Having a correctly-working barrier at the entrance to a site can provide huge advantages you may not fully appreciate until it’s not there or it’s broken. This is probably more relevant to business premises; industrial estates, office parks, or maybe retail premises, but barriers can of course be for residential properties as well, whether your own private residence or a shared development with, say, a communal carpark.
They are misunderstood on several levels, whether on the broad-brush costs and involvement to install and operate, or practical details like access fobs and security measures. You need to take a step back and think about more practical common-sense issues, without getting bogged down with the techie talk on, for example, what particular style to go for. You might have the best model installed, but it’s no use if you can’t operate it.
So here is a quick check-list of the sort of issues to be thinking about, whether you’re looking to install one from scratch or you’re inheriting one with a property interest:
1. Work Out Who’s Responsible and Who Pays the Bill
These can be two different parties, with often the landowner or landlord being responsible but who can then charge tenants directly or through a service charge, or it could be that you need to deal with different land owners and management companies. If you are responsible, then check what one-off and ongoing costs you can be charged, and as an end-payer are these applicable and budgeted for, as you can soon kiss goodbye to £10k for a new one.
2. You’ll Probably Need an Electricity Supply for Powering Them
So check if there a nearby point to use, and who is responsible for this, as it might be easier to link into a tenant’s nearby supply, but do look at sub-meters or recharge arrangements for the landlord and service charge to pay. If electricity isn’t possible, then look at more manual-operating types for example.
3. Try and Keep Them Well Lit
Particularly when dark and unattended of course, to not only stop vehicles hitting it but people lurking around. Maybe they can connect into the power supply for the barrier, or because the new LED ones are so cheap to run, perhaps it’s easier to justify and agree connection to the supply from adjacent occupiers.
4. Think About the Details When Looking at Types
The flashy motorised ones that are basically a moving metal fence may seem ideal, but are more costly and need space at the side for them to move into when opening. With opening arm ones, there needs to be a point opposite for the end to ‘land’, or for wider access ways maybe double ones, or stick with a wide one-arm one but build-up the opposite pavement outwards.
5. Don’t Forget Extras to Finish Things Off
So, signs to warn and communicate to people, or hatches and arrows on the ground, or even a speed bump to naturally slow people down. On the subject of signs, even a simple occupier’s list can help so visitors know they’ve arrived at the right place and know how to contact them.
6. It May be Worth Looking at Additional Security Measures
For example, installing nearby CCTV cameras can help to record any incidents, accidents, and vandal damage, and could be monitored though simple recording on site or more complex remote monitoring. Good signage can not only be needed for compliance, but a good warning to people that you mean business with controlling access.
7. Remember the Importance of Safety and Compliance
Barriers in particular have increased legislation to improve general safety on them and to make sure they appropriately stop to not cause harm to people, and provide no opportunities for people to get trapped or caught in them. This is particularly important for older or second-hand barriers, but even with new ones, make sure the finishing touches have been completed and a certified installer confirms in writing that these are compliant. Also, remember to make sure insurance cover is correctly in place, both for the contractor but also the finished barrier and equipment on any buildings, land, and engineering insurance policies.
8. Get the Right Access Arrangements Agreed and Communicated
Determine how it will open/close, whether on a timer for certain times, and then when it is in operation whether by, say, a digi-code typed into a nearby pad, or a remote fob. These tend to depend upon individuals already knowing these, but if you have lots of visitors, including deliveries and suppliers, then there may need to be an intercom linked to each unit for people to actually speak with someone who then allows access (traditionally needing cables linking, although with today’s technology they can work on mobile wireless connection linked to normal phone/mobile lines).
Often the getting-in is the important part, and there are automatic sensors triggering it to open when people and cars leave, although the sensors for this need to be correctly installed and located. Also, remember other users such as pedestrians as well as vehicles, and check whether they need a separate gate at the side. Finally, make sure everything is communicated, with clear access arrangements, procedures for how to deal with emergencies, and any extra costs for, say, more fobs and changing codes.
9. Prepare for Emergencies and the Unforeseen
So if there is any damage or break-down, arranging any temporary cover such as guarding or bollards in the ground, and the procedures to learn including manually over riding the barrier in case it stops or there is a power failure.
10. Keep Them Correctly Maintained and Serviced Afterwards
Usually at least every six months, for a basic service as well as a clear call-out basis for any ad hoc repairs and emergencies. Paperwork and certificates are needed to prove this, particularly if there was an incident, and any insurance claim needing evidence that it had been correctly looked after.
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