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Friday, June 30, 2017

How Security Fencing for Schools Can Be Safe and Attractive with a Steel Fence

Bringing functionality and beauty together is something that often seems to have been lost in the design of schools (which so often resemble prisons!). For a variety of reasons, fencing choices are often pushed to the margins of our priority list. As an architect, when you’re designing the layout of a school, there are understandably many considerations more important than the type of fencing being installed. However, every detail counts, and fencing can provide a frame for a building. For years, chain-link fence was that frame. And while some school districts may still opt for chain link fence, many are now realizing the aesthetic, safety, and maintenance benefits of other types of fencing.

In my opinion, one of the best options available for school security fencing is powder coated galvanized steel. If you choose the right manufacturer, it’s incredibly easy to install and adjust, making it an excellent choice should there be future alterations or additions to the school or property. In addition to providing solid protection, it’s also low maintenance, stylish, durable, and pairs well with a variety of styles, whether up against the school or as the boundary for the school grounds. Here’s how a steel picket security fence fares in the categories of security, durability, and aesthetics.

First Test: Galvanized Steel Fence Security

Black rail and picket fences do a great job of keeping people and animals in (or out). One big reason for this is because they’re difficult to climb. Whereas chain-link fencing provides an easy toe-hold – especially for kids – a steel security picket fence is challenging to climb and can be made even tougher with the addition of decorative, pointed finials.

The other benefit of steel picket-style security fencing is that, like chain-link fencing and unlike wood or concrete, it offers excellent visibility. Providing visibility makes you safer by giving you a full view of everyone who’s inside (and outside) of your space – as well as what they’re up to.

Lastly, I have hardly come across a chain-link system that didn’t have its fair share of rust and sharp ends, seemingly tailor-made to snag and cut both clothing and children. Rail and picket galvanized steel fences offer smooth, rust-free surfaces that won’t send any kids in for tetanus shots.

Second Test: Durability of Steel Fencing

The benefits of standard chain-link fencing are that it’s inexpensive, can last between 15 and 20 years depending on the climate and whether it’s coated, and provides see-through visibility. However, even when a good coating is applied, rust on a chain link fence is a regular and predictable occurrence.

Because of these issues with rust, metal fences have gotten a bad rap, a reputation which may change with the arrival of fencing materials armed with premium coating technologies. One of the most advanced processes combines a zinc coating, an auto industry-grade moisture-resistant e-coating, and a UV-inhibiting powder coating to produce a nearly maintenance-free fence capable of retaining its original beauty for decades.

Third Test: Steel Picket Fence Aesthetics

While some of us, as architects, might enjoy chain-link fencing because it’s an honest material, not everyone is going to be in a Frank Gehry sort of head space for the lifetime of the building. I was extremely lucky to do grade school and middle school in a beautiful building attached to an old park; truly one of the nicest spaces in town. It gave you the feeling that whatever you doing was something genuinely important.

In a similar way, black picket fencing can evoke a very different set of feelings than regular chain-link fencing. It’s hard to pin down, but I find that, like my beautiful school buildings, a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing fence lends a sense of importance, regality, and timelessness to the school environment. An attractive fence can take some of the ‘institutional’ feel of a school away, giving students a sense of greater place and purpose.

When you’re designing a school and its immediate surroundings, you might think of a fence as just a necessary but secondary consideration, but it can have a powerful effect on those that come into contact with it. In addition to its classic beauty, black steel fencing is safe and highly durable, requiring very little maintenance. If you are looking for a fence with all of these qualities in spades, I highly recommend those made by Fortress Building Products. Their fences have a unique set of coatings that keeps them protected from corrosion and looking good for years, making them an excellent investment in appearance and quality. For more innovative building materials like railing, decking, and ornamental hardware, take a look at the rest of the Fortress website. All of Fortress’ products are built with longevity and durability in mind, so you know they’ll stay like new no matter what wear and tear they encounter.








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