Are You Better at Access Control than ADI?

By Brian Rhodes, Published Mar 07, 2014, 12:00am EST

There are many methods of controlling access, but not all are worth recommending. When it comes to asking for help, ADI has plenty of advice. But how good are those designs? Do they have your best interest, or their suppliers, in mind when handing out solutions?

We take a look at one simple access example in the note that follows.

The Design Problem

National distributor ADI issues 'price specials' every month. This month they are featuring products from access hardware maker SDC. Catch this video:

Behind an unrealistic mock phonecall between an installer and SDC/ADI phone operators lie an interesting and common access design problem.

He is what we gather from the video:

  • Goal: Control Traffic (Restrict Access) through a lobby door
  • Opening Type: Wood Door, Metal Frame, Lefthand Reverse Opening
  • Hardware Prep: Cylindrical Prep
  • Free Egress Required (ie: Can always exit from secured side)
  • Solution must have Remote Unlock from a nearby Receptionist's Desk
  • Reader Type: PIN Keypad Access
  • Lowest Cost: "The customer doesn't want to spend a lot of money" meaning: the less expensive, the better.
  • Greenfield: No existing electrified hardware is in place or system to integrate with.
  • We don't have the benefit of knowing cycle time (how busy the door opens/closes) but let's assume a moderately used door of 5 - 10 cycles per hour.

The Recommendation

The artificial dialogue yields this design:

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Even though price is important, it never is discussed in this ad. We went ahead and shopped this solution from ADI, and it priced out like this:

Note: This pricing includes a ~30% markup on equipment and a $65/hr labor rate on an estimated 6 man-hours for installation. This installation estimate could significantly grow based on the location of the door and the skill of the installer. 

The total solution cost installed comes to just under $1300.

Seriously Expensive

The high cost of this solution centers around the use of a maglock. Maglocks are great in some applications, but they are relatively expensive. In order to ensure free egress, multiple RTE devices should be used and might be required by law. Not only must these extra components (RTE PIR & Pushbutton) be purchased, but cabled and installed. Also since a maglock is secured when direct power is applied, a separate power supply must be installed and tied in to high voltage distribution.

If the facility has a fire alarm system, the maglock must be integrated to drop power when the alarm is activated, resulting in additional integration expenses and perhaps even an audit by the AHJ to confirm safe function. None of these costs, nor the costs of multiple trips or phonecalls added to the price, but it is a common reality when employing maglocks.

The cost of this solution is driven by the many devices needed to make it work. While the caricature in the video emphasises he is looking for an easy to install, cheap solution what he gets will take hours to hang and tie together legally. Not exactly ideal!

A Better Way

Assuming multiple installers are competing for this job, a solution that would fit all of the above constraints and bill out for less than $850 is easy to furnish. And that solution uses the same markups and same $65/hr labor rate. It even could be purchased from ADI. We priced our solution there after a quick phonecall:

Using the same markups, the cost of the DL-2700 lock [link no longer available] and the remote unlock kit [link no longer available] is ~$775, can be installed in a half hour (even though we charged a whole hour) by a novice installer in existing door preps, and we even threw in $10 for the batteries.  Total price: $850, and it does everything the ADI solution promises, without regulatory oversight needed, and is much easier to install.

Sometimes, what you do not know indeed can kill you. And maybe this is not even the best solution out there. 

Can you do better?

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