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Temporary Gates: Which Style is Right for Your Site?

June 7, 2022

“Can you build temporary gates?” That’s a question we hear almost every day. It makes perfect sense. Since the main goal of temporary fencing is to secure an area, most of our installations are essentially creating a compound. But of course, our clients (and their subcontractors or attendees) still need to be able to access the site.

Having a dedicated access point in the form of a gate is key for a couple of reasons. First, you can control the flow of traffic into your site by strategically placing your gate where you need people to go. This can force visitors to your site to pass by a security booth, ticketing station, or other check-in point.

Second, by offering a dedicated entrance and exit, you prevent employees and subcontractors from trying to create their own access by opening the fence line. It might seem like no big deal for someone to pop open a temporary fence panel to quickly gain access to a work site. But often the fence is put back together incorrectly or not at all – leaving your site vulnerable to unauthorized visitors.

Although gates are a fundamental need for most renters of temporary fence, some fencing suppliers don’t offer a purpose-built gate solution. At Modu-Loc, we offer several.

Like fence itself, temporary gates can be built in a few different ways and the right style for you will depend on your site and your needs. Keep reading for an overview of the temporary fence gate styles we offer – as well as the best applications for each.

Single Swing Gate

Swing gates are probably the most requested style of temporary gate. As implied by the name, a swing gate pivots at one end to swing open and closed.

A temporary fence compound with an open swing gate.

To create a swing gate, we use a temporary fencing panel fitted with gate components like a wheel and spacers, which allow the gate to swing freely. Our swing gates are usually built in-line from the same style of temporary fence as the rest of the fence line. This means they can range in height (from 38” up to 8’ high) and width (from 8’ to 10’ wide).

When Should You Use a Swing Gate?

Swing gates are popular because they’re simple to use and easy to secure with a chain or lock. They’re also easier to install than other temporary gate styles, making them ideal for clients who are installing their own fence.

Common applications include:

  • Storage compounds, such as outdoor retail storage or temporary storage lockers
  • Ingress/egress for outdoor events, including emergency exits
  • Construction site access points

Swing gates work well in most situations, so long as the terrain is level and relatively smooth, like a paved parking lot. All-terrain gate wheels are available and can handle rough terrain, like grass or gravel, better than a standard gate wheel. However, large changes in elevation simply won’t allow the gate wheel to maintain constant contact with the ground. If your fence line must be positioned near sloping terrain, consider a sliding gate instead.

You will also need to ensure that you have sufficient clearance to accommodate the “swing distance” or turning radius of the gate. A sliding gate is your best bet if there are obstructions that would get in the way of a swinging gate.

Double Swing Gate

Double swing gates work just like single swing gates, but (as the name suggests) use two independently pivoting fence panels to achieve a wider opening. Like our single swing gates, we usually build our double gates using the same style of temporary fencing as the rest of the compound. Typically, double swing gates are built using our standard 10’ wide rental fence panels, since crowd control applications rarely require an extra-wide opening. This means we can achieve a gate opening of up to 20’ feet before getting into our “extra wide” configurations.

A parking lot enclosed with a temporary fence compound. An open double swing gate can be seen.

When Should You Use a Double Swing Gate?

Double gates are necessary to accommodate larger vehicles or equipment. At events, they may be used for the broadcast compound or secured artist trailer area. On construction sites, double gates are typically needed for a vehicle access point.

Like other swing gates, it’s best to install double swing gates on flat, level ground. They also require clearance so that each gate has an unobstructed path to swing open. When dealing with more challenging terrain or tight spaces, sliding gates are often a better option.

Sliding Gate

Using purpose-designed components like gate wheels and gate guides, we are able to create temporary sliding gates. Like permanent sliding gates, our temporary sliding gates consist of a gate panel that opens in parallel to the rest of the fence. The gate panel is created using a temporary fence panel, usually to match the rest of the fence line.

A sliding gate constructed from temporary fence panels.

When Should You Use a Sliding Gate?

Temporary sliding gates take up less room than swing gates – they require virtually no clearance to open. If you lack the clearance to accommodate a swing gate, then a sliding gate is a great alternative.

For that reason, temporary sliding gates are a popular choice for vehicle access points on construction sites. They’re especially well-suited for urban job sites that may be in close proximity to pedestrian or vehicular traffic areas. Since they don’t swing open, they are less likely to interfere with sidewalks, roads, and other routes.

Sliding gates also work well for fence installed near sloping or uneven ground. Because the gate panel rolls alongside the fence line, so long as the fence is installed on level ground (which we always encourage) the gate will open and close smoothly.

