An Open And Shut Case

Access Control Issues With Gate Installs


PROJECT MANAGEMENT: You probably will have to work with other trades in the course of your vehicle gate project, in addition to your client’s own:
Facilities Department—Go over and finalize the system plans a dozen times (this too will end when they either run out of budget, the concrete hardens, or another larger crisis occurs to distract them).


Security Department—You need to convince this department that the system will keep them as safe as their budget will allow and is easy enough to use.
IT Department—If you are anticipating putting a camera or card reader on the network, or if some element of your system involves a computer, you better touch base.
Human Resources Department—The department with whom you hash out who can get into the site, when they’re permitted to get on site, and which group of executives can come in whenever they darn well please.


The Accounts Payable Department—To get paid for your efforts and possibly Nurse’s Office and The Legal Department—Two other departments you may need to address in certain circumstances.Most system integrators who take on a gate project find there are other subcontractors on the jobsite to deal with. The important considerations are the timeline, the proficiency of the subs, and the liabilities.


For example, if the client hires the subs, you will be forced to schedule your work around the other subcontractors, who will be answering to the client and not you. You will be providing specifications on how you want the site to be prepped, and if these specs aren’t followed, it might cost you in terms of time and labor.
Scheduling can also become an issue when it’s time to commission your system. You unfortunately will need to be the last trade on-site to determine that the system indeed operates properly; all the other subs installed their equipment as per your requirements and conforming to code; and that the end-user has been given adequate training on the use and testing of the entire system.


Since you may not be qualified to evaluate the other elements of the system to the degree necessary, you will need to insist that the appropriate inspectors sign-off in writing for each one.

CONNECTIVITY AND INTERFACING: The technical details, meaning getting the signals form point A to point B, and getting your equipment to talk to everyone else’s)Gates may occur at significant distances from the premises they are serving. Such was the case during a recent project that required vehicle access entry control with credentials, manual gate control via verbal and visual authentication and license plate capture of all vehicles entering onto the property.


The gate location was far from the main building. The client, a defense contractor, was involved in the manufacture and testing of a myriad of RF devices. The client was therefore sensitive to security and reliability issues relating to airborne telemetries.


Additionally, cost was an issue in considering the objectives and alternatives necessary to complete this install. The backbone of the access control system was 1200’ away. The hardware required to establish a system node out in the parking lot was quite expensive. Besides the controller and power supplies, large environmentally sealed enclosures and an area in which to safely and securely mount them would be required.


Ultimately we would need to get data back into the main building anyway where the access control system server resided. We would be required to bring our video into the client’s existing legacy video surveillance system (a polite way of saying their old CCTV system).


It was necessary to accommodate big trucks, mid-sized trucks, passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Some of the individuals would have valid credentials they used in the main building. Some of the vehicles would be deliveries and visitors. The gates would be closed and under guard surveillance 24/7.


Interfacing between the access control systems would involve little more than a signal to initiate the gate operator system’s access sequence. Another signal to maintain the gates in an open condition for extended periods was also required. Two extended range card readers would be used to accommodate the variety of vehicles.
The camera system would include one camera which would be dedicated to license plate recognition and another to provide for visual verification of the drivers when it was necessary for the guard to manually open the gate from the security center. This camera would have P/T/Z capabilities.