Issues on installing electric vehicle gates

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Robert Lamoureux, Signal Contributing Writer

Electric gates

Hi Robert,

My name is Antuan J. I live here in Santa Clarita in a fairly large Homeowner Association community with four entrances. We’d like to put electric vehicle gates to our community, but we are currently not in a position to do all four of the entrances at one time.

With that said, we’d like to do two and close the others off, are there any legal issues that we need to be concerned with, on this idea? 

We’re going to get contractor bids for this, and if you can recommend someone that you trust, it will help greatly. 

What is needed for a project like this, do you need many permits? It sounds like a huge project, and we’d like to be adequately prepared for all that we’ll run into.  

—Antuan J.

Antuan, 

First things first — you need to contact the Fire Department and find out what they will allow you to block off, if anything. They are the governing body when it comes to access for communities, for the obvious safety reasons. 

Once you have this information, then you’ll move forward with permits. For the gates, you’ll need electrical permits and the rest is done by an installer, with not too many rules on this part. 

UL did set regulations in the last few years on Electronic Reversing Devices, which means that if anything or anyone gets in the way of a closing gate, the gate is to be sensitive enough to reverse itself, much like garage doors do now. 

If this happens, the gate then goes into a “hold open” mode and won’t close until a service person resets it.

This is a safety requirement and something to not skip, as the liability could be massive. This feature is life-saving, but it can also create a bit of a nightmare where there are sometimes careless drivers that clip the gate or in other instances, vandalism that occurs and each time it involves a service call/fee. This can add up for an HOA, but there’s just about no way around it because you need the feature. Electrical will need to be nearby, and if not then you’ll need to install DWP pedestals, which can be very costly. So be prepared for all that may come. If needed, one pedestal can run you $25,000. You’ll need a good installer and I’ll follow up with my recommendation for you, I trust this guy implicitly and highly recommend his work. He’ll set you up with the necessary Knox Box, which will hold police and fire keys, which are required for emergency access. It’s a big undertaking what you want to do, but can be a great asset to a community.  Follow the lead of the Fire Department first, then move on to the installer and he’ll guide you through the permit process.

Good luck.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at 

[email protected]

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