fencing are as follows:
- It’s very lightweight, which makes it easy to transport and deploy wherever required.
- The metal grid in a Heras fence panel has an anti-climb, welded wire mesh design that prevents intruders from gaining hand or footholds on the panel, making the fences virtually impossible to scale.
- It can be supplied with access gates for workers, pedestrians and/or vehicles. These gates use the same anti-climb welded mesh panels, which are similar in weight to the non-gated panels and have secure locking mechanisms.
- It’s very easy to assemble and dismantle.
- It can resist gale force winds.
- Heras fencing hire is cheap and budget-friendly, particularly if you use a low-cost supplier like Lakeside-Hire.
- Temporary fencing is much more affordable than installing CCTV or employing a nighttime security guard, and helps you stay within the rules and regulations on securing construction sites.
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Temporary Heras Fencing Hire
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The law on securing construction sites
When embarking on a project, there are a number of legal requirements that builders and construction companies must adhere to.
The most important is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This stipulates that all employers, plus those who are self-employed, must take “reasonably practicable” steps to ensure the health and safety of the general public. “Reasonably practicable” means weighing the level of risk against the trouble, time and money needed to control it.
Construction projects usually require the use of heavy machinery and other dangerous equipment. This could kill or severely injure a pedestrian or child who might wander inadvertently onto a construction site. The Health and Safety at Work Act therefore implies the need for secure fencing or hoarding around the perimeter of a construction site.
While the Act doesn’t actually mention fencing, the need for fencing and the nature of the fencing required has now been made clear by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Regulation 13(6) provides that a contractor must take “reasonable steps” to prevent unauthorised persons from accessing the construction site before any work is started.
More specifically, Regulation 27(2) states that, looking at the level of risk posed, the perimeter of a construction site should either be identified by suitable signs, or fenced off (or both). This allows contractors to weigh the risk to the public against the cost and practicality of installing a fence.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) gives an example of this: pavement works can be surrounded by temporary barriers warning pedestrians, but large constructions are likely to require hoarding or anti-climb fences because of the higher risk of hazards.
The HSE also provides specific guidance on what contractors should do in terms of planning, installing and maintaining site perimeters. Hazards and risks must be identified in order to determine the type of hoarding, fencing, signs or other site security needed. All fences must be erected properly, inspected regularly and modified accordingly as the use of the construction site changes. More information about these guidelines is available from the HSE website.
How does Heras fencing meet the challenges faced by building contractors?
The most important challenge for building contractors is making sure they comply with the law and protect the general public. Construction sites pose many hazards to pedestrians, including dangerous equipment, falling objects, sources of electricity, dust, vibration and hazardous substances, and uncovered openings in the ground. Building sites present a particularly high risk to curious children, who might wander onto one while playing and fool around with heavy machinery.
Heras fencing is specifically designed to meet HSE guidelines and comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, as described above. However, all building contractors should familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations so that they know when a Heras fence is or is not an appropriate site security measure.
There is another big problem that builders and construction firms face every day: theft. Recent statistics reveal that theft of vehicles, tools, plant machinery and metals is costing the construction industry £800 million each year. It’s also been reported that 92% of construction sites regularly experience theft, and only about 5% of stolen equipment is ever recovered.
Heras fencing helps tackle this problem in a number of ways:
- • Fences are typically two metres tall.
- • They feature an anti-climb wire mesh design that eliminates hand and footholds, making them almost impossible to scale.
- • Poles are fitted securely into concrete bracing blocks and connected using anti-tamper couplers, preventing would-be thieves from disconnecting the fence panels.
- • Access gates have secure locking mechanisms.
Would hoarding be better?
Heras fencing is robust and virtually impossible to climb, but it’s not indestructible. If a thief sees something on your site they really want, they’ll do everything they can to breach your fence.
Construction site thefts are often opportunistic, so sometimes the better option is remove the temptation, i.e. stop the thief from seeing something on your site that they might want to steal.
Site hoarding is a strong, anti-climb site security alternative to a Heras fence. It is a kind of temporary fence made up of solid boards, typically made from wood or steel and sometimes much taller than a Heras fence panel. The solid rather than mesh construction means you can’t see through it — unlike a Heras fence.
The other advantages of hoarding are that it provides privacy while you work, and stops people from seeing your project before it’s finished. This makes hoarding a popular choice when a shop is being renovated, and a better option for long-term projects. It helps make building sites less intrusive and more aesthetically pleasing to people living and working nearby. It can also be branded and used for marketing and promotional purposes by the contractor or developer. Alternatively it could be used to show passers-by what the completed project will look like and how it will benefit the local area.
Tips before hiring
Before you spend money on a Heras fence, you should consider the rules and regulations and conduct a risk assessment. That way you can determine whether a Heras fence is the most appropriate security measure for your project.
You should then consider whether you want to purchase or hire a Heras fence. The advantage of hiring is that it’s much more convenient and cost-effective. Your fencing panels will be with you for as long as you need them, and once you’ve finished your build, they’ll be collected so you don’t have to worry about long-term storage.
Finally, you should make sure you hire your fence from a trusted and reliable supplier that will deliver quickly and won’t make an unnecessarily hefty dent in your budget. With Lakeside-Hire, you get the following benefits:
- nationwide, next-day delivery
- free delivery for hire periods of three weeks or longer
- prices that are generally 69% cheaper than all industry competitors.
1. What is Heras fencing made of?
The poles and metal grid of a Heras fence are typically made from steel with a galvanised finish (i.e. coated in a protective layer of zinc). The poles slot into bracing blocks made from concrete.
2. How big is Heras fencing?
Generally 2 metres tall and 3.5 metres wide.
3. How does Heras fencing keep out intruders?
Its welded wire mesh grid design prevents potential intruders from gaining hand and footholds on the panels. This makes it almost impossible for thieves, vandals and curious children to climb the fence.
4. How much does Heras fencing cost to hire?
At Lakeside-Hire, our prices start at just £5 + VAT per fence panel per week, which is approximately 69% cheaper than our competitors.
5. Should I hire a Heras fence or a site hoarding system?
That depends on a variety of factors, including:
- • how long your project is likely to last
- • what the risks and hazards are to the public
- • whether you’re happy for the public to see the works in progress
- • your own site security concerns
- • the rules and regulations
- • whether you want to use your temporary fencing for marketing and advertising, or to simply make your building site more aesthetically pleasing to passers-by.
Need hiring advice? call us on 0333 920 2076
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