Specifying perimeter security equipment

By Sally Osmond, brand and development manager at Frontier Pitts.

The ability to bar access to unauthorised vehicles is a fundamental concern for all security and facilities managers wishing to install an effective deterrent to secure their site while maintaining the safety of both their staff and the public.

Many perimeter security companies provide a range of products and the choice can be very daunting to a member of the public. Specification is the key, and the most reputable companies will be able to manufacture bespoke equipment tailor made to your actual site.

Question is, where do you start? Do you install an automatic barrier system, a sliding gate, a road blocker or a rising bollard? Is there an existing fence line or does this need to be installed as part of the system? Or would static bollards be more appropriate as they restrict vehicles while allowing free movement for pedestrians.

Once the actual product has been specified, then there is the question of what accessories do you require to make the automated product safe. On a gate, for example, you need to look at safety edges, safety photocells, audible alarms, flashing beacons, induction loops, signs, etc.

What access control do you want to specify? Is there an existing system on site? If not who will be using it? Staff and members of the public? Or will it mainly be staff with the occasional visitor? If this is the case you also need to look at intercom systems.

The look of the product also needs to be considered to ensure the equipment is aesthetically pleasing and fits in with the rest of the site. All products manufacture bespoke for site can be tailor made to fit in with the sites company branding; from corporate colours, signage etc. This is important as the car parks access control system is likely to be the first experience your visitor has of the company.

All the choices and options may seem very daunting, though help is at hand. Most reputable perimeter security companies will visit site, free of charge and without obligation, to discuss all your requirements with you and provide you with a specification and quotation. For those sites that are yet to be built and are in the hands of the architects, the reputable perimeter security manufacturers will also be able to provide detailed National Building Specifications (NBS Plus), with detailed clauses for the Q40, Q41 and Q50 sections to complete the Architects’ Specification.

Now the product is fully specified with the access control system and additional safety devices, the question is who will install and commission the automatic system, and then who will maintain the system. Remember, you wouldn’t buy a car and then not service it every year. Automated access control systems are exactly the same. Be aware that some manufacturers will install a system and that is where there project finishes. The more reputable companies will be BS EN ISO 9001 accredited and design a system to suit your exact needs. After meeting with you on site, a bespoke manufacture the system to your exact specification installed and commissioned using directly employed engineers, who will then return on an annual basis to maintain the barrier, and of course attend to any call outs.

With a decent bespoke perimeter system solution in place with a maintenance contract to give the client peace of mind, a system should last for twenty years. Other ‘off the shelf kits’ will be lucky to last two.