I have been on a number of site and client visits in the last month and a number of issues keep coming up. So here are my 5 top tips for Construction companies looking at Biometric Access Control systems for their sites:
Look at the bigger picture
These systems aren’t just about sticking a turnstile on the entrance of your site to improve security. The real value comes from the software. Access control systems built specifically for the Construction industry such as MSite allows sites to automate the production of key reports to save significant amounts of manual administration collating site performance data for client reporting and ensure adherence to company policies on site.
There are many systems that offer the very basics of a turnstile with access and attendance reporting, but if you are comparing quotes, make sure you are comparing like for like against your needs.
Know your biometrics
With the above in mind don’t get carried away selecting a system just because it uses the fanciest sounding biometric technology to access your site. Whilst it is an important point there are other key factors which should determine your decision.
Ask yourself, is face recognition or vein recognition really necessary for your site?
Not only may this result in unnecessary spend, but some biometric technologies just aren’t suited for the Construction environment. Dust, dirt and being exposed to the elements can really impact their robustness and it’s not uncommon for bricklayers to struggle scanning their fingerprints! Although its been around for a few years hand geometry readers are one of the more proven biometric technologies used in the industry – this was the main technology used on the London 2012 Olympic Park site to manage the access for over 100,000 operatives.
Keep it consistent
It is quite common for different sites of the same Construction Contractor to select different access control systems. Whilst at site level this may not seem much of an issue, at a centralised level it can make reporting on site performance across a region or across a cluster of sites a challenge – with different systems capturing different levels of information about their site, in different report formats.
Standardisation across the sites is key and allows for a clear, cumulative view of KPIs across multiple sites without the headache of trying to compare inconsistent information.
Realise the benefit of a multi-site system
Following on from the above point of standardising the approach across your sites, systems such as MSite offer a ‘smart’ and true multi-site capability to save more time on the sites through eliminating the inefficiencies of re-entering operative details each time they go to a new site.
Enrol an operative once on MSite and then there is no need to re-enrol the operative when they move to another of your sites using MSite. As long as they are given access privileges to the site on their MSite profile and complete the relevant site induction, the operative can simply access the site as usual without the need to create a new profile and re-enrol their biometrics. Better still an operative’s profile follows them to whichever site they attempt to access – so if an operative has been issued a red card on one of your sites, but attempts to access another of your sites down the road, access will be restricted through the turnstile accordingly.
Know where and how your data is stored
Data protection can be the elephant in the room when talking access control systems as such systems require basic information about each operative to be captured in order to create their access profile. As the ‘data controller’ of your operatives’ personal information, the responsibility is on you to make sure the data is secure and safe in the system that you choose. Traditionally access control systems would be installed on sites with the database of operatives’ information stored locally on a dedicated PC on site. What happens, however, if that PC is stolen, along with all the personal information held on it? Whilst the main cause for concern here would be the possibility that the data may get into the wrong hands there is also another significant issue in that all that information would have to be collected again and entered onto a replacement PC in order to get the access control system back up and running. This could also occur if the PC’s hard drive suddenly got corrupted.
MSite has moved to the ‘cloud’ which addresses the potential issues of theft or PC failure by no longer storing the information locally on the PC. This also allows site managers, regional directors or head office to securely log into the system to access the reports and live dashboard without having to be sat in front of the PC on site. Moreover this capability facilitates the multi-site capability discussed above. Having moved into the cloud, all information entered into MSite is securely hosted in secure ISO 27001 data centres, allowing secure access to the system from anywhere with internet connectivity, 24/7.
BONUS TIP: Choose MSite – if you hadn’t already guessed, it does all of the above!