The Evolution of Substation Security Walls
In days gone by, substations were typically located on the outskirts of populated areas and surrounded by chain link fence. As development expanded, many of the substations that were originally on the periphery, found themselves now in the heart of communities and surrounded by residential, industrial and commercial development.
To shield the substation infrastructure from view, oftentimes colored plastic slats were inserted in the chain link fence to block off the line of sight. Substation walls in populated areas began to transition to masonry to hide equipment in some cases. But as prices of copper increased, it rapidly became the target of thieves. As substations were breached and penetrated by cutting through chain link fences to steal copper, perpetrators have suffered injury, and in some cases, death by electrocution.
To further mitigate theft and vandalism, and maintain safety, substation perimeters have increasingly adopted more solid perimeter walls, initially in the form of concrete block wall but over the past 15 to 20 years, precast concrete walls have gained more and more popularity. One of the primary reasons is that precast concrete walls install faster and offer more decorative finishes than conventional masonry. Additionally, when taller walls are required, precast concrete security walls tend to be less expensive to build than CMU walls, since continuous foundations are not required, thus reducing costs.