Sophisticated access control system installed at Cheshire care homes

Smartair locks, online Update On Card (UOC) and offline readers supplied by Abloy UK provide an intelligent and cost-effective access control system at the new, 53-apartment Oakmere residential Extra Care development in Handforth, near Wilmslow in Cheshire.

Installed by access control specialist Lock-tec (UK) Ltd, working in partnership with Chubb Fire & Security and MITIE, the Smartair access control solution includes stand-alone locksets on all apartment doors and selected internal doors. Additionally, there is also a mixture of online and offline wall readers that control access into residential and gated areas.

Anita Hill, Senior Facilities & Events Manager at Oakmere commented: “The access control system is superb. Our residents feel safe and secure within the development, while the system itself is simple to work with, easy to update and cost-effective to maintain.”

Lock-tec specified a bespoke combination of off-line and on-line access control equipment to meet the development’s security, safety and budgetary requirements. Each resident has their own specially-programmed Mifare RFID keyfob, which gives them access to their apartment and allows entry to other parts of the development including the library, gym, beauty salon and the assisted bathrooms.

Door security is managed from a central PC, which creates, stores and modifies user access information. Any access rights changes are automatically applied to a key fob when it is presented to an online reader. At the same time, the audit trail of what doors were opened by that particular fob are passed back through the reader and relayed via the network to the system management PC.

Dave Rogers, Abloy UK’s Access Control Regional Sales Manager, comments: “Lock-tec has installed a highly efficient, extremely flexible and cost-effective, low maintenance access control solution at Oakmere, which combines on-line and off-line technology.”

Residents can always exit Smartair-controlled apartment doors using the internal lever handle, and if emergency access is required into any apartment this is achieved using a portable programming unit supplied as part of the software management kit.

Each Smartair-controlled resident door has its own battery powered intelligent lock set with built-in proximity reader, which when operated identifies the user’s key fob, interrogates their access rights and then either opens the lock or denies access as appropriate. For Lock-tec, which specialises in fitting electric locking to all door types, the battery operated locks were ideal to install as there was no cabling or external electronics to consider.

This contactless form of access control not only helps maintain the easy flow of traffic, but is also extremely cost-effective as it requires minimal maintenance and there is no operational wear and tear on the key fob.

Oakmere is the first of five developments that Lock-tec will complete over the course of 2009 using over 500 Smartair escutcheons. The developments have also been awarded Secured By Design status, which reflects the high level of security that the Smartair system has added to each development.