The requirements of customers in the infrastructure market are among the most diverse in the entire fencing sector. The markets involved include road, rail, and perimeter fencing for solar farms.
Tornado believes it has the products – primarily high tensile nets in a variety of configurations – and also the expertise, experience and industry knowledge to understand contractor and end-user requirements in depth. Tornado can demonstrate proven quality and longevity of its products and is well-recognised for the back-up and support it can provide via its sales team.
Phil Smith, contracts manager at fencing contractor, Arbus, says it pays to work with the best – with a company like Tornado. Currently the company is working on a contract of several years’ duration on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road.
“Our work is almost all commercial and this is a totally different ball game, compared to agricultural. Almost all of our work is governed by customer specifications and contractor regulations. The specifications normally come from bodies such as the Environment Agency or Highways Agency. Non-compliance is not an option. This is a very different environment from the agricultural sector where the customer is an individual farmer. Regulation extends right down to the treatment of our wooden posts. There are only three or four suppliers of wooden posts in the country, so we need to make sure they are supplying products which meet contract requirements.”
In highways and railway applications the objective is normally to prevent wildlife or stock getting on to carriageways or railways. Here Tornado’s expertise in livestock fencing comes into its own. Phil Arbus says his company will normally use HT stock fencing, with a line of barbed wire along the top, but the range of knot types available from Tornado allows for different options, depending on the animals that need to be excluded. Here the steepness of the ground, vertical wire spacing and the height of the completed fence will all be considerations.
In some parts of the country Deer Vehicle Collisions are a significant problem. The National Deer Vehicle Collisions Project believes the number of incidents is somewhere between 42,000 and 70,000 nationally. These collisions result in around 450 driver and passenger injuries and up to 20 fatalities annually, as well as a cost to the insurance industry of £14m and a cost to the wider economy of £30m – not to mention the animal welfare cost.
Tornado has been involved in a project to upgrade the fencing along a 5km section of the M6 in Cumbria, aimed to exclude deer from the carriageway. Tornado’s experience of this type of work, including the provision of deer, badger and otter fencing, led to the specification of a combined otter and deer fence for the M6 project, since otters crossing the road were also a problem in the area. The resulting single net features 100mm x 50mm apertures and is buried at a depth of 300mm with a height of 1.8m to prevent deer jumping, and a crank of 300mm away from the motorway to prevent otters climbing the fence.
The ability to supply ancillary products is a key benefit which Tornado can offer. These ancillaries can include plain and barbed wire, as well application-specific products such as hexagonal rabbit netting and badger gates. Phil Smith says he has used steel badger gates from Tornado on some road jobs, which can be set to allow one-way badger traffic.
One of the unique features of infrastructure work is the frequent need for temporary fencing. This will be used for defining the boundaries of site office areas, car parks and other facilities. This type of fencing is normally two lines of wire in mild steel, which can be supplied by Tornado.
Tornado understands that its contractors can work more efficiently by selling a value-added service to its customers. For instance it offers digital resources, such as its Fencing App, downloadable from its website, and the Quote Builder. These tools assist contractors with accurate fence positioning and material planning for creating quotations or estimates. The Quote Builder also calculates the costs of materials required, so that the economics of a potential job can be easily assessed. All of the details needed by the customer can then be instantly processed into a professional quotation or estimate, complete with a location map and a method statement.
With these digital tools and ongoing investment in manufacturing and stockholding capability, Tornado demonstrates that it knows the difference with regards to its understanding of specialist infrastructure fencing products – how to understand, specify and install them. A key benefit is that the company is resourced to support the best infrastructure fencing contractors on the biggest jobs at their busiest times, and it understands infrastructure fencing and the business needs of its customers.