Access control controllers - Expert commentary

Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control
Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for post and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing whilst obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc whilst sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for manoeuvre. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19
4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19

The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, but as cases of the virus thankfully recede, employers are now forced to confront how they can enable a safe return to work for employees. For many employers, this means they will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, redesign workspaces to maintain social distances, carry out more frequent cleaning, manage the transmission risk and find alternatives to touch-based security devices. Protecting workplace occupants in any emergency requires preparation and clear communication. This is especially critical in a health crisis involving an infectious disease. These are some of the essential best practices that could help organisations reduce the impact on their employees and operations during this pandemic. 1. Use a visitor management system With a visitor management system, organisations have a single source of real-time and historical insights into who is, or was recently, in the workplace. This is especially important because of the need to perform contact tracing should anyone in the organisation show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning everyone they have been in contact with needs to be contacted and asked to isolate. Yet still, first impressions are made at the front desk or lobby, where the visitor experience needs to be a positive one. At the same time, though, any emergency event requires that there be strict control over who is entering the workplace. This policy also needs to be clearly communicated to visitors. Doing this minimises risk to visitors as well as the workforce. In addition to delivering a high-quality visitor experience, the ideal visitor management system must: Enable organisations to meet regulatory compliance mandates and facilitate check-in at a self-service kiosk to minimise wait times. Customise the visitor experience to support specific security needs, such as accelerating and simplifying check-in or requiring additional security pre-checks. Automate compliance as it relates to visitor access rules with historical visit reports. 2. Pre-check questions at visitor registration kiosks Organisations can strengthen security at the registration kiosk using a flexible, enterprise-grade visitor management system to add visitor sign-in steps. This has proven successful in the past when used to control the spread of infectious disease during an outbreak. An example of this is a U.S. children's hospital which managed to reduce facility infection rates by 25 percent over a two-year period using a commercial, off-the-shelf physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution from HID Global. The solution provides two particularly important capabilities that can be used by organisations to protect their workplace from the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease: Enhance visitor registration policy with additional mandatory questions to help identify any visitors who may need other screenings. Extend the visitor registration kiosk with a mandatory pop-up asking further questions during visitor check-in. 3. Understand who has visited your workplace Successful controlling the spread of infection throughout a facility requires the ability to automatically maintain an auditable trail of activity. This can be done using an enterprise-grade visitor management system that makes it easy to retrieve historical visit reports. This provides a timeline of who was in the workplace, and when they were there. Key features include: A single dashboard providing useful visitor insights at your fingertips. Historical reports that provide visitor details including location and contact information, all in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations. 4. Clearly communicate how infection risks can be reduced Global organisations must actively communicate with visitors and employees on the outbreak of infectious diseases and follow best practices outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are several things organisations can do in this area to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace: Re-enforce and communicate WHO best practices with guideline posters in the front lobby and throughout the workplace. Add posters that also encourage regular and thorough washing of hands. Encourage everyone to cough or sneese into their shirt sleeve in their flexed elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Encourage everyone to keep a relatively safe distance from each other and use alternatives to handshakes when saying hello. Organisations must contend with a variety of workplace challenges during the outbreak of an infectious disease. These challenges can be solved with best practices that include a comprehensive visitor management system that automates critical check-in policies and maintains an auditable trail of visitor activity.  

The intersection of education and fire and security
The intersection of education and fire and security

