Whether you are working on designing an office building, a hotel or an apartment block, access control is an important feature. There are lots of different ways to control access to a building, and you can use just one system or a combination of options to provide the best security depending on what is required. Sometimes, for instance with apartment buildings, access is needed to the entire building by a lot of people but then each individual internal door needs to only be accessible to the specific residents they belong to. For offices, you may need to grant full access to everyone, or have certain doors and areas that only people with certain credentials can get into – for instance only administrators would be allowed access to a server room. For hotels, you have a combination of the two with room access being needed for both guests and staff, but restricted to individual customers.
Here are three types of access control you can consider for these kinds of buildings:
Voice or Video Entry Phones
For some situations, for instance in residential apartment blocks, a good solution is entry phones that allow residents to control access to the building themselves. Each apartment would be equipped with either a phone or video display they can use to speak to the person asking for access, and this would have a door release button they can use if they choose to let the person in. Video based systems offer greater security as the resident is able to see who is at the door and check that everything is as it should be before granting access, and these are more commonly used for higher end buildings. This kind of system can also work well for small offices.
Proximity Card Systems
If you have a lot of doors and need to have different access rights for each of them, or need to be able to grant access to lots of different people for a limited time and in a flexible manner, proximity cards or tags are the best option. These are most commonly used in offices but are also starting to replace keys in hotels. Proximity tags tend to work better than swipe cards and are also easier to change, allowing new ‘keys’ to be created on the fly. These systems can also be monitored to give you data about when people have accessed doors.
Digitally Coded Locks
For some areas, for instance staff only areas in hotel complexes or commercial buildings, a digital lock with a code can be a good option. These are easy to change the code for, and have the benefit that people can be given the code without needing a physical key, meaning it is easy to give someone temporary access to an area then change the code when you want to restrict it again.
These are three ways you can implement access control when you are designing different types of buildings as an architect.