As the manager of a multifamily apartment complex in its early stages of construction and occupancy, you wear a lot of hats. One of the most important is that of a safety director. While tenants are moving into a newly completed building, construction may be partially finished or just getting underway at other sites on the property. Even with the most carefully organized development plan, work sites where construction, painting and landscaping are going on present the potential for hazard. It's necessary to establish clear lines of demarcation between work areas and the space that is accessible by prospective residents, interested onlookers and random passersby. Construction fences provide the barrier needed to ensure that there's no accidental wandering into places where only authorized workers should be. You can manage the responsibility of safety and security for the entire complex by verifying that work crews set up the right type of fencing for each project.
Solid Panel Fencing
If the building under construction is near a sidewalk or area where people, bicycles or vehicle traffic pass, solid temporary fencing may be necessary. This is typically made of large sheets of plywood nailed to a framework of upright wood posts with rails in between. In some areas, panels made of sturdy PVC or metal are available for use instead of plywood. The purpose is to keep dust and debris confined to the building site, but it also serves as protection from theft of the materials and equipment that are on the site. The general contractor for the complex is in charge of installing a plywood barrier, but in your management role you can keep an eye on several key requirements.
- The height of the plywood barrier. Minimum and maximum heights are dictated by your local municipality's building codes. In Clayton, Missouri, for example, a minimum height of 6 feet is required, but other municipalities may require taller barriers.
- The setback from the street and sidewalk. This space is also dictated by local code and is established to allow sufficient room for people and vehicles to continue passing by safely while work is ongoing.
- Construction fence viewing holes. Small squares cut out of the plywood or panel and covered with wire mesh allow folks to peek through and see what's going on. Providing a way for interested parties to catch a glimpse of the work safely reduces the chances they'll be tempted to sneak inside to satisfy their curiosity.
Chain-Link Panel Fencing
Where there is sufficient space between the work area and public areas, chain-link fence panels are a common solution for temporary barriers. The general contractor often subcontracts the delivery and installation of the barrier to a fence rental company. Chain-link fencing panels may be freestanding and held in place by sturdy clamps, or they may be mounted on concrete barrier blocks. While people on your complex property can see what's going on, it's from a safe distance. And the tools and equipment on-site remain protected from outsiders with mischievous intentions. When the fence is installed, watch for these basic parameters.
- The appearance of the fencing. The chain-link panels should be in good repair without bent frames or holes. In some upscale regions, the aesthetic appearance is even directed by building code requirements. In Beverly Hills, California, for example, color-coated fencing in a neutral tone such as green is required.
- Secure gates. Swing gates for workers to pass through and rolling gates with wide openings for delivery vehicles and cranes to pass through are standard features for a temporary construction fence. Each type should have a tamper-proof locking mechanism to keep unauthorized personnel off the work site.
- Proper signage. Many municipalities require signs with a phone number to call in case passersby wish to ask questions or report problems. The temporary fencing is also a good place for a sign advertising your apartment complex's upcoming availability for rent or lease.
With proper fencing in place, your management concerns can be reduced as construction crews carry on making the apartment complex an appealing property for current and future tenants. For more information on construction fencing, check out a website like http://rent-a-fence.com/.