Residential and commercial estates often develop first class access-control and perimeter security systems to safeguard properties and other assets. In the madness of day-to-day management of busy estates, it is possible for property managers, maintenance staff, residents and tenants to renege on performing regular preventative and ongoing maintenance.
Detecting problems or damage early on leads to less downtime and limits the exposure and security risks for the property owners. Finding faults beforehand also saves money as repairs are caught well before they can cause more extensive damage. In an earlier post we proposed and discussed 5 tips to improve your security estate safety and one of those tips was to perform regular on-site inspections.
By performing a two-weekly or monthly perimeter site inspection, you greatly enhance your chances of detecting errors, breakages, faulty and in some cases also suspicious activities. Only a few estates have scheduled perimeter safety checks in place. It is advisable to keep a record of the schedule, the process and all the observations made during such inspections.
Any problems detected during the site inspection and check, needs to be recorded placed on a maintenance-and-repair schedule to ensure each problem identified is corrected and repaired on time. The estate management team needs to be informed on a monthly basis on the status and progress being made on repairing these detected items. It would also be advisable to ask all residents, tenants and staff to keep an eye out for items, or areas, where things appear to be damaged or suspicious.
To achieve optimal results during your security fence inspection it is proposed that you consider the following:
- Make sure to perform checks on the perimeter wall (or metal fence) both inside and outside of the main property or estate.
- Focus on any observable damage inside flowerbeds or disturbances to the vegetation close to the perimeter wall. These might be clues of unauthorised attempts to penetrate the perimeter wall protection. In serious cases an anti-dig barrier may have to be installed.
- Check for any visible sagging or leaning toward one end of the wall. This could potentially indicate a compromised foundation or structural problem. Identify sections where sagging is exerting increased tension on any of the wire strands or sections.
- Inspect all poles (metal structures that carry the electric fence wiring) located on the perimeter wall and make notes of any visible rusting of the poles. Rust eventually weakens the structural integrity of the pole and will cause it to break causing further damage to the perimeter wiring.
- Also take note of any bent poles as this can be an indication of possible break-ins or it could point to a damaged or sagging wall.
- Confirm that all fence wires are tight, even spaced between each other and properly affixed to each of the bobbins (the small round plastic casings mounted poles which secures the wires in place).
- Make sure the electric wires are free from any vegetation or trees that might be getting close to the wires as this can lead to arcing which will lead to false alarms and compromised electrical pulse on that specific section of the fence. Cut-away and prune all vegetation close to the perimeter fence.
- Check that every bobbin is securely attached to the poles and that there is no arcing or sparking. Note that in wet weather a fence tends to have more arcing and sparking sounds. The sparking (clicking) sound can also be caused by large insects and rodents stuck in the fence.
- At sites close to coastal areas, it is important to also make sure that all wires are regularly washed down with a soap solution to clean all salt build-ups. Salt compaction will cause the electrical fence protection to fail.
- The worst enemy of the electrical fence is the rusting of the wires. Identify and replace rusting perimeter wires as soon and early as possible.
- Be on the lookout for any signs of sagging wires. This will eventually happen over time and is an indication that maintenance is required. Also notice any unusual bends in the wires as that can be an indication of possible break-in attempts.
- Inspect all connecting cables (called HT Cables) that conduct the electricity from the energizer to the fence or from a piece of fence to another piece of fence. These cables tend to erode and break so inspect them for cracks or signs of wear and tear.
- Make sure that damaged connecting cables are repaired as soon as possible. They represent a real health hazard as these cables still carry many thousands of volts. Make sure this cable does not touch any metal parts or short-circuits the fence. It is best advised to call out technical support for such repairs.
- While checking fence voltages should be a daily activity (usually done by the security personnel) it is advisable to review all recorded data of the voltage reading for each zone and wire, just as part of the site inspection and administrative audit.
- Reduced voltage readings can indicate problematic or damaged wires and, or, faulty energisers. Both can be detected early on with regular maintenance tests and checks. This is why keeping record of all electrical wire readings are so important.
- A key activity during the site inspection is to perform fence alarm tests. These tests must be performed at different points and zones on the fence and should preferably be done at different positions during each inspection to cover the entire perimeter fence over a period of time.
- If your estate is equipped with an on-site security monitoring and control system, then make sure to check full functionality, especially if you activate a perimeter alarm.
- In cases where monitoring and response actions of the estate perimeter fence and security system, is managed off-site, it is critical that these response times and actions are recorded once an alarm is in breach, and to make sure your security service provider’s response times and actions are satisfactory.
- Lastly, it is important to also inspect general security items in and around the estate for functionality and damage. These include items such as pedestrian gates (for staff entry), site cameras mounted on buildings or other critical areas, entrance gates (especially the bottom gate roller wheels or control arms), security beams, back-up generators, cables installations and the security office.
While security perimeter inspections are vital, they form part of a continuous macro effort to ensure all security systems are fully operational and in working condition at all times.
To maximise the impact of regular inspections, it is vital to document all findings and to ensure that all residents, tenants, service providers and employees are aware of the security procedures and processes.
A fully operational and functioning perimeter security fence is a critical first layer of defence and in most instance forms the backbone of the entire security network. By maintaining and inspecting your security fence you are effectively safeguarding your assets, property and other resources.
Devtron specialises in tailored on-site security monitoring and control systems, which utilises software in conjunction with existing hardware components, and affords estates the opportunity to take charge of the safety and security of their sites.