Access Control Job Walk Guide

By Brian Rhodes, Published May 22, 2019, 11:47am EDT

Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask.

By inviting interested parties onsite for pre-bid job walks, many of the site conditions inadequately described in solicitations can be examined firsthand.

This detailed guide goes step-by-step explaining what to look for and ask, including key issues such as:

  • The 4 key tools you need to take with you
  • The 3 details you must note when reviewing each door
  • The 4 things to look in access networking
  • The 6 parts of access systems that typically can be reused in new systems

Finally, we conclude with a 5 question quiz to test your knowledge.

Four ***** ******

****** *** ***** ***** makes **** **** ********* and *********. * *** walk's **** ******* ** essentially ** ****** ** much *********** ** ******** in * ***** ****** of ****.

** *** *****, **** job **** *********** ****** carry *** ********* ***** to **** **** **** productive:

**********

** ***** ** **** detailed ***** ***** *** facility ***** **********, * key ******** ** **** is * ****** ******* of *** ****.

** *** ******** ** a *** *******, * common ****** *** ******** drawings***** ******** ****** '**** Evacuation ******' ** **** buildings.

** ** ******** *** available, ****** ********'* ****** *** ********** camera ********** *** ******* * **** start *** ******* ****** sketches. ** *** ****, having ***** ******** ****** the **** ****** ***** recording ********* ******* * quick *******. 

Measuring *****

******** ******** *** ********** should *** ** *******, as ****** ******* ***** cover ******** ** **** and ********* ** ******.

** ***** ** *** ********* *** ******** ************ Guide, ******** ******** *** length *** ******** ** best ******* ** * tape *******. ******* ****** measurements **** ****** *** length ****** ** * 16' - **' ****** tape, *** ************ ********* (such ** ********* ** server ***** ** **** cable ****) *** ** longer *** ******* ********* wheels:

**********

***** ****** ******* **** into ********* ** ****** not ** ***** ****. Being **** ** ******* see **** **** ***** spaces ** ****** ** critical *** ***** ** run ***** ** ******* controller ****** ** *******.

******* *** **** ** a ***** ******* ***** flashlight ** ********. ******* handheld *** ****** ***** common ******* ***** *** best *** ****** *** walks, ** **** *** small ****** ** ***** and ***** ** *******.

*******

******* *** **** ****** tool ** * ****** with ****** ** ******* for *********. *** ***** customer **** ****** ******** to ** *****, ** prior ******** ****** ** given, *** **** ******* there ****** ** ** reservation ** ***** *********** a ****.

**** ***** ** * door (*******/*********), ******** ********** details **** ***** ** windows, *** **** *********** surrounding *** **** ********* ceiling *****, *** *** important ******* **** ******* or ****** ***** ****** be ************, ** ***** able ** ***** ** those ******* ****** *** development *** ** ********.

**** ** *****, **** more ******** **** *** may ***** *** ****, as ** ** ********* difficult ** ******, *** there ** ****** **** for ****** ***** ********.

Three **** ******* ** **** ***

****** *** ****, ***** future ****** ******* ******** should ** ******* *** notes ***** ***** *** it ** ********. ****** attention ** *** **** have **** ******** *** assembled ** *** ****** can ******* ****** ******.

**** *****, ******** ** rotating ***** *** *** points ** ****** ******* in * ********:

Device ******* *********

****** ******* ********* ******** Readers, *****, ***********, *** Cabling at * ****. ******** stepping ******* *** *** where **** ** ***** elements ** ********* ** foremost ** ****** *** visit * *******.

****** ** ***** *********** knowledge ** *** ************ tasks **** *** **** are ******* ** ************* how **** ********** ****** system ******. ****** ******* notes *** ****** ** how *** ******* ** built ***** *** **** choice *** ** *********** afterward *** ** *** a **** ********.

Door *****

*** ***** ****, *** exact ************* *** *********** of *** ******* ******. *** *** controlling * **** *****, or ** ** ******** access? **** *** **** need ** ** ****** and ******** **** ***** per ****?

