Perimeter security fencing is the first line of defense around a building premises and one of the first design elements to make an impression on a visitor. What many people do not realize is the complexities involved in fencing design and material wherein, each application has its own product needs. Saurabh Gupta, Director A-1 Fence Products Company Pvt. Ltd. explains the latest options available taking into account factors such as cost and aesthetics and briefs on Indian fencing products market scenario.
A perimeter fence in terms of security is designed to restrict access and determine the flow of man and material through the premise. In India for security, the culture has been of making walls in contrast to the see-through fences commonly used in western world. In fact, fencing has been a neglected element in Indian building design, which must change now. Some of the challenges in the growth of fencing sector in Indian building industry are the lack of standards for customers to measure quality and lack of proper evaluation of cost of alternate solutions.
While installing fencing for residential or commercial building, the important design considerations include security levels required, aesthetics desired, cost in the long run and longevity in terms of likely abuse the fence is going to face from the immediate environment. Thus, one of the main advantages of fences over solid walls is the lightness and aesthetics of their construction. Also, walls are usually made from brick or concrete which blocks vision, whereas fences provide visual continuation of spaces which is important from safety aspect. In addition, increasing challenges of labor intensive jobs and increased availability of quality fence solutions make installing fence an economical proposition.
But, India does not have a structured fencing industry. Product quality by and large remains poor because of lack of organized players in the industry and absence of fence standards suiting the Indian conditions. Unlike Europe and USA, there is no fence association. Good quality vendors, who are surviving on export markets, are forced to compete with low quality fence makers, who also tend to get an advantage of prevalence of unaccounted transactions. Besides, the lack of awareness and the availability of pre-fabricated fence solutions has led to little thought being paid to perimeter fencing during the design stage. It is assumed that any metal structure fabricated on the site can meet the requirements of the already constructed building. Traditional barbed wire and chain link fences that have dominated the Indian fence industry are ineffective fence solutions which do not have the required strength or aesthetics. Likewise, on site fabricated structures lack finish and are not scalable options for large building premises.
However, times are changing and with growing investments in infrastructure development, people are now looking for reliable fencing solutions. The advent of global companies in India and with more exposure to international construction practices, the fencing market scenario is changing gradually and fences are being seen as a viable alternative to walls for boundaries. Furthermore, the easy availability of international standard fence designs and pre-fabricated fence material which can be assembled on the site has enabled designers to include fence designs in the initial project design phases itself. Longevity, aesthetics, speed of production and installation, overall lower costs taking into account cost of material and labor and more effective security are some of the advantages of these new fencing products.
Also, an important factor to take in account, while deriving the fencing cost is the tropical climate of India. The cost of corrosion and cost of labour in case the end user has to replace fence every couple of years needs to be calculated. The new fencing products though costlier come with zinc surface coating which protects the steel and also offers cathodic shield. For example, fences made out of galvanized wire are coated using a combination of zinc-and-aluminum. In the same way, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) coating not only prevents corrosion but also adds colour and makes the fence more attractive. As a matter of fact, novel fencing technologies with superior systems available today are slowly yet steadily replacing conventional systems in building projects where more strength and visually attractive solution is required. For instance, A-1 Unico weldmesh fencing system requires no nuts, bolts or clamps for installation and merely comprises three components – weldmesh panel, profiled post and post cap. With long life and aesthetic appeal due to surface coating of PVC, polyster powder or dual coating (epoxy & polyster powder), it makes an ideal fencing solution for residential & commercial complexes, schools and gardens.
Similarly, more cost efficient and stronger than conventional chain link fence is the innovative woven wire mesh fabric called Honeycomb Fence®. Chain link fence is formed by two adjacent wires being linked together thus, if the chain link is cut or breaks at any one point, the fence completely breaks down as the links release themselves of each other because of the weak weaving structure. In the honeycomb design two adjoining wires twist with each other five times which results in strong woven structure where few cuts to the fence fabric do not allow complete disintegration.
Alternatively, for high security commercial and industrial establishments, Anti-climb weld mesh brings maximum perimeter protection without impeding visibility. The system has been universally accepted as the most secure form with significant inherent advantages over chain link fencing or other forms of welded mesh fencing. Anti-climb mesh panel is made of galvanized steel wire, optionally polyester powder and/or Epoxy coated in an aperture configuration of 76.2 mm x 12.7 mm. The vertical wires of the mesh further restrict the opening available. This means a clear opening between horizontal wires of less than 9 mm is inadequate to insert hand tools for cutting the mesh. The closeness of the horizontal wires in this anti-climb fence also makes for a mesh panel almost impossible to grip or climb. Finally, unlike chain link fencing, the welded mesh will not unravel or lose stability if cut, as every intersection of every wire is individually welded throughout the mesh panel. Most importantly, the welded mesh panels have a non-aggressive appearance with pleasant aesthetics which does not disrupt the architecture of the building.