Planning for a Fence: Ensuring Performance Beyond Compliance

April 10, 2024

A comprehensive guide for consultants, project managers, and quantity surveyors on what to look for and the questions to ask when procuring a fencing or perimeter solution for your client.
When you’re looking to install perimeter fencing solutions for your project, you want to collaborate with a cost-effective provider who can bring your designs to life, adapt quickly to changes and, most importantly, understands the intricacies of compliance with government regulations and certifications.

As Ireland’s most experienced fencing contractor, here’s our guide to industry regulations and compliance standards.
Whether it’s for commercial real estate, multi-unit residential developments, data centres, or government buildings, each sector has unique regulatory requirements that must be met.

The Importance of Compliance

Compliance is not just a tick-the-box exercise — it’s the cornerstone of project planning. It’s what ensures the safety, durability, and legal compliance of any fencing project.
Compliance also ensures that your fencing solution not only meets current standards, but will stand the test of time

fencingMallow Castle, Co. Cork

5 Key Areas of Compliance for Fencing Solutions

Material and Design Standards

Both the materials used and the design of the fence itself must comply with local and national standards. This includes specifications for durability, resistance to environmental conditions, and safety features.
In the planning and pre-construction phases, we can suggest products that will enhance your project, as well as advise you on value, engineering, and cost saving solutions.
All of the products we use are chosen for their quality, sustainability, maintenance free finishing, and ability to adapt to the needs of any project. Our range is high quality and cost-effective, as well as unique in its level of recyclability and reduction on carbon impact.
Working with a fencing contractor who holds  internationally-recognised certifications for quality and standard in steel fabrication, steel and aluminium structures, quality management systems, and a commitment to sustainable operations can help ensure your project adheres to all relevant design and material standards.

Height and Boundary Regulations:

Local zoning laws and national building codes often dictate the maximum height of fencing,  as well as where it can be placed along property lines. These details are crucial to avoid potential disputes or the need for changes later on.
Hand railings at healthcare facilities, for instance, have their own set of regulations and guides.
The new building for the Ballyboden Primary Care Centre, for example, would be welcoming visitors of all ages and abilities among its many changing levels, slopes, and steps, so all new handrails needed to comply with Part M of The Irish Building Regulations.
Our team conducted a comprehensive site survey to assess the works required, and our designers provided product proposals and site specific drawings.
We then proposed the Kee®Access System and a customised, fully galvanised and powder coated system of handrails and bar infilled railings individually manufactured to follow the unique, sloping walls of the new building. We also developed custom handrails for the various stepped areas and security entrance gates.

safety barrierBallyboden PHC – DHD Construction

Security Features:

High-security areas like data centres, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical facilities often have additional regulations governing the security features required of their fencing, such as surveillance integration and anti-climbing measures.
At the Data Centre in Grangecastle, we supplied and installed a solid, round bar sliding gate with a 12 metre opening for the entrance to the site, as well as 400 metres of 2.4m high Palisade to protect the perimeter, and a 4.2m high cage — using Kilmainham 358 Prison Grade Mesh — with a pedestrian access gate to protect a transformer.
To do this, we had to prepare site specific risk assessments and work alongside health and safety personnel in order to work around the transformer, which was in the centre of the project.

Accessibility and Safety:

Ensuring that your fencing solution complies with regulations for public access, emergency exits, and safety features is critical to preventing accidents or injuries.
So it’s important to ensure you’re working with a team of highly skilled and experienced fencing experts, project managers, engineers, and technicians who have extensive knowledge and expertise in their respective fields, and invest in continuous professional development to stay current with industry needs and best practices.

Historical and Environmental Considerations:

In areas with historical significance or environmental protection statuses, there may be specific guidelines to follow that could affect the choice of materials and installation methods.
The Dublin Port Heritage Project  involved designing a fencing solution that would both preserve the original features of the port’s foundation from 1707, and open the historic buildings to the public. This involved the delicate installation of hand railings along the steep, sloping walls and concrete steps at the Old Graving Dock — built c.1910 — a special challenge given the age and physical condition of the area.
Our design and manufacturing team worked with the client and used their expertise in manufacturing, as well as their knowledge of gate automation and the galvanising process to ensure all structural and safety requirements were met.
The Port Heritage Tour is now a popular tourist attraction in Dublin, and the innovative handrail design we developed for this project has since been used on many others.
When St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 2008, it became the largest restoration project in Europe to date.  We were tasked with matching and restoring the remaining railings — which were originally installed in 1856 — and supplying, manufacturing, and commissioning a matching 15,000mm wide, automated sliding gate for tiled forecourt of the Cathedral.
Because of our long-term relationship with Athy Co Op Foundry, we were able to cast matching copies of the original railings using sand moulds — which is nearly the same method used 160 years ago. We then fabricated the castings into the railing and gate structure at our Dublin plant — with one improvement.
Where the original railings had to be repainted countless times, the new ones were made using powder coated (Plasgalv®) over hot dipped galvanised finish — which should now not only stand the test of time, but also require significantly less repainting and, therefore, be less damaging to the environment.
This project went on to win numerous awards including the Irish Building and Design Awards 2015 Building Project of the Year, and the RWI Architecture Awards 2015 Public Choice award for Best Conservation/Restoration and Best Universal Design Project.

Certifications to Look For

The right certifications can help simplify the compliance process. These accreditations signify commitment to governmental and industry regulations, as well as project quality and excellence in provision and supply of services.

ISO Certifications:
ISO 9001 signifies robust quality management systems and customer satisfaction.

Health and Safety Certifications: 

EcoMerit certifications showcase a commitment to health and safety practices, as well as sustainable operations.
CIF Safe-T-Cert ensures the highest possible standards in all aspects of operations.
In 2023, Irish Fencing were awarded a Safe-T-Cert “A” Grade, putting Irish Fencing Services into the Top 10% of registered Safe-T-Cert Companies in Ireland.
Product-Specific Certifications:
Depending on the type of fencing, there may be product-specific standards and certifications that ensure the materials and designs meet rigorous safety and durability criteria.
OMNi EN 1090-1 quality certification reflects an adherence to international standards and ensures the highest quality standards for steel and aluminium structures.

Why Choose Irish Fencing

When you’re planning for a fence and want to ensure performance beyond compliance, it’s important to work with a team who have an absolute commitment to quality, upholding the highest industry standards, and understand the complexities and nuances of providing compliant, secure, sustainable, and long-standing fencing solutions.
It’s a long way from a cowshed in Ballyboughal.
But after 50 years, we still just want to weld, cut, and make great fences, gates, and railings. Get in touch to find out more.