A Guide To Access Control Systems

Posted on: 13.02.2020
Categories: DCD News
Access control kit image of products with keypad

What is Access Control? 

Access Control is the method used to provide access to certain people and deny it to others. An access control system refers to the products and components used in this method to achieve this. It doesn’t always have to be a highly technical system either; it can be as little and simple as a combination padlock or a key. 

Basic Access Control Products

One of the most common products used for access control, in a building where a basic system with a low level of security is required; are digital locks. Digital locks are a relatively inexpensive product to use for access control and are available as mechanical or electronic units. Mechanical units work by setting a code using coloured pins in the back of the unit (and sometimes on the front like Easi-code Borg locks), whilst electronic ones are programmed and battery operated. 

If you are considering using a digital lock, you should always select one that suits the requirements of both the door and the users. Many people often make the mistake of purchasing a light duty digital lock and installing it in a high traffic area such as an office and whilst it will work, you’ll find that the life of the product will be severely limited. Some people may choose to use an electronic keypad rather than a digital lock but both types are available with or without proximity readers should card or fob entry be required. 

If the building is small and a relatively inexpensive access control system is required, Door Controls Direct Offer a range of Access Control Kits that can be used on single or double doors. For more information on these, check out our blog: Introducing Door Controls Direct Access Control Kits.

More Advanced Access Control – Online and Offline systems

Sometimes, access control requirements change; and a more advanced system may be required. This can either be offline or online and are a good option if there is a high chance of more doors and more users being incorporated into the set up in the future. To see what features an online system may have, have a read of our blog: How Electronic Access Control Is Surpassing Traditional Key Entry.

Planning your Access Control System

Deciding on what access control products you need doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. There are various questions you should bear in mind when deciding on your set up. A few of the main ones are:

  1. How many users?
  2. How many doors? 
  3. What do I want it to do?

What do you need and why do you need it?

Below is a general guide to a range of situations and what kind of products you will require in each:

Corridor Door

Corridors are often part of fire escape routes and therefore if they need a locking solution, it needs to be fail safe. In this situation, maglocks are the best solution with a fire relay, exit button and break glass unit to ensure that the doors will release in the event of a fire. 

Office Door

If you’d like to have an access control system on an office door, electric strikes are a good aesthetically pleasing option for securing a door. Electric Strikes are Fail Safe or Safe Secure Units (a lot of models are reversible with dual functionality). These should be used with a night latch and a compatible door handle to allow free egress in an emergency. 

One exception to this is an open plan office where the door may form part of the fire escape route. Maglocks should be used in this situation as safety is of the utmost importance. 

Cash Office or Server Room Door 

This would use the same items as an Office Door, only the electric strike should have fail secure functionality and battery backup. Again, free egress from the inside would be needed. You need to ensure that whatever access control you use, your building remains safe and secure. 

Front Entrance Door

Front entrance doors can incorporate maglocks or electric strikes. It really depends on the building type as to what ironmongery is considered. Most front entrance doors will also have manual locking for out of hours but with free egress from the inside to prevent accidental entrapment. 

External Gates

Most external gates incorporate maglocks into the access control system. There are various external weatherproof maglocks available, however you will also need to consider how you will get power to the gate. Also, if you are installing a maglock on a gate; it is likely that you will need bracketry for this. 

So, if you’re planning to upgrade your building to incorporate an access control system but need some advice, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01305 263300.

Author: Door Controls Direct Posted by: Door Controls Direct

Related Products