Get the Technical Details
For each opening requiring access control, you’ll need the following details to ensure you order the right product for the given application:
- Does the door swing in or out? Is it left- or right-handed?
- What’s the finish of the existing hardware? What’s the lever style? Would the end-user prefer a more modern look?
- How is each door expected to operate? Ensure that an operational narrative is written for each opening that covers the following conditions, and have the customer sign off on it. This should include: normal state; authorized/unauthorized access and egress; monitoring and signaling; and power failure, fire alarm and mechanical operation.
- Determine where to place access control equipment. This could be Telco and IT closets, server rooms or administrators’ offices. Make sure your staff will have access for installation, and later for service and maintenance. Also, make sure there is enough space on the wall to mount access control panels, interface modules and power supplies.
- Determine network coverage. Are IP drops where you need them? Is there sufficient WiFi coverage where you need it should you opt for WiFi locksets?
Ensure Code Compliance
Several agencies have issued codes and standards over the years to enhance life safety, improve privacy and reduce fraud. They need to be factored into an overall access control plan, and include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Sarbanes-Oxley (aka SarbOx or SOX).
Building Codes and Standards include: Model Building Code (IBC) — Amendments, Occupancy; Life-Safety (NFPA 101) — Means of Egress; Fire (NFPA 80) — Retro-fitting, Sprinkler Systems; Accessibility (ANSI A117.1) — Operators, Credentials; and Electrical (NEC NFPA 70) — Installation, Wiring, Products.
Validate the Security Requirements
Different applications and clients have differing security requirements. Verify these needs with the end-user before starting the system design; otherwise, you could be in for a lot of extra work. The following considerations should be factored into an overall access control plan, as they have a direct impact on product selection and system configuration:
- Lockdown: Is lockdown capability needed in the interior or just the exterior — or at all?
- Real Time: Is real-time communications to the access control system a critical requirement? Perhaps it is for perimeter doors, but what about interior doors? What if you could save the end-user $1000 per door by specifying a WiFi lock instead?
- Monitoring Requirements: How much monitoring does the end-user need? In most cases, a door position switch will suffice; however, some clients want to know that the door is both closed AND secured — these are not necessarily the same thing.
- Audit Trail Requirements: How important is it to know who and when someone entered a building or room? For code compliance, this feature is always mandatory, such as accessing computer rooms, personnel records and patient records; however, some companies use audit trail reports to validate employee activity.
- High-Security and Classified Areas: For increased security, there are several options. Is multi-factor authentication a requirement, such as card and PIN or even a biometric verification? Should there be a two-man rule?
- Special Considerations: Some areas, like memory treatment centers for Alzheimer’s patients, require valid access credentials from both sides of the door — keeping the right people in and the wrong people out. Clearly this requirement takes a different set of hardware than a typical free-egress lock or exit device.
Wireless systems are ideal for any retrofit or new construction application where wiring is difficult or impractical, or where the cost of traditional wired online access control is prohibitive.
THE CRITICAL SAFETY COMPONENT IN ACCESS CONTROL