FC&A Magazine - Future Constructor & Architect
How Entrance Control Can Help Secure Educational Environments

Here, Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager at Integrated Design Limited (IDL), explains more about access opportunities and challenges specific to the educational sector, and how entrance control can tick all the right boxes.


Students, staff and visitors don’t want to feel like they’re entering a high-security prison when they arrive on campus. When people enter a learning environment, whether as an everyday user or a visitor, their main concern should be on the day’s activities, not the process of gaining access to the building itself. Key to designing an entrance control solution for this kind of environment is maintaining an open and welcoming feel, allowing a free flow of authorised pedestrian traffic, whilst simultaneously providing a high level of security.

Safety round the clock

With students often on flexible agendas, many universities and colleges may find it helpful to have facilities, such as libraries, open for as many hours as possible. It is, therefore, essential that any entrance management system in place can allow access at any time of the day whilst still maintaining a secure campus environment. Building managers must be assured that the system won’t falter if there is little onsite staff.

This was the situation at the University of Sunderland, which was looking to secure its student libraries to ensure that only authorised staff, students and visitors could gain access to the facilities.

Library managers also wanted a means to track student usage of the libraries to gain insight into how they were being used and when.

As part of this project, we installed five lanes of our Fastlane Glassgate 150 turnstiles, which are designed to prevent the most common access control violations, such as tailgating, passbacks and unauthorised entrance attempts. The new lanes meant that only one person could gain access for each authorised card presented.

In terms of security, the turnstiles now prevent unauthorised entry, creating an internal perimeter, ensuring a safe working environment for staff, students and visitors.

Integrating with existing systems

A common issue in many security installations is the need to integrate with what is already there. Fortunately, there are standard protocols with which access and entrance control elements communicate, so experienced integrators should be able to work with whatever systems are already in place.

Fastlane products benefit from the capability to be integrated with all known security and building management systems. Integration is also possible with other third-party technologies, such as video analytics, time and attendance, HVAC and identity management, providing data and intelligence to building owners.

The University of Sunderland, for example, was looking for a solution that could integrate with its library management system (LMS). Our turnstiles were compatible with the LMS meaning the library staff could capture and analyse data, allowing them to make plans around when to open the library based on its usage.

Safety vs design

One common concern raised by academic institutions is that they want students to feel safe but not caged in. We have, therefore, taken great time and effort to design turnstiles that are stylish, quiet and easy to use.

Using modern materials, such as stainless steel and glass, they blend seamlessly into many entrance areas. We can also accommodate bespoke finishes and have even included custom monograms screen printed on to the glass barriers.

Retrofitting security

Often security systems are added to an educational site at a later date and this can present some install challenges, mainly when working around existing utilities or when the area needing security isn’t exceptionally spacious.

We approach each install as a unique project, and don’t just offer an off-the-shelf solution. This was the situation facing our integration partner Lock-Tec at its Winstanley College project in Wigan.

The college was looking to enhance the perimeter security of the campus, especially in areas of high footfall, and sought an additional security solution for its main student entrance. Additional challenges at the site included limited floorspace, underfloor heating and the siting of a large TV/monitors within the lobby area.

A fully-integrated solution with Fastlane’s Glassgate 400 turnstiles was specified as this full-height barrier provided a high level of physical deterrent whilst still maintaining a sleek design, complementing the building’s aesthetics. The installation also included a wider lane with a width of 914mm, providing disabled access compliance to equality regulations.

To work around the location challenges, the turnstiles were mounted on floor protector plinths to avoid the existing underfloor heating pipes. Due to the shape and design of the entrance area, bespoke glass panels were also installed on either side of the turnstiles to maximise the useable space, to avoid congestion and obstruction of the monitor, together with maintaining the integrity of the security solution.

Build quality

With high footfall and the rigours of student use, the build quality of entrance systems should also be an important consideration for educational facilities.

All Fastlane turnstiles are made in house by us in the UK, with our sales, technical and production teams located under one roof, allowing us to ensure quality levels are maintained as well as shortening the manufacturing and delivery timeline. Some of our turnstiles are often in stock allowing for a quick installation, which can be important when planning around the academic year.

Contact Fastlane

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