****** **** ** ******** door ********, ******* ******* like **** *******, *** the *********/*********** ** *** opening ** ********* ******* it ****** ** *** reflected ** *** *********. Our********* *** ***** **** of ******** **** ***** ****** ******** *** ********** the ***** **** *** a ******** **** ****.

**** *************

*** **** ********* ****** equipment ****** *************? **** a **** ** ********, in * **********, ** with ********** ** ***** ** able ** **** ******? If ***, *** **** they************** ***?  *** ****** may ****** ***** ********* is *******, *** **** which **** ** ********* is ****. 

 Network ******* ** **** ***

****, ******** *** *** doors *** ******* ****** be ********* ******** ** needed:

Network ******

************ ********* **** ***** trays, **** ******** *** ****** panels ********* **** *** job ** ********* ******** easier. ******* ** ******** where ***** ****** ** run, *** ******** *** already **** **** *** may *** ** ***** in *** *********.

***** **** *********

*********** ******* ***** *****/***** for ******* ****** ** pulls *** ***** ********* in ***** ***** **** a ******. ************* ** key, *** ******** ***** pulls ** **** *****, turns, ** ************/*********** *** minimized ******* **** *********** a *********** ************ **** does *** **** *** bid.  ** ******* ***** reels ** ***** ** a *******, **** **** block ****** *******? ** if *** ******** ***** pull **** ******** ** an ****** ** *********, will ********** ** * concern? ***** ******* ************ ****** ** *** may **** *************** *** ** ***, potentially ********* ****.

********

**** ** ** ****** network ** *********, ** wireless ******** ********** ** reach ** ******* *** wireless *****? ************ ************* ***** * wireless ****** ******* **** ****** a ***** ***** ** signal ******** ** *** doors. ******* ******** ** every ********************* *** **** ***** before ** ******* ** operational *****.

Panels/Power ********/*******

*******, ******** ** **** sure **** ********** *** enough ***** ** ** installed *** ** ****** in ***** ***** ****** be ********:

  • ******** **** ******:******** *** **** **** or **** *****, ** empty ****** ***** *** door ***** ** **** surprises ****** *******. ******* that ***** ** *** enough **** ** ***** central ********* *** ** an ********* *********, *** ultimately ** *** ****** with ****/**** ****** ** hardware ** ********. ** the ***** *****, *** doors ***** ** ****** panels *** *******  ******** takes ** ~** **. ft. ** ****: 

  • ******* ** ******:******* ******** ********* ****** locks, *******, ** ************ *** ** **** to ******. ******** ******* potential ********* **** ****** security ** **** **** protect *** ****** ********.
  • ***** ***-**/ *********: ********** **** ************ and ******** ** ********** service ** *** **** or ******* *** *********. While ******** ***** *** be ********* ** *******, the ******** *** ***** costs, *** ********* **** restrictions *** ********* ** note ****** **** ******.  If ********* *** ****** to ***-** ** ******** utility, **** ****** ** done ******** ****** **** assuming ********** ******.

Upgrades *** ****** ********

***** *** ** ******, some *** ** ****** to **** ****** ******* slated ** ** ******* or ************* ********. ****** inventory ** ***** ***** can ** ****** ** which **** **** ** changed *** ******* *** thousands ** ****** *** door.

Door ***********

*** ** *** ********* parts ** ** ****** system ** *** ***** or ***** **** ** coordinate ******** ** *** door. ** **** *****, the ******** **** ** proprietary ** * ********** system. *******, *** *** of *** ***** ******** products ** ******, *** even ** *** ******** that ***. ** ********** equipment ** ******* **** Mercury ********, *** ****** Edge/VertX, ** ****, ***** is * **** *********** of ********** *** ******* in *** ******* ************* to ******* *** ***** Compatible ********** ******.  

