If you are on the board of a homeowner's association that has recently voted to upgrade from a non-gated to a gated community, you and the other board members will need to take a several things into careful consideration. When installed correctly and properly planned, fencing and locking gates can deter criminals and keep traffic out of your neighborhood. However, your gated community could become a nightmare if several key points are missed during the planning stages. Here are a few important things to consider.
Gate Operation Should Be Easy
You'll need to choose the type of opening system for the gates. When making this decision, it's important to keep the residents of your neighborhood in mind. For example, if there is typically a lot of traffic throughout the day, you may want to simply install timers at the gates so they only lock at night. Regardless, you'll also need to choose how the gates will be opened and closed by the residents. Here are a few examples:
- an access control pad that can be controlled by a key card, pin code, or by fingerprints
- a transponder that sends a signal, which is similar to a remote garage door opener
- a traditional key that gets turned in a locking mechanism
When choosing which type of system to use, one thing to keep foremost in your mind is the turnover rate of homeowners in your community and how that will correlate with the method and frequency of changes that may need to be made to the locking mechanism.
Fail-Safe Systems Should Be Installed
With electric gates, power outages are always a concern. You'll need to make sure there are fail-safe systems built into the gates so they can be opened by your residents in case of a power outage or other type of system failure, such as a mechanical breakdown. Fail safe locks should be designed to unlock automatically.
However, you also want the gates to open automatically as well, especially if the gates are made out of a heavy materials, such as iron. The reason for this is because the gates may be too heavy for some of the residents and guests to open.
There Should Be More than One Exit/Entry
If there is only one road into and out of your community, installing a locking gate may be a safety issue if the fail-safe systems do not work properly and/or there is an accident or fire-related emergency blocking gate traffic. you will need to create another access road with a gate to avoid dangerous situations with entrapment of residents and guests inside the gated community.
Emergency Vehicle Should Be Able to Access the Gates
Emergency responders will need to gain access through the gates whenever there is a medical emergency or a fire. Check with your local fire code authority to see if there are any regulations regarding gated communities and how they are accessed by emergency responders.
The fastest way for emergency responders to gain access through a gate is through an audio-trigger on each gate that recognizes sirens from emergency vehicles. With these types of locks, the gates will open automatically when the vehicles approach. Depending on your local ordinances, you may also need to provide the local fire departments, police stations, and EMTs with an emergency key slot on each of your gates and/or an access code for each of your control.
If you'd like more information about the various types of locking gates and these and other types of situations that can be prevented, you can contact a commercial locksmith through online resources such as http://scscincus.com.