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What Are Hoardings, And Why Are They Important?

by Nigel Webster
on 7th November 2019

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A quick Google search of the term ‘hoardings’ can be a little confusing, to say the least. The word has a few different meanings – hoarding can be a verb meaning stockpiling things, or it can even describe part of the turrets on a castle. When we say hoardings, however, we’re talking about construction sites. So what exactly are they, and why do they matter? 

What are hoardings?

Dulwich construction site hoardings

Hoardings are the panels that surround a construction site; they’re usually made of wood or metal, and they provide safety, security, and protection for the public and construction employees. They’re also a fantastic advertising tool. 

They usually stand about 2 metres in height, and form a barrier around the perimeter of a site. They’re thick, sturdy, and provide a barrier to ensure that no one can accidentally end up in the site itself, among all the dangerous tools and materials.         

They also provide a valuable visual break between the local environment and the construction site. Many people find construction works to be unsightly, and a ‘blight’ on the area where they’re found. Hoardings provide a handy facade so that local ambience is maintained without too much disruption. With the addition of hoarding graphics, the panels can even look appealing and exciting.

Why are hoardings important? 

HS2 site hoardings

Hoardings are an essential and fundamental part of the construction process, and they’re vital for a number of reasons. These broadly come under two distinct areas – the practical and physical benefits to the site (and the public) that a hoarding offers, and the opportunities for branding and advertising that these installations present: 

Practical benefits

Hoardings are a legal requirement, because in both urban and rural environments, safety and protection for workers and the public is absolutely paramount. The rules and regulations that apply to hoardings are fairly specific (click the link to take a look at our explanatory blog post!), and provide guidelines about size, location, material, and more.    

In terms of the practical impact hoardings have, their main function is to ensure that there are only a small number of defined access points to the construction sites. The large wooden panels act as shields – sheltering the site from prying eyes, protecting the surrounding areas from dust and debris, and ensuring that the local community isn’t impacted by an unattractive building site during the construction period. 

Visual benefitsGraphic designer

Aside from the physical, practical benefits that hoardings offer, there are also numerous advertorial and branding impacts that hoardings can offer a business – whether this applies to the contractor responsible for the project, another involved party, or even a local business or third party. 

There are all kinds of ways a hoarding can be used in this way – by contacting a print supplier, and having them create a series of graphics, a hoarding can be transformed from a simple barrier into an incredible work of art. 

A few of the most interesting ways hoardings can be used include…

Brand awareness

Whatever creative approach you take with your graphics, one of the biggest benefits of hoarding graphics is the massive boost to brand awareness they can offer. This is particularly true for hoardings located in busy urban areas, roadsides, or other spaces which receive large amounts of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. 

Put simply, the more people who see your hoardings, the more opportunity you have for brand awareness. The sheer size and striking form of hoarding graphics also means they make a lasting impression on viewers, as they have more visual impact than many other forms of outdoor advertising.

Wayfinding signage

When installed in urban environments, or places which receive a large amount of footfall, hoardings can also be used as effective wayfinding signage platforms. Local businesses can take advantage of this to encourage potential customers to pay them a visit, letting them know where they can be found. 

This can also provide a useful service to the public if the construction site obscures or obstructs a pathway they may have wanted to use, by giving them alternative directions or information on other local points of interest. 

Local advertisingDrummond street hoardings

Regardless of whether or not local businesses want to make use of wayfinding signs, they will often be very keen to advertise on hoardings. Traditional billboard space in cities can be expensive and competitively booked – and with the increase in digital OOH (out of home) advertising, many adverts are only on display for a few seconds at a time. 

With hoardings, graphics are usually displayed for the duration of the construction project as a one-time investment. They are in full view of passers-by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a comparatively affordable cost. Offering hoarding space to local businesses can be a hugely effective strategy for marketing.

Community engagement

Hoardings don’t just have to feature advertisements – they also offer one of the best media opportunities for community engagement, which can be a fantastic way to build positive brand reputation. This can take many different forms, but essentially boils down to being aware of the impact a construction site can have on a local environment and using hoarding graphics to mitigate this. 

For example, to minimise the visual impact, a hoarding could use designs which reflect or complement the area in which the site is installed. There are myriad other ways hoardings can engage with a local community – take a look at this article for more

What are hoardings made of? 

Usually, hoardings will be made of either metal – usually steel – or timber. Wooden panels are more common, as they tend to be more cost effective, easier to install, and generally more convenient. Hoarding graphics, however, are printed/installed onto separate panels, which are then attached to the hoardings.  

How big are hoardings? 

Usually, hoardings will stand at approximately 2.4 metres (or about 8 feet) tall. Site hoardings have to meet minimum safety and security criteria, which includes stipulations on their size. This is because they need to be large and sturdy enough to remain firm when faced with heavy winds, along with pedestrian and vehicular impacts. 

Want to know more? 

If you’d like to know more about site hoardings, or how hoarding graphics could transform your site, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Written by
Nigel Webster Managing Director