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5 factors to consider when specifying fencing for schools

Fencing is an important security and aesthetic feature of any school; it blocks intruders and other unwanted visitors from entering the site, helps keep staff and students safe on site and is one of the first things prospective students and parents see when visiting. When specifying fencing for schools, it is worth considering not only how secure a school’s fencing is, but also the impression it makes.

Risk Assessment

The first step in specifying fencing for schools is to carry out a risk assessment, considering performance, maintenance, aesthetics and, most importantly, student safety. View the school from a potential intruder’s perspective and use photographs, notes and drawings to identify weaknesses; if you have high security fencing at the front of a school, make sure it cannot be easily compromised at the back.

Other things to consider include ensuring gates match the fence to guarantee consistency of perimeter security as well as a more pleasing appearance. Ideally, a school should have different entrance points for vehicles and pedestrians with one main entrance and exit for each ensuring safety for anyone entering the site.

Quality Guaranteed

Budget is important for any school when specifying fencing, but cheap options can be poor quality, incurring a higher lifetime cost. Without a long-term guarantee, like Jackson’s 25-year guarantee, expensive repairs and replacements may be required, costing more in the long run.

When specifying fencing for schools, always research and recommend the most suitable options available. Vertical bar fencing, for example, offers greater strength than palisade fencing, but a more pressing concern could be, for example, minimising noise. A fence’s quality is only as good as its weakest parts, so fixings should match both the design and quality of the fencing. For strength, durability and aesthetic appeal, welded, galvanised, or stainless steel tend to be the best choice.

Aesthetics

Schools need to strike a balance between being secure and being welcoming. While appearance is not always a priority, it should be considered. Different fencing options, whether chain link, vertical bar, welded mesh or timber, offer varying levels of security whilst also being affordable and attractive, with different options and limitations for ornamentation, colour and finishes.

Depending on a school’s surroundings, acoustic fencing might be necessary to reduce noise, whether from the school itself or from nearby roads or other buildings. Fence toppings can add extra security, but can be considered intimidating. Schools in high-risk areas may need to look into Secured by Design or LPS 1175 SR1 fencing.

Maintenance

To ensure the long-lasting security and durability of their fencing, schools must perform regular maintenance such as making sure that trees near the fencing don’t allow for easy trespassing, checking hardware integrity and testing the functionality and security of gates. Considering maintenance requirements when specifying fencing for schools, as well as using quality, robust materials from the outset, can help minimise the need for ad hoc repairs in the long term.

Standards and Approval

While protection from intruders is a major concern, students’ safety within school grounds is also a high priority. Making sure fencing is RoSPA approved can help prevent limbs or clothing becoming trapped in fences, whilst also avoiding sharp fittings and fence components breaking and/or splintering.

While a height between 1.2m and 1.6m is good for demarcation purposes and controlling movement within a site, perimeter fences should ideally be between 1.8m and 2.4m when specifying for schools, depending on local planning guidelines and the risk being managed. Automated gates should be CE marked and compliant with the EU Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and installed by trained Gate Safe Aware or DHF Gate installers.

When specifying fencing for schools, the above will ensure you have fundamental safety and security issues covered, such as deterring authorised entry, reducing noise and ensuring safe entry and exit of the site. A thorough understanding of fundamental security principals, outlined above, allows you to be certain that basic safety and perimeter protection are covered when specifying fencing for schools.

Every school site is different and comes with its own set of requirements, so to find out more about Jacksons’ school fencing solutions, visit the education section on our website.


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Date: 11/01/2018 10:13:00

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