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Metal Fence Professionals Sought to Develop Standards

ASTM Subcommittee F14.35 on Architectural Metal Fence Systems invites manufacturers, distributors, and other stakeholders in the metal fence- industry—except chain link—to develop ASTM standards for the following fence systems:

• Ornamental vertical picket (with tubular or solid-bar pickets);
• Welded wire;
• Expanded metal;
• Upright grillwork; and
• Corrugated pale (palisade).

“We’re looking at eventually having standards on all of those,” says Paul J. Bulten, the subcommittee chairman. Initial standards will cover fencing made primarily of steel with some aluminum and other metals if appropriate. The subcommittee is currently drafting standards for welded-wire fabric and ornamental fence systems and plans to begin work on standards for corrugated palisade in January.

“Other than ornamental vertical picket fences, most architectural metal-fence systems are manufactured in central Europe, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Israel, Australia, and South Africa,” says Bulten, the director of marketing for Ameristar Fence Products, Tulsa, Okla. “These products are being specified in the United States and they’re being imported in growing quantities, particularly since the U.S. has increased demand for security;” he explains, “but there really is no standardization and no high-volume U.S. production of any of these fence systems at this point.

Bulten describes the benefit a minimum standard will have for industry. “Increasing demand in the States will cause more U.S. manufacturers to begin production of many of these high-strength perimeter fence systems,” he projects, “and there will be more distribution companies offering them for sale.

“In the first place, in order for any fence system to be adequate for a buyer, it has to be strong enough and durable enough,” he says. “Without standardization the tendency is to downsize and downgrade the materials, leading to products that are really not going to meet what the public needs. Strength of structure suffers; volume and mass of material becomes insufficient to do the job. It all goes backwards if you don’t have a minimum standard.”

To join this activity or comment, contact Paul Bulten, Ameristar Fence Products, Tulsa, Okla. (phone: 918/835-0898). Committee F14 on Fences meets Jan. 21-22 in Nashville. For membership or meeting details, contact Tom O’Toole, manager, Technical Committee Operations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9739). //

Copyright 2002, ASTM