Aug. 27, 2021
When it comes to budgeting for a project fence, costs will vary depending on the type of fence you choose and the number of linear feet to be built. To shop for the best price, compare the two most common variables in a project: labour and materials.
With materials, it is important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. For example, with vinyl fencing, quality and longevity may vary depending on where the fencing material is manufactured and how well it is made. Therefore, for an accurate comparison, two bids must be for the same brand of vinyl fencing or two different brands of the same quality to assess the best price.
For labour, you do not have a clear means of comparison. However, it is important to consider the time it will take to complete the project. If a contractor underbids, it may take him twice as long to complete the job because there are fewer workers on the job. When time is important, such as for a pool safety fence or a fence leading to your move-in permit, be aware of low labour costs that could lead to unexpected delays.
Both labour and material costs are directly influenced by the complexity of the fence design. For a wide range of fencing materials, designs that seek to bend and align can be problematic. Most fences do not bend and must occupy one radius at a time. When a fence must rise or fall with a slope and cannot choose to fall under each span, almost every cut is non-standard and must be carefully calculated. The designer's rule of thumb is to aim for standard 90 degree crossings and simple alignment wherever possible to avoid customisation, which is one of the biggest additional costs.
A fence that requires a common prefabricated gate will be straightforward. Gates with special hardware, materials, security features, intercoms or bells will increase the cost exponentially. For example, you will need a licensed electrician to run 110 volt power in the conduit for a gateway for lighting and security features.
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Specialty fencing that requires unique carpentry, elaborate finishes, decorative caps and other details can also add to your costs. In the world of fencing, it is always wise to keep it simple and then add selected improvements if your budget allows. Over-designing a fence or gate can lead to unexpected cost overruns later in the project, which is a major source of stress and inefficiency.
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