Things to Consider for Electric Gates When Installing Iron Fencing Around Your Apartment Complex

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Things to Consider for Electric Gates When Installing Iron Fencing Around Your Apartment Complex

15 October 2015
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Owners of apartment complexes often look for ways to increase profitability. One way to do this is to invest in special features that are appealing to tenants who are willing to pay higher rent amounts for those commodities. If you own an apartment complex, one such investment is iron fencing and gates for security. That way, you can advertise your apartment complex as being a gated community, which is something that many tenants are willing to pay more rent for. However, here are a few important things to consider before you have the fencing and gates installed. 

Operation of the gates 

You'll need to determine how the gate will be operated. For apartment complexes, it isn't usually necessary to have security guards on staff to open and close the gates, unless your apartment complex is in a high-crime area. For most other situations, electric gates are preferred. Here are several ways electric gates can be operated.

  • Timer. The gate can open and close automatically with a timer. Often, this type of set-up is used to automatically close the gate in the evenings and open it in the mornings. That way, the complex is secure during the overnight hours but open during the day. You'll need to provide a way for your tenants to operate the gate during the hours when the gate is closed. 
  • Access control panel. This is a device that allows your tenants to open the gate with a key card, fingerprint, or code. An additional feature of this type of system is that it allows you to keep a log of when your tenants (and/or their guests) gained entry into the apartment complex. Keep in mind, however, that key cards can be lost and codes can be forgotten. Fingerprint access control panels are more sensitive and may not be appropriate if your area has harsh weather conditions. 
  • Key. A simple lock-and-key system is the most affordable way to gain entrance through the gate. However, unless the lock can be accessed by the tenant while they sit in their vehicle, they may not want to deal with the hassle of getting out of their vehicles every time they want to open the gate. 
  • Transponders. Similar to garage door openers, transponders can be used to operate the gates. While this device works great for vehicle gates, it's not ideal for pedestrians to carry around a transponder device and/or transfer it to and from their car every time they want to go for a walk. 

You'll need to determine the needs of your tenants and how your apartment complex is laid out to determine what types of gates to have in the fencing, where the gates should be placed, and what type(s) of system to have to open and close your gates. 

Emergency situations to consider 

It's important to consider what types of emergency situations could arise and how those emergencies could affect the tenants' ability to gain access through the gates. After all, if the gates will not open, then tenants and emergency responders will be trapped on either side of the fencing, which could result in a lawsuit against your apartment complex. Here are a few examples and how to avoid them. 

  • Power outages. It's a good idea to have a backup system (battery or solar-powered) to operate the gates during power outages, especially if you have elderly tenants who may not be able to manually open a heavy iron gate. Alternatively, hire a security guard service to manually operate the gates during power outages. 
  • Emergencies. You may need to provide your local emergency responders with the ability to gain access to your complex by supplying them with a key, key card or code to gain access in case they need to respond to a 9-1-1 call, depending on your state law and local building code regulations. If you choose a fingerprint reader for your tenants, be sure to select a unit that also allows for codes to be entered in for your emergency responders. 

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