Hoarding, the solid, but temporary structure which acts as a perimeter boundary, is an essential part of a construction site. Required to shield and protect site workers from view or from debris coming up from nearby roads, hoarding also protects the public from construction work and vehicles and can be used to ensure only authorised access to the site.
Workplace and Public Protection
This protection, for health, safety and risk reduction on both sides of the barrier, is at the heart of all hoarding systems. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is part of the duty of care which is incumbent on construction companies and their site managers, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that both their employees and the public are safe from hazards of construction work.
Authorised access only
When it comes to site access, these reasonable steps are clarified further with the HSE’s Construction(Design and Management) Regulations, which stipulate that effective construction site management includes preventing unauthorised persons from accessing construction sites. For this, hoardings perform a vital role in securing the site perimeter against trespass and unauthorised access both during and out of work hours and as such form part of a site’s 24/7 on-site security. The CDM regulations also require site access points to be clearly marked on perimeter structures, so hoarding which can be arranged to incorporate suitable, clearly visible signage is also recommended.
Whilst securing the site perimeter against view of the public helps to remove distractions which could potentially cause accidents, particularly on roadsides and pavements, hoarding should also be installed in compliance with HSE guidelines for protecting the public from the hazards presented from construction sites themselves, all of which are outlined in the HSE’s Protecting the Public: Your Next Move.
Strong, suitable systems
So there is no question that hoarding is necessary, for compliance, safety and insurance purposes, but the final choice of a hoarding system which is strong and suitable for the purpose may depend on several varying factors:
- The duration required – short or long term
- The amount of re-use required – limited or long-term
- The site’s location and environmental conditions – particularly if the site location is excessively wet, exposed to strong winds or extreme weather, whichever hoarding is chosen, the perimeter must remain stable whatever the weather. Similarly, whether the site is rural or alongside a busy road, the hoardings must remain stable.
- The controlled access requirements of the site.
- Signage requirements, including branding and information for the local community and safety signage as a priority.
Once these requirements have been identified, it’s a case of checking the main features of popular hoarding options, to find the ones which best fit your requirements. At SafeSite, the most popular options include:
Known for its long-term durability and fire and arson resistance, steel hoardings are ideal for many types of construction sites as the system:
- Is compatible with various types of fencing options, creating hoardings to suit different purposes, eg: using anti-climb mesh panels for increased security.
- Can be freestanding and very quick to set up on a temporary or emergency basis.
- Offers increased environmental friendliness over timber hoarding, as steel is offers both strength and a much longer re-use life.
- Allows perimeter runs which can include gates for both pedestrians and vehicles.
- Is surprisingly portable for easy transportation and quick manual installation.
- Is available in a variety of colours for high visibility.
- Offers a good range of accessories available to allow lighting and signage for additional warning, information and security systems.
In-ground timber hoarding has a great reputation as the most secure option for long-term installation and large construction sites. Timber hoarding boundary systems:
- Can be post mounted, set in concrete or can be installed using concrete blocks as a counterweight.
- Allow for painting in company colours and in high visibility colours, for additional safety and signage, site warnings and instructions.
- Can incorporate both pedestrian and vehicle gates, to allow access control.
- Use timber which is ethically sourced, to reduce environmental impact.
- Offer a limited re-use life, so depending on site conditions, a perimeter run of timber hoarding could be used across more than one site or project, allowing value for money. However, if repeated use over a longer lifespan is required, then steel hoardings may be a more suitable alternative.
Hoarding using water-filled bases
Often seen as the go-to system for short-term and temporary use, hoarding using water filled bases has applications across most types of construction site and offers the benefits of:
- An interlocking system which makes perimeter runs quick and convenient to set up.
- Using water to achieve stabilisation in situ, ideal for sites which are difficult to access with heavy loads or where there is limited space for digging-in alternative perimeter types.
- Being extremely easy to empty, dismantle and redeploy as work progresses.
- Having compatibility with gate systems, to allow compliance with access guidelines.
SafeSite Hoarding Systems
When correctly installed, all of the hoarding options available from SafeSite offer full compliance, but it’s worth remembering that whichever hoarding option proves the best one for your particular construction site, getting it in situ is not the end of the matter – rather the beginning, as once installed the perimeter and hoarding installation then needs a regular schedule of inspection. This regular inspection is required to not only to check that the perimeter construction remains compliant with HSE but also to ensure that it is not being tampered with or its integrity being impaired in any way, particularly on sites where perimeters are modified as work progresses and site requirements change.
For further assistance, SafeSite are happy to answer questions and offer advice about any of our hoarding options, to help ensure the best choice for all your construction site needs.