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How To Choose The Best Access Control System

how to choose the best access control system

Is your business or residential property as secure as it should be?

Are you wondering how to choose the best access control system?

If you’re looking to get started with access control, there are a few things you need to think about first. Not every access control system is created equally. Each has varying levels of security and reliability. Your requirements may also be different depending on your current building and business needs.

If you’re ready to choose the best access control system for your business, look no further. Below we’ll tell you exactly what you need to know.

Consider Access Control Policies, Models, and Mechanisms

One of the first things to consider when looking for an access control system is what kind of access control policies, models, and mechanisms you would like to use.

These three access control components help designate requirements on both hardware and software for who can gain access and how and when they are going to do it. It’s important to know exactly how you want to structure access and there are multiple models for how this can be done.

You may choose to allow access based on rank within an organization (Role Based Access Control, for example). Alternatively, you may also base access on specific names on a list (Discretionary Access Control).

Know the Type of Hardware You Need

The next thing you need to consider is what access hardware you will use. How will a person actually gain access and what kind of locks will you use? Will you use locks, login credentials, keypads or fingerprinting?

This hardware is what will allow someone to gain access while also rejecting others from getting in. Different types of access features can affect the level of security that you will have and each has different advantages and disadvantages.

For example, fingerprinting will offer a much higher level of security than a basic door with only a keyhole.

Consider the Level of Security

As mentioned above there are different options when it comes to access hardware as well as policies, models, and mechanisms. Much of what you decide when it comes to these features will depend on the amount of security you want in place.

This will vary a lot depending on your individual needs. A large office building may have different access control needs than an automatic gate system in a gated community, for example.

To decide what level of security you need you should take many factors into consideration. These factors may include the location of your business, the crime level in your area, and your business hours.

Manufacturer Reliability and History

If you’re getting ready to install an access control system you’ll want to consider the installer and manufacturer carefully. Take the time to decide if they are the right fit for the job.

Do your research and find out how long the manufacturer has been in business and how long they’ve been developing these types of systems.

You may also want to ask what other types of businesses and end users have used the same solution in the past. Are they similar to the size and scope of your own business needs?

Also, get references if possible and find out as much as you can about the reliability of the business before you get started.

Know What to Expect Going Forward

Implementing an access control system is a big investment so it is important to treat it like one. You should know what to expect after system installation.

Find out if the company will offer updates in the future as well as what kind of support you can expect to receive. Be sure to discuss these things at length before choosing a system for your business.

Also, have a plan for any changes your business may go through later on. If you may decide to change systems in the future you need to know how easy this will be, what the costs will be, and what else to expect.

Operating Systems and Connectivity

Before having an access control system installed, it is crucial that you find out about any compatibility and connectivity requirements you have.

Not all access control systems work with all types of operating systems. Take the time to find out beforehand if you will have any compatibility issues.

Some access control systems will offer web-based connectivity solutions as well. If web connectivity is important to you and your business, make sure to discuss this beforehand.

Map Out Which Doors You Want

You should also think long and hard about which doors will need access control. Not all doors or gates will need the same level of security in place.

Too much security control can lead to a business slowing down since each time someone goes through a door they will need to take a moment to verify their credentials and gain access. It’s good to find the right balance that allows your facility to be secure while at the same time ensuring that your business isn’t unnecessarily interrupted.

Take the time to map out your building. Decide which areas need to be secure through the use of access control and which ones don’t.

Know Your Access Control System Costs

Before you install access control in your facility you also should take the time to accurately assess the costs. It’s a common mistake to only take the upfront expenses into account.

Maintenance of the system, upgrades, regular operations, training, and acquisition can all require additional costs. It can be more expensive than you may realize.

Be sure to ask any company you’re considering working with what the related costs will be in addition to the upfront costs. Ask what the breakdown of costs will be over a five year period, and you’ll get a good idea of what you can expect.

Final Thoughts

Installing an access control system can do wonders for your business. It will help ensure that your business is safe from harm and has the security it needs.

However, installing access control is not a decision to take lightly. There are a lot of factors that you need to be aware of. By considering the points listed above you’ll have the best chance at having an easy access control installation.

Looking for an access control system for your business? Contact us today to learn more about what R&S Erection of Concord can do for you.

Personnel Doors: Hollow Metal vs. Solid Core Wood


If you use personnel doors for your business, odds are they serve two main purposes. First, they create boundaries and divisions where you need them most (function). Second, in brick-and-mortar businesses – where customers and clients will have visual access to the interior – personnel doors make a visual impact (style).

So, when we’re working with our commercial clients, we discuss both their function and style requirements to help them determine whether they’d benefit from hollow metal doors or more traditional, solid core wood doors.

