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Market snapshot: Fences and hoardings in the GCC

With an array of real estate projects being developed in the region, the GCC fencing market is likely to experience an uptick in demand

The choice of materials for fencing depends on several factors.
The choice of materials for fencing depends on several factors.

Even before the earthworks and piling begin at a construction site, one of the first things to appear are temporary fences and hoardings. Such barriers often go unnoticed, but it is important to choose the right kind of fencing to either cordon off the construction site or prevent the public from gaining access.

Fences are widely used for residential, agricultural, and industrial applications. Currently, the growing real estate development and remodeling projects are expected to drive revenue for the site fencing market in the future. Moreover, commercial schools, colleges, and industrial premises have been adopting these products to enhance security and safety.

The global fencing market is expected to reach $32.12bn by 2022, according to a report by US-based Grand View Research, Inc. The residential segment accounted for over 50% of overall revenue share in 2014 and is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% from 2015 to 2022. Demand will be driven by the growing number of construction projects.

The increasing social requirement to enhance properties’ looks, and to address security concerns, will also contribute to revenue growth. Globally, the North American and European fencing markets are expected to continue to dominate the revenue share. Rising real estate demand in India and China, meanwhile, is expected to boost the Asia Pacific fencing market.

Grand View Research’s report states: “New housing construction, improvement, and remodeling work are expected to drive industry demand in the coming years. Rise in safety and security concerns in residential, transportation, and commercial construction spending are also expected to spur market growth. These products may witness rise in demand due to growing needs to improve the appearances and value of the property.

“Accelerating institutional construction spending is anticipated to also favour fencing industry growth. Increase in government spending for enhancing parks, public places, and government premises may also drive demand. Factors such as cost, quality, design, and aesthetic value are among the major buying criteria.”

In keeping with this trend, the majority of GCC governments have called on building contractors to observe state building regulations set for the use of temporary fencing around construction sites. In Qatar, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment has issued strict warnings to companies, contractors, and engineering consultancies that fail to obey ministerial decrees on worksite construction activities, fencing requirements, and sidewalks, according to local media reports.

In line with Qatar’s Ministerial Decision No 120 concerning signs at work sites, contractors must display the name of the project’s owner, the street, date and number of building permit, and other relevant information, at the entrance to all sites. Also, the height of the fence should be at least 2m, should not exceed 5.5m, and it must have consistent measurements so that it covers the site in all its aspects. The decree outlines that contractors should erect fences in line with site specifications. The ministry has cautioned all parties to meet the standards to avoid any legal repercussions.

With this in mind, the number of hoardings and the lengths that site fencing spans give a clear indication of the busy nature of the regional construction industry.

According to research firm GRMC, the GCC site fencing market was estimated at $25.8m in 2010, and was expected to reach $27.7m in 2015. The report said: “Saudi Arabia and the UAE together comprise 55% of the total GCC site fencing market.”

With so many other factors to consider during the design and construction of a project, temporary fencing and hoardings may seem insignificant. On the contrary, in fact, they fulfil several important functions that impact both the individual project and the firms involved, over the long-term, with regard to security, corporate image and sustainability, and several other issues that are currently affecting the real estate sector’s development.

There are four main materials used for site hoarding and fencing – metal, wood, plastic and composite, and concrete – with numerous configurations of these materials and products available in the Middle East. The choice of material depends on several factors, with each having its own advantages and disadvantages.

Over the years, the overall market use has developed alongside advances in the available products, with traditional timber fencing becoming less prevalent due primarily to its short lifespan.

The plastic and composite segment is expected to show high potential owing to its low maintenance cost and durability. These products are also lightweight and easy to install. Metal, however, is the most widely used material, and is set to grow with a CAGR of more than 4% from 2015 to 2022.

The vast array of construction projects blooming across the Gulf region – ahead of Expo 2020 in Dubai, for example – is creating strong demand for fencing systems. As a result, the scope for firms to implement innovative alternative technologies at every stage of the construction process will only grow. It will be interesting to see whether or not, in the coming years, more companies find creative ways to make an impact via this often overlooked – but essential – element of the development process.

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