The first question that should be asked about any prospective perimeter project should be “what are you trying to protect?” – so says Heras’ Regional Installation Manager, Graham England who this year celebrated 25 years of service with the company. But, as is often the case, what site owners or operators think they need doesn’t always marry with what they actually require to keep the site and its contents secure.
It goes without saying that different sites require differing levels of perimeter protection and access control based on what they are trying to keep secure. As Europe’s leading end-to-end supplier of permanent and mobile perimeter protection solutions, we see it all – from projects of national strategic importance at one end of the scale to supplying child-safe fencing that is installed at a primary school at the other. In these cases, it ranges from protecting things that are the top secret to little children.
Somewhere in the middle are the big sheds, and this is where we get more of a grey area. There are, for example, big sheds that are built to order – such as those for online retailers that know the specification of the perimeter system they require inside out. Then there are sheds where, for whatever reason, the eventual usage of the site may be unclear when we first get sight of a bill of quantities – such as sites that are being built speculatively. This triggers the question: “what are you trying to protect?”, as this can determine what perimeter fencing and entrance control solutions are the correct ones to install.
Will the site be used as a distribution centre for general retail goods, high-value items, manufactured food… the list goes on? Only when we get a clearer picture of this can we specify the correct perimeter solution, which quickly leads on to the next question: “can we arrange a site visit?”
A SITE SURVEY IS ALL PART OF THE SERVICE
Site visits are the lifeblood of what we do and we always recommend them, as this is where our expertise comes to the fore because bills of quantities are invariably not right. Typically, we see the inaccurate specification, fencing height and sliding gate width.
And then there’s the question of where the perimeter will actually be installed. On one recent site visit, there was a dip in one part of the perimeter where the suggested fencing could be easily breached by placing a plank from the high ground to the top of a fence.
As an aside, another schoolboy error can often be with regard to the width of access points for HGV use. Any site with a sliding gate that is less than 4 m wide is asking for trouble from wagons hitting posts and gates.
THE CORRECT SPECIFICATION CAN SAVE COSTS
One final point to make is that a revised specification – based on knowing what the perimeter system is protecting – can actually lead to a cost-saving on a project. I’ve seen many examples where the total overall cost of what a QS thinks they want may actually be lower based on what the site actually needs.
Graham England is a Regional Installation Manager for Heras, Europe’s leading end-to-end supplier of permanent and mobile perimeter protection solutions.
For more information about Heras go to www.heras.co.uk