Hollow Metal Doors vs. Solid Core Wood Doors

First, let’s define each one:

  • Hollow metal doors: Hollow metal doors are typically made from steel. As a result, you’ll be deciding between different steel gauges. The higher the gauge, the thinner the steel. So, door facades made from steel with a smaller gauge are thicker and stronger. While they are called “hollow” this can be misleading because you still have the option of selecting insulation materials to suit your needs and climates.
  • Solid core wood doors. These are actually composites, made from two wood veneers on each side that are filled with varying infill materials. We should note that solid wood doors are not the same as solid core wood doors. The two are different and a fire inspector will be able to tell the difference in a single knock. The infill in a solid core wood door will create a more muffled sound, while a solid wood door will have a louder, more resonant knock.

Here are some of the things you’ll want to consider as you decide between hollow metal or solid core wood options for your businesses personnel doors.

What’s your budget?

In almost all cases, a hollow metal door will be more affordable than its solid core wood counterpart. If budget is an issue at all, metal doors will save you money. Additionally, high-quality hollow metal doors are also incredibly durable and low-maintenance, which can also save you money in the long run. While wood veneers are tough, they are still more prone to damage than steel.

What aesthetic are you going for?

Don’t be under the illusion that metal doors are plain Jane. In fact, today’s hollow metal doors are designed in a wide range of facades, including those with decorative panels. They can even resemble real wood and this makes it easier to get a more traditional or style-specific look inside your building. However, only the real-wood veneers on a solid core wood door can provide the look of finished wood. If you are going for an upscale look, solid core wood doors are almost always the best choice.

What is your climate?

Does the interior of your business have a fluctuating climate due to proximity to a warehouse or storage area that is open to the outside? If so, be aware that wood doors are more prone to warping. This will take its toll on the doors functional and aesthetic value over time, and will also increase your maintenance responsibilities. If moisture or temperature fluctuations are the norm for you, then metal is probably the best option.

Do you need fire-rated doors?

The good news is that even solid core wood door can come with fire-ratings as high as 60- or 90-minutes. The only detriment is that they are significantly more expensive than a standard metal door counterpart with the same fire rating.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose one or the other. You can work with the sales rep at your commercial door company and figure out which doors will work best where. Keep beautiful, classic-looking solid wood core doors in main offices or areas where you entertain customers and potential clients, and then save money by installing hollow metal doors in areas that are exclusive to employees and staff.

Need assistance designing or installing personnel doors in your Bay Area business? Contact us here at R&S and schedule your free, onsite estimate.

Picking the Right Automatic Gate System for You


Are you in the market for an automatic gate system for your home or business? Oh, the places you’ll go. What seems like such a straightforward process can wind up being fairly confusing if you don’t reign in the selection process.

Ideally, the first automatic gate you choose should be the last automatic gate you choose. That’s because high-quality gates, built and installed by professionals, should last a lifetime. The more detailed you are in your current selection, the more likely you are to select a one-hit wonder that you are as happy with in 30 years as you are now.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Automatic Gate System

Here are some of the things you should consider when replacing an existing gate or building an automatic gate system for the first time.

Work with an experienced installer. It’s always best to go out and get two or three quotes for your automatic gate system. However, make sure you get those quotes from a licensed, insured and experienced garage door and gate installer. You can check business licenses with your local building department or state websites using the company’s license number. That number should be provided on their website, business cards or over the phone. When comparing bids, make sure you compare apples to apples so you don’t go with the lowest bid, only to find it wasn’t as comprehensive as the honest, middle-tier bid from a more experienced fabricator and installer.

What does your HOA have to say about it? When you buy a lot or a new home in a subdivision, you are well-versed on the HOAs. Over time, however, some HOAs can seem almost non-existent – – until you do something you aren’t supposed to. The first thing we do when working with residential or commercial clients is to verify whether or not they are beholden to an HOA. If so, learning the ins-and-outs of what is allowed, and what is not, is worth it. In many cases, your gate plans, colors, materials and so on will need to be approved by the HOA or their established improvements committee, so plan for that. Take the time to figure out what the rules and restrictions are now so you aren’t surprised later. Keep in mind that most installed gates will not fall under warranty if the only reason for replacement is an unhappy HOA. You’ll have to start from scratch, and wind up paying double. That’s no fun.

Choose materials for quality as well as aesthetics. There are plenty of pretty products out there on the market, but that doesn’t mean they are durable. Choosing less durable products will result in maintenance issues, more frequent repairs and – potentially – costly replacement costs down the road. Work with your installer to find an automatic gate system that works aesthetically with your architecture and the surrounding environment, and that will stand the test of time.

