What Are IPE Posts, and How Do They Work?

What Are IPE Posts, and How Do They Work?

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Depending on where you are, you might see IPE posts referenced in a fence specification or quote. These are a special type of I beam fence posts that are used in some parts of the world – but there are similar alternatives elsewhere too.

Let’s take a closer look at what IPE posts are, why they’re a good choice for high security fencing, and how they work.

What Is An IPE?

An IPE is basically an I beam that is often used as a fence post. They are usually relatively small, by I beam standards, and one of the more common sizes used is a 100 x 55mm IPE section. Which in English dimensions is 4 inches by about 2 inches, or the equivalent of about an S4 I beam in the USA and Canada.

Why Are IPE Posts Used for High Security Fence Systems?

There are several reasons why IPEs are often used for high security fence systems in some parts of the world.

First, there’s their strength. IPEs and I beams are structural steel components, and they’re made of relatively thick steel, compared to most tubular posts. Their shape also means they can take a lot more force than tubing, even if the tubing has a similar proportion of steel, before they deform.

This means that IPEs are much better equipped to withstand impact, and they also don’t have the problem of water ingress that tubular or even rolled posts have.

The shape of an IPE posts also lends itself to using what is called a fishplate, which is a flat steel bar with slotted holes that is past through a hold in the web of the post. This makes it a lot harder to break the fence panel at the connection point, which is the often case when you use different kinds of brackets.

The fishplate system also allows the fence panels on either side of the post to be angled to follow the contours of the ground, which means it can be installed on sloped sites – and the range of angles is almost limitless, particularly when the panels also have slotted holes.

What Kind of Fences Are IPE Posts Used For?

IPE posts are most commonly used with high security palisade fences, but they can be used for a variety of other types of fences.

They can even be used with an adapted wood fence design, using steel stringers instead of wood, to give a wood fence the potential to be angled as with palisade.

Sometimes, IPE posts have predrilled holes on the flange, which can be used to attach insulators to the fence. This allows for the installation of electric fence wires on the fence for an integrated perimeter security fence system.

How Are IPE Posts Made?

Most of the manufacturing of IPE posts are already done when they are bought. Sometimes, they are even sold in precut lengths.

All that is left to do is to slot holes into the web of the IPE (as pictured) so that fishplates can be slipped through. Usually, the tops of the IPE posts are also cut to a point as shown in the isometric view, but they can also have a flat plate welded to the top or have a barb arm bracket of some kind attached.

Can IPE Posts Be Used for Gates?

Yes, IPE posts make very good gate posts because they are very strong, but you do need to choose a hinge that has enough of an offset so that the flange of the post does not interfere with gate swing.

Generally speaking, IPE posts or I beam posts are a great choice for high security fences and is worth considering if you need a very strong fence system for a high security site.