One of the main points to having an automated gate for your residential or commercial premises is to make your life through the entrance to your more convenient and secure.

This page covers some of the more frequently asked questions regarding electric gates. We will be updating this page on a regular basis with tips and suggestions to ensure your automatic gates continue to work reliably throughout all seasons.

The narrower the entrance, the harder it is to negotiate. Whatever the width we can design a solution to fit between the narrowest of entrances wide enough for a single car or up to a large industrial entrance for HGV’s to pass side by side. Most domestic driveways or entrances are about 10-12 feet (3m – 3.5m) wide. This is fine for most types of swing gate. As gateways get wider, the weights and leverage applied to the support and moving mechanisms increases. This can affect the types of materials used to make the gates and the type of automation fitted. Generally wider swing gates tend to be made from metal or aluminium rather than wood. Very wide gateways (i.e. 25 feet or more) usually have sliding gates fitted that can cope easily with the increased weights.
Ideally you want the area around the threshold to be level. Sloping driveways and uneven surfaces may cause some issues during the installation but these problems can be overcome by changes in design and careful selection of gate automation and appropriate groundwork. If your drive slopes upwards into the property we could look at having the gates open outwards, or even propose a sliding gate if room allows. We have installed many gates where we have had to deal with such problems.
Exposed sites can have considerable forces applied to the gates by wind. This can sometimes be a problem if you wish to fit large, fully panelled wooden gates or aluminium gates. Selecting the correct automation will help prevent major problems, however in some cases it may be best to consider having wrought iron gates with an open barred design as the wind can pass through the gaps between the bars or choose a design that may not be so susceptible to wind loading instead. Alternatively a sliding gate could be considered as they are less vulnerable to the effects of strong winds due to the way that the mechanism works.
Creatively there are no limits to the size of the gate, however, there are some circumstances where planning permission may be required. This is usually necessary if you are in a conservation area, require listed building consent or your driveway is in close proximity to a footpath or main road. If you are unsure, it may be best to contact your local planning department. Otherwise, the size of the gates is down to the aesthetics and personal preference. Generally most gates reach no more than 2m from the finished ground surface. This height broadly matches most boundary walls/railings/fences and is sufficient to stop people & livestock from easily climbing over.
Well the biggest change is that now the gates will always shut. You will need to give some thought on how you deal with routine visitors. Some people are happy to have a push button that part opens the gates to allow the postman to deliver to the front door. Others install a post box at the gate. Some have a pedestrian gate built into the entrance with or without locks integrated into the automation. Whatever you decide, we have the solution for your requirements.
There is no specific requirement regards what type of posts the gates are hung from. Provided whatever type you use is structurally sound and matched for the weight of the gate and its likely usage then you can use Wooden Posts, Steel Posts, Brick Piers, Stone Piers, etc. The key things to get right are the footings which need to consist of sizeable lumps of concrete with the posts buried at least 750mm into the ground onto solid undisturbed substrata with enough mass to resist being levered out by the weight of the gates. Brick piers do not necessarily have to have steel reinforcing but it is a good idea if the gates are particularly heavy. If you decide on wooden posts they should be hardwood and around 200mm square.
There are 3 basic types; “underground” “back of gate” and “sliding”

Underground gate automation systems are where the motors sit inside foundation boxes that are concreted into the ground making them extremely secure. They are ideal for those seeking a discreet gate automation system.

Back of gates motors are attached to the rear side of the gate. When installing these motors, we pay particular attention to making sure they are located as discretely as possible along the back of the gate.

Sliding gates require a different type of motor arrangement that utilises a rack and pinion arrangement to power the gates along a special track. Apart from having to use a sliding gate for situations where you may have a heavy, close boarded or particularly wide gate, they are also ideal where having the gates swinging inwards is not practical. Sliding gates are often fitted in situations where enhanced security is needed and are ideal for industrial units with large entrances.

In most day to day circumstances the gates are given an open command either by a hand held radio transmitter (key fob) or from an intercom system or other access control device. These signals activate the control system at the gate to commence a series of pre-programmed functions. In most circumstances this will simply be to release any locks and make the motors open the gates. Once fully opened the gates remain open for a certain pre-determined period of time before automatically closing again. In the simplest circumstance as you approach the gates you use your fob to open them, drive through and forget about them.

The other function of the control system is to receive inputs from a variety of other access control devices and open the gates. This means that push buttons, keypads, intercoms, and induction loops etc. can be connected into the system making it easy to program the operation of the gates for your particular circumstances.

Providing they are installed correctly with the necessary safety features then yes, automatic gates are safe. All automated gate systems must have safety over-ride features to prevent injury/damage from accidental closure onto people and vehicles. Safety photocells positioned each side of the entrance detect anything that passes through the beams and either stops the gates or makes them open up again. Some gate motors have in built detectors that sense the increase in load should the gates encounter an object. The control system will immediately stop the gates and reverse them away from the problem. Other systems utilise sensitive edges; these rubberised edges have a cable running through them, once the rubber edge has compressed the gate will stop and briefly back away from the object. More information regarding gate safety can be found on the DHF website.
If we’ve been able to clear most or at least some of your queries and you wish to arrange a site meeting, simply fill out our contact form below or by clicking here or call us on 0333 2000 835 to arrange an appointment.

Get in touch

To arrange a free no obligation quotation for a new automatic gate installation please contact us on
01933 201331

If you would like to discuss Gate Repairs & Servicing to your existing gates please contact us on
01933 201332

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