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Brian T. Frederiksen working with some AG fence industry leaders from around the country , Brian's goal is to help form a "Farm & Agricultural Fence Best Practices" guide to improve the quality of AG fencing, build safer fences and protect the industry. Tune in for an AG fence meeting online.
Agriculture is the backbone of America, protect our farmers and ranchers.
Does your company install or service gate operators and access control systems?
If you do, then you have heard of UL and ASTM and how they affect your installations? It is important to recognize that these standards are part of our industry to protect and save lives.
This article will try and help your operation to better Understanding UL 325 and ASTM F2200 Standards and how your company can help the fence and gate industry mitigate injuries and fatalities.
UL 325 is the safety standard for door, draper, gate, louver and window operators. It contains the basic qualifying factors with which products must comply to be documented (listed) and marked (labeled) under the requirements of the UL 325 voluntary listing and labeling program. Manufacturers of gate operators submit their products voluntarily to Underwriters Laboratories. A key provision of UL 325 is that it requires all gate operators to be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation guidelines.
UL does not “approve” products but tests them to ensure they meet the minimum standards required of the standard. Most Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will require gate operators to be Listed to the UL 325 Standard, either by UL or another Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
UL 325 established four classes of gate operators and includes entrapment protection criteria for different types of operators. Entrapment is defined in the standard as the condition when an object is caught or held in a position that increases the risk of injury.
Four classes of gate operators per UL 325:
Class I: Residential, intended for use in a garage or parking area of a one-to-four-family dwelling
Class II: Commercial or general access vehicular gate operator for use in a commercial location or building such as a multi-family housing unit (five or more single family units), hotel garages, retail store or other building servicing the general public.
Class III: Industrial limited access vehicular gate operator, intended for use in an industrial location or building such as a factory or loading dock area or other locations not intended to service the general public.
Class IV: Restricted access vehicular gate operator, intended for use in a guarded industrial location or building such as an airport security area or other restricted access locations not servicing the general public, in which unauthorized access is prevented via supervision by security personnel.
ASTM F2200 safety standard establishes design and construction specifications of automated vehicular gate panels and other components to complement the UL 325 standard that applies to the operator. The standard applies to horizontal slide gates, horizontal swing gates, vertical lift gates, vertical pivot gates, and overhead pivot gates. This standard is especially focused on entrapment zones and fixed hazards associated with gates.
The ASTM F2200 standard is a guide for designers and fabricators of automated gates. As mentioned, the primary focus of the UL 325 standard is protection against entrapment relating to the gate operator, whereas ASTM F2200 addresses entrapment and other safety issues relating to the gate.
ASTM guidelines are set on gate protrusions, potential damage from rollers, protection from fall over hazards, and other potential exposures to injury or death.
If a gate is manufactured with the expectation of being automated, even if it is not automated at the time of installation, the gate is required to conform to the ASTM F2200 standard.
Four classes of automated gates per ASTM F200:
Class I: a gate for the garage or parking area of a one-to-four single family dwelling;
Class II: a gate for use in a commer
cial location, such as a multi-family housing unit (five or more single family units), hotel, garages, retail store, or building servicing the general public;
Class III: a gate intended for use in an industrial location or building such as a factory, loading dock area, or other locations not intended to service the general public;
Class IV: a gate intended for use in a guarded industrial location or building such as an airport security area, or other restricted access locations not servicing the general public, in which unauthorized access is prevented by means of supervision by security personnel.
UL 325 and ASTM F200 Comparison
If we look closely at the Classifications of both, the standards are complimenting each other, and this provides a safer installation. Understanding and combining these two standards into your installations will minimize your exposure and liability and again, the focus is to protect and save lives.
Although UL 325 does contain some design criteria related to automated gates, the primary standard that governs the gate panels is ASTM F2200. This standard was developed to ensure consistency in safety between the gate operator and the gate panel(s).
UL 325 states that pedestrians must be supplied with a separate access opening. Automatic gate operators are for vehicular use only and should never be used to control pedestrian traffic.
ASTM F2200 states that any pedestrian access in the vicinity of an automated vehicular gate, requires a separate pedestrian gate. The pedestrian gate shall be installed in a location such that a pedestrian shall not encounter a moving vehicular access gate.
It is important to understand that the International Code Council (ICC) has adopted the requirements of both UL 325 and ASTM F2200 standards for automated gates into the International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). I challenge your company to help educate the local codes of authority and help expand the knowledge to our communities, when the opportunity presents itself.
