Boon Edam national sales manager Alastair Russell has worked on projects as diverse as heritage buildings, government, defence and other high value assets, and says that security is finally becoming a central focus for architects and their designs.

What do you see as the most important issue when it comes to access control for multi-res or commercial buildings?

Really understanding what the client is trying to achieve.  Do they really want to completely eliminate tailgating (unauthorised entry), for example, or to create a barrier that acts as more of a deterrent?

Solutions should be results-based not product-based.

Should security be designed into a new building rather than added as an afterthought? 

Security is an integral part of the operation and function of the building, just like HVAC  and lighting.  And, just like these essential services, an architect needs to plan the design of the new build around achieving outcomes with security in mind.  This early planning priority applies equally to the design and execution of refurbishment projects, to meet the rapidly changing uses of buildings today.

In a data or cash centre – which are integral to many modern buildings - security is probably one of the top concerns when designing from scratch.  In a busy head office building, it is all about using access control that is both welcoming and efficient for staff and authorised visitors but also provides protection against those who would wish to gain unauthorised access. 

Are architects paying more attention to access points like doors and is this affecting the design of new buildings?

Definitely.  Most are now fully focussed on security and this is coming from the briefs being prepared for them by the building owners, security specialists and facilities managers.

Introduction of the advanced technology follows worldwide trends. It responds to expanded awareness throughout Australasia of physical threats to people, property and data facilities, including warnings from police and government to maintain higher levels of awareness and security planning than in the past.

How much does door design affect the green characteristics of a building?

With rising energy costs, using an appropriate door solution is not just ‘green’, but also makes strong economic sense too.  Allowing authorised users to enter and exit a building without leaving an external door open to the elements allows for far greater environmental control within the building, which is just as good for the bottom line, as for the planet.

What are the biggest changes the industry will face over the next 5 years?

Access control will become more dominated by world class new technologies, including biometric identification, so the physical or entrance supplier part of the industry will need to evolve and adapt.

They will need to provide solutions that are both architecturally harmonious, but which also are fully integrated with these new systems and allow the users to make the most of the benefits of speed of operation and hand- free control.

Technology will, increasingly, supplement and replace expensive manpower, which in many situations will be difficult, costly and less efficient in meeting expanding security challenges.