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Cost is often a significant factor when it comes to making improvements to your home or at a commercial property.
It can be helpful to get an idea about the likely expenses required to complete a project, and to consider all the options you have before making a decision.
When it comes to installing automated gates on your property, there are two possibilities.
First, you can choose a new system, complete with new gates which are installed by a qualified professional to the highest safety and operational standards.
However, it is possible to automate existing gates.
This is less expensive on paper, at least at the outset, because you already have the gates fitted.
Let's explore the issues that impact on the cost of fitting automated gates at your property…
Providing the infrastructure is in place – for example, solid posts or pillars to attach the gates and motors – it may be possible to automate an existing driveway gate.
The cost of this process is usually similar to that of a new installation.
However, that depends on several factors.
It is worth remembering that the choice of gate motor will be likely to have the most significant impact on cost.
Underground motors, for instance, can be much more expensive to install.
If the existing gate can be automated, and no additional items are requested or substantial groundworks needed, then costs should start at around £2,000.
However, we always advise that a trusted and experienced electric gate installer is used to ensure maximum safety, security and functionality.
Every gate automation project is different, depending on the state of the existing gates, the driveway location and any groundworks, as well as the equipment needed to do the job.
A moving gate can be dangerous if it is not prevented from coming into contact with anyone or anything.
Safety must be the subject of a risk assessment by a professional gate installer to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to avoid injury to users or damage to the gate system.
These operate in pairs, with one emitting an invisible beam of light onto the other.
If the beam is broken, a signal is sent to the gate controls to halt their operation.
Placing these across access points to potentially dangerous areas stops the gates when a person enters.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a comprehensive guide to ensuring powered doors and gates are safe.
It is also worth noting that the amalgamation of multiple-gate automation components and the gates themselves creates a new unique piece of machinery.
This needs to be CE marked to provide evidence of safety audits and procedures carried out during its design and creation.
If fully boarded gates are installed in exposed, windy areas, they will act like sails.
This can mean that gate motors struggle to move them.
Strong wind, in some cases, can interfere with obstacle detection if is installed – so the gates never fully open or close.
Increasing the force applied by the motors can overcome this problem.
Alternatively, open boarded swing gates will allow wind to pass through the gaps.
If your driveway slopes upwards as you enter the property, swing gates will ground themselves as they open inwards.
One option is to install special hinges that tilt the gate upwards while they open.
Gates could also be mounted higher than usual on their posts so that they don’t hit the driveway as they open.
But this leaves a large gap at the bottom, which can both look unattractive and also won’t prevent an intruder from crawling under to gain access to your property.
You could have outward opening swing gates, but there must be enough room without obstructing public pavements or the road.
When you automate existing gates, there will usually be groundworks needed, for example to install power cables.
Depending on where your property is, then large tree roots, branches, high-voltage underground cables, drains, gas pipes, street lighting cables or water mains might provide an obstacle.
You may have to modify your plans, or have things removed, all of which can add extra costs to the project.
Unless you have previous electric gate installation experience, it’s recommended you use the services of professional gate installers.
The site should be properly surveyed, and a safety audit completed to identify potential issues that require attention before an installation takes place.
Your automated gates require a dedicated RCD-protected mains power supply.
The cable length run will determine the specification and cost of the cable.
You will also need to consider the cabling required for any access control, CCTV or extra lighting.
All machines with moving parts need regular servicing to ensure their smooth operation.
Your gates will be working outside in all weather conditions, so they will need extra care and attention to keep them in perfect working order.
When you decide to automate your existing gates, you should also budget for routine ongoing performance checks.
It's perfectly possible to automate existing gates, but there's usually more to it than simply installing a motor.
These extra factors all add costs.
You also need to be confident your gates are going to last, and not need replacing in a few years’ time.
If costs for remedial work mount up, the price difference between an electric gates system including new gates and automating your existing ones may not be that great.
If you have good quality gates, a straightforward driveway layout and your property isn't in an exposed position, then automating them can be an affordable and practical option.
To keep the process stress-free, and to ensure your gates are completely safe, it's advisable to employ the services of a professional gate installer.