Which Codes, Laws, or Regulations Affect Automatic Driveway Gates?
The answer to the question posed in the title largely depends on your location, although there are national codes and guidelines that should also be followed.
This topic is a fairly dry yet important one. We’ll try to give you just the important highlights without wading too far into the deep end.
The most often referred to code that relates to automated driveway and security gates is UL 325. UL 325 is a code that has been established by Underwriters Laboratory. UL 325 is concerned with gate safety.
While UL 325 is a "code", it has only been adopted as an “enforceable code” by a few jurisdictional authorities.
Automated gate safety is an important issue that should never be overlooked. Any competent driveway gate installation company should have a reasonable understanding of UL 325 and should be able to design a system for you that is compliant with UL 325.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
ASTM also has published standards that cover the manufacture and installation of security gates and driveway gates. Again, a competent automated gate installation company should have an understanding of these standards.
UL 325 and ASTM standards are important guidelines for automatic gate installation companies to follow to ensure that the systems they install are as safe as possible. The last thing any of us want is for a child to be killed (as happened twice in one week in the UK only a few years ago), or for a child to be seriously injured (as has happened multiple times around the world) by an automatic gate.
National Fire Codes
National fire codes should also be followed and competent installation companies will know what these are. The most important aspect of the national fire code is related to what should happen in the case of a power failure.
Local Fire Codes
Regional and local fire departments often have their own code requirements that must be adhered to. Typically, these relate to minimum clearance of the gate opening so that they can access the property in the case of an emergency. Sixteen feet of clear driveway opening for single family residences is a typical requirement. Thirty-two feet of clear driveway opening for multiple family residences is also a common requirement.
Fire departments are also concerned with gaining access via key switches, strobe switches, or other devices. Another common consideration for fire departments is setback from the roadway. If the gate is not setback far enough from the roadway, it may not be possible for the fire truck to enter through the gate.
Local Building Codes
Regional and local building departments often have their own code requirements as well. Most of the time, building codes are in place primarily to enforce fire department codes and to ensure that the physical aspects of the gate installation are done properly. Many jurisdictions do not require building permits even though it is expected that the building codes are followed.
Electrical codes often apply to automated driveway gate installation. Generally, the electrical supply for the gate will need to be performed by a qualified electrician and, in some jurisdictions, the low voltage control wiring for the gate also needs to be done by an electrician.
Summing it Up
If you are considering having an automatic driveway gate installed you should make sure that you are working with a qualified competent installation company that understands the complexities of the code requirements in your jurisdiction.