The British Standard for temporary fencing: what are the consequences if your fences don’t comply?

To date, still too many accidents happen on building sites in the UK. A large part of these accidents are to do with the use of temporary fencing that is not suitable and correctly stabilised. Inferior fences that do not secure the site properly can result in unauthorised people entering the construction site, or people injuring themselves on the inferior material. In an attempt to reduce the number of accidents, a British Standard for free-standing fencing was created. What are the British Standards and what consequences does it have for you as a user of temporary fences? In this blog, I will answer these questions in more detail.

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What is the British Standard?

The British Standards are technical guidelines on the application of a certain product drawn up by the UK National Standards Body. For the use of free-standing temporary steel mesh fencing panels, a special version of the British Standard (1722-18:2011) has been created. This standard for the application of panels is set up by manufacturing parties to increase safety within the construction industry. You can purchase the standard here.

Using inferior materials when constructing a temporary fence around a construction site can result in dangerous situations. The British Standard for temporary works attempts to increase safety in the industry by setting up guidelines for the use of panels. The 40-page long document specifies what a panel should look like, what it should be made of and how it should be installed.

The British Standard provides construction companies with a framework for creating a safe building site for both their workers as well as people living close to the site. It specifies the whole process of the panel, from how it is made, to how it should be installed. These specifications provide guidelines when buying or renting panels. As long as you as a constructor are reaching the British Standard, you know you’ve taken the right measures to ensure safety on your building site.

What are the consequences of the British Standard for constructors?

The British Standard was set up many years ago as a guide to help construction companies increase safety. Nowadays, the British Standard has become an important point of reference which is taken very seriously by the industry. Nevertheless, the British Standard is not proper legislation. It’s merely a guideline which you could choose to follow.

Although not following the British Standard will not result in a fine or an indictment, most construction companies in Great-Britain follow the guidelines diligently. Firstly, because they want to minimize the risk of accidents happening on their building site. Secondly, because if an accident happens and the authorities will investigate the circumstances, you as a constructor will be asked why you did not follow the safety guidelines. Not following the British Standard will most-likely negatively influence the outcome the investigation.

The benefits of using fences that comply

The use of panels which comply with the British Standard is essential in creating a safe building site for both your workers as well as bystanders. But there are more advantages to using fences that comply.

Firstly, high-quality fencing helps you secure your building site properly which reduces the risks of thieves or vandalists entering your building site. By using fences that comply with the British Standard, you minimise theft and site vandalism, which helps you save costs.

Choosing inferior fencing might be interesting because of its reasonable pricing, but in the long run, this choice will only cost you money. Another benefit of using fences that comply with the British Standard is that they are made of high-quality materials and are installed correctly. Inferior quality products which are installed incorrectly have to be re-erected more frequently which can result in high costs. Although high-quality fences require a higher investment in the beginning, they’re far more sustainable in the long run.

What are the risks of using fences that don’t comply?

There are so many different types of panels available on the market that as a constructor it can be difficult to know which one to choose. The British Standard offers you guidelines on choosing a panel that meets all safety requirements. If you select a panel that is not fabricated in accordance with the standard, the chance of hazardous situations occurring on your building site is much higher.

For example, panels can become dangerous objects when the weather suddenly deteriorates. When the wind power increases, panels which are not installed and anchored correctly can be easily lifted up from the ground. After that happens, you have no control of the panels anymore and they could easily hurt or injure workers or bystanders.

However, it is not only in special circumstances that a panel can become a dangerous object. When panels are not fabricated in accordance with the British Standard, they can injure your workers when they are simply handling or installing them. When a fence is damaged, or the wires are broken, workers can easily cut themselves on the fences. And what about kids playing around the building site or bystanders who are peeking through the panels? Broken fences can easily result in severe injuries.

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What can you do to improve safety?

Do you take safety serious? If you’re looking for a way to improve safety on your building site and reduce accidents, the British Standards offer great guidelines on how to use temporary fencing safely. At Heras Mobile, providing safe fencing is our primary purpose. Therefore, all our fences comply with the British Standards and help you create a safe workplace for your employees.

Are you curious what other benefits our temporary fences could offer you? Or do you want to know how you could further reduce risks on your building site? Our fencing specialists will gladly help you set up a detailed plan for securing your building site, with no obligation, in a personal conversation. Request free advice here:

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Posted by Adrian Day on 26 March 2018