Additional Components to the Standards
A warning placard must be clearly visible from both sides of the gate, including when the gate is in the fully opened position. Manufacturers are required to provide two warning placards with each vehicular gate operator.
Automated gates must be designed and installed to prevent a fall of more than 45 degrees from the vertical plan when detached from the supporting hardware.
All openings must be guarded or screened from the bottom of the gate to the top of the gate, up to 72 inches above grade, so as to prevent a 2 ¼ sphere from penetrating the openings anywhere in the gate. This also extends to the adjacent fence that the cover covers when in the open position.
Positive stops are required to limit the travel of the gate to the fully open and fully closed positions.
All weight-bearing rollers 8 feet or less from grade must be covered or guarded
Items less than 9-square inches and attached to the gate such that they extend beyond the horizontal or vertical planes, are considered protrusions and are not permitted on automated gates.
However, the following are acceptable protrusions:
- Gate locks and edge sensors
- Objects that extend less than one-half inch and which have smooth surfaces
- Wheels on slide gates (must be covered)
- Top pickets and top decorative designs, provided they are in the vertical plane of the gate
- Protrusions extending beyond the vertical plane of the gate are permitted provided the protrusions are at least seven feet above grade.
- Automated gates must have smooth bottom edges with no protrusions more than one-half inch.
Thornton Fence Consulting Group (TFCGroup) hosted the Fence Contractor Business Super Summit, July 10-13 at Shangri-La Resort, Monkey Island, Oklahoma with twenty fence contractor professionals in attendance with eight subject matter expert instructors and eight event lunch sponsors.
The Fence Contractor Business Super Summit will be held several times annually through-out the country with the next being hosted on October 16-18, 2022, at Shangri-La Resort, so if you missed the July event get registered soon. The Summit will be hosted three times in 2023, strategically located in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast and Mid-West areas of the country. The summits brings together the best peers in the industry that have been there, done it and has proven their success and want to share their experiences to enhance your operation.
The event is a two-and-half-day training program that provides an all-in experience for a business owner or business management personnel. The benefit to this unique training program is the level of expertise of the instructors that have proven track records in their respective areas of instruction and the level of content that is delivered in just a few days.
The attendee will leave with more knowledge than they ever expected and will have access to the TFCG consultants for follow-up. This event will inspire and motivate anyone that has the passion to improve their operation and become more profitable.
You will experience excitement, enthusiasm with breakthrough moments that will impact your company for improvement and profitability. This program will change the way you do business as it places energy on leadership as a priority. It will push you to become a better owner, leader or businessperson and will transform the way you look at running your business by re-evaluating and defining a new business model.
The Fenceline to Success training manual provides training with Mission-Vision-Strategy, TEAM Culture, Incentive & Bonus Programs, Business Structure, Legal, Insurance, Accounting, Management Procedures, Marketing & Advertisement, Website & SEO, Selling Techniques, Residential Sales, Commercial Bidding Business Technology with Operations and Company Efficiencies.
The focus on these areas includes proper procedures that are proven best practices for successful fence and gate companies. An emphasis on establishing the proper workflows and evaluating these to become more efficient is a top priority of the instructors. When we work efficient, we maximize our profitability that allows the company to scale and grow.
The Fence Contractor Business Super Summit will be held several times annually through-out the country with the next being hosted on October 16-18, 2022, at Shangri-La Resort, so if you missed the July event get registered soon. The Summit will be hosted three times in 2023, strategically located in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast and Mid-West areas of the country. The summits bring together the best peers in the industry that have been there, done it and has proven their success and want to share their experiences to enhance your operation.
Are you tired? Give me 5 minutes and I will share with you a golden nugget!
READY, (skip set), GO!
As leaders, our responsibility is to build organizational culture. As leaders, we must be the first one to embrace this philosophy, not only living it, but owning it, breathing it and dreaming it. Get this right and your business will flourish, get this wrong it will cost you time, money and very possibly great Team members.
What does "Own it" mean?
What is this thing we call culture?
What does this word “Team” really mean?
I wrestle with these questions every day! I have discovered that what I thought I knew 20 years ago or even 10 years ago is not correct, and this is OK! Recognizing you are wrong is helpful, doing nothing about a wrong is harmful.
I often hear business leaders (such as owners, managers, and foremen) complaining about those they work with, even going so far as to refer to their co-workers as idiots or “my god this generation”. These feelings being expressed are born out of frustration and uncertainties. It really boils down to “You don’t know what, you don’t know, until you know what you didn’t know”. I would challenge these leaders making these statements to consider themselves as part of the problem, often even the biggest part of their own frustrations.
