External Works Overview
In this section you will find leading manufacturers and suppliers of products in the external works category. From signage and bollards to fencing and garden furniture this section will deliver the result you need for all projects dealing with outside spaces and environments....more
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External Works Explained
The category of external works is dedicated to any features that can be used to finish the external environment of a project, whether it be a residential, commercial, industrial or a community project. Within most projects external features are needed to ensure the functionality of, and to add value to, the end result.
Functional external features may take the form of access requirements where security may be an issue. To enhance security on any project fencing could be used to separate the site from adjacent properties and land. Any from of fencing, whether it be full perimeter fencing or partial fencing installed at key areas of the site, can stop or cut down any unwanted pedestrian or vehicular access. To remove the threat of vehicular access a number of fencing options are available, ranging from aesthetic low level fencing, which can be scaled easily, to high level security for maximum protection. Examples of low level fencing include wooden palisade fencing and post and rail fencing. High level security fencing is likely to prevent both pedestrian access and vehicular access, if installed and commissioned properly. Security fences are generally constructed with concrete or metal posts with a wire mesh attached. Products like razor wire and anti climb paints can be fitted or applied to reduce scalability. High level security fencing is generally suited to industrial and commercial projects where reduced aesthetics can be tolerated. Where aesthetics are considered to be important, such as in a residential environment or a public park location, alternative enhanced security boundary fencing can be constructed from brick, wrought iron or a combination of the two. Wrought iron fencing can provide a good compromise between form and function. It can be produced in many ornate deigns and can be finished with spikes or a pointed design to reduce scalability.
Where perimeter fencing has been specified it is likely that some form of gate will be necessary to compliment the fencing arrangement and maintain security. Gates can be purchased in many different forms with low level aesthetic gates typically manufactured from wood and high level gates manufactured from steel. Most gates, wood and steel, can be fabricated by specialists to meet individual project requirements. Gates typically form the 'weak point' of any perimeter fence and can be supplied with different opening mechanisms. The hinge is the traditional gate opening method and has been for centuries. A popular modern opening mechanism is that of the sliding gate. Sliding gates have the advantage of being able to be fabricated in continuous lengths to cover large spans, therefore illuminating the central line of weakness found on traditional two piece gates. Automatic gates typically utilise a sliding mechanism for high security industrial complexes where a large gate span is often necessary. For domestic purposes a two piece timber swing gate could be automated to provide a more rustic and natural look.
Other features may be required to complement a perimeter fence. Items such as bollards can be used as an alternative to a fence to limit vehicular access where pedestrian access is not an issue. Bollards will appear less intrusive than a fence and give a greater feeling of space, especially useful within park environments. Within city centres bollards are used to segregate pedestrians from vehicular movements. They are often sited along roadsides, where no kerbstones are present, to segregate vehicles from pedestrians. In this scenario heavy duty or anti ram bollards are likely to be specified to ensure pedestrian safety. Anti ram bollards may also be required for security purposes.
Street furniture represents a large and diverse subcategory of external works. It can be used to create subtle themes within city centres, whether it be a traditional or contemporary theme. Elements of street furniture may comprise seating, lighting, signage and litter management. The layout of street furniture can be used to create strong visual effects within a city environment. Items such as benches and seats can be manufactured in a range of styles and different materials. Cast iron seating products may typically be used to create a traditional older style appearance, such as a Victorian period theme. The theme could further be enhanced by using matching cast iron signage, planters, lamp posts and litter bins. More contemporary street furniture may utilise stainless steel, for durability purposes, and to give a futuristic appearance. Popular modern street furniture may be manufactured from both stainless steel and wood to give a more natural finish.
Benches, whether they are intended to be city centre benches or park benches, can be fabricated specifically for their usage environment. A number of metal fabrication specialists will be able to offer a bespoke design and build service. When specifying benches or seating consideration should be given to the intended usage environment. Where vandalism is perceived to be a potential problem resistant materials should be chosen such as steel or cast iron. Materials such as wood and plastics are unlikely to withstand vandalism and will be particularly susceptible to arson. Classic seating solutions for country parks may take the form of a picnic bench. Traditionally constructed from timber picnic benches offer a sustainable and natural seating and combined dining solution. In recent years picnic tables and benches manufactured from brown or other natural coloured recycled plastics have become a popular alternative to wood. Plastic street furniture is not susceptible to rot.
Some areas, for example those with food outlets and shops, are particularly susceptible to litter generation. In these areas the provision of litter bins is necessary to help maintain a clean and safe environment. Litter bins can be specified in a wide range of finishes and formats. Produced in materials such as plastic, cast iron, steel, stainless steel and wood. Plastic and wood are susceptible to arson and for this reason cast iron or steel bins are commonly used to withstand fire. In areas such as parks and nature reserves dog waste bins should be provided to help keep the area clean and safe. Dog litter bins are produced in a number of styles and formats, from free standing to wall mounted.
External structures may be required to enhance external environments. A range of shelters are available from specialist companies, many of which can provide bespoke options. Features like smoking shelters are a common accessory for work places and other commercial environments to provide user protection from the elements. Other useful functional shelters include cycle shelters and sports shelters.
The external environments of buildings generally require hardstanding areas to allow pedestrian and vehicular access, which can be provided by many different materials. Popular choices include the usage of block paving and paviors within the external areas of residential buildings. They can be obtained in a wide variety of colours and finishes. Concrete paving stones are seen as a cost effective alternative to traditional clay block pavers, especially if large numbers are required for driveway and access road construction. In industrial environments reinforced concrete is favoured for access roads and loading bays to take the strain of heavy goods vehicles. Tarmac can also be used to cover large areas, such as car parks, as it has the ability to accommodate small settlements without cracking. Specialist road surfacing contractors will be able to advise on specifications to withstand intended usage.
Hardstanding areas within residential garden areas may need to be more aesthetically pleasing. To fulfil this requirement products such as timber decking have been developed to provide eye catching functional features within gardens. Wooden decking can be constructed to suit most situations with anti slip surfaces available, along with accompanying handrails and balustrades. Patios, also suited to garden locations, may typically be constructed from concrete or concrete paving slabs.