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Automating Gates - What's Important?

Updated on January 7, 2013
Gate automation
Gate automation | Source

Why do people bother automating gates?

Automating a gate changes it from normally open to normally closed.

In the UK, there is a belief that installing automatic gates indicates that you’re lazy. As a result, gates are often installed without motors but with a great determination that they will be opened and closed by hand to add increased security.

For the first few weeks after a new pair of manual gates have been installed, they are diligently opened and closed by hand. This may involves the owner getting out of their car after parking it on a busy road, or opening the gates in torrential rain or freezing cold.

Eventually, the dangers and complications created by operating gates manually, a desire to stay dry when it’s raining and warm when it’s cold, plus general boredom with the whole thing, mean that the gates will often eventually get left open.

One day, the family leaves for their holiday with the intention of closing the gates while they’re away. So, with the car full of luggage and kids, the manual gate owner tries to close his seized gates. After a great deal of struggling, he eventually gets them shut only to realize that they’re never shut, so burglars are bound to know he’s gone on holiday.

If you automate gates, they are normally closed and they open when you come in or go out, and they close behind you when you have gone.

Gates that are normally closed offer more security than open gates but there are interesting thoughts on the additional security afforded by gates you can't see through versus those that have gaps you can see through.

There is no doubt that gates you can't see through (close boarded) offer good security because a thief can’t see what he could steal or how to set up the theft, or even if the owners are at home. All these factors made the potential burglary much more risky so a thief would move onto to easier pickings.

Gates that are close boarded also make residents feel safer in their own homes.

The counter argument to this is that a gate you can see through gives a great degree of security also. This is because thieves breaking in would be visible to passing pedestrians, traffic and neighbours.

Both these points of view illustrate the main thing that deters a thief, which is the fear of getting caught. Closed gates increase this possibility significantly so any gate that is closed when not in use is better than no gate or one that constantly sits open.

Automating a gate is a common practice in mainland Europe where an understanding of perimeter security is as important as the security of your residence. In the UK, it is starting to become more popular as the irrational stigma of 'being too lazy to open your own gates' is replaced by a much more practical desire to protect your family, your house and your possessions.

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