Steel Slide Gates: Uses and Automation

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Fri, Jun 10, 2016

Steel slide gates are in use at residential, commercial, industrial and government locations.

There are several different types of steel slide gates from tracked (both overhead and in pavement), roll gates (both hard rubber and balloon tires) and cantilever slides. The type of slide gate used depends on the available space for the gate, volume of use, security requirements, type of surface at the gate opening and the project budget.

Steel slide gates provide strong, secure reliable and cost effective solutions to of a location whether in manual or automatic mode. 

Steel is more forgiving to the incidental bumps from vehicle traffic than other materials resulting in fewer and less costly gate repairs. Slide gates enable a large gate to be easily opened or closed even in the manual mode.                

Steel gates do not experience the sagging problems incurred by swing gates and do not require larger post sizes as the gate leaf increases. It is quite common to have single slide gates covering an opening of 30 feet and still use the same post size as much smaller openings. Existing manual slide gates can easily retrofitted to an automatic application at less cost than a single or double swing when a single slide gate is the object of the retrofit.

automatic steel slide gate automated access entry gate

The drawbacks to steel slide gates. The gates are heavy and weight is the enemy of rollers, tracks, wheels and operators. The higher the volume of traffic through the access road the greater the strain on the gate system. Much of this can be eliminated with proper and routine maintenance of the slide gate and rollers. Polyurethane gate rollers also save wear and tear on the gates and ease the operation of the gate considerably.

The most popular slide gate in today’s market is the cantilever slide gate. This popularity will remain the case until gates that provide the strength of steel, the lighter weight of aluminum and the resulting freedom of maintenance that it provides is available at a reasonable cost.


Topics: Military Fence, Government Fence, Commercial Fence, Steel Slide Gates

Design Build: The Simple Solution for a Complicated Fence Project

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Wed, Mar 23, 2016

Design Build project is  when the traditional “bid” step of design-bid-build format is circumvented by entrusting the task a subcontractor to design and build the project. Depending on the circumstances, the cost incurred by hiring an architect or additional engineer is eliminated alongside the middle man. 

A professional commercial or industrial fence contractor that has proven experience with design build, will be able to both design and price your enclosure solution based on specifications.

As a side note, smaller more intimate level, almost all residential customers can be considered the "owner" and the subcontractor designs and builds the fence based their needs.


Buyers & Builders

For example, VDOT and military specifications are exceptionally strict.
The fence company involved should have a working knowledge of how the requirements affect the job. Design–build places the responsibility for design errors and omissions on the design–builder, relieving the owner of legal and managerial responsibilities. The burden for these costs and associated risks are transferred to the design–build team.

ASTM specifications play a very large part these types of projects because very rarely is the specification drawn out on the plans. They often require a vast array of specifications that its typically in the best interest of the property construction team to hire a professional.

This simplifies the work of the buyer and streamlines the construction process.

Often, commercial construction managers and the property owner, will collaborate in order to organize the needs of the customer by fielding the information to selected design/build subcontractors.

This is especially true when the fence job must involve several trades to work together. Without the right experience and resources, a new fence company might miss specifications and codes needed for that particular job.

Depending on whether the project is commercial, military, or federal, the requirements can vary greatly and affect cost structure.

Above is Pitt Field at University of Richmond. This projects required several additional designs including windscreen, an upgrade to industrial aluminum fencing and galvanized chain link fence that meets athletic field specs.

Accounting for Accountability

By relieving the buyer or property owner of the building responsibility, an experienced design build team allows greater productivity with fewer costs. It gives the builder teams the ability to install their work using their knowledge and resources. As a result, the quality of work of the project will improve.

While the buyer is still responsible for communicating his or her needs and desires with the project, the builder must be highly competent to understand appropriate requirements and restrictions. By creating the direct connection between the builder and the subcontractors, the buyer is able to focus their efforts on the overall outcome.

Design–build can save time and money for the owner, while allowing a chance to achieve innovation on the project. Design–build allows owners to avoid being placed directly between the architect/engineer and the contractor which under design–bid–build process, the owner takes on more legal risks in that position. The design build process has been used for centuries to increase productivity and reduce cost, but it is only recently making a significant comeback in the construction industry. Design build is becoming more common in the United States and abroad, giving fence companies a larger role in this process.


Topics: Government Fence, Fence Design, High Security Fence, Prison Fence

What Is Anti Terrorism Force Protection or ATFP Perimeter Security?