Protecting against fire and security risks is an essential aspect of life for people and across all sectors. However, there is an increasing expectation and demand on fire and security providers, in areas such as education. The securitisation of our world paired with the rapid speed of communication and news updates means that young people especially have the potential to be more aware of potential dangers and threats to their own safety and the safety of those around them. Education institutions are large and sometimes sprawling sites that present considerable fire and security challenges. From kindergarten to university Each education site brings distinct challenges, with differing facilities and specialties, as well as the need to maintain the capacity of students, teachers and lecturers to study, learn and teach at the high level expected.Each education site brings distinct challenges, with differing facilities and specialties While some schools and universities are based in urban areas with a mix of heritage and high rise buildings, others are sprawled across green open spaces. Some of these sites have specialised sporting facilities, while others may be focused on engineering or scientific study, with costly technical equipment. Kindergartens and primary schools have their own unique requirements. Parents expect the highest safety standards, while schools require safety in addition to efficient facilities management. The demographic of these institutions is predominantly young children, who are often unaware of or only just learning about fire safety and personal safety. This creates a huge vulnerability and an added onus on teachers to keep their students safe. Facial recognition at West Academy of Beijing In response to this need, Chubb China upgraded the closed-circuit television (CCTV) system for Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) focusing on elevating video content analytic features, including maximised CCTV monitoring, automatic police calling, and a smart search solution. Complementing this, a facial recognition system capable of finding the exact location of a student on campus within 30 seconds was added, aided by real-time remote gate operation. This integrated and advanced system resulted won the "High Quality Educational Technology Suppliers for School" award for the WAB project at the 2019 BEED Asia Future Oriented Construction of Universities and Schools Seminar. This award recognises outstanding solution design and project execution. Parents expect the highest safety standards, while schools require safety in addition to efficient facilities management Awareness remains important at university As students graduate from kindergarten, primary school, junior and senior school, they become more aware of fire safety, relevant dangers and how to protect themselves. Unfortunately, external dangers remain. There are particularly high stakes for university campus facilities managers The safety of students in a university environment is also critical. It is often the first time young people live away from their family home and have the independence of adulthood. For this reason, there are particularly high stakes for university campus facilities managers. In the eventuality of a fire, students could be at great risk and, beyond the immediacy of physical harm, this can have serious ramifications for the reputation of an educational institution. Integrated solutions Integrated solutions must be nimble and adapted to a range of site types including campus residences, recreational areas, open spaces and lecture theatres. Chubb Sicli recently identified and overcame these challenges through the installation of a full suite of fire safety and security equipment and services at Webster University Geneva. Established in Switzerland in 1978, Webster University Geneva is an accredited American university campus that offers programs in English to students interested in undergraduate or graduate-level education.  Located in the Commune of Bellevue, just a few kilometres from Geneva's central station, the campus of Webster University Geneva includes five buildings in a park-style atmosphere. Full fire and security audit Chubb Sicli provided Webster’s fire extinguisher maintenance for over 25 years. This business relationship led to a full fire and security audit that identified the need for updates to the university’s security installation. The initial audit showed several improvements to the university’s security profile were needed.The challenge was to create and provide an effective and interconnected fire and security solution The challenge was to create and provide an effective and interconnected fire and security solution, enhancing the security of the student population and its ever-evolving needs. This included complete fire detection and intruder alarms for all five buildings, upgrades to existing CCTV systems, new video surveillance equipment and an automated fire extinguishing system in the kitchen areas. In addition to this integrated system solution, Webster University required access control for all main entrances, with the requirement that all documentation to be made available in English, because Webster is an American company. Customised solution Chubb Sicli’s quality, capability, and security expertise provided a customised solution for the unique educational establishment. Not only was the solution both tailored and integrated, the approach and planning were based on audit, fire extinguisher and emergency light maintenance, fire detection, intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance and Fire Detection. Through dedicated and integrated fire safety support, Chubb provides students and families peace of mind and security. From the moment a young child enters the education system, Chubb’s diligent and effective surveillance and fire safety systems work to prevent and protect, offering a new kind of ‘end-to-end’ service for education systems around the world.

Latest Alpro Architectural Hardware (a division of IEC Limited) news

IDF Aluminium safeguards a building in London’s Finsbury Square by installing Alpro’s transom closers and locks
IDF Aluminium safeguards a building in London’s Finsbury Square by installing Alpro’s transom closers and locks

IDF Aluminium has installed transom closers, solenoid locks and hook locks from Alpro Architectural Hardware at a building in a historic section of London’s Finsbury Square. 4 Chiswell Street backs onto the Artillery Ground which has seen archery in Tudor times, some of the first organised games of cricket in the 1730s and even a hot-air balloon flight in 1784. The four-storey structure was refurbished by main contractor Parkeray to a design by Ben Adams Architects that created column-free office space with exposed concrete soffit and a signature golden mesh & grille facade based on curtain walling with bold circles. Automatic voltage regulation The glazing is unusual since the Reynaers’ curtain walling for the double-height reception uses innovative bracketry to support massive panes from Euroview Architectural Glass. The Alpro closers are on the distinctive gilt exterior doors and the client is also benefiting from solenoid bolts in the door heads. Alpro transverse action deadlocking bolts offer high levels of physical strength with holding forces of up to 2,000kg Alpro transverse action deadlocking bolts offer high levels of physical strength with holding forces of up to 2,000kg, a bolt throw of 14mm and models with oversize pins. The advanced microprocessor module provides power reduction allowing for continuous operation without heat generation as well as automatic voltage regulation, dual monitoring and access control features to fully monitor and control movement. Installers can use housings from the same series for surface mounting which facilitates the securing of glass doors. Dress plates are offered for a clean finish. Public sector environments The 4 Chiswell Street refurbishment was carried out with tenants in occupation and even involved use of abseiling techniques to replace glazing. A temporary reception was created for access and egress. Daylight has been maximised and floor-to-ceiling height is used wherever possible in a design that meets the Equality Act and includes a revised fire strategy. IDF specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of aluminium doors. The door projects are often in business and public sector environments where usage may be high but maintenance costs must be minimised. IDF has 30 years’ experience in the shop front and commercial door market. The company ensures a quality service by designing and fabricating all of its doors and shop fronts in-house with no use of sub-contractors. The client portfolio covers transport, local government, healthcare and education from schools through to universities.

