Finding the Right Stability Solution for Temporary FenceAugust 18, 2022
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on July 16, 2018. It has been updated with current information.
Your perimeter fence is what keeps your site safe and secure. It is your last line of defense against intruders. It also serves to protect the safety of the general public. Whether you need a temporary fencing solution for a construction project or a special event, stability should be top of mind.
Why Do You Need a Stability Solution for Temporary Fence?
A good temporary fencing system should be able to withstand threats to its stability – like crowds and inclement weather. According to the Government of Canada website, when a wind warning is issued, you should expect inland winds to blow steadily at 60-65 km/h or more, or have gusting winds up to 90km/h or more. These high winds can impact the safety and condition of your site. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for wind gusts to reach speeds in excess of 50 km/h in Canada. The right stability solution for your temporary fence can ensure the safety and stability of your fencing system even in suboptimal conditions.
We can’t talk about temporary fence stability without addressing the common practice of screening. Temporary fencing is often used as a support structure for banners, privacy screening, and signage. Unfortunately, the installation of additional materials or screening to any temporary structure will increase the structural and environmental loads. Things like privacy screening and banners will negatively affect the stability of the fence, making it more prone to blowing over in high winds. Contrary to popular belief, adding wind vents to your screening does not significantly reduce this risk. When hanging anything from temporary fence, it is crucial to reinforce the fence line to counteract these effects.
Unstable fence is not only dangerous, but it can be costly, too. It puts the safety of your workers and the public at risk, opening you up to liability. Our fence panels are heavy, and falling fence can cause serious (and expensive) damage to nearby property. Finally, most temporary fence rental companies will charge you for each damaged fence panel.
Why take the chance? There are accessories available that can help mitigate some of these risks. Here are several great solutions to help you improve the stability of your temporary fence:
Sandbags are a popular stability solution for temporary fence, since they are inexpensive and easy to implement. They are portable and easy to move as needed. This option does not require locates (the process of locating and mapping underground utilities), which are needed for any stability solutions that penetrate the ground. However, since they do not anchor the fence to the ground, sandbags are not sufficient if screening or banners are being added to the fence. As well, they may not hold up to stronger winds. Though there are more robust options out there, sandbags are fine for most short-term jobs or when you need to be able to move the fence line around.
Spikes and Bolts
Another common solution involves anchoring the fence bases to the ground using spikes or bolts. Both are inexpensive and relatively easy to install, making them great options for further stabilizing your temporary fence. Spikes and bolts are ideal in situations where you don’t have enough room for concrete blocks, v-bracing, or wind braces. However, this approach does require locates, as it involves drilling into the ground. Another important thing to consider is the suitability of the terrain. Soft, loose soil and sandy substrate are poor foundations for anchoring solutions. If your site is situated on soft ground, then t-bars may be your best bet.
T-bars (sometimes called t-posts) make a great stability solution for temporary fence. Like spikes, they penetrate the ground – but are embedded much deeper, making for a more secure anchor point. T-bars do a good job of stabilizing the fence against wind, even when hanging privacy screening or banners. T-bars are also a great option when you cannot use regular fence bases due to the characteristics of your site – for instance, if the fence needs to hug a curb or is being installed on uneven terrain. However, t-bars can be difficult to install in hard, compacted ground. If installation takes place in the winter when the ground is frozen, there may be additional charges for special equipment or increased labour requirements.
Wind braces are used to secure the fence to the ground to counteract wind. They are an alternative to bolting the fence bases directly to the ground. The wind brace attaches to the frame of the temporary fence panel and is bolted into the ground along the fence line. Securing the fence panels (rather than the bases) to the ground using wind braces prevents the panels from being lifted or knocked off the bases – something that can happen in particularly windy conditions.
Wind braces can withstand moderately high winds. Because they are bolted into the ground, the effectiveness of wind braces partly depends on the integrity of the soil. For that reason, we do not recommend wind braces for sites with soft terrain. Wind braces are a suitable stability solution for temporary fence that will have banners or screening attached.
Fence on Jersey Barriers
Temporary fencing can be mounted onto jersey barriers (also called traffic barriers, TCB barriers, or concrete barriers) to create a robust, stable, and secure barricade. The resulting barrier system is an imposing visual and physical breach deterrent.
The fence panels are secured to the concrete jersey barrier using a purpose-designed anchoring system, so they cannot be moved or adjusted. This system is great for projects along busy roadways or parking lots, and is also ideal for high-security scenarios. Along with our concrete block ballast system, it is the best stability solution for temporary fence.
V-Bracing or Triangle Bracing
Long, straight lines of fence can be unstable, even without high winds. V-bracing or triangle bracing should be used to stabilize long lines of fence. Triangle bracing is the more stable of the two techniques, and is the best approach for uneven terrain and high winds.
This is one of the easiest stability solutions to implement if you are building your own temporary fence. All it requires is a few additional temporary fence panels. As a best practice, we use v-bracing or triangle bracing at 50 foot intervals along straight lines of fence. To learn more, read about our best practices for temporary fence installation.
Concrete Block Ballast System
The concrete block ballast system is comprised of heavy concrete blocks and wind braces spaced at regular intervals along the fence line. This system prevents the fence from being knocked over, and is built to resist wind loads adopted by the Structural Engineering Institute/American Society for Civil Engineers building code. We can tailor the weight and spacing of the concrete blocks to suit your specific requirements. Due to their weight, special equipment and additional time and labour are required to install the concrete blocks. This system is definitely worth the added cost and planning, as this is the most robust stability solution for your temporary fence.
Need Help with Finding the Best Stability Solution for Temporary Fence?
Modu-Loc Fence Rentals offers superior installation systems that adapt to the most demanding conditions. By providing you with some basic information about available stability solutions, we hope we’ve helped you decide what is right for your site.
However, it is always best to consult the professionals if you have any concerns about the stability of your rental fence. Modu-Loc’s Sales and Operations teams are trained to assess areas of concern and make recommendations for the right accessories for every site, ensuring optimal security and stability. To find out more about any of our stability solutions, please contact us.
We’re here to answer any questions you may have.