If you are in charge of a large construction project, whether that is for a commercial or residential building, there are many aspects to consider, but looking forward to the user experience once it is completed is essential.
The pressure of meeting tight budgets may mean you want to cut costs for certain services. However, this needs to be set against the long-term value and the benefits of future-proofing buildings that will prevent residents, commercial and other users spending more as years go by.
Having a partner that has a range of expertise in providing IP networks, access control, surveillance and intruder alarm systems that can integrate with other security solutions, such as lighting and physical barriers, means these aspects of your construction project can easily be taken care of. We also offer power management and real-time monitoring solutions that when used effectively will support wider aims, such as maximising energy efficiency within the building.
The Ecl-ips team has specialist knowledge in all these areas and Peter Coughlin, our business development manager, has experience in the construction industry and in working with architects, builders and other contractors to see projects through from design to completion.
Smart Buildings: Making connections to help people
Smart buildings can be defined as those that deliver useful building services that help to make occupants more productive. For example, when the building is under construction ensuring you are providing lighting, warmth, air quality, physical security and sanitation, at the lowest cost but also with the least possible environmental impact over the building lifecycle. Additionally, using the latest information technology smart buildings connect the structure to the functions they exist to fulfil:
- Connecting building systems
- Connecting people and technology
- Connecting to the bottom line
- Connecting to the global environment
- Connecting to the smart power grid
- Connecting to an intelligent future
Smart buildings can also be designed to support the well-being of their occupants. This is where having the expertise to measure and monitor factors that help with this is important. One of our partners, Schneider Electric, has developed its Internet of things EcoStruxure platform into a range of smart building solutions that will support the construction industry.
Additionally, monitors and detectors that measure environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, light levels, as well as occupancy sensors, can be integrated into the infrastructure of a building. This will protect IT infrastructure and be beneficial for the occupants of the building.
Integrating essential systems and services
We would argue that thinking about the security, safeguarding and protection of users of any building, whether a residential, public or private commercial space should be fundamental in any consideration of its design.
If a security system is developed and installed as part of the final construction of the building it is possible to take advantage of all the latest technology and future-proof the system. For example, by running any network cables ready for a range of uses throughout so residents or workers are not disrupted once they are in the building.
Ultimately if the building is constructed and designed properly, you can run most of your security systems wirelessly in the future giving you flexibility for developing them over time. This is also a challenge for the security industry which is increasingly developing plug and play solutions which should make building construction simpler.
Integration of these essential security and building management systems so that they can be run on single platforms, and therefore be managed more simply, is vital and where we can provide expertise. This should keep the installation and the running costs down.
The future of Access Control
When a building is being developed thinking about its purpose and how people who live or work in it can access it easily, while also feeling safe and secure, is incredibly important.
Electronic access control can be deployed in residential blocks, including those purpose-built for students when safeguarding young people is important, as well as in a range of commercial spaces such as retail, office or distribution as well as for accessing gyms and other sports facilities.
Our access control partner, Paxton, is at the forefront of developing the latest solutions that make it easy for building/facilities managers to manage access for all, as well for residents and staff who need to access their homes or workplaces. The most recent development has used the latest innovations within our smart phones or tablets so that digital technology can replace a traditional key, or physical card/fob – which can be lost or not returned – as a way to access a building.
Speaking last year Adam Stroud, Paxton’s Group Chief Executive, said: “Smart phones and smart watches create an opportunity for new innovations, and the security industry like many others, is being upended. There is rapid advancement happening right now, such as new cloud-based and web browser technologies, or technology that helps us to connect things wirelessly.
“These tools are helping security manufacturers create seamless building solutions for the future.”
The Paxton key app which is being offered as part of the company’s latest security solution, Paxton10, uses Bluetooth smart credentials to allow access to buildings and within buildings which can be done without ever taking your smartphone out of your bag or pocket!
Smart credentials are a form of digital access control token that allows a system user to enter a secured building and are administered by whoever manages a security system. Paxton has made the allocation of the smart credentials free to allocate and use. This makes them more cost-effective and scalable option than physical tokens.
If additional security is required, a secondary layer can be implemented, once a smart credential has been issued. This can require the user to login to their device using their chosen security method (pin, fingerprint, or facial recognition), before using the digital token.
Using smart credentials is convenient, secure, and useful for unmanned sites as they can be issued to the user by email ahead of time, allowing them easy access on arrival. They can also be effective on sites where permission is granted to lots of people for short periods and at varying intervals so is useful for buildings where there are high numbers of seasonal or temporary staff.
Ecl-ips can work with property developers and architects to ensure that all aspects of access control are covered at the time of construction. We are experienced installers of Paxton’s Net2 access control solution which has been updated over time allowing for easy multi-site management, occupancy management and for remote management using the Connect app and Net2online.
Intruder alarms Systems: the importance of integrating them into a build
Whether your construction project is a new build or a renovation, understanding what is required from an intruder alarm system is important. If we can be brought in while building work is still occurring we can be more flexible about meeting any changing requirements.
