architect specification

What Facilities Managers need Architects to consider when specifying entrance security

When designing a building, entrance security might not always be considered a top priority for architects, but increasingly they are having to balance evolving security requirements with the continued desire for aesthetically pleasing, open and welcoming environments.

While some facilities such as prisons, police stations and government offices have always prioritised security, the growing need for effective entrance control has seen this increase in importance for a range of other buildings such as educational facilities, offices, gyms, and stadiums.

But when should the security requirements of a building be considered and what role can Facilities Managers play in helping architectural specifiers choose the right type of security system?

Key Security Considerations

It is important to firstly understand what the perceived security risks are for your building and then a security system can be specified to mitigate these risks.  Combining a security mindset with design and innovation is really important, because building management can be more cost effective, when security is designed in from the start.

As Facilities Managers are generally responsible for ensuring everything to do with the physical infrastructure of the business is running as it should, they can be key to understanding what the security requirements are and can be a great source of knowledge to help guide the specification process.

Different buildings will have different levels of security and this can range from a basic need to monitor who is requiring entry at any given time to a requirement to ensure that health and safety risks are minimised by understanding who is using the building and the access permissions they have.

This was the case for Domino’s Pizza when they were selecting an entrance control system for their UK and Ireland headquarters.  One of the primary security concerns that needed to be addressed was how best to monitor access in and out of the building. The client realised that by installing entrance control they would not only have high performing physical security, it would also give them the capability to ensure they can maintain an accurate list of building occupants, which was another requirement for fulfilling fire safety protocols.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Building Management

The growth of building automation and integrated systems often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) is delivering a variety of benefits for Facilities Managers – from lowering utility costs to maximising operational efficiencies.

These benefits also extend to building security and by understanding the building security requirements and combining these with the full scope of an entrance security system, architectural specifiers can now ensure that a system can do so much more than simply allow access.

For the University of Strathclyde, while their primary requirement was to ensure that only authorised users were granted access to their new sport and leisure facility located in the heart of Glasgow, they also needed a system that could integrate with their leisure management software to decrease potential bottlenecks and improve the flow of people around the facility.

Derek Cardno, Business Development Manager at Alternative Systems Protection, said: “When discussing the requirements with the client, it was clear that they wanted an entrance control solution which would allow everyone – including wheelchair users, those with reduced mobility and people carrying large bags and sports equipment – to access the facilities via the same entry point.

“The aim of this installation was also to create a frictionless member experience. Through integration we achieved this. Members are able to pre-book activities online before arriving at the centre, meaning they don’t have to go to reception to book-in and instead can go straight to the turnstile entry points to present their valid wristband to gain swift access.”

Facilities Managers will want to ensure that the building runs as efficiently as possible and will likely need to manage the flow rate of people who pass through the entrance. This is particularly relevant for a multi-tenanted building.  This was the case for Antron Security, who were commissioned to manage the installation of the security system at a new luxury multi-tenant office located in the City of London.

An integrated solution was specified with Fastlane’s Glassgate 250 turnstiles integrating with a range of third-party technologies, ensuring a seamless entrance experience. This included integration with the lift system, which calculated the most efficient journey to the user’s designated floor.  Plus, the bespoke finish of the turnstiles installed complemented the architect’s overall vision for the building.


Good design will always feature highly on an architectural wish list, and so the addition of security features might not be considered to form part of a carefully planned aesthetic.  However, when considered early and they are well planned, entrance security features can be integrated seamlessly, avoiding the costly and possibly unsightly retrofitting of security features into an existing design plan.

The architects responsible for Nucleus, a facility to house the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s national archive for the civil nuclear industry in Wick, Scotland had a very specific aesthetic in mind. Designed by Reiach & Hall Architects, Nucleus was built at a former RAF site and its sleek, award winning design had been described as ‘impressive’ and ‘beautifully sculpted’ and so when it came to the installation of an entrance control system, this needed to be in keeping with the overall style of the building.

After presenting a variety of products from Fastlane, the architects selected the Intelligate as it perfectly complemented the environment.  Phil Allen, Regional Sales Manager UK & Ireland at Integrated Design Limited, comments: “We understand the importance of good design and have been working alongside architects for over 30 years to find the right solutions to meet our clients’ requirements, offering both the necessary level of security and also ensuring aesthetic appeal.”


Facilities managers are likely to consider the long-term value of any product specified into a new building and entrance control systems will be no exception.

The total cost of ownership (TCO) is a metric that measures the amount of money spent on acquiring any asset. This is based not only on the purchase price but also the cost of running that asset over a period of time, taking added value into account too.

For the building management team at a 31 storey multi-tenanted building in Chicago reducing costs while still maintaining the integrity of the building security was a key factor in their decision to install the Fastlane Glassgate 200. This decision resulted not only in a faster throughput, but by calculating the savings from removing security officers alone, there has been a 262% return on their investment after only 5 years.

In summary, let’s review the key considerations when specifying entrance security:

  • Determine the requirements – by identifying early in the project design stage how the building will be used, it should ensure that the right security solution can then be specified
  • Understanding the technology – consider how integration with other building control systems might bring overall efficiencies
  • Design – when considered early and they are well planned, entrance security features can be integrated seamlessly
  • Budget – specifying the right entrance security system can bring substantial ROI when the total cost of ownership is considered.


To find out more about the Fastlane range of products, or to arrange a visit to our demo suite at our head office in West London for a live demonstration of our range of entrance control products, please contact our team by calling +44 (0)208 890 5550 or send us an email to