Spring represents a great opportunity to spend some time deciding on your plans for 2017 and, generally includes identifying and prioritising any key improvements that are required for the home. If part of your budget includes investing in an automated gate to enhance home security – as well as deliver a boost of kerb appeal to your property – Gate Safe urges you to think carefully before you part with any hard-earned cash.

Automated gates offer an excellent means of controlling access and will certainly help to contain any children / pets roaming in the grounds, as well as discourage any unwanted visitors from attempting an entry.  Equally, if you are disabled or elderly, there are several practical benefits to having automated gates to make parking the car / carrying shopping that much easier. However, be aware that the very gates intended to protect the homeowner and his / her family, if not correctly fitted and maintained, are capable of inflicting serious injury or worse.

All too often the priorities when purchasing an automated gate tend to centre around the aesthetics of the device. Granted, when you are likely to be spending a minimum of £2.5k on an electric gate, you want it to look good and add a certain allure to your home.  But think of this, when you buy a new car, are you only interested in what it looks like? Or do you consider the myriad other factors likely to influence your final choice of vehicle, for example, the car’s safety test rankings, the car’s ability to handle difficult terrain, the car’s performance in the event of an accident? The list is endless. The reality is that a car is a potentially a very dangerous possession. Shouldn’t the same logic be applied to an automated gate? Automated gates can kill. It’s that simple.

Automated gates are classed as machines. Yes, they can add kudos / value to the property but first and foremost they must be SAFE.  A domestic electric gate should only be fitted by a suitably qualified professional who has undergone the necessary training to understand what constitutes a safe gate. As standard it should feature at least two different types of safety devices to (as far as possible) eliminate the dangers associated with crushing or dragging of a person in the event of them coming into contact with the gate during its opening or closing cycle. Equally, when the gate installation is complete, the installer should issue a CE mark and a maintenance file which details how to place the gate into manual operation in the event of an incident – and how to isolate the power. A reputable installer will also provide details of when the next routine maintenance visit is due (automated gates should undergo a routine service / maintenance check every six months).

You wouldn’t dream of driving a car without an MOT or reneging on the traditional routine service requirements. Why take the chance with a gate?

To find your nearest Gate Safe installer visits www.gate-safe.org.  Remember, Gate Safe has also recently launched its own unique Gate Safe MOT sticker to help homeowners recognise a gate that has been installed in line with current best practice – and also to provide a strong visual reminder of when the next service is due.