Alpro and IDF Aluminium secure Thomas House with enhanced door entry solutions
Alpro and IDF Aluminium secure Thomas House with enhanced door entry solutions

IDF Aluminium has installed transom closers and latch locks from Alpro Architectural Hardware at a building that provides premium co-working and flexible office space in central London near Victoria Station. Thomas House in Eccleston Square is a seven-storey structure with a facade in Regency style and a distinctive timber-clad reception that leads to two wings. It has collaborative drop-in work areas, meeting rooms and facilities to suit present-day practices. The building has been refurbished for The Office Group who pioneered shared workspaces in Britain and now offers these services across multiple London locations as well as Bristol and Leeds. Hydraulic door controls The Alpro transom closers are a means of hydraulically controlling the opening and closing of aluminium doors The Alpro transom closers are a means of hydraulically controlling the opening and closing of aluminium doors. They allow precise adjustment of the latching and closing force generated by the valve according to the weight and height of individual doors as well as type of usage. Aesthetics are a major consideration for The Office Group who briefed Soda Studio, an architectural practice known for its clean simple interiors, to create a design in keeping with the neighbouring Georgian squares. In addition to the working facilities, Thomas House has a library, music room, roof terrace and gymnasium. It is named after the early nineteenth-century architect Thomas Cubitt who created much of the surrounding area and also designed the eastern front of Buckingham Palace. Preserving interior geometry Fabricator IDF devised a solution featuring tailored SBD aluminium profiles from Jack Aluminium Systems, bespoke glazing, internal screens and the Alpro door management. The Alpro products include Europrofile cylinder deadlatches which can be combined with electric strikes to provide the added option of remote access control. All of The Office Group premises are design-led, and we have now supplied equipment to five of their sites including Henry Wood House" Peter Keen, sales director at Alpro, said: “Installing transom closers on internal doors is unusual but the concealed nature of these closers, within the transom header bar, means they are unobtrusive and meet the architect’s goal of preserving interior geometry.” He continued: “All of The Office Group premises are design-led, and we have now supplied equipment to five of their sites including Henry Wood House, a former BBC building in the West End. Our transom closers are durable and have been tested independently at 250,000 double-action cycles.” Commercial door market IDF specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of aluminium doors. The door projects are often in commercial and public sector environments where usage may be high but maintenance costs must be minimised. IDF has 30 years’ experience in the shop front and commercial door market. The company ensures a quality service by designing and fabricating all of its doors and shop fronts in-house with no use of sub-contractors. The client portfolio covers transport, local government, healthcare and education from schools through to universities.

Alpro secures Fred Perry headquarters with transom door closers, pole and door handles
Alpro secures Fred Perry headquarters with transom door closers, pole and door handles

IDF Aluminium installs doors and internal screenwork at the new headquarters of iconic sportswear brand Fred Perry in Clerkenwell, London. The work includes use of transom door closers, pole handles and door handles from Alpro as part of the renovation of nineteenth-century warehouse buildings into a complex of offices, showrooms, exhibition space and a rooftop deck over 24,000 square feet. The project extends across seven floors and the client gave all contractors a brief that the site should benefit from robust security but preserve a welcoming atmosphere and an aesthetic that respected the fabric of the original Victorian warehouses. Overhead transom closers Alpro’s overhead transom closers provide a means of hydraulically controlling the opening and closing of aluminium doors and can have light, medium or heavy spring strengths to suit type of usage, with a 90-degree hold-open option. Transom closers are well suited for use at industrial heritage buildings such as the Fred Perry premises since the alternative options of spring hinges and floor springs often present problems with adjustment flexibility. The IDF installation also includes Alpro’s Functional 98 Series pull door handles on internal doors. These are manufactured from 316-grade stainless steel and can be straight or offset. The handles are supplied with bolt-thru or back-to-back fixings as standard and powder or nylon-coated finishes to the user’s precise colour requirements. In this case a powder finish was chosen to match the framework. IDF Aluminium ensures a quality service by designing and fabricating all its doors and shop fronts in-house with no use of sub-contractors Quality service The Fred Perry base is located on the corner of Mount Pleasant Street and Warner Street opposite the former Mount Pleasant sorting office. The many considerations for architects BuckleyGrayYeoman included preserving an iconic façade and working round plaques commemorating damage suffered by the building during World-War-II bombing. The interior fit-out including m & e systems was by Overbury and the base build contractor was Willmott Dixon. The new space was prepared to a demanding four-month deadline. IDF Aluminium specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of aluminium doors. The door solutions are designed for use in commercial and public-sector environments where usage may be high but maintenance costs must be minimised. The company has 30 years’ experience in the shop front and commercial door market. IDF Aluminium ensures a quality service by designing and fabricating all its doors and shop fronts in-house with no use of sub-contractors. The client portfolio covers transport, local government, healthcare and education from schools through to universities. This is IDF’s second heritage architecture project using Alpro equipment and follows works at Henry Wood House, a former BBC property in Marylebone.

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