***** *** **** ** *** ** Mercury ****** *********** **** *** **** ** potential ****** ***********.

Typically ******** *****

***** ****** ********** *** typically ******** **** ********* to *** ****** ***********. While *** **** ** reterminating ***** ******* **** new ******* ****** *** be ******* ** * 'zero-cost' ******** (*** ***** may **** ** ** run), ***** ******* *** typically ********** **** ****** systems ** ******* *******:

  • *******:*****, ****, *******, ** even ********** *** ***** reusable ** ********* ** controllers ** ******* ** OSDP *******.
  • *****: ***** ***-******* **** power ******** *** ***** contacts **** **** ****** always ********.
  • **** ******** ********:****** ******* **** ******* NO/NC ******* ********** *** typically compatible **** ****** *******.
  • **** ***********: *** *******, ** the ********* ******* *** compatible, **** ******** *********** often *** ** ****, however ********** *** ****** types **** *** ****** providers ** * ******* step.

Converting *********

*******, ******* *********** ******* of ****** ******* *** often ** ********* ******, if *** **** ********* rework.

*** ********** **** ******** can ***** ** ******** and **** ******** **** other ****** *******, ********** the ****** **** **-***** of ********* ** *******. The ******* ******, *** in **** ***** *********** database *********** ***** **** be ****, *** ******** a *** ***** *********** a ********** ******* *** save ******* ** ***** rekeying *** **** **** into *** *******.

How ** *** *** ********

********** ******* ********* ** a *********** ***** *** its ***. *******, *** most **** ****** ******** skillsets ******* *** ********* findings********* ** ********* *** best **** ** ****** or ************ **** ** address ****.

**** *** **** ********** designer ******** **** * roundtable-style **** **** ******* where *** ***** ****** design ** ***********. ****** multiple **** ** **** with ********* ************** ********** means ******* ******** *** bad *********** *** **** likely ** *** ** quoted. 

****, ****** *** **** scope ** ****** ****** the **** ********* ****** the **** ****** * clear ************* ** ***** labor **** *****. ** advanced ****** **** ****** carpentry ** ************ ** needed ** **** *** a ***, ********* *** findings ** *** *** walk *** **** *** in *** **** ** soon ** ********.

****

*******, ***** *******,**** *** * ******** quiz.

[****: **** ***** *** originally ******* ** **** but ************* ******* ** 2019.]

 

Comments (5)

Thanks for the 2019 refresh, definitive  information. This is a solid segment that only IPVM is bringing to the subscriber base. 

Well done, it is never final. IPVM community always have their add-ins.

GJ, Brian!

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Some other items that have always come back to bite you after what you thought was a successful walk-thru and landing the project, in no order;

New Construction – The GC, Sparky and DIV 8 are your best friends.  Donuts/Coffee/Beer are cheap compared to working weekends and nights because you’re not in the queue for their obligations.

Always grease the Dock Master.  Who wants to schlep their tools around?

Installing Strikes – Other than the obvious, make sure the existing lock set, whatever type it may be, does not have a thumb lock or a means of leaving the door unlocked from the secure side of the door or the strike side (as is the case in some Mortise type locks).  If it does, explain it to the customer and offer replace the lock set as part of the quote.  Make sure the key way is compatible, pay attention to the finish and manufacturer.

Fire Penetrations – Pulling cable through Plenum space is easy enough (usually), however penetration through a rated wall should be Fire Caulked – both sides.  In new construction, especially working under a GC or Electrical, you should be able to specify “by Others”.

Rated Walls – Verify overall dimensions of Back-Boxes installed on BOTH sides between any given set of studs.  It’s not the count, it’s the volume.  Yes, you can get popped on this. Especially when other trades beat you there.  Conference Rooms where A/V controls are adjacent to the openings are notorious for this.

Hollow Wooden Door – Just say no and offer a replacement cost.  All other doors in bad shape were covered.  Don’t stick a Maglock on it and call it secured just because you can.

Wiegand and RS-XXX (including OSDP) goes forever (don’t say anything, you know what I mean), Power does not!

Fire Drops for Access Controlled Doors, where required, are important only if you care about Life Safety and staying in business.

