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Asset or Liability? Standards, Safety and Your Self-Storage Automatic Gate

While an automatic gate can be a great asset for your self-storage facility, it can also be a liability. Learn about standards with which your system should comply to ensure tenant and employee safety.

Many self-storage facilities use automatic entry gates. At first glance, these systems seem like an advantage and positive selling feature. Consumers think of safety and security when they see a facility with a tall fence and automatic gate to control access.

In fact, there are many positive aspects to having an automatic gate on your property. However, important changes have taken place in the gate-operator industry, and it’s important to understand how they can affect your business. Depending on how you look at it, your gate can be an asset or a liability.

There are two industry standards that impact gate systems being installed at self-storage and other commercial properties today: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 325 and ASTM International F2200. The UL standard applies to the gate operator and accessories, while ASTM F2200 is an architectural standard that applies to gate construction.

In 2016, all gate-operator manufacturers were forced to change the logic controls of their products to receive the UL stamp of approval. Basically, the change requires all gate operators to become disabled if one or a combination of safety devices aren’t attached or working properly.

The ASTM F2200 standard relates to how the gate is constructed and installed. It varies depending on gate type. There are different standards for overhead, slide, swing and vertical-lift gates.

If you’re building a new property, consult with the company providing your gate and gate operator. Most vendors will know about the standards and how to follow them. It’s hard to get around the UL requirements for the equipment, but gate construction is another matter. An Internet search will produce a lot of information on the standards mentioned above.

If your property was built before 2016, chances are your equipment doesn’t meet the current UL standards; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring them up to snuff. Check with your gate supplier to see what modifications need to be made.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Who enforces these standards?” I can assure you there isn’t a UL police force out searching for properties that don’t pass muster. But just let one person get injured by your gate or one vehicle get damaged and you’ll quickly learn the people enforcing these requirements or at least bringing them to your attention. They’re called attorneys!

When considering your self-storage gate system, do everything you can to make sure your system is an asset, not a liability.

Fred Ross is the national sales manager for Steel & Metals Systems Inc., which specializes in the design, manufacture and erection of single- and multi-story buildings. He’s worked in the automatic-gate industry for 30-plus years, and has experience in distribution, manufacture, installation and sales of gate operators and accessories. He holds two certifications from The Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation. For more information, call 912.944.8113; e-mail; visit

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