Building Health Series (Part 3 of 6): Access Control
Ryan M. Anderson, AIA
Access control may not seem like a very a common strategy or one that would meet the goals we're trying to hit with these strategies, but when one thinks about it, what better way to assist in mitigating spread by restricting and controlling access as well as monitoring who has access to a building or spaces.
When we talk about access control we're talking about equipment that communicates and is electrically tied to a door, determining whether that door will open or not by electro-mechanical means for a person trying to open it, and potentially monitoring who is trying to access it. Consider the following:
Access Prevention - Access control can prevent unanticipated or potentially compromised guests from access into a building or spaces within a building, reducing the possibility of uncontrolled spread.
Buzz-In Entry - Monitored "buzz-in" systems can be used to restrict access by tying an audio/video feed to a particular door that is equipped with a buzzer to request opening of the door from a central staff location where they can then determine if they activate the door to allow access.
Public/Private Separation - Access control can provide clear separation of public and staff areas preventing unauthorized access to different spaces.
Access Control Hardware - Using varying types of access control systems provide varying levels of control: HID, proximity, and card access can provide maximum flexibility in programming and monitoring access to a door; a mechanical cipher lock provides a bare minimum of control.
Access Control Programming - Programmed and monitored systems allow the ability to restrict, monitor, and meter access as well as control time-of-day access.
Controlling who can and can't access a building gives us at least another level of mitigating risk in the spread of pathogens. The great part about access control systems is they don't have to be in "active" mode 100% of the time - whether a high-tech or simple mechanical system, they can be de-activated as desired and re-engaged when necessary.
Ryan is a Vice President at Ackerman-Estvold and the architecture team lead and has been applying his trade in the region around Minot for the past 17 years. If you have any questions throughout this series or would like more information on a particular topic, by all means contact us and we'd be more than happy to have a conversation.