Designing perimeter protection – why all the questions?

27 Oct 2021
BY Dave Salisbury

Designing perimeter protection – why all the questions?


Even an expert security and surveillance company doesn’t know all the answers! We’ve been designing smart, integrated security systems since 1996 and we’ve asked a LOT of questions in that time. The reason why? All of our systems are bespoke, so we need to know the detail about our customer’s needs and requirements, how their site works, who’s on the site and how the site is used. We’ve never made assumptions about a customer’s site because guesswork leads to inaccurate design and an unhappy customer.

If we take our latest service of designing and installing perimeter protection (that’s gate, barriers and turnstiles), here’s what a customer can expect from us.


First contact

The all-important initial conversation. It’s very true that you only get one chance to make a first impression and customer service has been at the heart of what we do for the last 25 years. A customer will never here phrases from us like “we may be able to get someone there but there’ll be a cost”. The first thing we’ll want to do is arrange to conduct a free safety audit of their current perimeter solution so we can review any potential issues or modifications, only then will we be able to have a look at everything and see what we can put together for that site. We always take a customer led approach and listen to their needs because they know their site and its use better than we do.


Let the questions begin!

We’ll then ask questions about vehicle movements, staff movements – both in terms of volume and size. We’ll talk about deliveries, flow and why the perimeter security is needed. This question is crucial to the process because it informs the initial design process. It’s easy to make an assumption that a gate or barrier is required to control traffic flow, but it might be that the customer purely wants to keep unwanted vehicles out or to secure the site out of hours (a much simpler solution that traffic control). We ask the questions because it’s the ‘why’ that’s important.


What happens with the answers?

New customers may be baffled by all the questions but the answers they provide are vital to our recommendation. For example, if a customer has told us there are only four vehicle movements a day on site and that’s staff arriving and leaving, it’s not going to be cost effective to have an automatic gate or barrier. Manual gates are a lot cheaper, they’re as secure as automatic and they’ll do the job well.

However, if there are 100 vehicles coming and going every day, it’s not physically possible to open and close the gate manually 100 times – it’s not efficient. In this situation the number of vehicles influences what’s needed in terms of speed. If there are few vehicle movements then a sliding gate, or similar, would be sufficient because the opening and closing is not time critical. But if there are 100 HGV movements then a bifold gate that opens and closes in seconds reduces the potential for disruption.


Next steps

We have always operated using a ‘performance before price’ analysis. Anyone can make a recommendation based on the cheapest possible cost for the least amount of equipment, but we believe that performance comes first and price second because good equipment and a bespoke design will deliver cost savings in the long term. We’re fortunate that the clients we have share that view with us.

For new customers, once the quotation has been submitted and they’re happy to proceed manufacturing of their bespoke gate, barrier or turnstile can begin. Then four to six weeks later our in-house perimeter protection experts will arrive on site to install the new equipment.


If you’re interested in talking to a member of our perimeter protection team about your requirements, then give us a call – they’ll be happy to arrange to visit your site and conduct a free safety audit as a starting point.


Dave Salisbury, Managing Director, Zicam Integrated Security Limited.


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