How retrofit projects can modernize entrance security

Each security level requires a distinctly different mix of technology and personnel. It is the security consultant’s job to help lay the foundation of how to best achieve the desired levels of security. It is also important for the consultant to aid the user when telling the C-suite about the long-range total cost of ownership (TCO) of technology deployment, as well as its potential ROI. This is best achieved by highlighting how the system can track who is in the building, mitigate physical violence opportunities, prevention of risks, and provide superior evidence collection capabilities.

The ROI factor is also relevant for the owner during any retrofit, especially when it comes to environmental considerations. Energy costs for a building can be substantial if inefficient entrances are deployed. Opting for a revolving door (with the security features mentioned earlier) is an energy-efficient way to maintain a consistent temperature in a building.

Important retrofit factors to consider

Another key consideration in planning a retrofit project is the culture of the organization. Culture permeates all other decision factors and is critical to success. A successful security policy is a direct result of top-to-bottom commitment to technology and business operations. All management, stakeholders, and staff should be engaged in the retrofit process. Everyone should be willing to assist in implementing a cultural shift in increased physical security, and communicate and train if necessary.

Most security entrances use a barrier to mitigate unauthorized entry, with the more sophisticated barriers integrating presence sensors to detect objects or users. Building owners looking to upgrade security entrances should carefully consider how proposed solutions will prevent entrapment or contact, and how they will respond to either event. With a renewed interest on safety and health impacts, these are points to be discussed during the bidding process. If not addressed, it is the one factor which can possibly undermine the success of the project.

Impacts to culture and safety are important to consider as well when retrofitting. These decisions should be based on the facility’s security compared to their safety needs. These include the ability and ease of product training for staff and the product’s response to tailgating during peak periods; for example, if the product stops and requires re-badging, and whether large objects are typically carried or pulled behind. Upgrading older security entrance technologies to larger sized and more advanced products, especially when space is limited in an older building, can prove to be troublesome and it might even eliminate other older devices. Specifiers need to ensure they have properly assessed the traffic needs of the facility before reducing the number of entrances.

Integration and compliance needs

As the integration of security turnstiles and revolving doors continues to expand into more advanced access control systems, consultants need to be cognizant of special code requirements for security entrances, and which ones differ from regular swinging and sliding doors’ requirements. They must also consider how codes vary in different provinces.

The importance of code adherence is universal but can vary according to different facility use case applications. For example, standards from the CSA Group (CSA) are aimed at setting minimum standards for protecting people and property.

Most codes require devices to operate during emergencies and power loss. There must be a battery backup option to ensure all units can operate normally for a few hours or unlock or open barriers as required by the code. When power is gone, contingencies should be in place for units which can automatically or manually open and at what critical egress points these units are deployed.

Adherence to compliance regulations at each individual entry point may determine the best solution for a particular location and redefine its parameters. If identity verification is essential, biometrics can be added to the solution, for example, creating a two-stage authentication method using credential and identity. Again, working with an experienced team is a crucial step in planning for the optimal physical security program.

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