Securikey's Jeremy Cassady examines some of the discreet, low-cost, easy-to-install solutions available before and after retrofit.
19 November 2015 | By Jeremy Cassady
Sourcing and installing effective security equipment is always an important consideration within commercial buildings.
Even when appropriate measures are in place, security risks will need to be reassessed as a result of any refurbishment work, especially if the building is being extended or new access points are installed. FMs are also under pressure to keep costs low while still meeting health and safety rules. Fortunately, there is a wide range of low-cost safety and security solutions available to meet any requirement without stretching the budget.
1. Limiting access
Access control is one of the primary security concerns in many commercial buildings, particularly applications such as student accommodation, hospitals and educational buildings which have a high number and turnover of traffic.
FMs usually want to implement a more streamlined way of maintaining lock security, as inconvenient or time-consuming security measures can lead to their being used intermittently by building users or, in the worst case scenario, disregarded altogether. For applications where the allocation of keys or cards is unpractical owing to the volume of people entering and exiting the building, digital door locks are widely used as they require no additional hardware and are completely self-contained, providing a low-cost, easy-to-install access control solution.
Digital door locks can be installed on new or existing doors as part of ongoing refurbishment and, unlike 'high-tech' access control options such as biometric fingerprint readers, there is little that can go wrong. Consequently, digital door locks purchased from a reputable supplier can last for many years. And once installed, they can be reprogrammed at any time, so security can be instantly reinstated if compromised.
2. Alternative master keys
A master key system can offer an alternative security and access control solution that is practical and user-friendly. These systems allow key-holders to access both the main door of a building and other interior doors using the same key, eradicating the need for an excessive number of keys to be carried around or stored safely. Master-key systems are ideal for a wide range of properties, from offices to commercial buildings, retail stores, hotels, and student accommodation, and can be easily planned for installation where doors or locks are being fitted or replaced, or even on all existing doors.
As long as doors feature the euro profile cylinder key lock, the capability to switch to a master-key system is set up even if only required at a later stage. Suppliers expand the possibilities further by offering a 'one key' option that not only works on doors, but can also be used to access key cabinet ranges, cash safes, high-security post boxes and emergency key-holding boxes, which can be located around the building.
3. Updating your safe
When updating security measures in conjunction with new building works, safes should not be overlooked. An easy and low-cost solution for FMs who want to monitor safe use more closely is to upgrade existing safe key locks with an electronic alternative.
One of the main advantages offered by some types of electronic lock is the use of multiple user codes and the provision of an audit trail, so use of the safe can be carefully monitored. An electronic safe lock also offers flexibility as the safe combination code can be changed at any time. Some locks enter lockdown mode after a few failed attempts and are disabled for five minutes before allowing anyone to enter another PIN, so security is assured while those authorised to access the safe are held fully accountable.
4. Communal areas
Depending on the extent of a refurbishment project, areas of a commercial building can change dramatically in terms of space configuration or they can be extended to create new communal spaces. For buildings that feature a busy public reception area or that have a large amount of foot traffic in corridors, convex mirrors are a popular and inexpensive safety measure to minimise any risks in these areas. Used extensively in a diverse range of environments, convex mirrors are highly effective in enhancing safety, security and operational efficiency, as they have wider fields of view than other reflective surfaces like flat or concave mirrors and can greatly improve surveillance by eliminating blind spots.
5. Call on an expert
During any refurbishment project, it is important that FMs are aware of the choices available so they can minimise any new risks that may arise without adversely affecting their budget. Trusted security equipment suppliers are well placed to share their expertise at an early design stage, as they can recommend solutions that are inexpensive as well as being compliant with relevant legislation and the standards that may be required by insurers. Advice from an expert in the field is always recommended.
Jeremy Cassady is managing director at Securikey