A fence is a freestanding structure designed to restrict or prevent movement across a boundary. It plays a crucial role in the safety and security of a structure. Internationally fences are given their due importance; however fencing is a much ignored aspect of building design in India. Fencing is almost an afterthought. Buildotech spoke to Saurabh Gupta, MD, A-1 Fence Products Company Pvt. Ltd to understand the importance of this neglected segment, the fencing solutions so far used in the country and what are the possibilities in this domain.
Concrete and brick walls are a part of our culture. Almost at all times, when a need for demarcation or securing a part of land is thought of in India, the first thought is to make a concrete wall. A wall has many problems to it like cost, time to construct, the opque nature and creating space for public misuse.
A good quality fencing can counter each of these problems.
- Modular designed fence are light and quick to install and would be more economical than a wall
- Automatic machines can erect kilometers of fences in a day
- Fence by design allow light and does not block views. This helps prevent misuse of the area around.
- Fence provides security.
The product that can potentially be a game changer in India is weldmesh fencing. Even though weldmesh fencing has been used before, it is now being introduced in the Indian markets, in a newer form. Most of the weldmesh fences what we have seen in India are made out of thin wire diameters, 2.5mm or 3mm, but they lacked strength and aesthetics, and would corrode fast because of bad or no protective surface coating. To give strength, the fences have to be made out of thicker wire diameters, like 4mm and upwards to 6mm and in some cases even 8mm.
Weldmesh is far superior a product than its distant cousin, chain link fence. Welding every intersection made by horizontal and vertical wire ensures that one break of wire does not dismantle the entire fence, as is the case of chain link which is a ‘woven’ fabric. However, manufacturing of weldmesh involves welding of wires which because of high temperature burns the zinc on joints and corrosion starts at these joints. To overcome this problem and to add an aesthetic appeal, fence manufacturers like A-1 Fence, powder coat these weldmesh panels.
Ease of installation – Weldmesh systems come with three components, – weldmesh panels, posts, and fixings. On a well planned site, a group of four to six trained workers, can erect 400-500mtrs of fence. Installation of fence involves, erecting posts, placing the panels and bolting of clamps. The systems are designed in a way that this process is most efficient. A-1 Fence has gone a step ahead and manufactures posts which do not need any bolting or clamping.
Aesthetics – Weldmesh panels in thicker wire gauges are simple yet elegant in design. Crimping of weldmesh, though done primarily to give more lateral strength to a weldmesh panel, adds a lot to the aesthetics of the complete fence. A-1 Fence also manufactures special posts, which not only make the fence more secure but adds a ‘cool’ quotient to the fence.
Security – Weldmesh fences are more difficult than conventional barbed wire and chain link to trespass. One, the welding makes it imperative that lot of wires be cut to make space for a human being to pass through, and two, the thicker wire gauges make cutting a difficult task. To make the fences more secure, international fencing industry introduced a product which in common parlance is known as 3-5-8. To decode this number, 3 stands for three inches between two vertical wires, 5 stands for half inch between the horizontal wires and 8 stands for eight gauge of the wire. It’s a very simple product, but a lot of thought has gone behind the specification – the unobstructed three inches in the horizontal axis make the fence almost a transparent sheet, and in fact if seen from a distance sometimes it is difficult to make out if there is any obstruction at all. The half inch along the vertical axis, makes sure one can neither grip the fence by fingers, nor get a foothold to climb over, nor put in a mechanical wire cutter to get a hold of wire to cut. To cut this fence one will have to carry more sophisticated tools, which is a significant deterrence.
Concertina Razor Wire
One of the most widely used security fencing product in India are concertina razor wires. Unfortunately it is a product which has cost uses a lot of money because of its poor quality. In absence of creditable standards most manufacturers use bad quality material to make the product, which ensures that rusting starts on the coils almost immediately. A-1 Fence, a leading exporter of concertina razor wire, follows well laid out ASTM and BS standards on this product and manufactures this product using heavy galvanized tape and wire, or even using ZincAlu material or even stainless steel in SS 304 or SS 316 grade.
A product which is likely to replace concertina razor wire is electric fence. Electric fence systems found their origin in the vast farms of New Zealand, where very few people had to control the vast population of cattle. The simple yet effective product has now found its way into security. One has to admit India has been rather slow in embracing the product, maybe because of the wrong notions that the product can kill. However, that is as far from truth as it can be. In fact, an individual has to try incredibly hard to kill himself by an electric fence. The small time frame of the pulse insures that electric fence only give a pulsating shock, which is good enough to deter a person. It is impossible for anyone to hold on to a fence, because the pulsating shock will result in an involuntary action of person to move away. What works in its favour is, it is a more effective psychological barrier, and it actually is a much better looking system than the cumbersome concertina razor wires, which after some time start falling over and make for a very ugly viewing.
Gates, or in other words, movable fence, is another domain in which India is far behind the advances made in many parts of the world. Apart from superior accessories which increase the life of the gate manifolds, there are several new technologies in this product. One of the fast catching products is cantilever gates which don’t need a guiding rail fixed on the ground, and move on fixed rollers. The main advantage of these gates is, in the dusty environment these gates don’t have a problem of increasing friction which result in automatic gate operators burn out. “We are able to powder coat a complete gate as one body, which does not leave uncovered parts and thus offers complete protection against corrosion,” said Saurabh Gupta.