Pay attention to “NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE” egress.  It should be your mantra.

Elevators – Never put all the cabs on the same controller/power supply source, including High Voltage.  Spread it out.  Yes, its additional cable runs, time and cost, but it pays for itself in service response and your face value to the end user.

Like Elevators, employee entrances off parking (surface and/or garage) tend to irritate everyone when they all go down at once.  These high traffic facing entries should be spread out.

Know your areas of refuge in any building and plan accordingly.  Secured Elevator Foyers are a particularly problematic.

Speaking of Areas of Refuge don’t put strikes or Maglocks on Stairwell Doors.  They must unlock and remain latched upon a base building FA.

Let’s not forget about call stations for Areas of Refuge (including stairwell landings).  Even if it’s not in your scope, your going to get blamed for it at the CO inspection.  If it’s permitted (which it should be), it’s probably your obligation unless the FA contractor is engaged and that’s usually only on TI or new construction.

Permission out ACS clients as you would Video.  Guards at 2AM are the Devil’s workshop.  In fact, if you can get a workaround, no workstation should have access to the WWW (valid outside DNS).  How many times has the ACS or VMS client gone down for no explicable reason?  Web, Thin or Thick, it’s always your problem.

Storefront Doors – Today, almost every store front door can be secured with fail-secure hardware.  It cost more, but do you really want to install a Maglock and have a fire drop (if you’re not doing the latter, shame on you)?  Sell it on the security, not the cost.  That’s why there are Knox Boxes.

Most electro-mechanical crash bars have matured as it relates to current draw.  If you must deal with in-rush and current draw, you power supply is going to have to be close.  If you’re not a sparky, keep this in mind.  Pay attention to continuous vs. intermittent.

When migrating databases, you are always going to be stroking keys (there is no such thing as a 100% conversion).  The unique thing about IP addresses and dual databases is you can always push / pull back if there is a problem.  You will NEVER foresee all the subtle nuances regarding the same.  Always plan on a competent (stress competent) tech being onsite to address these issues.  The customer experience during what they will always perceive as a potential employment issue is paramount and the “there could be an issue” communication prior to the same is a face-saving head’s up.  The end user is part of a business unit responsible to others and is your customer, try not to get him fired because you did not do your homework or push adequate resources during the conversion.

No cable pulls well in <40˚ temps (PVC, riser and plenum).

Modifying door frames and/or doors during normal business hours (above ambient noise level) will always bring out the best in the end user’s employees as they are always on a conference call.

Working around a FA Pull Station in a High Rise will always pressurize the stairwell(s) when drilling blindly to get a reader installed on the stairwell wall.

SQL always belong in a cluster that is administered by a DBA.  If you can’t make this happen with the software you are using, find another vendor.  Chances are you will never need it, but when you do, you are the hero.

Don’t sell the ACS integration with the Video, Gunshot Detection, External Triggers such as LPR, etc. unless you integrate it.  If you put it in a proposal, it will invariably come back to haunt you as an incomplete install.  People move on and someone new may read what you pushed during the initial sell.  Everyone’s interpretation is different, but the customer is always right, even if their wrong.

Either block the hallway or keep it “uncluttered”.  People don’t mind walking around, but they will bitch about obstructions in their path.  Caution banner, painting tape and a traffic cone get the point across.

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Very needed. Thank you!

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Similar to a walk test to look through all the steps that are necessary.

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For the takeover scenario you have the Mercury Bridge controller for Softwarehouse panels. Unfortunately the last I heard these were being discontinued as of January 1st of this year 2021. I haven't done any Softwarehouse conversions but I have done several of the GE/Casi conversions. The unfortunate part is most of the GE/Casi panels were installed in closets or areas that had no room for any expansion. So if we need to add to the system we have to find a completely different room for the new panels.

Also more importantly if a board goes bad you will have to relocate to another location. If there is room you will still need to install a whole new power supply can. Not a good decision by Mercury in my opinion!

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