Fence Installer

The Job and What's Involved

Fence installers erect fences at various locations, including:

- Gardens
- Roads, motorways and bridges
- Building sites
- Industrial sites and factories
- Airfields
- Prison perimeters
- Sports grounds
- Zoos and animal sanctuaries
- Farms
- Forests

Fences are needed for a number of reasons, such as security, public safety, safety on roads and motorways, as environmental sound barriers and for keeping in farm animals. They are made from a range of materials, including wire, wood, concrete, metal and plastic.

The work of fence installers can be very varied. They could be building a timber panel fence around a garden, installing many miles of crash barriers on a new motorway, or putting up a high-security fence around an airport or industrial site.

At the start of a job, quantity surveyors or contract managers prepare the site and plan out where the fence needs to go. Fence installers usually work as part of a team with other fence installers and may be involved in the site preparation themselves. This involves levelling the site and digging holes and foundations, either by hand or using machines.

Different methods are used to erect strained wire fences, high security fences or vehicle restraint systems.

Much of the work is manual, but they could also use fork-lift trucks and dumper trucks. When the fence has been put up it might need to be treated with preservatives or protective coatings.

Fence installers usually work around 40 hours a week. Many companies offer overtime and weekend work. Contracts often have tight time schedules and can be spread across different locations.

Installers work outside, in all weathers. The work is physically demanding due to the lifting of heavy materials and site preparation.

Starting salaries may be around £12,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are around 4,000 fencing businesses throughout the UK, employing around 25,000 people. Jobs are available in areas such as landscaping, construction, local government, airfields and prisons, the voluntary sector, forestry and agriculture.

Fence installers can work for large or small companies, or be self-employed. With the growth in road networks, prison building and the increasing importance of environmental conservation, fencing opportunities are likely to increase.

Jobs may be advertised in local newspapers, Connexions centres and Jobcentre Plus offices.

Education and Training

There are no specific entry requirements, but it is useful to have GCSE's/S grades (A-E/1-5), in maths, technology and English, or equivalent qualifications. New entrants need to do health and safety training before working on construction sites.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Many fence installers learn practical skills on the job. They also learn about the different kinds of materials that are used.

Fence installers also need a Fencing Industry Skills Scheme/Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (FISS/CSCS) card to work on many construction sites. This can be obtained through health and safety training and by enrolling on an NVQ/SVQ in fencing. NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Fencing are available.

Level 2 covers site preparation, product knowledge, health and safety and installation. Level 3 has been developed for fencing supervisors and covers management skills. The Lantra website has more information.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A fence installer should be:

  • Strong and fit.
  • Practical, with good hand skills.
  • Mechanically-minded.
  • Able to work well in a team.
  • Able to work safely.
  • Able to understand and follow plans.
  • Well organised.

Your Long Term Prospects

For fence installers who wish to develop their career, there may be opportunities for promotion. They could move into supervisory roles, contract management, quantity surveying, or health and safety management.

It is possible for an experienced fence installer to set up their own business.

Fence installers can also work for large international construction groups, building roads or airports. These companies may offer the possibility of overseas employment.

Get Further Information

Association of Fencing Industries,
19 Omega Business Village, Thurston Road, Northallerton, DL6 2NJ
Tel: 020 8253 4516
Website: www.afiorg.uk/

Lantra, Lantra House, Stoneleigh Park,
Near Coventry, Warwickshire CV8 2LG
Tel: 024 7669 6996
Websites: www.lantra.co.uk and www.ajobin.com

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