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Access at All Souls

A case study of access control equipment at All Souls College, University of Oxford.

As the college was founded in 1438, one of the main challenges for the local installer, Executive Alarms, was to safeguard people and property without affecting the visual appeal of buildings from the reign of Henry VI. All Souls is using the latest version of ACTenterprise, management software from ACT. This is a role-based platform with functions for users according to their specific needs (such as installer, security guard, system administrator) and which offers operators the look and feel of a web browser.

Fellows and staff at the college are using ACT’s own contactless smart cards with the ACTpro MIFARE 1030 proximity reader. Crucially, this is a slim-line mullion reader; for All Souls, ACT used their 1030PM brass finish (usually associated with audio entry panels) and designed a flush plate in solid brass that is fitted to walls near doorways, to blend with stone dressings that can date back to 1440. The ACTPro 1030 unit is suitable for indoor and outdoor install, the makers say.

Richard Huison of ACT said: “It was crucial that our equipment did not disturb the aesthetic appearance of the site. The client sets a premium on access control but does not want it to be overt. ACT worked with Executive Alarms to ‘piggy-back’ any conduit needed for our units with existing structured cabling wherever possible and the fact that the controllers are IP units meant the installation neither disrupted the core activities of the college nor compromised the integrity of the buildings. The minimal amount of cabling needed has been hidden in mortar lines by stone masons.”

The ACTpro 1520 single-door IP controllers used here are expandable up to 32 doors through use of ACT door stations. The access product firm’s range of door stations offers break glass monitoring, reader short circuit protection, voltage monitoring and anti-passback. Faults are reported on a web interface and the ACTenterprise software.

All Souls is an integral part of the University of Oxford but the college has no undergraduates and is mainly a graduate research institution. The ACT equipment is in use many parts of the college including the Codrington Library.

About the installer

Oxford-based Executive Alarms, founded in 1990, installs commercial and residential security across access control, CCTV, intruder alarms and fire protection. Many customers have been with the company since its inception. Executive Alarms is a member of the SSAIB and offers a 24/7/365 call-out service with all its engineers being DBS (formerly CRB) checked.


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