It's often one of the first site services to be called to a construction site and the last to leave. Fences — whether chain link, welded wire or wooden hoarding — provide the first line of defense to protect passersby and to keep unwanted intruders off the site.
There isn't much guidance on what constitutes a reasonable fence in Ontario's Regulation for Construction Projects, which, in a section on Public Way Protection, simply states: "If work on a project may endanger a person using a public way, a sturdy fence at least 1.8 meters in height shall be constructed between the public way and the project."
But what constitutes a sturdy fence in the eyes of contractors is changing.
"We're not seeing the orange snow fencing or the wooden panels held together by wire any longer," says Allyson Newburg, marketing manager with Fast Fence of Toronto. "And while six-foot-high fencing is sufficient to meet the regulations, we're getting more construction customers asking us for eight-foot fencing."
The company specializes in the rental of three types of fence products to the construction industry: galvanized diamond steel mesh and tubing chain link fence, heavy duty welded wire mesh, and welded wire with a narrow two-by- four-inch opening.
"The welded wire is virtually unclimbable because you can't get your foot into the opening," she says.
In part, the increased height of fencing provides extra security, but also provides extra privacy for the project.
"Site privacy is becoming more and more important," she says. "Years ago, projects wanted some degree of publicity. Now they don't mind creating an air of mystery. One of the reasons is that they don't want potential thieves to be able to map out the locations of material on the site."