Often clients underestimate the cost of automating an existing gate. They tell us they search on the internet for a cheap gate automation kit for £300 then look for an electrician from Check-a-Trade to fit it in a day, for a few hundred pounds… bingo problem solved! Not exactly….
Their gate system might last for a couple of weeks before it all goes wrong, they then call us to come and rip everything out to start again! In most cases, the electric gate system will not even be legal and worst case it is highly dangerous!
The gate automation kit price only makes up a percentage of the total cost and the cheapest kits are usually the most expensive in the long term.
Our underground gate automation installation prices start at £2,600 + VAT.
First and foremost, there are labour costs; we respect electricians greatly however the electrical elements are only part of the job. It takes at least 5 years’ practical experience to be a qualified gate engineer.
Any true gate engineer will have all of the following skills and experience-
- Industry approved training course qualification pass (DHF, Gate Safe, Etc.)
- System design knowledge and assessment
- Awareness of Standards & Regulations
- Health & Safety procedures and practices
- Risk reviewing for safe system operation and advice
- Fault finding and rectification skills
- Electrical competency & regulations
- Ground works
- Civil & Structural engineering skills
- Landscaping and Drainage experience
- Light building & Building Regulations
- Fabrication, Erection and Welding
- Mechanical engineering skills
- Mathematics i.e. gate geometry, weight calculations
- Hydraulics & Pneumatic’s
- Carpentry & Joinery
- Qualified and certified by all major automation brands- BFT, CAME, FAAC, Nice, Beninca.
- Wide knowledge of Industry products, procedures & best options
- Commissioning procedures and system maintenance
- Access control & telecommunications interface
- Audio & video, CCTV
- Associated products & services, lighting, alarms
- Making good & decoration
- Computer literacy
- First aid
- Customer liaison & training
- Technical file creation & management
- On top of all this- be respectful, happy, friendly and prepared to work outside in all weathers!
These requirements vary depending on the complexity of the project but all our gate engineers are trained and ready for anything- and as you can imagine gate engineers with these skills are hard to find and command good salaries.
It requires over £5,000 worth of specialist tools to carry out most gate installations. We are constantly buying tools due to the high demands placed on them working outside in all temperatures and conditions!
Before work is carried out legally the qualified gate installation company have to carry out a detailed risk assessment, point loading calculations and a execute a full site survey.
Next, the equipment must be purchased. Here follows a typical list of components/costs required to automate a gate (excluding the automation kit which can run in at over £1000 alone):
- Electrical enclosure / Cabinet
- Junction boxes
- Adaptable conduit
- Armoured termination glands
- Cable cleats and ties
- Safety edges, receiver- its worth noting in some cases (particularly electric sliding gates) the safety equipment costs to make the gates legally compliant can amount to more than the gate automation costs!
- Direct burial data cable
- SWA cable (armoured)
- Flexible power cable
- Sheet metal for modifications
- Adjustable hinges
- Gate stops
- Clips, bolts, fixings
- Resin, Silicon, Grease
- Disposable items such as welding rods, cutting disc’s and diamond blades.
- Disposal of waste from site (skip on site)
- Fuel to from site
- Parking/Congestion charges
- Allowance in cost for warranty return visits
- Delivery charges.
All this is without standard business over heads such as insurance, office costs, rates, vehicles, tools, advertising, accreditation’s, transportation and admin, accounts and sales staff costs etc!
In most cases this type of work takes 2-3 days on site and requires 2 engineers as the gates have to be lifted. There is also a lot of time consuming off site work such as planning the installation, ordering the materials, client liaison and document control.
Once the installation has been completed, we then carry out extensive testing, we have to force test the gates and complete a technical file, CE Mark the gates and provide a 2 year warranty.
Only then are we happy to carry out a demonstration, handover, with controls, to the client.
We hope this goes a little way to explaining everything we need to do, The words ‘cheap’ and ‘electric gates’ have never been in the same sentence! However, if done well, automated gates will be convenient, secure, safe and well worth the investment.
Therefore, if Renzland Powergates Ltd are £2000 more than a jobbing electrician prepared to try his hand at electric gates, you can be sure you are getting £2,000+ more of a job.