Automatic barriers: what you need to know before buying for your business

As a business with commercial premises, physically protecting your property and your assets from intruders is an essential first-line security measure. We talked in a previous post about how automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) can be a useful tool, when combined with your automatic gates or barrier solution, in controlling who comes in and out of your premises. That kind of technology is all well and good, but what about the actual physical barrier? Before you implement any kind of parking management or access control, you need to ensure you have the right physical barrier solution.

You might not realise it, but there are actually endless possibilities for designing and implementing an automatic barrier solution for your business. Here are 4 things you need to know before you buy.


1. What’s the road gap?

This is the first and most vital piece of information you need before you purchase a barrier. Of course, if you’re using a full-service security provider for your barrier like us, they’ll take care of this for you within a site visit, but it’s useful to know. In order to select a barrier of the right length, orientation and mount-type, you’ll need to measure and assess the road gap (that’s essentially the distance between the points at which your barrier will start and end). This could be between two kerbs, two walls, or a kerb and a wall. A good security provider will be able to advise you on a barrier length that will fit your gap and the best barrier type for the application.


2. Access control

Now you have a clearer picture of the physical attributes of your barrier, it’s time to consider what measures you’re going to put in place to allow vehicles in, and to keep them out. Automatic barriers can support a range of technologies allowing you to manage and authorise access. This could be a radio receiver for fobs, proximity sensor, token dispenser or acceptor, card reader, or ANPR. The type of access control you need will vary depending on your business and the nature of visitors and vehicles arriving on your property, but it’s important to consider how this will be managed when designing your barrier solution, for easy implementation that can be set up and ready to go in a turn-key solution.


3. Additional security and safety measures

There are a number of additional features you can add to an automatic barrier in order to increase its effectiveness as a security measure and ensure safety. You might want to add a top or bottom skirt (or both), which adds additional height to the barrier, stopping people from walking under it, climbing over it, or even sliding a motorbike or similar vehicle underneath. A barrier skirt will usually concertina so it folds up when the barrier lifts, meaning you get additional security without the need to take up extra space. Other additional features include loop detectors, which are discrete control systems buried in the ground near your barrier, and can be used to detect larger vehicles and automatically allow or prevent access. Safety photocells can also be implemented, which stop your barriers from accidentally opening or closing on or near a pedestrian or vehicle.


4. Ongoing support and maintenance

Under the EU Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC), automatic barriers are classified as machinery. This means that your automatic barrier installation is subject to a number of safety standards you must adhere to in order to avoid being in breach of this directive. This means that your barrier should be subject to an ongoing service and maintenance plan in order to ensure it’s compliant with safety standards. This maintenance can be carried out in-house, but it’s recommended you partner with a security and barrier specialist to carry this out for you. And in case you were thinking you could get out of it – it’s anticipated that the Machinery Directive will still be enforced in the UK following Brexit.

Looking for an automatic barrier solution for your business? Our security and barrier specialists will visit you on-site for a free consultation, recommending the best solution for your needs. Just get in touch to arrange.

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