Ask Angela: Do we really need temporary fencing?

Dear Angela, we’re on the fence (ha-ha) about renting temporary fencing for our job site. It seems like a big expense compared to whatever fines we might get from our city and county. Why does fencing seem so expensive, and what goes into temporary fencing rates?

Hey there. Thanks for asking this question, because it’s something we hear a lot. Especially with construction costs so high lately. The fact is, even though we don’t recommend this, a lot of crews think they’ll save money by taking their chances and not securing their site with fencing. There are a couple of reasons we think this is a big mistake. Not least of which is it can be a safety hazard to have an open site. So, here are the factors that go into fencing prices, and why we recommend you always fence your construction site.

First, let’s talk about pricing. One place a lot of people go wrong is not knowing how many linear feet you actually need. We developed a temporary fencing calculator to help you figure out exactly how much you’ll need, so you’re not overpaying for too much fencing. Remember to factor in any vehicle or personnel gates (our calculator helps you do that).

The price of fencing includes things most people don’t consider, such as materials and labor. Don’t underestimate the amount of time and labor it’ll take to install a temporary fence. In some areas fence installation is regulated and must be performed by union workers. And if you have a large worksite, you may be dealing with grade changes, poor soil, areas that flood, and other circumstances that add to the installation cost. If your site requires post-driven fencing, trenching, or erosion control measures, that’s going to cost more than a simple panel installation. (Check out our post on the types of temporary fencing to learn more.)

For materials, this includes the cost of things like erosion control and screening. This is going to vary by site but expect to have at least some materials costs added to the final bill. Also keep in mind there may be costs associated with installing post fencing in asphalt or concrete and the repair of those materials when the fencing is removed. Don’t skimp on accessories like safety caps on erosion control installations. Installing safety caps can help prevent injuries if someone trips and falls onto the rebar used in these fencing installations.

This might seem like a big expense, but safety is worth the price tag. This is the other main reason you need temporary fencing: safety. Imagine if teenagers decide to check out your job site after hours and someone falls or gets seriously injured. This is unfortunate for the injured person, and it’s also a liability for the company. Anyone wandering onto your worksite creates the possibility for injury. Why take that chance?

There’s also crew safety. You can use fencing to block off dangerous areas, such as trenches or live electrical areas. Fencing off hazardous areas keeps your crew safe. Lack of fall protection measures are among OSHA’s most cited violations every year and falling on construction sites are one of the top causes of workplace injuries. Temporary fencing keeps unauthorized crew away from hazards and helps keep crew members safe.   

A second reason to install fencing is theft prevention. When the cost of building materials goes up, so does the number of worksite thefts. Even if you have materials stored in locked storage containers, temporary fencing adds an extra layer of protection from theft.

We know there are people out there who think it’s “safe” to skip the expense of temporary fencing, but all it takes is one crew member’s fall, one unauthorized person getting hurt, or one major theft to wipe out any “savings” you may think you’re getting. Not to mention the human factor of injuries. We can help you get the protection you need, plus any additional security measures, including barbed wire, to keep your site secure.

5 Ways to Help Prevent Construction Theft

Rapidly rising lumber prices present a major problem for construction companies – finding effective ways to prevent construction theft. The National Association of Home Builders estimates lumber costs went up more than 200% from 2020 to 2021, and that’s in addition to higher costs for other building supplies. When there’s a high premium on materials, theft prevention becomes a top priority. Here’s how to improve construction security on your job site.

Install Fencing

Temporary fencing is the first line of defense on a construction site. Whether it’s a post-driven temporary fence or panel fencing, it’s important to secure the area. Accessories such as privacy screening, or wind screen, and barbed wire can add additional security, depending on the site. Not sure how much fencing to rent? We’ve got a temporary fencing calculator to help you easily find out the number of linear feet to order.

Security Cameras

Custom builds have been using advanced security camera systems for years. Cameras used to be seen as an unnecessary expense on small projects, but a good camera system is an effective theft deterrent. It can also be used as evidence. Companies that specialize in construction security cameras are commonplace now, and we can help you find the right solution for your site. As a bonus, many systems let you monitor the site remotely 24/7, so you always know what’s going on. You can even set up access for engineers and building owners to view progress in real time.

Alarm Systems

An alarm system can be used with or without a camera system, although you’ll get the best protection when they’re used together. Just like camera systems, you can hire a company to wire alarm systems that detect motion. Alarm systems can alert you and the authorities if someone is on the property after hours. Some companies will set up an external and internal home security system while you build, so the new owner can use the same system after construction. 

Add Lighting

Going hand in glove with cameras and alarms, motion detected lighting systems are also a good way to deter thieves. With so many LED and energy efficient options on the market, have dusk-to-dawn lighting systems installed for the duration of the build. Just like alarm systems, you can incorporate security lighting into a system during the build and the new owner will have a fully functional lighting, alarm, and camera system upon move-in. The cost of the system can be incorporated into the cost of the building.

Secure Storage

When materials are expensive, it’s not a good idea to leave them unprotected, even if there’s a security system. Storage containers provide secure, weatherproof protection that can be locked overnight to add an additional theft deterrent. If the security system is breached, it will still be difficult for them to break into secured storage containers. It also adds the benefit of protection from the elements, and you won’t need to store materials off-site each night.

No matter the size of your job site, we can help you get what you need to secure your materials. From temporary fencing to storage containers, get what you need with one phone call – and minimize the risk of theft. We can even bundle your portable toilets and dumpsters. Give us a call to schedule rentals for your next worksite.