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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.

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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