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The fifth problem considered in this section concerns securing the driveway to houses sitting in large grounds and ‘gated communities’ that rely on large automatic vehicular gates to restrict access. 

Gated communities can be defined as a collection of dwellings and the private land adjoining them being fully contained within a secure perimeter boundary with normally only one secured entry exit point.  Although a relatively recent arrival to the UK, gated communities are much more common elsewhere in the world.  Gated retirement villages are common in Florida and it is quite normal to find gated communities in cities such as Bangkok, Manila and Cape Town.  At the entrances to the gated and walled communities in the Far East you will normally find only one entrance which is often manned by armed security guards who will search workers, such as cleaners and their vehicles as they arrive for work in the morning.  Interestingly, researchers have discovered that the people living within gated communities often fear crime more than the people living outside of them! 

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The ability of the gate to prevent intrusion will ultimately be determined by the design of the gate and the perimeter boundary of which it’s a part and by and large it is best to accept that its ability to prevent crime will be limited to crimes of an opportunistic nature and crimes where a motor vehicle is a prerequisite for the offence to be successful.

There are of course lots of advantages to having automatic driveway gates.  They will reduce trespass and prevent unwanted callers.  If the house is set back some distance from the road then a solid gate will, to some extent, prevent overlooking by people up to no good.  With the aid of audio and visual communication you can control automatic gates from your home and obviously you can open and close them from inside the car.  Automatic gates can be programmed to close automatically with special safety devices to prevent people from getting hurt.

If at all possible a separate pedestrian entrance should be provided to separate vehicular traffic from pedestrians and so that the vehicle gates are only used as often as is required for vehicles, thereby reducing the wear and tear and maintenance of the gate and motor.

Installing automatic gates is a complex task and it is important to understand exactly what will be required.  The specifications applied to the gates and their operations are virtually limitless and you’ll need to work very closely with your chosen supplier.

Your chosen supplier should be conversant with the following Health and Safety Executive documents concerning risks to pedestrians.  If they don’t know about these documents I would question their suitability for the job.

It is recommended that you use gate manufacturers and installers that are members of Gate-Safe 

Gate-Safe is a charity that was set up to improve the understanding of existing legislation and standards, and to offer further guidance in ‘plain English’ to aid the interpretation of what constitutes a safe gate. The charity focuses on raising awareness of the critical safety issues associated with powered gates amongst the wide range of professionals associated with these types of installations, via training and education.

Health and Safety Executive Safety Notice. Bulletin FOD WSW 1-2010 Risks to pedestrians from crushing zones on electrically powered gates


Health and Safety Executive Safety Notice. Bulletin FOD 7-2010 Risks to pedestrians from crushing zones on electrically powered gates - 2


Updated August 2017