The future of fencing is steel

The pressure is always to build high-quality developments that deliver profit in all areas of a build, including fencing. Here, John Abernethie, Managing Director at Birkdale discusses modern fencing options that can offer numerous benefits when it comes to performance, aesthetic – and the bottom line.

Housebuilders and property developers are under intense pressure to increase the delivery of new-build homes across the country, whilst following some of the most demanding building regulations in Europe. Additionally, with the growing requirement for more sustainably built housing, developers are now having to assess the suitability of traditional building materials and replace them where feasible in favour of more environmentally-conscious alternatives. 

Easily overlooked on a new build project – even when significant installations are required – fencing is one area where traditional products are being quickly overtaken by alternatives, with newer solutions easily able to deliver in terms of performance, environmental and installation benefits as well as aesthetic value. 

Fence Posts 

Traditionally, specifiers have had to choose between concrete or timber fence posts when designing outdoor areas. Unfortunately, as there are draw backs to both options, neither solution is ideal. Timber fence posts are susceptible to rotting and warping over time, often needing to be replaced multiple times during a property’s lifecycle. 

When it comes to concrete, concrete fence posts are prone to cracking as well as heavy and difficult to install, requiring at least two workers on-site. Finally, let’s face it that concrete posts also offer very limited aesthetic value. 

Thankfully, there are modern solutions. New steel fence post solutions, such as DuraPost®, have been designed to offer housebuilders and property developers a stylish and durable outdoor solution, which is compatible with virtually any type of fencing. 

When manufacturing steel fence posts, pre-galvanised sheet material is cut and cold rolled through specifically made dyes to create a unique H-section profile. The result is a stronger product, which can achieve superior performance and provide additional corrosion protection when powder coated. Tested to withstand high wind speeds, galvanised steel solutions are usually backed by a warranty agreement and require no ongoing treatment, or maintenance once installed. 

Unlike other solutions, steel also offers options in terms of design, with a wide range of colours available, along with matching accessories including gravel boards and post caps. DuraPost® is available in Anthracite Grey, Olive Grey, Sepia Brown, Galvanised Steel and Black. Steel posts are also compatible with virtually any onsite fencing solution or pre-made panels currently available on the market, ensuring it can complement any wider garden design. 

Not only do steel fence posts represent a more long-lasting, design focused solution; they also offer ease-of-installation. Unlike concrete fence posts, steel posts are a lightweight solution, which is up to 80% lighter than concrete and can be carried and secured safely by a single individual. As a result, health and safety on site is improved, the labour required to install the fence is reduced and the installation – and wider landscaping – can be completed far quicker. 

Fence panels

Once a post has been selected, a panel must be specified – again timber panelling has always been the traditional choice. Composite panels are an excellent alternative. They are hardwearing, durable and can be shaped and textured to emulate the desired finish of timber panels. They are also resistant to UV rays, insects, and mould, meaning that they will retain their appearance long-term, with zero maintenance. Composite fence panels also stand out for their water-resistant properties, which ensure they will not require repair for an impressive lifespan of 25 to 30 years. 

As buyers pay even greater attention to the quality of a property’s outdoor space, the aesthetic element of a property’s fence is crucial. Therefore, selecting a fence that complements the look of a home is a great way to enhance a project. It is also worth considering that fencing can be used for other purposes than simply as a perimeter border, they can be used at differing heights for the purpose of retainment, to separate one flower bed from another or to zone an outdoor kitchen. Similarly, high-quality fencing can also be used to hide potential eyesores such as bin stores or heat pumps, so it is crucial that they look aesthetically pleasing. 

Composite fence panels are available in a range of colours such as Anthracite Grey, Sepia Brown, Natural and Black, providing real design flexibility and the ability to match the fence to other exterior elements like guttering or window frames. It is also possible to source composite panels made from recycled materials or material by-products – for example the DuraPost® composite panel range, which is made from a combination of recycled plastics and rice husks – for a more sustainable solution. 

Together, steel fencing and composite panels offer housebuilders a modern and highly durable fencing solution that will enhance a property’s aesthetic, help minimise overall installation costs, resulting in a higher profit and reduce environmental impact.