What level of security makes sense? It’s easy to think you need the highest level of security available, but that comes with a price and it isn’t always necessary. For almost all residential applications, we recommend a simple access entry system with a single pass code, or perhaps two (one for family, one for guests) and remote controls. The gate itself will help to keep children and pets safe from road traffic and will prevent the average lookie-loo or solicitor from approaching your front door. A simple 4-digit passcode combined with a security alarm is all that’s needed to ensure breaking-and-entering of any kind goes instantly reported to the police. However, if you prefer a higher-level of security, you run a home business or you prefer to know exactly who is entering when, you may opt for a higher-level system that provides individual codes for better security tracking.

Think about long-term maintenance requirements. It’s a good idea to have your automatic gate inspected and serviced every year to keep it running efficiently and to proactively repair or replace parts that look worn before they break down on you. One thing worth remembering: the more moveable parts there are, the more opportunities there are for maintenance issues. Consider what you are interested in when it comes to long-term maintenance responsibilities and choose a gate that fits that vision. It is also worth it to invest in the best-quality mechanical components on the market, which will increase gate efficiency and decrease the amount of time you spend dealing with malfunctions.

The more time you take now in selecting the right design, mechanical systems and access system for your property, the more you will enjoy a lifetime of lowered maintenance as well as reliable security and operation.

Schedule a consultation with R&S and we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of automatic gate selection – no upsells, false promises or hype. We want our customers to choose a gate that makes sense for them, and we make that happen at a competitive price.

Choosing the Best Access Control System for Your Business


Your business is your livelihood, which is why it’s so important that you select the right access control system for its security and protection. However, today’s commercial access control systems offer more than just protection; they also offer a way for you to monitor who accesses the premises at any given time, they can ensure employees are arriving/leaving at their scheduled times, and can provide video surveillance that can be reviewed if any sort of issue or discrepancy arises.

Depending on your company’s size, needs and level(s) of protection required, access control systems can be:

  • Wired or wireless
  • Stand-alone or network systems
  • Free-exit systems or control exit systems
  • Keypad entry
  • Phone/buzz-in entry
  • Access card or card reader entry
  • Locked with various hardware options.

And the list continues.

Steps For Selecting the Best Access Control System For Your Business

That being said, you don’t want to “over buy” a system that offers over and above your current and future needs, since that is a waste of revenue.

Depending on your company’s size, needs and level(s) of protection required, access systems can be:

  • Wired or wireless
  • Stand-alone or network systems
  • Free-exit systems or control exit systems
  • Keypad entry
  • Phone/buzz-in entry
  • Access card or card reader entry
  • Locked with various hardware options.

And the list continues. While the following will provide a general overview, we recommend consulting with a professional access control system installer before making your final selection.

The following steps will help you determine which access control system is the best fit for your company and its employees:

  1. Review Security Needs. Conduct a security review to establish the level of security your company needs today, as well into the future – looking at potential security requirements over the next five or ten years. This review can be done in-house, but most experts recommend using a third-party source who will provide industry-savvy observations, ideas and recommendations that you might not have thought about on your own. Things to consider include:
    —The location of all entrances and exits.
    —The physical features of the building and property
    —Your employee payroll, and/or the number of people who enter the building or premises each day.
    —Potential vulnerabilities.
    —Hours of operation, including hours employees are onsite (or not permitted onsite).
    These are the considerations that determine which level of security and type of access control system will be required for optimal safety.
  2. Determine Which Type of Installation is Best. If your company is very small, and security requirements are minimal, you may be able to install an access control system on your own. However, most commercial business owners prefer to hire a professional access control system installer and alarm security company. Not only does this ensure the system is installed correctly, it will also allow things like gate and access system maintenance, system testing and security breach responses to be taken care of, without any liability on your end.
  3. Which Access System Makes the Most Sense? Do you want to keep track of which employees access which areas of your business? Are some areas of the business or job site “off limits?” Do you want your access system to serve as employee time card verification? Does it matter to you whether vendors have a general access code or need to be buzzed in? The answers to these and other questions will determine which type of access system make the most sense, ranging from gates that automatically open for anyone between normal business hours to those that require control access keypads where each individual user requires their own, trackable access code.

Other things to consider include whether or not you want to be able to control your gate and security system remotely, whether it will integrate with existing security/alarm systems, and whether you need a system with failsafe features that accommodate fire, floods, power outages or other unexpected disasters.

Schedule a FREE onsite consultation with R&S to learn more about your business’s control access system options.

R&S Erection of Concord, Inc.

2424 Bates Ave. Concord , CA 94520
(925) 671-7606 Fax: (925) 671-7621
License # 667038



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