Every year hundreds of customers contact us asking for the cost of electric gates. While we try to help by providing rough estimates the truth is the final cost will be subject to many small factors, which when added together can make a big difference.
This blog uses a fictitious site and we will summarise the factors that make the biggest difference to cost. Our imaginary site will be in North London and the first step is to contact some local gate installation companies.
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Travel distance to site
For the installation companies the first consideration is how far away the site is. Will they be subject to congestion charges? How many engineers do they have on the road and how will this affect their call out charges?
We estimate our imaginary installer will add £0.85 per mile for traveling expenses and because there are many installers in North London we assume they will not need to travel more than 20 miles from their base to our site. However, because of traffic and congestion charges this £10 charge will grow by an additional £10. This would be applied to the final bill or rolled in with the labour charge. Until you decide to have the work done most gate installation companies will not charge for site surveys. For our gate the installer will add £100 for the initial call out.
General condition of site
The amount of site work needed can add days or even weeks to a Job and this will massively inflate the cost, or if the site is in a position where work can be done easily the costs can be much lower.
Distance from site power supply to the gate and if there is an existing power supply at the gate. The farther the distance of the gate from the power source the thicker the electrical cable will need to be with costs increasing exponentially. We will assume our site has power 20m from the gate. At this length 2.5mm armoured mains cable should be used and our installer will need extra cable to work with, a charge for 30m at about £15.00 per meter. For our gate the cost is £450.
Does the power cable need to have a channel dug for it or is there an existing cable duct which can be used? A cable duct could exist and not be usable, so installers will often charge assuming there is no duct available. These charges can often make the difference between a low-cost quote and a high quotation. We recommend checking with the installation company if the costs provided assume they will be able to use the existing ducting or if they have priced to add new ducting, and then get that in writing. If a channel must be dug and ducting added it could take 1 to 2 days of site work which could cost anywhere between £700 and £1500. If the existing ducting is usable the cost to run the cables will be minimal, about £50. For our gate the cost is £700.
Does the driveway need to be dug up or changed in anyway cost for the works and time spent on site will likely result in major costs starting at £1000. For our gate the cost is £1400, because the driveway must be dug up to lay cables in point 2.
Fencing and Posts
The simplest post to start with is an Oak 150mm x 150mm post. The average cost is £200 – £300, you then must assume a day’s labour to install with additional costs for concrete and disposal of waste. A brickwork pier will improve the look of many installations, but we would expect prices of £2000+ per pier depending on size and foundations needed. Fencing prices vary massively, especially if you create a dwarf wall with piers, for that reason estimates are pointless consult your gate installer or local builder. For our gate the cost is £600, because we opt for two £300 wooden piers.
Swing or sliding? Metal or wood? Open construction or closed? The quality of the design and the materials must be decided on and there can be a large variation here. For a simple but smart aluminium gate, powder coated in black to cover a 4m entrance we choose the Ecotrend Archer gate, for £5187.00 (plus VAT). Realistically costs for gates can drop as low as £2500 but could range up to £15,000 there is a lot of room for price variation. For our gate the suggested cost is £5187.
The automation for the gate
This can be selected by using the gate type, weight and leaf length. You will typically pay more for underground systems to get the same engineering quality as the equivalent above ground system. A Ray kit would be an excellent choice for this gate system and costs around £1539.50, but the motors are fitted above ground, so we decide to opt for the slightly more expensive Under kit. Unfortunately, this choice requires more site preparation and so increases the costs in a similar way to re-surfacing the driveway. It is expected that if everything goes smoothly and there are no nasty surprises that the installation could take 2 days for a cost of £1500 but with the extra site work the time needed to install will double to 4 days leading to a cost of around £3000 for the installation and £1275 for the equipment. For our gate the cost is £2500 for labour and £2000 for the equipment.
Electric gate accessories such as intercoms can radically alter the cost of an electric gate system. We recommend asking for the cost of a simple intercom system, usually starting around £400 vs the top of the line all features included GSM system which will often reach over £950. Some intercoms like the GSM systems will also require an ongoing payment which could inflate the installation price, over time.
Other accessories such as locks, timers, loop (vehicle) detectors, flashing lights, sounders and gate safety could be needed to deliver the system needed. The good news is that these parts are relatively inexpensive, the bad news is that the more complex an installation becomes the more it will drive fitting costs up. For our gate the cost is .£900, because we will opt for a middle of the range GSM intercom, and just the standard kit accessories of a photocell and remote-control transmitters which come with the electric gate kit.
The safety of gate users is one of the most important issue which should be addressed before any work commences. Many electric gate systems have some built in safety, but this will not always be sufficient and additional safety systems will often be needed. At Gate Automation we recommend using safety edges as a primary safety device as these systems can be attached to any gate type, making them safe for users. The cost of adding suitable safety will usually come to around £500 – £700. For our gate system the cost would be £700, we have children and we want our system to be as safe as it is secure.
Summarised in a table we can see the total cost for this fictitious electric gate installation. It is possible to have automatic gates installed for less, but often savings are made by taking short cuts or fitting cheaper under specified automation equipment.
|Item or Labour||Cost Range in £ Minimum Price/Our example Gate Installation.|
|Travel to site/ initial survey (usually hidden)||100|
|Gate Automation Accessories||500/900|
|Total costs||7200/15600 All plus vat.|
Points to remember
A final figure of £15,600 might be seen as high by some, but we have opted to fit a good quality gate and a more expensive automation system, as well as numerous accessories. With this in mind, what should you keep an eye on when choosing to have your own gates automated?
- Don’t change your mind after the work has started. If at the end of a job you ask your installer for a new feature to be added expect the costs to sky rocket. The reason is that the installer may have to change or return equipment to suppliers, often incurring charges, to fit a system with the desired feature. You will have to pay for the item return, the upgrade, the time on site to remove the old system and the time to fit a new system, but this is a worst-case scenario.
- Gate Automation systems can vary in price a lot as well but in our experience very low-cost automation system often provide a false economy as the system will continuously be prone to technical issues.
- Get an installation company who knows what it is doing, it is certainly worth the investment.
- It its better to fit a the correct equipment once, than the cheaper system twice.
- We haven’t even looked at driveway and garden lighting which could elevate your property frontage to a new level, If this is something you are interested in why not look at our suppliers main web site for some inspiration The Best LED Garden Lighting System
We hope you find this guide helpful and if you have any questions call us, we are happy to give free advice to the best of our ability. Perhaps you are reading this as a gate installer, we would love to know what you think of our costings? Do you think we have got it right or wrong? Let us know below…