Perimeters still the first line of defence

June 2016 Government and Parastatal (Industry), Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Government departments and parastatals continuously need to increase the security of their assets. Traditionally, National Key Points and prisons were the priority for security projects, however the focus has shifted to more mainstream assets belonging to education, healthcare facilities and water works treatment facilities amongst others.

Dan Edwards, Betafence South Africa.
Dan Edwards, Betafence South Africa.

National Key Points in South Africa will always attract the highest security specifications available at the time and more focus has been dedicated to longer-lasting solutions with guarantees and longevity of products being scrutinised more carefully.

Total integration solutions have become the norm rather than the exception and educated security consultants are increasingly being utilised to specify tried and tested solutions. Government is now looking progressively more at ISO 9001 certification during its adjudication processes.

Increased crime and vandalism make hardening perimeter security around these assets essential. Because of the increase in vandalism and opportunistic theft in the local areas, government assets such as schools, clinics, pump stations and electrical plants have become targets for the theft of removable items. Departments within the government sector are now looking at securing their assets using perimeter fencing as the primary stopper.

As part of the process in securing the perimeter of these assets, government came to understand several key things:

1. The fencing system is the backbone of any perimeter solution. It needs to be fit for purpose i.e. a rural school may require a different solution to a school in the city. Likewise, a railway station requires a different solution to a hospital.

In the case of education, three specification documents have been produced with drawings placed in high, medium and low security categories. It is then up to the wards to determine the threat probability in that area and allocate a category. The tender is then produced with design layout and full specification allowing very little room for individual contractors to manipulate or change the specification as a play on words. In most cases in the Eastern Cape, a product declaration form has to be submitted by the tenderer in order to be considered, verifying that the product and specification specified has been quoted on and will be used to complete the project.

2. Standardisation of solutions and products is critical not only for aesthetic aspects but also to make the specification and procurement process as efficient as possible. Standardising products ensures cost-effective repair and extension.

3. Guaranteed quality is critical for lifecycle costs. This applies to the quality of base material, manufacturing methods and coatings. By using suppliers with under-written coating guarantees on their products together with ISO 9001 certification, customers will be assured of improved aesthetics and useful life of the product.

Implementing agents have realised over time that concrete palisade and galvanised palisade fencing is easily broken through and are high maintenance solutions. Palisade fencing is easily disassembled and invariably lands up in the scrap yard. The pricing of PVC-coated medium-security products and palisade fencing is so similar nowadays that palisade is often being overlooked.

In summary, the perimeter fencing of government and parastatals assets has evolved and continues to do so to meet the challenges faced on a daily basis. This evolution has only been possible through the joint efforts of the respective government departments, security consultants and manufacturers with all understanding that it is an ongoing process rather than one-off project.

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