Last year we installed an intruder alarm system for Atmos VR when it was still developing its In a Box 3 virtual reality venue in Birmingham. This was a security feature stipulated by its insurance company, Aviva. We were able to work around the building project and install the grade 3 Orisec intruder alarm system to the customers’ satisfaction although not all of the venue’s spaces had been completed.
Making sure that any intruder alarm system will meet insurance company requirements is very important and needs to be considered when thinking about a building’s purpose and the needs of the users.
Grade 3 intruder alarm systems are designed to give extra protection and are particularly required for commercial sites that contain high value assets. They are designed to combat burglars with advanced knowledge of alarm systems and who may have specialist equipment to assist in gaining entry to your site. The intruder alarm system protects all potential entry points of a building perimeter.
Just as with access control we would recommend that you offer intruder alarm systems that give users the greatest control through technology. All of the systems that we can install: Orisec, HKC, Honeywell Galaxy and Texecom have mobile apps allowing you to manage the system remotely. Intruder alarm systems can also be integrated with other electronic security measures such as gates, lighting or CCTV so users can control these from the app as well.
If building users need more protection, we can offer a high-performance dual path Alarm Transmission System which provides notifications to our Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). This means once an activation signal is sent to a monitoring centre the monitoring team carefully filter activations. Alerts that are false alarms are filtered out, while confirmed alerts will be responded to and those requiring a police response will be acted on.
Surveillance Cameras: Thinking about user needs when constructing a building will improve your system
CCTV systems provide security and can assist with health and safety compliance. When planning the construction of a new-build or carrying out a renovation it is important to consider if there is a need for a CCTV system. We believe if we are involved early on in a project we can ensure all the IT network issues are in place so that installation of the right cameras, the video management software, and any hardware, if required, will be simple. We can also ensure that any other measures, such as signage with contact details for the CCTV system, is put in place correctly.
When Gtech first moved into its larger Worcester HQ it soon became apparent that a more advanced and comprehensive CCTV system would be required. If you are constructing a site like this, in which a variety of staff work, such as customer services, administration, and distribution you need to have the expertise to know what cameras will be most effective in the different spaces.
In the Gtech headquarters internal cameras were installed within the customer service areas and an Avigilon Fisheye Camera was placed in the training area to give a 360-degree view and audio recording. Dome and bullet cameras were supplied to Gtech and to complete the CCTV solution two Avigilon Servers and the Avigilon Control Center Video Management software were installed.
Meanwhile, external cameras on the cycle track and new car parking areas, and cameras with the ability to identify vehicle number plates at the main entrance were also installed. These helped with ensuring staff felt safer and vehicles were protected.
We have also worked with a large manufacturer which has fitted cameras in its a bay, car parks and vehicle entrances. As the company’s site is large multi-sensor cameras were an ideal solution in many places as they can be positioned to monitor virtually any area. You can choose between either three or four individually configurable camera sensors, which can provide up to 360-degree coverage.
CCTV is also being used in the factory’s paint shop. The manufacturer has adopted an automated system for painting its products and these cameras monitor the process. This allows the company to be quickly made aware of machine failure or blockages.
The innovative firm also uses automatic forklift trucks which steer with the use of lasers. This is cutting-edge labour-saving technology but employees at the site need to be vigilant around them. This has led to more Avigilon cameras being fitted where the forklifts are operating to provide health and safety monitoring for staff.
CCTV can provide a large number of functions within buildings depending on their purpose. If these are considered at the time of construction it will mean a more effective system.
Real-time monitoring: Making your systems more effective
IT systems are the backbone of modern life – whether in respect of the security solutions we install or for the wider development of smart buildings. Although cloud and wireless solutions are increasingly common within a building there is still likely to be some infrastructure and hardware necessary to ensure they work whether they are part of controlling your security, air conditioning, lighting or heating systems.
Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT architecture, which includes its APC Netbotz monitoring appliances, its monitoring and management platforms Ecostruxure IT Expert and Data Center Expert and its planning and modelling software, EcoStruxure IT Advisor provide a scalable and comprehensive solution to maintaining the effectiveness of your IT infrastructure.
Maintaining power supplies, ensuring temperatures in comms and server rooms are kept constant and humidity does not build up are all important elements that can be monitored and the information on this can be made available at your fingertips. These solutions can be integrated with other building management systems and third-party devices. To allow for remote management there is also now an Ecostruxure IT app.
Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT architecture is part of its ambitious, wider Internet of Things-enabled, plug-and-play, open, interoperable architecture and platform that aims to support building management and energy efficiency through monitoring, measuring and helping businesses make smarter decisions. We are established Schneider Electric partners and specialists in Data Center Expert and the Netbotz appliances and can support you in integrate monitoring solutions into your development project.
If you have a project with a security system need, get in touch
Whether you are a M&E (mechanical and electrical) consultant that is specifying for a large development, but lack specialist skills in security systems; are an architect that wants to plan properly for all aspects of a building or a project manager for a large-scale development, we can help you. Our business development manager Peter Coughlin has experience of the construction industry and would be delighted to show you what we can offer to ensure that the end users – whether they are commercial or residential – have the best experience of their new work or living space. Please contact us to find out more.