Home Security – Typical Requirements for an Alleygate
Typical Requirements for an Alleygate
(Explanation and reasoning is shown in italics)
- The distance from the top of the gate to the surface of the alleyway will be no less than 2.4m (8 ft). will be required if the gate is more than 2m (6 ft 6 in high). Always check with the planning officer first.
- The frame of the alleygate will be fixed into the end walls of both houses on each side of the alleyway. If householders are concerned about the frame fixings causing damage to their house walls, it is possible to use freestanding frames set into concrete foundations. In some cases, an angled bar running back from the posts into an additional concrete foundation will be required for added strength. Check for drains, pipes and cables.
- The width of the alleygate and frame will match the width of the alleyway. For wider alleys not used for vehicles, it may be necessary to use extension panels.
- The alleygate will be constructed from steel and must be designed to deter people from climbing over it when it is closed and locked.
- The alleygate will not be designed to deliberately cause injury to persons climbing over the top. Gate toppings designed to cause injury should not be used. A 150mm (6in) blunted rod extension will make climbing uncomfortable for the casual intruder. Apart from the danger of causing injury to innocent people (children trying to retrieve a ball or police officers chasing a burglar), some of the more hostile toppings, such as spikes and razor tape, tend to exaggerate or confirm a high level of crime in the area, which drives up fear.
- The alleygate will be installed in a position that is as near to the front walls of the houses as possible so that any attempt to climb it will be in view of the street, ensuring that the gate is sufficiently distant from any front garden walls that might provide a step-up. Sometimes, garden walls can be about 1m (3 ft 3 in) high, reducing the effective height of the gate to around 1m. Setting the gate back by around 600 mm (2 ft) would be an acceptable compromise.
- The allleygate will be designed so that public observation through the gate of both the alleyway and street is possible. A solid gate that does not allow observation of the alleyway could actually help a burglar, especially if the adjacent house has ground-floor windows that face into the alleyway.
- The alleygate and frame will be designed and installed to successfully resist opening by repeated kicking and bodily pressure, and must resist attempts at forcing, using easily obtained levers such as screwdrivers, chisels and crowbars.
- The gate will be inward opening only and will not be self-closing. The Highways Act makes it an offence to open any door, gate or bar over the highway unless you have express permission from the local highways authority. Provided the gate is well constructed, it does not matter if it opens inwards. Self-closing gates can be a nuisance when taking a bicycle or wheelbarrow through or when people are handling heavy loads.
- The gap beneath the alleygate and frame will be no greater than 100 mm (4 in). During the planning of gating schemes, some people have been worried about the migration of wildlife along alleyways. Odd as this may seem, it is a genuine consideration, and steps should be taken to devise measures that at least allow the movement of smaller mammals, such as hedgehogs and mice. Don’t dismiss this out of hand, as a gating scheme could be scuppered if you fail to deal with the concerns of all those involved.
- It must not be possible for the gate to be lifted from its hinges in either the closed or open position.
- All fixings of the gate and frame must be inaccessible when the gate is closed and locked.
- The gate will be fitted with an automatic deadlocking mortice latch that is fit for the purpose of preventing forced entry, permitting the gate to be slammed and locked without the use of a key. The lock will be operated by key on both sides of the gate, and each gate will have ,a different key cylinder so that it is opened using a different key. Although an automatic deadlocking latch is the best choice, with a different lock for each gate, there may be good reasons to alter this requirement. Ultimately, you must install a type of lock that will meet the needs of the majority of residents.
- Two keys for each lock will be provided to each household for the one or two gates they nominate. Keys will be of the Master Locksmith Association recommended restricted type, and copies will only be provided on receipt of a letter of authority from the Residents’ Association. Each household may need more than two keys if it is normal practice to enter the house from the alley. Keys must be given to the residents on the day that the gates go up.
- The lock and its fitting will not provide a foothold for climbing. This can be achieved with a metal box gate by selecting a very narrow style of lock that will fit inside the box-section steel frame. An Adams Rite semaphore lock may be suitable.
- The alleygate, frame and house wall will include measures to dampen the noise of opening and closing. A really important detail. Gates have been removed by the owners of houses to which they are attached because the clanging has driven them mad.
- The gate, frame and fixings will be galvanised to resist rust. Gates that are galvanised can be left in their natural finish or painted after they have weathered for a time. The manufacturer should be able to advise you on how long the weathering process should last. When painting the gate, you will have to apply a suitable primer before adding at least two undercoats and a top coat. Some manufacturers supply gates that are powder coated at the factory. This finish will last a long time, but you should still allow for repainting in your maintenance arrangements.
- A light will be located above the alleygate (optional). You may not consider this an essential requirement, but it would be useful to install a low-energy light above the gate. Almost certainly, you will have to rely on one of the adjacent householders to do this, and although the gating funds can repay them for the cost of the installation, it is more than likely that they will have to accept the responsibility of maintaining the light, unless you can come to some financial arrangement to pay them for the electricity consumed and the cost of replacement bulbs.