Can’t I just do this myself? We often hear this question come up, especially from small business owners that have the entrepreneurial spirit to just get things done! Let’s walk through one small piece of a technology deployment to see if you should take on this type of project yourself.
A door with access control. We’ve all seen one. We’ve all probably used one. A door where you walk up, tap your access card or enter a code, and the door opens. Seems relatively straightforward, right? Let’s peel back the layers of this simple example. Setting aside the necessary steps of business requirements, system selection, configuration, and programming, we’ll focus only on the physical requirements.
First, while the construction team was building the space, they needed to know where the card reader, door hardware, and sensors/emergency exit buttons would be located for this specific door (that’s 4 devices per door!). They then needed to provide cut outs for these locations, along with conduits and mounting boxes so that the low voltage vendor could pull cabling to each of these device locations. After the low voltage vendor pulled cabling to each of these device locations (or pulled one composite cable and peeled off strands to each device), then the access control vendor needed to actually install, connect, and test the devices.
What if the door didn’t close all the way? What if we couldn’t directly attach the mag-locks to the glass door? Then, you might have guessed it, another vendor needed to get involved – the door vendor. Maybe the tension on the door closer isn’t tight enough to pull the door completely closed so that it can make contact with the locking mechanism. Maybe the glass doors need a header at the top for the mag-lock to mount to.
This is assuming everything is working the way that it should and that everyone is owning their piece of the process. What if the door won’t lock? Is that a programming issue, a cabling issue, or a physical door issue? We quickly get into finger-pointing and change order territory.
Once the system is completely installed, it then needs to be inspected by the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) over access control systems. This could be the local fire department, city building inspectors, or even a 3rd party. Often a complete submittal package and installation drawings also need to be submitted prior to inspection. Oh, and by the way, does the door release when the fire alarm goes off?
Having a team with the right experience drive the delivery of these types of systems saves you from dealing with these headaches, and avoids additional costs simply because of poor communication and coordination.