Communities increasingly want to install a gate to enhance security and control access. Today, gates are becoming less expensive because of advanced technology. Modern gates can automatically control access more effectively than a human guard, and new technologies can control access in ways that are easier for residents and property managers alike. Read on to learn how to pick the right gate for your community.
1. Start by Considering Your Budget
When choosing a gate access solution, it is important to start by considering your budget constraints. Communities often do not want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a top-quality gate solution. Many gate access solutions are available for less than $10,000. Gates designed to be aesthetically impressive can cost substantially more money, but spending more on a gate may be necessary to match the look and feel of your community.
Additionally, you need to consider the long-term cost of having a gate. If your gate will need to be staffed 24/7, the cost of your gate will undoubtedly exceed $1 million over the next 10 years. In contrast, modern automated gates can restrict access in the same way at very little cost. Therefore, you need to carefully consider whether your gate access solution should depend on the use of a security guard. In nearly all cases, communities decide to use automated solutions after contemplating the full cost of depending on security guards.
2. Select the Right Type of Gate
Many different opening mechanisms have been developed for gates. There is no single mechanism that is right in all communities. It is important to consider how community members will usually pass through your gate, such as by car or on foot. You should also consider the height and width of vehicles that may need to pass through. Some of the types of gates to consider include:
Cantilever Sliding Gates: Cantilever gates open by using a suspended metal arm that enables a gate to open horizontally. Alternately, some sliding gates situated on very flat surfaces can use rollers. The advantage of sliding gates is that they can open a wide as you require, but wider gates take longer to open.
Single Swing Gates: Some gates swing inward when they are opened. Many swing gates open quickly, and they tend to be less expensive than other solutions.
Double Swing Gates: Double swing gates have two smaller doors that open at the same time. These types of gates open faster than single swing gates. However, double swing gates are more expensive because they require two opening motors, and they often have less strength to absorb direct impacts from heavy vehicles.
Telescopic Gates: Some sliding gates are broken into segments that collapse on each other when a gate is opened. The advantage of telescopic gates is that they can be made wider than other types of gates, and they require less fence space on the side to fully open.
Trackless Bi-Folding Gates: Bi-folding gates have two panels that each fold in half vertically when they are opened. These gates are safe and fast. They also require no space on the side.
3. Consider Gate Access Technology
There are a wide range of access technologies available that can significantly enhance security, provide convenience for residents, and enable communities to be monitored more effectively. However, buyers of modern access solutions should be aware that some technologies can introduce security problems. For instance, 4-digit pin pads are easy to bypass, and license plate readers are no match for organized criminals who can manufacture fraudulent plates.
Instead, communities should consider using smartphone-based solutions that rely on unique digital keys to give access to residents. These technologies eliminate problems with forged keys, access sharing, and legacy residents. Smartphone-based solutions also eliminate problems with guests being unable to get in when they use ride-sharing apps or other alternative forms of transportation.
4. Use Gates as Part of a Holistic Security Solution
Many communities literally just install a gate and assume their community will immediately become more secure. However, motivated criminals have many ways of getting around an isolated gate. Communities need fencing, ditches, and other perimeter security measures to work alongside their gate. In many cases, it also makes sense to set up security cameras or motion detectors to provide an enhanced level of security. When gates fit into an integrated security solution, communities can enjoy the high level of security they expect after installing a gate access solution.
5. Get Involvement From Residents
Most gates are installed in existing communities. Unfortunately, some community managers or HOA leaders decide which gate access technologies to use on their own, and they end up infuriating residents who dislike their choice.
If your community is looking to install a new gate, it is crucial to get input from all community members. Some community members may have special concerns that need to be accounted for. Additionally, the most vocal community members will usually attend meetings regarding major renovations, and buy-in from these residents can be obtained at these meetings. When all community members have the opportunity to get involved in planning sessions, community feuds can be avoided and better decisions can be made.
6. Consider Return on Investment
Gates are improvements that naturally increase property values. In some situations, community members may consider security to be highly important, and installing a gate can make them perceive a property as being more valuable.
Unfortunately, some HOA leaders do not adequately consider the impact of a gate on property values. Research has shown that gates can increase the value of each property in a community by over $30,000. Gates that match the aesthetics and security needs of a community tend to provide the greatest boost in property values. Gate access technology that reduces operating costs can also increase value for residents.