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Access control case study

An access control case study of more than 450 doors in a roll-out across multiple hospital sites in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The project covers facilities ranging from a new £11m centre for adolescents with mental health problems in Headington to a new adult unit with 80 beds in Aylesbury, built at a cost of £40m. The Aylesbury facility, constructed by Kier Group, opened in 2014 and merged multiple services onto the same site. Legacy systems were replaced with a single system across all properties. After Executive Alarms won the contract in open tender, their designers worked with ACT engineers to design and deliver the system.

The Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust are using the latest version of ACT’s management software, ACTenterprise. This is a role-based platform with functionality according to users (installer, security guard, system administrator). The software has the look and feel of a web browser experience. Full integration to ACT’s own VMS solution, ACTviquest provides real-time security the makers add.

Executive Alarms and ACT created a role-specific database structure for the client who were able to populate this from their software without any re-keying. This feature can produce rapid return on investment (ROI) during migration. The trusts ran parallel systems initially at small sites while security managers tested the new equipment in the field and found that it exceeded expectations.

Jason Thomas, Senior Engineer at Executive Alarms, said: “The key performance indicator here is that ACT have delivered a completely focused solution that allows central administration of previously fragmented systems and enables the client to obtain MIFARE cards themselves in a cost-effective manner. The sites include high, medium and low security in-patient units as well as day care centres. The savings have been widespread and include the cost of the controllers over rival suppliers, a reduction in the number of engineer call-outs and rationalisation of system administration.”

The trusts are using ACT’s ACTproMIFARE1040 proximity readers which are suitable the makers say for indoor and outdoor installation. They support third-party smart cards and fobs, are housed in a polycarbonate housing and have an ingress rating of IP67. Crucially for this project, they have a flush mounting option which reduces potential for self-harm by factoring out ligature points. The readers are being used with door stations and controllers from the ACTpro range.

Richard Huison of ACT said: “The client needed precise tailoring of access levels. Facility managers can put an individual into a group in terms of roles-specific user rights but also fine-tune that person’s unique access privileges. ACT are industry leaders in this functionality.”

He continued: “The trusts are also benefiting from alarm management so that if a door is forced or there is a voltage problem, the self-diagnostics in the ACTenterprise software will advise security. Another core offering was embedded interlocking or ‘airlocks’. These are logic-based and intuitive for the user to understand but are not a core feature of our main competitors. ACT has empowered the trusts with an adaptive system that allows interlocking of doors as patient care processes change.”

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


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