Over the past six months the Association of Fencing Industries has carried out the first market research report of its kind to be completed within the last 15 years. In order to be treated as a major contributor to the UK economy by government and other policy making bodies, this knowledge was seen by the AFI board as a strategic tool to further the interests of our industry.

The report concludes that the UK fencing market is worth over £1 billion, and around 60,000 people throughout the UK are employed by the installation companies alone. The £1.105 billion market is almost equally divided between materials and installation.

‘Our findings are immensely useful in going forward and will form the backbone of our future strategy,’ said Ian Ripley, CEO of the AFI, who was active in compiling the report from numerous industry sources.’

The report also highlights that over 50% of fencing contractors are smaller operations. This means that the AFI need to attract more of those smaller companies to become members of the organisation and play their part in an industry of which, collectively, they represent a significant part.’

Probably the most significant issue illustrated by the report is that the installation sector alone has a need for around 1,000 new employees to be trained and ready for work every year. ‘This is fundamental to the future of the industry and everyone who relies on it. We need to explore this in greater depth and look at how we can address the problem. The industry offers a very good opportunity for young people and, while some bodies already understand the position and offer training, there needs to be a wider appreciation of our needs. We need to get closer to educational institutions and seek to get young people to train for and join our industry both through the educational system and direct through members themselves. As an essential part of this process the AFI have been heavily involved in developing a new ‘Fencing Installer Trailblazer Apprenticeship’ and this should become available for use early in October 2018.

Although the Association of Fencing Industries was originally formed in 2016 by the coming together of two organisations (The European Fencing Industry Association and the Fencing Contractors Association), both of which were mainly based in the installation sector, the leadership recognised that there was no single body representative of the market, in total. The opportunities for the new association to become truly representative of the industry are enormous.

In order to take its rightful place in the UK market, the fencing industry needs an organisation to gather together all its diverse sectors. The AFI is in a unique position to do this. The information we now have will enable us to move forward as an association and prove to public and private organisations alike that our industry is important to the economy of the UK across a number of sectors. It gives us strength in taking forward the voice of the industry and demonstrating that we need to be heard, where previously we may have been overlooked.’

Based on this new report and with support from the market, the AFI will be able to put both its membership and the industry it represents in to the position of influence in the UK economy it deserves.

Over the past 2 years the Association of Fencing Industries has been steadily strengthening relations with organisations related to the interests of its members. Organisations such as Build UK (which brings together the specialist trade associations in the construction industry and provides our members with free credit checks and access to legal representation) and many others who contribute to the knowledge and understanding of our diverse market.

We have seen an increase in membership, but, as this report shows, there is a long way to go as there are many installation and manufacturing companies active in this market who have yet to become members. We need to get the message out there that we are not just an association for bigger companies, but representative of all. We need to demonstrate the benefits of being a member and see that it is worthwhile. Membership fees are built around a sliding scale to make it affordable to all types of businesses.

We will have representatives on our stand at Fencex, on October 17th which will give us an opportunity to meet contractors and manufacturers and explain our aspirations for the association face-to-face. We are hoping that everyone with an interest in the market will take the opportunity to come and talk to us.’

AFI will also be hosting a Fencex seminar in the afternoon with addressing the issues surrounding FISS/CSCS cards and hosting a question and answer session, with Lantra representatives in attendance including Stephanie Craig- Smith (Head of Highways and Construction). For further information please contact Ian Ripley 07504 877874 or email