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Sat, Jan 30, 2016


k rated fence


The United States Marines defines Antiterrorism/Force Protection as a “security program designed to protect military personnel, civilian employees, family members, facilities, and equipment in all locations and situations from the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear, intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological.”

AT/FP perimeter security systems are generally used when the highest level of protection is needed. They are used around government buildings like the Pentagon, prisons, jails, nuclear power plants, Federal Reserve banks and other high-security buildings.  ATFP systems are designed to reduce the vulnerability of and to protect lives, facilities, equipment and information. In fencing, Anti-Terrorism & Force Protection refers to how much force a structure can withstand before becoming compromised by an attacker.

The following ratings have been used to issue contracts for Crash Rated Fences since 2000:

  • K4 rating is for a vehicle traveling 30 mph

  • K8 rating is for a vehicle traveling 40 mph

  • K12 rating is for a vehicle traveling 50 mph

K-Ratings are levels of barrier protection as determined by the Department of State (DoS). A 'K' Rating is also known as a Crash Test Certification. K Ratings are given to a fence, bollard, gate, or other barrier to indicate how effective that barrier is at protecting what it is guarding by measuring the barrier's stopping power in relation to the speed and weight to an incoming vehicle. The standard unit of measurement is based on a 15,000 lb. (6810 kg.) gross weight vehicle impacting a barrier perpendicularly.

In order to be DOS certified, the barrier must not bend beyond 39 inches past the preventative impact boundary of the barrier when penetrated by a vehicle.


What kind of wrought-iron, steel, or aluminum ornamental type of Fence is ATFP Compliant? Steel fences are the Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection standard for high-security government buildings; but basically any commercial or residential fence can be made ATFP compliant by installing cable or beam reinforcements.

Steel cables are cemented into the ground and wrung along the accompanying fence or gate. Bollards are short and thick (iron or steel) metal posts set at even intervals. They are often times used to control traffic, but bollards can also be used to make certain fencing ATFP compliant.Reinforcement measures and ornamental fences can make AT/FP fence or gate requirements very expensive.

Part of the United States Policy on Terrorism dictates that all lawful measures to prevent [terrorism] acts and bring to justice those who commit them will be taken. Therefore, while Anti-Terrorism Force Protection fencing systems may be costly, they are often necessary.

The James River Water Treatment pump in Shockoe Bottom Richmond is enclosed by 12 ft. curved spiked picket black steel Black, steel ATFP Compliant Security Fence at US Naval Base in July 2015.


Topics: ATFP, Government Fence, Perimeter Security, High Security Fence, Commercial Fence, Maximum Security Fence, spiked picket fence

Options for Commercial Access Gates and Fence Solutions

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Jul 03, 2014

A Professional Fence Company should have a variety options for Commercial Gate applications. The gate systems are designed to restrict unwanted entry and ensure the protection of assets and employees. Gate systems are designed to work efficiently with repeated mechanical use in any setting. Hurricane Fence Company offers the latest in Commercial Gate System trends and technology in a plethora of scales and styles. These maneuverable fence barriers can be engineered to meet the needs of everything from small Residential Secured Access to the most complex structural demands.

The following are a few examples of routinely offered Commercial Gate Systems.  

Swing Arm Gates

swing arm gate

Swing Arms are motorized barriers that raise a steel or aluminum arm from a horizontal position to a vertical position. They give you the ability to control pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic on roadways up to 38'. These gates can have an assortment of automatic controls, such as card readers, vehicle detectors/counters, reversing logic, which causes the arm to re-open should it strike an object, and anti tailgating devices, which keep multiple vehicles from pulling through on a single cycle. A switch in a security office can also be set up to control these gates.

Many Fence Contractors also offer High Speed Swing Arm Gates that will open in less than two seconds, using either 8 or 12' arms. Heavy duty gates, with arms up to 24', are also available if gate specifications require them.

Slide Gates   

sliding gate 

Sliding Gates are often the best solution for commercial premises with busy access points. You must have room set aside for the gate in the open position. Installers can customize slide gates to accommodate a wide range of commercial applications. Many different styles of slide gates are available of which the most common is a two-rail slide gate.

There are three rail slide gates that will allow the use of almost any material you wish to face the gate. For this the commonly used materials are plastic, wood, or metal. A well set up fence supplier can also custom fabricate a slide gate to match a wide range of already existing gate styles. 

Cantilever Gates

cantaliever gate cantaliever gate

Automation of a cantilever slide gate involves the addition of a slide gate operator that can be pad or post mounted. This provides a means to open or close the gate and the addition of safety devices such as safety loops, gate edges or photo eyes. Gate operators can be added to existing gates as well as new ones and integrated into any existing access control system.

