Allowing for access to and from a site, gates are by definition the most vulnerable part of a perimeter. Commercial and industrial settings will often have multiple gates for different purposes or to allow one-way traffic to flow through.
To achieve the highest possible security, the number of perimeter entrances in active use should be limited to the minimum number required. However this is not always possible, and therefore the same security advice should be applied to each gate.
Pairing gates with access control devices such as key fobs, card readers, intercoms, and key pads, means that site managers will have full control of who enters the premises, and will be able to monitor this throughout the day. The need for this depends on the type of site: for example, certain high security sites, such as data centres or utilities, may need their gates secured at all hours, allowing entry only when granted on an individual basis.
Many businesses, can give free access to visitors, while restricting some high security areas. Even so, the whole premises should be fully secured and illuminated in hours of darkness and either patrolled or monitored by CCTV.
A high quality gate lock will provide security and peace of mind for site security managers, and the type of gate lock chosen should be carefully considered when specifying or ordering a gate. Many gates come with a slide latch as standard to add a padlock, but there are many options that are more secure than this. Don't just add your own padlock and hope for the best. It's recommended that any security modifications are included during the manufacturing of the gate, such as the addition of a shroud which needs to be welded into place. A shroud protects the padlock from being cut as it block access for tools. However, these can be difficult to contend with when the gate needs to be frequently or quickly opened and site managers may get frustrated. This is why we have come up with the 'daisy shroud', which has the addition of a pattern of holes drilled into the shroud to allow a viewing point through to the key, saving time when authorised personnel are blindly trying to fit the key in the padlock.
It’s important to consider where your gates are located. Positioning – of both the gates themselves, as well as your premises in relation to its surroundings – will affect the level of security and type of monitoring required.
Are the gates along a busy road? Is there a lot of activity in the area? If the location is in a business park or a trading estate, it may be relatively removed from residential areas and therefore mostly abandoned at night.
For low-level security areas, a simple improvement is to add security toppings to a standard gate. When higher security is needed, the LPS 1175 certification will assure you that your premises are as impenetrable as required.
Introduced in the mid-1990s, LPS 1175 is the UK standard for fencing and gate security classification. It focuses on the physical security of intruder resistant building components, and was established through close collaboration with UK government security agencies, police services, risk consultants and architects. Jacksons' range of LPS 1175 fencing includes matching gates, see our brochure for details.
Gate design and height
While providing excellent privacy, solid gates are not always best for security. This may sound counter-intuitive, but they limit visibility through the gate from both sides, hindering surveillance.
It doesn’t mean a solid gate is necessarily a bad choice – privacy and security need not be mutually exclusive. Just make sure that any CCTV cameras are positioned accordingly. You can also consider using semi-solid gates, such as vertical bar and mesh, as these gate styles allows for sightlines through.
A key thing to note is that the height of the gate has to match the height of the fencing, as this means it cannot be used as a climbing aid.
Gate protection plates are ideal for use on a vertical bar or open mesh gate. The plate surrounds the lock to prevent hands and tools being slotted through to the other side to reach the lock or an emergency push pad, to open the gate and gain access. On a vertical bar gate where there is a need for a protection plate, a layer of mesh is also recommended to ensure that people are prevented from simply reaching between the bars next to the plate to push an emergency push pad or press an automation control such as a button or keypad.
Manual or automated?
The choice between a manual or automatic gate usually hinges on convenience. A manual gate requires someone physically present to open it, which usually adds waiting time. Whether this is practical, depends on the volume of traffic passing through. However, it can also add the temptation to leave it open, increasing the likelihood of unwanted visitors gaining access.
With traditional locks, there is always the risk of them being broken or picked. Once this happens, nothing can stops an intruder from entering. However, traditional manual gates will be less expensive and easier to maintain than automatic ones, as they contain no electronic features.
Generally speaking, automatic gates offer better security and enhanced convenience; they can be unmanned, and minimise the risk of trespassers.
Automatic gates come in a range of options, from style, to the type of access control used. The cost can also vary a great deal depending on materials, design and size, so each should be considered carefully.
The most commonly used access control devices are keypads, card readers, or a slide latch with padlock, each with advantages and disadvantages. With keypads, it’s good to regularly change the access code in case it is leaked to an outsider. Contactless or swipe cards, on the other hand, can get lost or stolen, so you need to be prepared to have replacements and possibly take measures against cards being cloned.
For high security sites, you may also want to consider installing additional measures, such as road blockers, traffic arm barriers or retractable bollards to delay entry.
Types of gates
The level of security can also be affected by the type of gate, although usually, this decision is based on space available. Swing, sliding or bi-folding gates are all popular, and all have different space requirements due to the way they open. Bi-folding gates tend to be the fastest to operate and the most secure.
Finally, don’t forget to include pedestrian gates, and keep them carefully secured when not in use. You will need these alongside double-leaf vehicular gates, and it’s always best to use them for individuals on foot. Not only is it safer for them, but also prevents opening unnecessarily large gaps in the perimeter every time someone wants to enter or exit.
Contact us to find the best security solution for you.