Automated Gates Guidance For Developers

The UK construction industry remains one of the largest in Europe, measured by employment, number of enterprises and gross value added.

Increasing new build and regeneration initiatives have posed the question whether appropriate physical security and access control measures are being taken to ensure that the homes create represent not just sustainable, but also safe and secure dwellings.

It is estimated that nearly 300,00 new automated gates are being installed every year which include housing developments and commercial properties. Combine this with the existing number there is likely to be in excess of 3 million gates in operation.

As a developer you have a duty of care to ensure that the gate is safe and installed correctly.

Gates Within Housing Developments
Automated gates have a wealth of advantages including;
  • Access control- total control over which persons and vehicles gaining access to the premises
  • Increased security - often automated gates will offer an imposing first impression and will deter opportunist thieves or vandals
  • Improved convenience - most likely controlled by a key fob or key pad this adds to an ease of entry
  • Better curb appeal - vast range of styles and designs available that can make the property look more appealing

    Scale of the problem

    Gate Safe, the charity established to improve standards in automated gate safety, was set up in 2010 following the deaths of two children in separate automated gate accidents, both on residential housing developments.

    Survey activity by Jacksons Fencing, the company that originally founded the charity has shown that many residential developments continue to feature – clearly unintentionally – unsafe electric gates.

    In recent years, a major London residential property consultancy aware of the safety issues regarding automated gates, (following the publicity surrounding the £110,000 fines delivered to the two firms found guilty of breaching safety laws for the automated gates that killed five year old Karolina Golabek in Wales, 2010) took the responsible step of requesting an audit of gates featured on 19 of its clients’ properties.

    Shockingly, almost 95% of the gates reviewed failed to match the current safety guidelines for automated gates. A further survey a few days later for another London property consultant covering six residential complexes comprising of six properties each, once again revealed a worrying 100% failure rate and these findings are consistent with other surveys carried out by Gate Safe over the years. Indeed the industry estimates that more than 2/3 of all automated gates installed in the UK do not comply with latest legislation and could pose a serious safety risk.

    So what constitutes safe?

    Gate safe logo company premier 1001 Anyone looking to incorporate automated gates on a housing development should ensure they source an installer who has undergone the relevant specialist practical training to equip them with the required understanding of the steps to be taken to deliver a safe and compliant gate. Gate Safe operates an IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) accredited Gate Safe Aware course and all installers who have taken the training are listed on the Gate Safe website ( A Gate Safe Aware installer will undertake a multiple risk assessment of each installation to check the safety of a gate using the standards to identify the various risks and ensure the gate’s compliance with the technical recommendations.

    At very least an automated gate must:

  • comply with the EU Machinery Directive 98/37/EC, be CE marked and be accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity. A gate which is not C E marked may be safe but it is not legal
  • be supported by a minimum of two types of safety feature typically from a choice of safety edges / photo cells and force limitation. Gate Safe always recommends the inclusion of photo cells and safety edges on all automated gates regardless of whether a force limitation device has been installed to ensure the highest level of safety

  • have been checked to ensure the basic mechanical functionality of the gate is in line with current best practice

  • feature segregated pedestrian access and possibly a pedestrian guard rail

  • feature signage to warn of automatic operation

  • be regularly maintained (minimum of every six months) to review the gate / any changes to the site

    For more information on safe automated gates for residential developments call 0800 408 2236 or email

  • Choosing an Automatic Gate

    Installing automated gates comes with a variety of benefits, from increased convenience to robust security that not only restricts access to the site, but also creates an effective screen from the outside world.

    Gate Automation Maintenance

    Our gate maintenance contracts are specifically designed to cover you under the appropriate regulations and ensure you receive optimum safe performance from your automated gates or barrier.

    Gate Safety Checklist

    Our gate automation safety checklist pinpoints the dangers of automated systems and outlines the key steps to follow when installing gates to avoid accidents and ensure the gate operates safely.

    How to specify an electric gate

    Follow our guide on how to specify an electric gate and ensure all the key stages of specification are covered, from type of automation, method of operation, usage frequency and safety devices.

    Book a CPD

    Learn more about gates, gate automation and safe gate installation by booking a CPD seminar, available across the UK.

    Book A CPD

    Gates and Gate Automation White Paper

    Download our white paper on gates and gate automation for advice and best practice for specifying manual and automated gates.