Access Control Systems

Access Control Systems

How Turnstiles Keep Buildings Secure

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Most automated access systems are not equipped to determine how many people enter a building at one time once a security access card is approved. This practice, often called "tailgating", is common and causes a serious breach in security for businesses. Tailgating, or piggybacking, is when a person passes through a security checkpoint behind another individual who isn't authorized to enter a restricted area. Depending on the circumstances, this act of tailgating could be illegal and have serious consequences.

In order to protect your business from this security breach, an anti-tailgating device like a turnstile can be used to prevent multiple people from entering a secure building at the same time.

turnstiles keep a building secure

Use an access control turnstile to prevent tailgating

The function of a turnstile is to permit only one person to enter or leave a building at a time. This is achieved through either a barrier that an employee must pass through individually or an electronic sensor that will detect multiple parties trying to enter a building at the same time with the same security card. Both options offer much more access control than an automated, "open door" security solution.

Types of controlled access

A turnstile solution meets multiple needs at one time. These units resemble the types of turnstiles used at airports and for public transit. In essence, they serve the same functions:

The biggest downside to turnstile-based-entry is the limitations it puts on the speed of foot traffic. One turnstile will slow entry and egress considerably. The answer, of course is to add more turnstiles. At this point, having enough room can become an issue. If there is room for several turnstiles, this is a great security solution.

One thing to remember is that turnstiles do not have to be right at an entrance. The interior doorway of alcove provides a nice buffer zone to help break up foot traffic. The cost can run from $3,000 to $8,000 per turnstile depending on height of the stile and style.

If room is still an issue, an optical solution could be the way to go. Optical sensors are used to detect how many have passed through a door. While there is no physical barrier to prevent a tailgating, security has the potential to respond to an alert once an alarm sounds. Though considerably more expensive than turnstiles, optical sensors can be installed at any doorway without taking up much room at all. They have the added benefit of being more convenient for security inside of a facility as well; places where a turnstile would be too bulky.

Typically, an optical solution is available for $15,000-$20,000 depending on the size of your facility and what access control system you are currently using. Though not a requirement of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), optical solutions can increase a building's handicap accessibility.

Though these solutions might seem at odds with one another, installing them does not have to be a one or the other proposition. Often a combination of both solutions provides the needed security coverage. Entrance and exit doors provide a better opportunity for turnstile use. Interior doors are better secured using optics, due to their compact nature and the limited space associated with corridors. Whatever your solution is, anything is better than uncontrolled access.

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