Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: I am thinking about adding keypads at our facility’s gate. My concern is the amount of rain and wind we get. Are keypads safe to use in areas that experience bad weather, and what should we consider?
—Cathy in Weymouth, Mass.
A: As rain doesn’t always fall straight down and wind can force water through any opening, keypads need to be sealed to protect the circuitry inside. Outdoor keypads should have watertight keys, backs and hinges. Another thing to consider is the keypad stand and the wiring that runs through it. The conduit should slide through the center of the stand at least 6 inches to resist water. In some areas, ice can break conduit and short out wires. To avoid rust on the keypad housing, aluminum is a good choice. Finally, keep in mind that water is not the only reason to keep keypads well-sealed. I have seen hornet nests inside keypad housings, and while hornets and customers don’t mix, insects are also not good for keypad workings.
Q: What are the potential problems involved with adding a music system to our facility?
—Tom in Amarillo, Texas
A: Music is a great addition to any facility, as the speakers installed for this system can also be used for paging. The system can be set up in zones, which will allow you to control the volume or page in a specific area. Check the amperage requirements to determine how many speakers can be in each zone. Place speakers as high as possible to provide the best acoustics, but keep in mind metal buildings provide good bounce for sound travel.
The wiring for each zone can be daisy-chained to individual speakers, but as each speaker pulls power to operate, it will require wiring back to the receiver in the office. This means having a wiring path to upper floors and outdoor buildings. The wiring should be shielded to protect against interference, and outdoor speakers should be weatherproof. After the system is in place, your staff can fight over what kind of music to play!
Rod Davis is the installation manager for QuikStor, a provider of self-storage security and software since 1987. For more information, visit www.quikstor.com.