When it comes to many government buildings and facilities, security fencing is often the first line of defense against outside threats and unwanted access. It’s an essential component to assuring the safety of workers, visitors and the general public, as well as protecting internal assets, safeguarding services and mitigating vulnerabilities. Government security fencing is a highly effective form of physical security.
Given the key role fencing structures play in protecting government buildings, their design and installation process involves some critical aspects. Important considerations must be made to meet the unique security needs of the facility and ensure the most effective defense. Following is a detailed breakdown of six fundamental elements for protecting government buildings with security fencing.
1. Assessment of Facility Type, Purpose & Needs
The first and most basic aspect to address is exactly what kind of government facility requires fencing and what the needs of that property entail. Security fencing options are obtained for many varied types of structures and grounds, including:
- Public parks
- Municipal buildings
- Military bases and offices
- Government-owned land and public areas
- Correctional facilities
- Administrative buildings
These are just some of the examples of the different types of government areas that require unique security fencing systems. Of course, depending on the specific setting and requirements, building such a perimeter structure can be a challenging task, which is why the next several considerations are so integral to the process.
2. Selection of Fencing System & Materials
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the right kind of security fencing for the job. Given the array of government properties to protect, there’s also an assortment of systems and material options to consider. Here are a few of the most common:
- Chain Link: This type of fencing is versatile, durable and surprisingly difficult to scale or break through. It also provides a certain level of visibility when that component is necessary for the security needs at hand. Chain link is a very popular form of security fencing for many government buildings, and it comes in the following material varieties:
- Steel: There’s a considerable amount of strength and durability associated with steel as a security fencing material, and it’s certainly less prone to damage than other types, like aluminum or vinyl. Galvanized and coated steel fencing is particularly weather-resistant, thereby necessitating less frequent repairs and replacements.
- Aluminum: While not as strong as steel, aluminum boasts the benefits of versatility, resistance to corrosion and lightweightedness. It is more environmentally friendly and can be applied to certain types of security fencing.
- Vinyl Coated: This means the fence is woven with galvanized steel wire and then coated in vinyl, which consists of synthetic resin or plastic. Vinyl helps prevent the occurrence of damage like scratches, rust and corrosion. It is easy to maintain, long-lasting and less industrial-looking.
- Expanded Metal or Wire Mesh Panel Systems: This type is often leveraged for perimeter fencing that also exudes curb appeal. It allows for visibility when necessary without compromising on applicable security needs. There are various types of both expanded metal and wire mesh systems that range from medium- to high-security fencing. These are engineered systems that typically run between 8 and 15 feet high.
- Palisade Steel Fencing: Palisade fencing can be applied in a range of heights and finishes, and is constructed from hot and cold rolled steel sections. It creates a strong barrier of protection, is nearly impossible to climb and can even be fortified with pointed pales at the top of each vertical steel piece.
- Ballistic or Projectile Protected Walls: Consisting of precast concrete wall posts and panels, these are engineered systems. Foundations are drilled and set for the concrete posts, and panels are set in between. They serve as effective noise barriers in addition to the high-security protection they provide.
To complete and fortify any of these government fencing systems, there are also options to add security cameras, razor wire or barbed wire. The next section focuses on even more security features as they pertain to government fencing.
3. Individual Security Elements
In accordance with each government facility’s particular purpose for security fencing, there are a number of elements to think about incorporating into the design of the structure. Following are some important options and considerations for these features:
- Need for electric current, razor wire or barbed wire
- Anti-climb requirements
- Existence of lighting and surveillance equipment
- Entry and exit systems or gates
- Necessary vantage points
- Need for resisting vehicular impact
- Local site conditions, including wind and geotechnical information
- Need for ground shock-resistant embankment structures
- Physical scale of the property and extent of daily traffic
- Need for fencing to blend in with its surroundings
An evaluation of these specific elements is vital to ensuring that the team applies the most appropriate installation procedures and construction methods.
4. Site Grading Concerns
Depending on what type of ground the security fencing is being installed upon, there may be issues with unevenness or sloping to address. In order to ensure a safe and sturdy installation of fencing that weathers the elements to remain strong and steady throughout, it is critical to have the installation process carried out by an experienced team of security fencing professionals who intimately understand the proper handling of site grading concerns.
5. Focus on Quality & Value
As with all security protections, fencing comes with a price tag. For government entities, which are financed by taxpayer money, it is essential to ensure that cost and value are aligned to fully fulfill the fencing’s purpose and meet the property’s requirements.
Some of the most significant contributors to engendering that kind of value include the use of high-quality, durable materials and application choices that meet necessary specs, environmental factors and the test of time. In both the implementation and completion of this kind of project, the work must show a high quality of craftsmanship, a commitment to customer service and a dedication to delivering on time and on budget.
6. Prevention of Safety & Environmental Hazards
In the design and installation of security fencing for government buildings and areas, there’s even more to be considered than the specifics mentioned above. This next aspect might not be the most obvious, but it’s certainly essential: ensuring that the project is managed by a team of professionals who prioritize safety and compliance.
For government entities planning a security fencing project, it is absolutely critical to partner with a fencing company that embraces a culture of safety through ongoing efforts that involve site visits, safety meetings and regular research. Training on OSHA, equipment, first aid, PPE and site-specific issues should be completed for each team member to ensure the wellbeing of employees, the environment and the public. Making safety a part of the company’s daily routine is the best way to mitigate potential risks associated with this often dangerous kind of work.
Learn about how Rutkoski Fencing can help with your next project by downloading our free brochure.