I know, I know it’s not your fault, it's... (Twiddle Dum, Billy Bob or Ding Dong’s fault, right?).
Please just continue reading let me explain what I feel a team looks like, what they can achieve together and most importantly what can destroy a team before it can even get started. That all starts with you and can end with you just as fast!
A leader cannot forget to coach first and grow second.
The word TEAM is not just a buzz word, but an important organizational concept.
A TEAM is more than the sum of its parts but rather a multiplier of its parts. A TEAM is built but must be maintained every single day (hardest part).
I have learned that the moment you stop using the practices that made your TEAM great then you will stop being a great TEAM. Your either moving forwards or backwards, small steps forward will always beat going backwards. Baby steps work, determination and dedication will get you there.
A TEAM is not just a group, but a mindset and not something that can be faked.
Showing genuine appreciation and respect to your fellow TEAM members is an important component of our Culture. If TEAM members are failing to resp
Let’s face it, when was the last time someone in your organization was promoted to some type of leadership position and then given training for the job of being a leader? I have found that to be extremely rare and typically once someone becomes good at their craft in the organization, we reward them and promote them to the next level of leadership, without adequate training.
An old organizational axiom that I have found to be true is “things break in the middle.” This concept is causally related to the so-called middle management position in an organization and that is typically where the culture falls apart.
As a leader we can yell and scream all we want about building great culture but will see no results unless we commit and dedicate ourselves to creating team culture. This means removing the word “employee” from your vocabulary and any written documents in your organization. We must show everyone in our organization respect and appreciation. We must set the example to our TEAM leaders so that they will know how TEAM members are to be treated and respected. (This may sound simple however is a must, remove it “Employee”)
ect other members, this needs to be addressed immediately. An organization’s Culture can be poisoned if a leader stands by and allows negativity to take root.
Leading a TEAM is hard to do as leaders are typically over committed and constantly reprioritizing the issues in front of them. Leaders often feel like they do nothing but put out fires all day. Leaders are good at grabbing the fire hose themselves and fighting whatever fire is in front of them. By doing so the leader may have extinguished the fire in front of them but has done nothing to prevent the next one (Key Nugget). A good leader must address the cause of the fire and train the TEAM to act in his absence. This is proactive leadership instead of reactive leadership. Due to lack of training (and human nature) many leaders fall into a pattern of reactive leadership.
As a leader we can yell and scream all we want about building great culture but will see no results unless we commit and dedicate ourselves to creating team culture. This means removing the word “employee” from your vocabulary and any written documents in your organization. We must show everyone in our organization respect and appreciation. We must set the example to our TEAM leaders so that they will know how TEAM members are to be treated and respected (This may sound simple however is a must, remove it “Employee”).
Create a results-orientated environment and support effort over skill.
This simple idea can have a profound impact within your organization. When TEAM members feel safe owning a mistake or calling attention to a problem, they will be more willing to work hard at fixing them with you instead of just waiting around until they get caught. (key nugget) We can accomplish this by delegating outcomes instead of tasks. Give your team a clear picture of what “done” looks like. Explain the “why” behind your process so that your TEAM members perform their tasks with confidence. This way they can feel proud of what they produce instead of feeling like a cog in a machine.
Lastly, cultivating an "own it mindset" across TEAMS by assignment of KPIs (key performance indicators) is another powerful method for driving good habits. Try to ensure that every individual has at least one KPI target assigned to them - not just leaders. This is how you give REAL ownership -- through clear objectives rather than opinion-based goals created without input from those completing them. You want your TEAM taking responsibility when something goes wrong, and making good data based decisions. You'll also find the TEAM taking more pride in their work because they feel like they have ownership of what they have produced, not left to feel like it is just a job. Attaining true respect for people is an ongoing process that requires attention and hard work from everyone in your company...
No room for hypocrisy here...EVERYONE will need to learn how to behave with integrity and transparency...and walk their talk. When you get it right, you'll be rewarded with happier TEAM members and a higher productivity producing team and even better customer service (it’s like a 3fer)!
Go get them, coach!
It was late 2019 and I wasn't sure if I could compete with a couple larger fence companies in town. These bigger companies were already selling fence materials at a lower cost. I was on a mission to set up my retail/wholesale division with an idea that there was still room for someone who was able to provide faster service with staff that would be able to help customers figure out what they needed and I felt we could do it better.
I believed price was not the main deciding factor when purchasing fence materials. So, I pulled the trigger on leasing the building in front of my existing fence company and started transforming it into a retail and wholesale store.
