50 years of Heras mobile fencing

How a Dutch invention captured Europe

1966-2016: site fencing has been around for 50 years

Heras started standardised production of wire mesh fences for temporary use in 1966. They were the first manufacturer in the world. At the end of 2016, with the 50th anniversary of site fencing, Heras Mobile Fencing & Security passes the magical threshold of annually supplying one million fences. That's a fence line of 3,500 km. Longer than the motorway from Copenhagen to Lisbon (3,060 km).

Heras site fencing is now a fixture in 24 countries. And even the organisers of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games came shopping in Oirschot to buy 50 km of temporary fencing. Hans Welting, CEO of Heras Mobile Fencing & Security, about the conquest of Europe with a 100% Dutch invention: "Our target groups from the construction and event sector want stable operations, good fences and reliable logistics."

Liability

Mobile fencing is surprisingly young, considering the fact it is 50 years old. Before the 60s, wooden partitions and/or barbed wire were the usual method of partitioning sites. In the Netherlands, the legal liability for accidents on a construction site lies with the builder or contractor. Heras founder, Frans Ruigrok, decided in 1966 to immediately begin the serial production of temporary fencing in order to secure construction sites.

Concertina wire

Welting, associated with Heras since 1979: "The site fence filling was made from concertina wire. A tube in the middle provided additional reinforcement. The first frames were 2 meters high and 3.5 meters long; a manageable size for assembly. This dimension was selected fairly intuitively, but it is now the standard throughout Europe."

Synonym for fencing

About marketing in the 60s: "The new offer would create its own demand, argued Ruigrok. He placed the Heras name on every single fence piece and they sold like hot cakes. In the late 70s, the millionth fence rolled off the line. Heras became synonymous with fencing. In France, Belgium and the UK, the word, 'site fencing' does not even exist. Instead, they simply order a 'Heras'."

50 years in a nutshell

  • 1966: Heras decides to be the first in the world to produce standardised temporary fencing.
  • 1989: the first mobile site fence as we know it today; with a steel mesh filling for more rigidity and security.
  • 1999: the Heras M500 Anti Climb becomes the new world standard. In terms of durability and safety: the site fencing cannot be climbed due to the narrow mesh size and protruding wire ends.
  • 2002: Anti Climb fences with plastic feet and high-security clamp.
  • 2007 (the Netherlands) and 2009 (Belgium): Introduction of a total concept for mechanical and wireless electronic construction site security.
  • 2009: temporary wireless intrusion and fire detection for temporary site accommodation and for the finishing phase.
  • 2012: first manufacturer and supplier with CE label on all its fencing. Level 3 certificate in CO2.
  • 2014: complete temporary access control: mobile sliding gate, swing gate, barrier and mobile turnstile.
  • 2016: own factories in Belgium, France and Czech Republic produce 1 million construction fences annually. Even the organisers of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games came shopping in Oirschot to buy 50 km of temporary fencing.