Double Sliding Gate

Like our double swing gates, temporary double sliding gates consist of two sliding gate panels installed side-by-side to create a wider opening. Because the gate panels open independently, the client can easily control the width of the opening. Most often, double sliding gates are built using our standard rental fence panels to achieve a maximum opening of 20’.

One thing to consider is that the fence line on either side of the opening will need to be unobstructed to allow the gate panels to slide freely. This means they should not have any additions, like screening, noise blankets, or signage.

When Should You Use a Double Sliding Gate?

Double sliding gates are ideal when you need a wider opening to accommodate large vehicles or equipment, but don’t have the clearance to allow swing gates. We install double sliding gates most often on urban construction sites and high-security projects.

Integrated Personnel Gate

Integrated gate panels provide clear, dedicated access points for personnel and subcontractors. Also called a “man gate”, an integrated personnel gate differs from our other gates styles in that it uses a purpose-designed temporary gate system rather than a standard rental fence panel.

Temporary fencing with an integrated swing gate is seen in a park.

The door functions just like a swing gate but is only large enough to accommodate a person. Since this limits access to people only (not vehicles), it makes for a more controlled entrance.

When Should You Use an Integrated Personnel Gate?

Because of their smaller opening, personnel gates are ideal when you want to stop vehicular traffic from entering through a particular access point. Another benefit of the integrated “man doors” is that they incorporate high-visibility orange thresholds and lintels. If you want your gates to stand out from the fence line and visually denote entrances and exits, the integrated personnel gate may be the best option for you.

Semi-Permanent Gate

To answer the demands of certain construction projects, Modu-Loc began offering semi-permanent gates with improved stability over typical temporary gates. We build our semi-permanent gates using a combination of temporary fence panels and concrete products – either concrete blocks or concrete jersey barriers. The concrete products serve as a base for surface-mounted gate posts, resulting in a very stable and secure temporary gate.

A double swing gate constructed from concrete barriers and temporary fencing in front of a park.

We can configure these heavy duty semi-permanent gates in a swinging or sliding style to suit the needs of each site. They are typically built using 6’ or 8’ high fence panels. We frequently use semi-permanent gates in conjunction with our fence on jersey or Modu-Barrier systems.

Extra-Wide Temporary Gates

When a client needs a gate wider than 20’ (the maximum width of our standard double gates), we call upon the stability of our semi-permanent gate system to allow an extra-wide opening. By connecting half-wide fence panels to our standard 10’ wide temporary fence panels, we can achieve a gate that is 15’ wide. A double gate in this configuration would be 30’ wide, easily accommodating larger vehicles, machinery and other equipment.

A driveway is blocked with an extra-wide semi-permanent swing gate constructed from concrete barriers and temporary fence panels.

When Should You Use a Semi-Permanent Gate?

As the name implies, our semi-permanent gate systems are more stable and solid than a typical temporary fence gate. This makes them especially useful on long-term construction projects, since those sites have a broader chance of being exposed to inclement weather, vandals, and careless subcontractors. Even for short-term jobs, any site that experiences higher-than-normal gusts – for instance, airports – could benefit from semi-permanent gates.

Our semi-permanent gates also offer improved security versus other temporary gate styles, making them more suitable for projects at high-security sites such as airports or testing facilities.

Finally, semi-permanent gates have the unique quality of being self-supported. Because the gates are reinforced with concrete products, they do not need to be tied into a compound or line of temporary fencing. They can stand independently, making them a perfect solution for sites that only require gates.

For instance, some clients only need us to close access via an existing driveway. Often, that’s because the site is otherwise inaccessible and the client just wants to prevent through traffic. In those cases, we can build standalone semi-permanent gates without needing to install a compound of temporary fencing.

Our semi-permanent gates are stable and free-standing, without any need for fence posts or ground anchoring. This makes them a great solution for sites where ground penetration is not an option.

Which Temporary Gate Style is Right for You?

Selecting the right temporary fence gate comes down to the following key factors:

  • The size of the gate opening required; e.g. does it need to accommodate vehicles or is a pedestrian gate sufficient?
  • The terrain – swing gates work great on flat, level ground, but sliding gates are best for rougher terrain.
  • Clearance – swing gates have a turning radius equal to the width of the gate panel, and require clearance to open freely. If space is a concern, sliding gates are a better option.
  • Stability requirements – will the gate be standing for a long time and/or is the site susceptible to wind? If so, a semi-permanent gate may be your best bet.

If you’re still not sure which type of temporary fence gate is best for your site, contact us for help. Our representatives can assist with determining your requirements and providing an expert recommendation.

Author: Joanna Bieda

Joanna Bieda is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Modu-Loc Fence Rentals, and has been with the company since 2014. She loves writing and is a self-professed data nerd. She thoroughly enjoys teaching customers about all things fence via Modu-Loc's blog.
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