3 MONTHS LATER
BAM!! 2020, and the pandemic hit. Nevada went on lockdown with the rest of the country. While the installation side was able to stay open, we had some projects go on hold and only residential work trickled in. About 60% of my staff stayed home and collected unemployment, so cash flow was just not there from the installation side to support the existing staff and new overhead.
HOORAY FOR RETAIL SALES!
To my surprise, people started spending more than usual on DIY fence projects.
With the newly set up inventory, POS system and all the fence material marketing already in place, we were ready for the rush of material sales. 2020 turned out to be the most profitable year we have ever seen.
Fast forward to 2022, material sales have grown to not just local DIY customers, but at times we ship truck loads to other states directly from manufacturers.
Material sales currently covers most of our businesses overhead and that takes a lot of pressure off the installation side. Best decision ever!
-Brian T. Frederiksen
Melissa Hernandez from Budget Fence says that repairs are a great way to increase cash flow. She says that if you could squeeze one quick repair in on the way back to the yard or at the beginning of the day, then you can actually cover the labor costs of that crew for the entire day.
Repairs are not for everyone, and you need to be careful or get paid up-front for most repairs since you typically can't warranty a repair the same way as a new install. It can be done, and you should consider trying to work some repairs into your schedule and only take on repairs you can handle quickly, Melissa says.
Request photos and as much info as you can from the customer before sending a crew out to ensure they are prepared before arriving.
As industry experts fear a looming recession in the coming years, fence businesses must continue to find the best tools and solutions to grow.
“You need to be a good entrepreneur,” says Matt Warner. “You need to be smart in your spending. You have to be efficient and the good companies are going to prevail."
”Dan Blanc says one key to building a successful business is to surround yourself with the right mentors"
"Make sure you get the right mentor. Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean that they’re really successful. I’ve been doing this 23 years and it was 16-17 years into that I realized I’ve been doing this entirely wrong.”
Owning and operating a fencing business can be an extremely rewarding and lucrative career, but it does not come without challenges. Implementing the right processes and tools is key to your success. ArcSite is committed to the fencing industry and is focused on continuing to support you with our best-in-class mobile drawing, estimate, and material list app.
Opinions vary from experts in the fencing industry as to whether financing works, so it’s important to research to see what will work best for your business. Fence King Dan Blanc is a big advocate. “By offering financing when no one else is, it changes everything and gives people hope,” he says. On the other hand, Matt Warner says Empire Fence doesn’t offer financing. “We do not offer financing. We tried and we didn’t think it worked for us. We will never offer financing. It just doesn’t work for our market.” It’s a good reminder that what works for one fencing business may not work for another. Keeping in mind the potential looming economic downturn, it may be worth testing out offering financing options for your work.
SOLID WELDING TABLES
Traditionally, most welding tables are solid with a 1/4" to 1/2" plate. These types of tables are great for small to medium size gates.
Lower cost designs have since been used for both residential and commercial in welding shops.
OPEN WELDING TABLE
We aren't sure who designed the first open style welding table but we owe them a huge thank you. These tables are great for larger gates, panels and custom designs that require multiple clamps to keep fabrication moving quickly.
One of the biggest challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has
been the impact to the supply-chain which has created significant material shortages and rapid material cost fluctuations.
This poses a challenge to fencers, especially when costs change between the time you quote a job and actually purchase the materials. Our experts were able to weigh in with some advice on combating this challenge.
Dan Blanc, CEO/Founder of Fence King and Cohost of MyFenceLife Podcast mentioned, “I read a book right before the pandemic hit called The Pumpkin Plan and it changed the way I run my business. Its message was to focus on what you do best and proficiently, go ahead and do that, and put everything else to the side. In my market, we do more wood and aluminum than anything else. We have since focused on these two fence types and our working capital has tripled as we no longer have to stock any of the less popular fence types. With this focus, we are now able to have stockpiles of the main fence types we install.”
"Forecasting is a big thing," mentioned Matt Warner, Founder of my Salesman and Empire Fence. “You need to look ahead and predict where you will be in the future. It is important to be proactive, think outside the box and be ready.”
“Stockpiling has been key for us too,” added Joe Everest, The Fence Expert and Owner of Ozark Fence and Supply Co. “We stockpile as much material as possible, and we sell what we have. Slow season is the best time to buy as there is less demand and competition. Now we are stocked up for the next quarter and a half. We are now selling what we already have on the ground and that ensures all of our costs are fixed. We are also already ordering out 6-8 months in advance.”Brian of Las Vegas Fence says that BFC was a huge part of his success during the shortages, "they never left us hanging and found the materials when we needed them."