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Access Control – Everyone’s Headache

When it comes to access control, often times this is generally  only brought up during the construction phase; which is way too late to start talking about card readers and electrified hardware.  In an ideal situation, access control is discussed during the design development stage with the Owner, Architect, Integrator and Hardware Consultant.
But first let’s define Access Control.  In the fields of physical security and information security, access control is the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource. The act of accessing may mean consuming, entering, or using. Permission to access a resource is called authorization. Credentials means the type of card which is being used to access the building i.e.  Proxmity, IClass.
In the past we would typically see wall card readers tied to either a Magnetic lock or electric strike with a separate DPS (door position switch) at the head of the frame.  Today manufacturers are producing locks that perform all functions at one location.  For example on one cable run the lockset can receive POE (Power over Ethernet); tell the door position and have request to exit along with the card reader in the lockset itself.  There are card readers that now can read multi credential cards i.e. the type of card technology.  These card readers can read anything from Proximity Readers to Iclass and approximately 54 more.  Some manufacturers have developed cables that are plug and play and dummy proof when hooking up the hardware.  Here’s an illustration of what these Molex connectors look like.  This can help take the biggest headache away improper installation.

As far as construction of new or existing buildings the below are our recommendations to help get the scope covered and be sure that the Owner gets the quality and performance they are looking for.
1.         Always have a coordination meeting between the Owner, Access control integrator, Contractor, Architect, Electrician, Fire Subcontractor, and the Door Hardware People (which includes the door hardware installer).
2.         In the coordination meeting discuss Access control at each door and how the door will function during normal business hours and also how the door will function in case of Power Loss (Fail Safe/ Fail Secure) and if the fire alarm is triggered.
3.         Put all of the hardware (including the aluminum door hardware ) in the 08710 finish hardware specification.  This ensures that the Owner gets all of the same type of electronic hardware.
4.         Make sure that the low voltage hardware is being installed by a factory trained installer.  Usually the door hardware people have installers that are trained at the factory by the manufacturer of the lock.  Many manufacturers will not honor the warranty if the electronic hardware was not installed by a certified installer.
As always, give us a call if you need us,
Debbie
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