After a busy year for the fencing industry, AFI Chief Executive Ian Ripley highlights the benefits of membership and how the association is constantly looking to develop.

As 2020 draws to a close, despite the clear impact of COVID-19 the overall fencing sector appears to be in a strong position. From the specialist agricultural contractors installing stock fencing across difficult terrains to the high security contractors protecting sensitive installations from terrorist attack, fencing contractors in the UK do some fantastic work. The UK fencing industry exports across the world and our manufacturers based in the UK are leading the world in the design of new and higher grades of security fencing. The AFI want to recognise and support this excellent work on an annual basis through a new AFI awards package which is in development to launch in 2021.

We also recognise that the AFI needs to attract a wider and more diverse membership to fully represent the industry so we are continually adding to the benefits package to make sure all members get value for money.

Currently, the AFI maintains a membership guarantee that centres on end-users having a referral option to the association if disputes arise or for end-users looking for references. But since its formation, the AFI has been searching for some form of quality guarantee that would set our members apart from non-members. Contractors are increasingly being asked for long term guarantees and the AFI are looking at ways to assist with this by introducing a quality assurance scheme for members. The Certified Contractor Scheme (CCS), open to all AFI members, was introduced some two years ago and a guarantee scheme would be a development of this. “Obviously these things take time but we have it as one of the priorities. It would be a giant leap forward for the industry and after all many other industries offer it” said new Chairman Cameron Glanvill.

Having represented the industry in Build UK, working with major contractors in the interests of pulling accreditations under one scheme we are now increasing our focus on timber issues. With board members sitting on reviews for all the British Standard publications relating to Fencing and Gates we are pushing for solutions to improve the consistency of penetration and quality of timber pressure treatment for all timber fencing products as this is a major concern to a significant number of our members.

The continued commitment of the AFI board ensures we can represent the industry. At the AFI annual general meeting in September, Adam Binns (Binns Fencing) stepped down after three years in the chair and was replaced by the previous vice chairman Cameron Glanville (Pembury Fencing). Alan Cunningham (ABC Fencing) stepped into the vacant Vice Chairman role.

Cameron recognised the fantastic work done in managing the merger of the Fencing Contractors Association (FCA) and the European Fencing Industry Association (EFIA) by outgoing chairman Adam and his team. “I would like to thank Adam and the board of the AFI for the free time and effort they continue to put in behind the scenes to represent the fencing industry across so many construction and government bodies and their trust in me to take us forward.”

The AFI office is run by knowledgeable people willing and able to provide members with any relevant advice and access to invaluable support. Contact us anytime with questions and we’ll do our best to get them answered or just for a chat about the industry or the world in general. / or call 020 8253 4516

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