An increasing number of multifamily owners and operators are implementing building access control systems. What was once commonly used in corporate buildings, industrial areas and office towers is seeing a new wave of popularity in multifamily high rises and mixed use buildings.

So, what is a building access control system? And do you need one?

What is a Building Access Control System?

A building access control system, at its most basic form, is a way to ensure only authorized people are able to enter your building.

This adds an additional layer of security and protection for  your residents, employees, information, and assets. With most building access control systems, traditional keys aren’t used. Instead, you’ll use a keycard, key fob, card reader, or other touchless system to enter a building.

This is great for buildings with high traffic flowing in and out of the building. However, if you manage smaller residential properties, like garden style, bungalow courts, or duplexes (triplexes or fourplexes), building access control systems can still work for you.

Benefits of Building Access Control Systems

Installing a building access control system has numerous advantages. Let’s take a look at some of those.

Increased Levels of Security & Safety

Building access control systems promote security to both residents and employees within smart buildings. 

Managers of buildings can assign clearance to people based on where they’re allowed in a building. For example, a maintenance team can have access to control rooms, where residents may not.

This helps prevent potential crime, vandalism, and vagrancy. By knowing who comes and goes, if an incident takes place, administrators can know who was in the building at the time of the incident. They can also prohibit access in the future.

Also, restricting access promotes a safer work environment. Let’s look at fire risks.

Traditional door locks create hazards for employees. If a fire occurs, and a door is locked with a traditional lock, those in a building can be trapped. Building access control systems extinguish that risk by having their power cut in emergencies. This automatically unlocks doors, allowing people to escape quickly.

Easily Secure Restricted Areas

Access control systems allow administrators to program who authorized users are. The control system also allows administrators to change those settings when they need to. There is no need to continually monitor the system when the criteria has been set. 

This gives the employee and resident freedom of movement to get where they need to be and be there when they need to be, even in off-hours. This includes smart property management that allows different locations to be managed under the same system so administrators can better monitor all their locations.

Saves Money

Traditional keys are lost, are costly to replace and you may need several for one apartment complex. The access control system alleviates this problem. Smartphone technology coupled with access control is a beautiful marriage. Access control systems can also control lights, temperatures, among other things which ultimately saves money by turning off resources when they are not being used.

Increased convenience and peace of mind

The ability to walk up to a door and swipe your keycard, fob, or wave your phone in front of the sensor to gain access provides a considerable amount of convenience for residents. For property staff, time is a commodity that you can’t get back. IoT-based access control masters the ability to save a considerable amount of both time and money with proactive flare in fixing problems before they start.

How to choose the best building access control system provider

Choosing an access control system is an expensive and time extensive process. To make sure that you’re choosing the right system for your property look for providers that offer: 

  • Integrations with your current property management system and any other softwares that your property staff uses for day to day operations.
  • Support before, during and after the installation process. 
  • Ability to scale and change your setup at any time.
  • Proven ROI and testimonials.
  • Demo.
  • Simple to customizable systems that allow you to operate and train users to maintain, and update when needed.
  • How will the integration with your current property management software be handled?
  • What type of app integrations will you need?
  • What will be the minimum hardware and installation locations?
  • What type of alarm monitoring do you want?
  • Who will be responsible for managing users and permissions?
  • What types of access control do I need?

What Should I Look For When Selecting A System?

First, you want to find a reputable vendor. The vendor will want to do a site interview and verify the scope of work created and make recommendations. While meeting the vendor, some things you should discuss before selecting a building access control system are:

  • Will the new system be compatible with your software?
  • Will it integrate with other systems (thermostats, security, etc)?
  • Will it support the IoT mode of communication?
  • Does it have scalability?
  • What authentication input does it support?
  • Is it user friendly?
  • Does it have features like customer support or role-based access, etc.?