The gate itself does not touch the ground and is supported by rollers, which are attached to two large side posts.

The gate will have a tail that is used to support itself when it is in the open position. One thing to keep in mind when considering the installation of a cantilever gate is that you must have adequate overhead clearance to ensure that the gate can open fully.

Cantilever Gate Systems can be constructed with nearly any fencing material, but the distance of the opening will play an important role in determining which type of materials you can use when constructing your Commercial Gate. Lighter fabrication materials should be considered when spanning wide opening, which will make the overall weight of the gate lighter.   

See Commercial Gate Fabrication in action on Hurricane Fence Company's Youtube channel.Commercial Gates, Commercial Gates Richmond, Gate Fabrication Richmond, gates richmond, gates norfolk, gates williamsburg, gates va beach, gate making richmond

Topics: Military Fence Installations, Military Fence, Government Fence, Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Gates, Specifications, High Security Fence, Ornamental Aluminum, Commercial Fence, Steel Slide Gates, Historical Fence, Fence Permit, Regulations, Maximum Security Fence, Fence Maintenance, Richmond Fence, fence regulations, Maintenance, Aluminum Fence, Comparison, codes, Military Fence Virginia


Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Oct 24, 2013

As Hurricane Fence Company wraps up the AMTRAK Middle River MD project, we're reflecting on what an important project this was for contractors, authorities & commuters alike. 

Above: Effectual video footage of the Amtrak High speed rail at Middle River, MD

A specific case highlighting numerous deaths in Middle River Maryland, which is northeast of Baltimore City, showed the urgent need for safety fencing near heavily populated areas with exposed rails. All of the Middle River Amtrak deaths were  tragic and included the death of Anna Marie Stickel. Anna was a 14 year old girl who was killed on the hi-speed tracks in January of 2010. This particular death and numerous related incidents initiated a dramatic public response that promted Amtrak to take swift action in the wake of a serious problem.

Not only was this project important to a distressed Middle River MD community, but also to Hurricane Fence Company as the exclusive fence contractor for the project.

An article published by The Amtrak Police Department titled; Amtrak installing new heavy steel fence along High-speed tracks in Middle River, Maryland informs the public that Amtrak is installing a heavy steel, 8-foot high, high security fence along a portion of its high-speed tracks in Middle River, Maryland to deter access to the railroad.

The Middle River community is located about 11 miles north of Baltimore and is within the busy Northeast Corridor home to frequent and daily Amtrak train service. The section of track where the fencing was installed includes Acela Express and Northeast Regional service that operates at speeds up to 125 mph carrying commuting passengers, and the occasional freight train. Amtrak went above and beyond it's government requirements and spent $3.1 million, rip out the chain-link fence entirely and replacing it with a barrier it believes will deter even the most determined would-be trespasser. The new 8-foot-high fence runs from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road, a section that includes the spot where Anna died. Amtrak spokeswoman Danelle Hunter said the railroad was investing in an Impasse Anti-Scale Fence System, so named because it is designed to be difficult to get over. Hunter said it will be sunk into the ground so intruders can't get under it and will be made of sturdier material than chain link so an intruder can't get through it with bolt cutters.

 “The new fence will make it harder for a person to access the tracks, but to achieve maximum safety individuals must make the right decision to stay off the tracks and not use it as a shortcut,” says Amtrak Chief of Police John O’Connor.

In late April, Hurricane Fence Company began the installation of new Ameristar brand fencing on both sides of the tracks from Martin Boulevard southwest to where it meets up with an existing fence. (See Fence Contractors) A portion of the existing fence was also upgraded and replaced.  In all, more than 6,400-feet of fencing was installed and additional “No Trespassing” signs were posted.   

Todd Jones, Hurricane Fence Company Vice President had this to say,

I have come to understand that intruders on the track are a great concern to the train operators. Having the potential stress of hitting pedestrians or vehicles causes the conductors undue work related fatigue.

The $3.1 million fencing project ran from April-October 2013 (about 6 months from start to completion) There is now two miles continuous fencing from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road. Train passengers may use the pedestrian underpass at Martin Boulevard, which has also been upgraded for this construction.

“Our most important goal is safety, “I am pleased Amtrak is taking these significant steps, building taller and stronger fencing. I thank everyone who had a role in this project, working together to make Middle River a safer community for everyone." Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger remarked.


Topics: Government Fence, Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Specifications, Fence Permit, Insurance, Amtrak Fence

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