Choosing a Gate and Gate Operator for a Self-Storage Facility: Guidelines to Follow
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Randy Johnston|
|Posted on: 04/21/2010|
In the self-storage industry, there are many gates and gate operators from which to choose. Here are some guidelines for choosing the right one for your facility.
Single- or double-swing gates tend to be favored for residential and public-access applications, while sliding gates are more common for self-storage and other high-security applications. Barrier-arm gates are generally used in parking applications because they raise and lower faster than swing or slide gates can open and close. They can also prevent vehicles from “tailgating,” sneaking in by following the car ahead too closely. However, barrier-arm gates are becoming more popular in self-storage.
It’s important to select the proper type of gate operator and class for your facility. Using the wrong operator can result in malfunction or accidents. Any storage facility with a decent amount of volume should always consider a continuous-duty operator, which is tested for high-cycle applications.
Swing gates are operated by either a harmonic arm or an actuator, a mechanical device for moving or controlling a mechanism or system. Actuators are primarily used for residential or low-cycle applications. The actuator arm is connected to the gate on one side and a fence, post or pillar on the other. The operator doesn’t sit on the ground, so no concrete pad is necessary.
Harmonic-arm operators can handle heavier gates. The operator sits on the ground on a cement pad. In areas that get snow, the pad needs to be below the frost line to prevent frost heave.
Slide-gate operators using chain drives are the most common, as they tend to be the least expensive to operate and install. Rolling-slide gates have wheels that roll on a track or the ground. It’s a great choice for facilities where there’s no worry about accumulating snow. Cantilevered gates, on the other hand, are suspended between rollers so the gate doesn’t contact the ground. This leaves enough clearance to accommodate up to a foot of snow.
As security is the foremost consideration at most self-storage facilities, slide gates are usually the first choice. A swinging gate can sometimes be wedged open by pushing against it with a heavy object, such as a moving truck. Because a slide gate is a single unit, it’s much harder to manipulate.
Gates and operators range in weight from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. If a gate hits a car, the resulting damage can be expensive. If the gate hits a person, it could be deadly. In fact, The International Code Council approved a proposal a year ago that incorporates automated vehicular gate provisions in the International Building Code.
Something else to keep in mind is that the authority having jurisdiction―the governmental agency or sub-agency that regulates the construction process―may require gate operators to be listed to the UL 325 Safety Standard, the standard to which vehicular gate operators are designed, manufactured and tested. This is the case in Nevada, for example.
The best place to start is with gate and gate-operator manufacturers. Most offer plenty of accessible information on their products. You can learn about their operators as well as find a local installer. The dealer will represent the product before, during and after the sale. This is important, as his input is critical to a seamless installation.
Choosing a manufacturer is not easy. Consider working with a company that supplies a complete range of access-control devices in addition to gates and operators, as this will make it easier to integrate your security systems. The most important thing is that you do your homework to find the best solution for your facility.
Gate-Operator Class I: Residential vehicular gate operator