Access Control: The 3 levels and what you need to know about them

We design and install access control systems for both commercial premises and residential buildings like flats. One thing is common between the two, security is a big concern. Whether you own an office block in the centre of town, a warehouse on a business estate, or even an apartment complex with families renting and buying flats, you’ve probably had to consider an intercom system of sorts. Finding out who’s at the entrance is one thing, but controlling access in another. That’s why it’s good to do plenty of research around the different types of controlled access you can install, and which might be the most beneficial and cost-effective to you.  From recording who’s had access and when, to using it as a way of clocking employees in and out, the applications are quite sophisticated.

Level 1 – standalone system access

This is the most common application of controlled access. Tenants, visitors or employees are simply given a fob, keycard or PIN code to gain access to the property as and when they need it. This is great when sophistication or recording isn’t really needed and is commonly used in residential blocks in relatively safe, low-crime areas.  Usually, a fob or card is used instead of a key as they’re harder replicate, although keys can be stamped with a code that prevents key cutters from making copies without express authorisation from the landlord or property owner. PIN codes should be changed regularly (really every few months) and the residents or employees should be notified in advance – this prevents any visitors who may have had temporary access from abusing it at a later period.

Level 2 – Computer controlled system

In some cases, this may be used in residential properties, but it’s far more common on commercial grounds or office premises. Fobs and key cards are still viable with this method, but the added layer of computer security is able to track who enters a building and when, and perhaps even record them as they do so. Computer-controlled systems are ideal for businesses with lots of footfall, visitors and guests. If there is an incident, finding out who entered the building at a given time should just be a matter of checking the records. Access can also be granted remotely with a computer controlled system, in case you want to grant access to someone remotely who doesn’t have a keycard or PIN code.

Level 3 – Combined security solution

For busy warehouses or industrial workplaces, a level 3 solution is ideal. This combines access control with an intercom system and automated access, and can even be used to trigger thing like lights and air conditioning to save on utility costs.  The automated system can grant access to certain cardholders at certain times of day, for example, letting cleaning staff only have access throughout the night. Physical access control can still be implemented in key areas, such as only letting management have access to certain office spaces with an additional card or fob. Linking intercom and access solutions with a sophisticated PC platform, such as a Paxton system,  gives businesses the freedom to customise their level of security.  If you have a facility or warehouse with multiple doors and heavy footfall, a combined security system could be just what you’re looking for.

What Next?

If you’re considering a new access control system for either commercial property or residential and would like a free, no-obligation assessment, contact Spire Security today.

Spire Security are proud to be accredited to the most stringent international standards as recognised by the SSAIB. We’re also Safecontractor approved to give our customers absolute peace of mind when it comes to the installation, monitoring and maintenance of all video and audio intercom systems, as well as CCTV.

All of our parts and services come with a market leading 3 year guarantee. So you can trust us to keep you secure.

For a free, no obligation security assessment, contact us today on 0800 112 3551 or email us at