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One of the most important and least understood part of physical access control is the installation process. There are good reasons why so few companies exist to do these projects and even fewer that can do them at a truly professional level. The process involves coordinating many moving parts, from hardware components to the schedules of personnel, in order to execute installations effectively.

In the early days of Genea, we traveled around the country to help with installations in order to learn this process in painstaking detail. With over three years of participating in and managing hundreds of installations, I wanted to give a quick break down of the different components and processes involved with securing your facilities.

The Hardware

In order to understand the process, it’s helpful to get a complete picture of all the hardware involved.

Here’s a quick list of the components of a full access control system:

  1. The master controller – This device hosts your local database, bridges your hardware to the cloud and controls who gets access based on the rules you create.
  2. Interface boards – These devices transport data from the reader to the master controller and then control the lock on the door based on the master controller commands.
  3. The reader – This is the device on the wall everyone sees. These read your key card or phone’s key number, which the master controller uses to make a decision about whether or not to open the door.
  4. Electronic locks – These can vary between maglocks, door strikes, electronic crash bars or many other types of hardware that keep your door locked.
  5. Access control cabling – These bridge all of the component pieces to transmit data between the readers and controller and transmit electricity between the power supplies and the locks.
  6. Power supply – These are electronic systems and they require power to function. Your system’s power supply keeps the controllers, readers and locks functioning.
  7. Door position switches – Otherwise known as door monitors, these devices tell you when a door is closed or open.
  8. Motion Sensors/ REX Buttons – These devices allow you to exit a locked door by sensing motion or when someone hits the exit button.

Access Control Installation: The Process

We’ll try to keep this breakdown as short and sweet as humanly possible.

Here goes nothing:

  1. Site inspection + data collection. Before any hardware goes in, it’s crucial to get a site inspection done to evaluate how the cables will be run and decide on the hardware that gets installed on the door.
  2. Run the cables! During a full office build out, the first thing that needs to happen is to run the cables from the room where you will mount all of the door controllers.
  3. Install the locks. Next, a locksmith will install the electronic locks on all the doors that will be used to access the facility.
  4. Connect the components. Once the cables are run and the locks are in place, a low-voltage technician can connect all of the door components to the controllers and power supplies.
  5. Setup + Testing. Once the hardware is installed, it’s time to program your system settings and test some keys. Once you’ve verified that everything is working correctly you’re all set!

Cost Expectations

Costs can vary widely based on the city your facility is in, the type of ceilings in the facility, how far the doors are from the IT room and what type of locks are needed for different types of doors. In order to give a general idea of cost, we typically see an average of $650/door in installation cost and another $800/door in hardware (lock, reader, controller, motion sensor).

If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco, you can expect your costs to be about 25-50% higher for labor and components.

Hope that helps shed some light on your next access control system installation! Download this information as a PDF for future reference. If you have additional questions, schedule a demo below.

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