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Construction Corner


Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to .

Q: I am about to install a new keypad-access system at my gate and would like your opinion on adding intercoms at the same time. Are they worth the time and money?

—Dale in Hemet, Calif.

A: Amazingly, intercom systems are pretty inexpensive, especially when you install them at the same time as new keypads. I recommend using them. From an installation standpoint, it involves just another wire per keypad. From an end-user’s perspective, it shows you want to stay in contact with customers. Often, having an intercom at a gate keypad will save a tenant from having to get out of his car to go in the office. This is appreciated, especially in inclement weather. It also allows the manager to communicate with a tenant without leaving the office.

Q: I am in the process of building my first facility and am at the point where I need to decide whether to install an exit keypad or just use a ground loop. Which do you prefer and why?

—Julio in Beaumont, Texas

A: I recommend the exit keypad for a few reasons. First and foremost is site control. Without an exit keypad, you have no idea how long a tenant stayed on site or when he left. Another reason is it allows you to control tailgating. If someone (tenant or otherwise) was to follow a tenant into the facility, it would be harder for him to get out with a properly configured exit keypad. Finally, if your site is going to have any type of door-alarm system, the exit keypad will be used to re-arm a tenant’s unit when he leaves the site.

Tony Gardner is a licensed contractor and installation manager for QuikStor, a provider of self-storage security and software since 1987. For more information, visit

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