Hoarding on construction sites is a temporary, solid wall-like structure built around the perimeter of construction sites to shield sites from view, prevent unauthorised access, stop site destruction, theft, and vandalism, and to protect the public. So, when it comes to building site fence panels, what are the construction site hoarding regulations?
The Health and Safety at Work Act notes that employers have also to protect individuals who are not employed by the contractor. For example, people passing by construction sites. The act determines that passersby should not be put at undue risk. Just as you’d conduct a health and safety assessment of the workplace, part of that assessment will determine the risk to the public as well. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) require that appropriate signs are placed on the hoarding in order to regulate who has access to the site. Principal contractors must take steps to prevent unauthorised access. Some more sophisticated sites have keycard or security access to help regulate who has site authorisation.
For sites that have rights of way through them, work areas next to them, occupied houses nearby, and children and vulnerable people in surrounding areas, site managers need to make special considerations. Steps relevant to children’s safety and vulnerable people nearby are to secure sites adequately at the end of the day; place barriers around any excavations or pits; and immobilise and isolate vehicles. If it’s possible to lock vehicles in a compound, do so. Store any building materials so they cannot topple or roll over such as manhole rings, cement bags, and pipes. Remove access ladders from excavations and scaffolding. Lock away hazardous substances.
Wall Height and Construction Materials
Most sites need at least a 2 metre (6.5 feet) high fence or barrier with 2.4 metres (7.8 feet) being the recommendation - and 3 metres (9.8 feet) for high-security fences or hoarding. For sites in city centres, or places where children may attempt to gain access, a higher fence may be appropriate.
Perimeter fences may be made of metal mesh with lockable sections that are not easily separated using tools inside the site or outside. Hoarding may be made of steel or timber (made of plywood) and from installation companies usually comes pre-set at around 2.4 metres, but with barbed wire, dragon tail, or electric fencing can be made higher. Companies often paint the hoarding for their clients in their contractor’s colours and with logos if needed. For steel hoarding, the posts can be wood or steel, and there can often be a polyester powder coating applied to the galvanised finish for more customisation.
Hoarding may be temporary or long-term, freestanding or built into sites. All hoarding should be stable and withstand loads or impact. Hoarding may be branded with company logos, used for promotion or advertising of the contractor or developer, or may show the completed project to passersby.
Making Sure Hoarding Cannot be Scaled
All fencing should be difficult to climb with no hand or footholds, and there should be no gaps underneath. Flat-sided hoardings are more difficult to climb than fences and prevent off-site people from viewing the site. Fence posts should be highlighted in pedestrian areas to avoid tripping hazards.
Angled extensions, called fans, can be added to the top of hoarding to make climbing difficult and to reduce litter being thrown over, which may injure site workers.
Securing the Site
Hoarding should be designed to withstand heavy winds and weather conditions. Wind load should be considered when choosing materials. Clips and bolts need tamper-proof fittings on the inside. If wind loading is an issue, provide adequate bracing, following manufacturer or supplier instructions. Don’t place loads on the hoarding or fencing without re-assessing and determining stability, which includes adding mounted lights or CCTV cameras. Debris netting and signs can also create additional load, so everything has to be accounted for to make sure the hoarding and fencing is strong enough to hold it all.
Provide securable gates at access points; all gates should be the same size as the surrounding hoarding and be part of the fence. Furthermore, access through the gates should be controlled. The gate should be securable whether open or not, and it shouldn’t have the ability to be blown shut uncontrollably in the event of strong winds. Gates should be closed when necessary - for example, in schools - or for internal security, but it shouldn’t hinder escape routes in an emergency.
Many hoarding installation and rental companies supply and install gates for pedestrian and vehicle access as well as vision panels, lighting, and access controls (like keypads). Hoarding should be routinely inspected, and repaired when necessary. Hoarding may also be modified if site requirements change.
What Hazards Could Affect the Public?
Even if there is hoarding securing the site, sometimes falling objects can fall outside of the site boundary. It’s important to make sure objects do not fall outside of the boundary, and if you have scaffolding, then use toe boards, brick guards, and netting to prevent debris. Fans and covered walkways can cut down on these hazards too.
When there are delivery and site vehicles moving in and out of the site, ensure pedestrians cannot be hit by vehicles coming and going. During deliveries, some large vehicles may obstruct the pavement, which forces pedestrians to walk on the road where they can be hit by oncoming traffic. Do not block walkways during deliveries for more than necessary, or plan sites so that this hazard can be avoided.
When building or dismantling scaffolding and access equipment, don’t allow pedestrians to be hit.
Secure materials in compounds or away from perimeter fencing when storing and stacking goods.
Put up barriers and covers on excavations, manholes, stairwells, and open floor edges because people can be severely injured if they fall into these sites.
Other public hazards may be slipping, tripping, falling in pedestrian areas; machinery and equipment; hazardous substances; electricity; dust, noise, and vibration; and road works.
Make sure everyone on site is safe themselves by wearing the correct PPE, and that all personnel and workers considers the public impact of building sites. Make sure all workers take extra care to make sure the hoarding and fencing protects the public from internal hazards and dangers. Security personnel should take extra precautions to make sure no unauthorised access to the site is granted. Make sure hoarding meets regulations - i.e. protecting the public to a reasonable measure - and is tall enough to keep people out.
Make sure your construction site workers have on the right PPE.
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