UK law stipulates all schools and children’s play areas must be surrounded by suitable fencing. Fences should be constructed and erected in accordance with BS 1722 and meet a minimum height of 1.0m.
However, not every situation is straightforward. Some locations are subject to restraints which subsequently determines the type of fence that is deemed “suitable.”
School fencing safety standards provide guidelines but do not offer sufficient information to decision-makers. We have, therefore, put this article together to help you determine the type of fencing you need.
After reading our advice, you will hopefully have a better idea of cost. Alternatively, feel free to contact us and speak with one of our knowledgeable engineers. They will be able to tell you everything you need to know.
What Functions Should School Fencing Perform?
The school fencing safety standards say the perimeters of areas in which children are allowed to play must conform to three specifications:
- Provide a safe and secure environment for children to run around without the risk of them running into the road, absconding, or being abducted
- Give children a sense that the play area is separate from the surroundings
- Include appropriate access gates
What To Consider When Installing School Fencing
The key considerations for school fencing are security, safety, surrounding views, and where possible, environmental responsibility.
“Suitable” fencing is deemed to provide sufficient security to children. The gates must include a lock or code pad that prevents children from leaving the play area or allowing unauthorised personnel from entering.
A third point to consider is that the security fencing should act as a deterrent against burglary, vandalism and arson.
School fencing should be made from effective materials such as timber or metal and not pose an injury threat to children or members of the public.
Low-quality material that has the potential to break or rot, for example, is not considered a “suitable” material.
Safety standards stipulate the schooling fencing and gates should contain the following features:
- Enclosed screw heads, bolts and fastenings
- Outward-facing latches
- Galvanised adjustable hinges mounted behind the attack face
- Facility for padlocking or an electromechanical lock
- Timber fencing should be no less than 25mm thick
- Steel fencing should have a thickness of no less than 1.5mm
Overly large fences can obscure the views of homeowners in the surrounding areas. This can pose a problem for schools and universities because several conditions need to be met in relation to safety standards, but locals are also entitled to pleasant views.
The consideration here is not just one of aesthetics, but how far away the perimeter should be from neighbouring buildings. Ideally, perimeter fencing will provide nearby buildings with clear views but provide pupils with unwanted attention from outside the school boundary.
Noise levels can also be a factor. Acoustic fencing effectively dampens noise typically associated with children’s playgrounds and prevents local residents or office workers from being annoyed by noise pollution.
A wider consideration for choosing appropriate school fencing is the damage to the environment. We recommend choosing a company that supplies school fencing made from sustainable materials.
School fencing made from wood will be marked with either an FSC or PEFC guarantee. This proves the timber was sourced through a supply chain that adopts sustainable practices.
If you feel steel security fencing is more appropriate, invest with suppliers that offer the best warranty. The length of the warranty is a good indicator as to the quality of fencing and gives you an estimate as to when maintenance or repairs will be needed.
For more information about which school fencing is the best solution for your school, feel free to contact one of our advisors.