Buyer Guide: Access Control Equipment for most Buildings
While every building should be assessed for its unique security needs and requirements, there are door hardware and security solutions that are common to many types of buildings, regardless of the type of structure.
Access control is the most critical aspect of building safety. The access control strategy determines how a facility manages credentials to control the access and egress of staff and visitors on a daily basis. Following is an operational description to help distinguish between the two most common forms of access control:
- Mechanical access control - using a patent-protected key system that restricts duplication of keys.
- Electronic access control - using electronic locks, readers, access control software system.
We typically advise clients to think through (and even write out) how they want each door to operate. This allows our advisors to choose the best solution, instead of starting with a product and making it fit.
The type and extent of access control, generally depends on three factors: desired levels of security, convenience and budget. While both mechanical and electronic solutions protect sensitive areas and restrict access, electronic solutions offer more advanced functionality:
- Electronic solutions can be configured to restrict access to any user (employee, student, tenant, etc.) based on day, date or time.
- They also allow you to add or delete credentials instantly, eliminating the need and expense to re-key a lock for a lost key or a staff departure.
- They provide the foundation for a building-wide lockdown platform.
Every facility, from retail and commercial spaces to corporate offices, healthcare facilities and more, should also include lockdown capabilities in its security plan. The ability to secure a facility quickly and easily cannot be overstated, and should never be an afterthought. Most buildings use a unique combination of people, process and product to achieve lockdown. There are three main approaches:
- Centralized lockdown: is initiated by an authorized individual. Simultaneous lockdown across a building or campus occurs when a combination of access control software and hardware are in place.
- Remote local lockdown: standalone electronic solution provides instant local lockdown. Lockdown is activated by a remote fob within proximity of a door that requires an individual with an authorized fob to put door in lockdown mode.
- Manual lockdown: keys manually lock down a room or space. Lockdown speed depends on how fast an individual gets to the door and locks it. This approach requires the highest level of staff accountability.
Minimized access via exterior doors:
Generally, many buildings have too many exterior access points (from an ability to secure the facility). Building owners should try to minimize the number of entrance points for better safety. Every door does not need an outside cylinder and/or trim. By limiting the number of doors with outside cylinder and trim (a handle from which to gain entry into the building), you can better manage the number of access points into a building. Architects, as the experts in a building’s traffic flow, can determine which openings can be restricted from the exterior, and which ones are best for funneling traffic into the building.
Many of the security solutions, like the ones listed above, can be applied to most building types. Others are more application-specific. At Maglocks, we can help you determine how to apply both types to your building and openings.
Your informed application of the installation and use of access control hardware will protect life safety, ensure the effectiveness of fire doors, reduce liability and prevent costly replacement of non-compliant material. If you would like one of our advisors and help with your product requirements or answer any open questions, give us a call 1.866.500.5625. We would be happy to assist.