Educational solutions provider Follett had specific performance and appearance needs in mind last year when it began considering privacy fence material and style options for its new 550,000 square-foot distribution centre in Aurora, Ill. Intended for an outdoor employee break area, the fence material had to be low-maintenance, long-lasting and sustainable to align with the building’s LEED® strategy.
Regarding appearance, the company wanted the fence’s colour to complement the white, grey and blue pre-cast concrete exterior of the building and have a more inviting appearance than the average distribution centre fence.
“Traditionally, for these applications at distribution centres, you’d have chain link fences with privacy slats, which does not fit the function of the space,” says Darlene Edwards, CFM, director of facilities management for Follett Higher Education Group. “Being that the space is for an outdoor break area, we wanted to move away from industrial to a warmer, residential appearance. We aimed to create a space where our associates could be comfortable and enjoy themselves.”
After reviewing a handful of fence product options, the company chose CertainTeed® Bufftech® Chesterfield vinyl privacy fence with CertaGrain® texture in Arctic Blend. The CertaGrain texture is manufactured using a proprietary process that accurately replicates the look and feel of real wood. The product met Follett’s need for an authentic, home-style wood fence look, conveyed by a sustainable and low-maintenance material. With the fence’s colour integrated into the manufacturing process, there is no need for staining or painting. And, the Arctic Blend colour was an ideal complement to the building.
Action Fence Contractors began work with a crew of two, installing 240 feet of 6-foot Bufftech Chesterfield panels. The crew also installed 80 feet of Bufftech Galveston vinyl privacy fence with CertaGrain texture in Arctic Blend—8-foot panels—for an air-conditioning unit enclosure along a retaining wall. Posts were set 42 inches deep in level ground and left 2 to 4 inches of clearance between the panel bottoms and the ground. Post caps were cemented to the posts, and aluminum post inserts were added to the Bufftech Galveston fence for extra reinforcement. The installation ran very smoothly and was completed in three days.
Follett had such a positive experience with this project that the company plans to have Action Fence Contractors install more Bufftech Chesterfield with CertaGrain fence in two or three additional areas of the facility in the near future.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better contractor, and we are extremely pleased with the fence,” Edwards says. “With this fence around the break area, it looks more like a family gathering place than an institutional setting, and that was one of our goals.”