Fail Safe? Fail Secure? 12 VDC? 24 VDC? Electric Strike? Rim Strike? Fire Codes? Wiegand Format?
Installation of a door access control system can be complex, but it has many benefits. Security, employee safety, reporting, and time and attendance are just a few of the many positive advantages of installing an access control system.
The capability of being able to lock and unlock doors based upon a programmed schedule provides an added convenience to business owners and helps make employees feel more at ease when working beyond normal business hours. However, the process of access control system installation is not an easy task, and requires specialized knowledge. This is a task that should definitely be handled by an expert.
The Steps to Proper Door Access Installation
Access control system installation has multiple stages which include:
- The design stage
- Installation of readers, REX’s, door contacts, controllers, and any other devices required
- Initial system programming and customer training
- Installation of electrified locking devices and cutover of the system
- Final testing of the access control system
Each of these steps are very important but the most critical is the design stage. This phase involves identifying what type of electrified locking hardware is required at each door.
The Design Strategy
There are several variables in determining the proper locking device, including aesthetics, life safety codes, proper lock function, operation, and what device can be used with existing door hardware. An expert on door access control installation has the specialized knowledge to be able to determine the correct solution or assist the customer with these decisions.
Making an error in this area can cause additional expenses after the fact if the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) doesn’t approve of the locking device. This can result in having to replace the electronic locking device and/or paying fines or penalties.
Choosing the Right Cabling for a Door Access System
Cabling is another area requiring some expertise. The proper cable needs to be installed based upon the device. Readers, REX’s, door position switches, and electrified locking devices all require specific types of cable. The location for each of the devices needs to be determined at this point so that cabling can be placed to the proper destination. Device locations are important because you want each device to be conveniently located, yet in a place that allows proper operation of the system.
Installation of readers, REX’s, DPS, Controllers, interfacing of fire alarm panels, and other devices requires the knowledge of wiring, basics, the understanding of AC and DC voltages, and the comprehension of relay basics. This is another phase that is best performed by trained technicians as it requires knowledge of electronic basics, at a minimum.
How to Program and Install Door Access
Programming the access control system is typically manufacturer specific and requires technical training on the system being installed. Most access control systems have similarities but each manufacturer has unique terminology and requirements that the technical training provides.
Initial programming is much different than programming performed by end users or by the administrator of the system. End users should receive training by a qualified instructor that has advanced knowledge of the system being installed, however, the typical end user doesn’t become involved in the advanced programming portion.
Most end users and administrators will be trained on the day to day functions they perform. These include:
- Adding/deleting personnel
- Modifying schedules
- Removing or adding credentials
Once the above steps have been completed, a schedule for system cutover should be agreed upon by vendor and customer. System cutover involves bringing the system online as a functioning access control system while concurrently installing electrified locking devices. This may require a customer support person to assist, depending on the number of users, so that questions and changes can be addressed.
Final Testing and Completing Door Access System Installation
Final testing of the system is very important. This involves testing of each device, panel, and interface of the access control system. Each lock should be tested for proper operation, both during business hours and after hours. Both valid and invalid credentials should be presented to each reader on the system to insure the system responds as programmed. Any alerts or notifications should be triggered and tested to ensure the system reacts to these events. Lastly, all doors should be tested for free egress.
The interface to the fire alarm panel should also be tested to confirm proper operation. The door access/fire alarm interface test should be completed each time the fire alarm is tested, or at a minimum of two times per year. When testing the fire panel interface, it is extremely important to confirm interior doors, exterior doors, and fire rated doors operate as required by life safety and fire codes.These test results should be documented and retained with fire alarm testing records.
As you can see, each phase of installing access control involves specific knowledge of some sort. Experts in this area, such as Taylored Systems, can provide a seamless and smooth turnkey access control installation that will perform to expected levels for many years. Contact Taylored Systems today for expert advice on door access system installation.