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Business Security

Who Should Be Installing Security Door Hardware at a Business?

By Randy Mann

When it comes to designing and building a large commercial construction project, electrified door hardware may not rank high on the list of priorities. And yet, this small issue can quickly create a big headache if the right team does not handle it at the right time.

Because electrified door hardware is such a tiny component of a large commercial construction project, deciding who will be responsible to furnish and install it is often not given much priority — that is, until it’s time to test it and the card readers that control it.

That’s why it’s not uncommon to see the general contractor, electrical contractor, door hardware provider, security contractor and business owner standing around a job site trying to determine whose job it is to fix the door hardware that isn’t functioning as intended.

Commercial security door hardware installation has become more of a challenge in recent years as many locks now require an electrical component to make them work. Plus, door hardware must also integrate with access control and fire systems, which requires control systems expertise.

While door hardware installation has historically been the responsibility of the general contractor, the introduction of electronic control requires a different level of expertise than traditional mechanical hardware. This is compounded by the fact that once the door hardware is installed and powered it is often connected to an access control system and then integrated with the fire alarm system for code considerations and any power assist (handicap entry) operators.

Although these disparate systems and door hardware can be furnished and installed by multiple contractors, once installed, they have to be connected properly to ensure the originally intended design function is met.

Who should install security door hardware for your building project?

So, who should get the job done?

Because security door hardware installation requires a variety of skill sets and involves a number of people on the project, it can be difficult to determine where the responsibility lies – especially if you’ve never faced this issue before. But, in most instances, the security integrator is your best choice for handling this job.

Access control and security are critical elements for businesses because they allow owners to monitor and regulate who can access the facility, and when. The importance of door hardware in the overall security strategy means it’s critical to involve a security integrator at the right time to handle the electrified door hardware installation.

Door hardware installation needs a security integrator’s touch

In order to make the installation and maintenance of security door hardware go as smoothly as possible, it’s best to put the security specialist in charge. The more individuals that get involved with the selection and installation of door hardware, the more confusing a project becomes if something goes wrong.

Security door hardware installation does require a mix of skill sets, so it comes as no surprise that different members of the construction team get called in to help. However, a security specialist has the knowledge and experience to take the lead on this important task.

Having a single point of responsibility makes installation and operational accountability simpler than if the Division Eight contractor furnishes, general contractor installs, electrical contractor connects, handicap operator provider operates and the security contractor unlocks. Successful door operation requires tight integration of all those functions and is best accomplished by a single responsible contractor.

Why security contractors should be involved in building design

Just like there is an ideal “who” should be in charge of installing door hardware, there is an ideal “when.” The best time to get a security company involved in a commercial building project is in the design phase.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Choose the right products the first time

Security companies can work with the business owner and architect to assist in choosing the right doors and door hardware the first time.

A security integrator will also make sure the door hardware works seamlessly with a business’ core systems, such as the fire alarm and access control systems along with the handicap operators.

A full-service security integrator can then provide design CAD drawings to provide conduit and operational detail helping to ensure a successful security project.

2. Have a seamless installation and maintenance process

Delegating door hardware installation to a security company means you’ll have a single point of contact for an installation that’s done right the first time.

A security integrator will know how to install the specific hardware and connect it to card readers and security systems. Your security team will also know whether connections to the fire detection system are required and when to involve the fire marshal in that process.

Plus, a specialized security installer will also be able to tell if the device arrived in working order and test the entire operation once it’s all installed and connected. This important step can help nip any early problems in the bud. The entire functionality is tested instead of piecemeal as individual vendors complete their part of the total process.

3. One point of contact makes solving problems easy

Once construction is completed on a building, businesses often don’t know who to call if their doors aren’t working properly. A single point of contact for the entire installation alleviates the hassle of determining who to call if there’s a problem.

Additionally, products chosen and installed by the security team will be covered under warranty and repaired by the security company. This makes repairing control components much simpler than trying to determine who holds the warranty for a particular product.

If the security team isn’t involved in providing the door hardware, businesses will have to hunt down who holds the warranty. Inevitably, if the door doesn’t function as intended, the security company is called. If their particular system is operating properly, that is a billable service call so businesses may end up having to pay for the labor to get the item fixed even if the product is warrantied.

This is a significant reason to hire a security integrator to help you select, install and maintain your commercial building door hardware.

Architects are responsible for a design that meets owner specification, while general contractors are tasked with the construction fulfilling that design. Both can be successfully accomplished by utilizing multiple contractors. At the end of the project, however, the owner is left with the operational and maintenance reality of those strategic choices made during the design phase.

That reality alone is ultimately why a single point of responsibility for door hardware selection and installation is ultimately the best choice.

What to do if security isn’t involved with building design

Even though involving the security team for consultation during building design is ideal, sometimes the project has already started.

If the security integrator isn’t a part of the design process, they should at least be brought in to bid on providing door hardware. It’s better late than never to bring in a security specialist to help.

While a Division 8 contractor may be able to secure discounts by ordering in bulk, this route can cause headaches later on. If a security team isn’t at least brought in to bid on hardware, they won’t be able to help with repair for warrantied items. That’s one important reason for them to be involved during the purchasing stage of the process.

To avoid construction delays, installation problems, and maintenance issues for door hardware in commercial buildings, partner with a trusted security integrator to get the job done right.

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