The term, “access control point” may not be something you hear thrown around in everyday conversation but spend any time out in the real world, and chances are you’ll come across one.

Usually part of an organization’s security plan, access control points serve as an entry/exit corridor to a facility—restricting access while safely funneling individuals from one area to another.

Choosing the right access control point to meet your needs can often be difficult for first-time customers, since they come in a variety of forms, each with unique features and capabilities. 

Our team at CoverSix has designed, built, and installed access control points for customers all over the world. To help, we’ve compiled the following breakdown of what’s available, what protection they can offer and the benefits of modular construction.

Types of access control points

When it comes to access control points, you have options. Whether you’re looking for a stand-alone structure that makes an excellent first impression, a formidable front line of defense, or a simple way of monitoring who is coming and going, what you need will most likely fall into one of the following three categories.

1. Visitor control centers:

Commonly found at the main entrance of a large corporate or governmental campus, visitor control centers can take the form of simple, one-room structures or even multi-room buildings, finished with stone or brick facades to match the aesthetics of a campus. Just one example of what is possible for a visitor control center is a structure we recently created for Nellis Air Force base near Las Vegas, Nevada.

2. Guard shacks/guardhouses:

These freestanding buildings control access to a site while providing a secure perimeter to protect everything—and everyone—on the other side. Like visitor control centers, guard shacks can be as simple as the ticket-taking booth found outside a parking garage or as complex as a multiple-story building complete with an observation deck.

3. Turnstiles:

Most people are familiar with the turnstile as a type of access control point. However, unlike the waist-high turnstiles you find in subway stations and stadiums, the turnstiles we're referring to here are almost always full-height (six to seven feet tall) and are sometimes referred to as “door turnstiles.” In addition, these turnstiles are often used in conjunction with an access control system that scans an individual’s credentials and “unlocks” the turnstile once their identity is verified.

Levels of protection offered by access control points

Depending on the manufacturer you work with, and how and where an access control point is being utilized, you can design your structure to protect against a wide variety of threats. But, as with everything, it is essential to do your homework to ensure you’re getting the kind of access control and protection that you need.

Blast-Resistant Access Control 

Blast-resistant access control points have been specifically designed and engineered to withstand a significant blast event. These buildings are often constructed with thick steel walls and interior features and fixtures designed to withstand the heightened psi levels of small to large blasts. Beyond that, manufacturers can employ different structural designs and materials to achieve the desired blast response.

Ballistic-Resistant Access Control

First things first, in terms of ballistic resistance, remember that while you may hear the term “bulletproof” thrown around, bulletproof is a misnomer. Saying something is bulletproof implies that it is 100 percent non-penetrable—regardless of the projectile, type of weapon, the distance the projectile was fired from, or the number of times the material is hit. And, unfortunately, that just doesn’t exist.

Ballistic-resistant access control points, on the other hand, utilize exterior building materials that can withstand the impact of a projectile and provide enough protection that would give its occupants the chance to get away to a safer location.

Forced-Entry Resistant Access Control

An access control point’s ability to offer forced-entry resistance depends on how its doors are constructed and the materials used. At CoverSix, we utilize all-steel construction because it can withstand a high level of pressure waves while remaining fire-resistant. Steel doors also withstand expansion better than doors made of other materials since steel bends and absorbs pressure—thus minimizing hazards and extending durability.

Access Control with Multiple Protection Types

Need all three of the protections mentioned above? You’ve got it. Many manufacturers—including CoverSix—can build access control points that are blast-resistant, ballistic-resistant, and resistant to forced entry. But, as we mentioned before, the important thing is to go with a manufacturer who can back up their claims with science and testing.

Features and amenities available in access control points

Just how decked out your access control point is, depends strictly on your needs, your budget, and your own imagination. Some commonly available features include:

  • HVAC
  • Data outlets
  • Weapon turrets
  • Observation towers
  • Turnstiles
  • Surveillance systems

And multi-room access control points can be broken up into:

  • Locker rooms
  • Control rooms
  • Individual workstations
  • Kitchenettes
  • Restrooms
  • And more

Benefits of modular construction

Just to be clear, at CoverSix, modular construction is all we do, so we’re obviously a little biased here. That said, there are four main benefits of going with modular construction over traditional brick and mortar that are pretty indisputable. And, if you need six more, we've written about the benefits of modular before.

1. Modular is Completely Mobile.

While traditional buildings are permanent structures, modular buildings are built with the ability to move locations—allowing you to quickly adapt whenever your needs or site changes without losing your investment.

2. They can be approved in a fraction of the time.

Being mobile means that modular buildings are classified as “equipment” by the U.S. military. This designation allows them to be financed through operations and maintenance appropriations, sidestepping what is often a five- to seven-year MILCON (The Department of Defense’s military construction arm) approval process.

3. They’re easily modified.

Need to expand or reconfigure? No problem. Modular buildings are specifically designed to be scalable—offering you the most flexibility possible.

4. They’re built off-site.

Because they’re mobile, modular buildings can be manufactured completely off-site and transferred to the site once complete—avoiding timely and disruptive processes like:

  • Site preparation/grading
  • Framing
  • Construction
  • Installation of interior elements like cabinets, flooring, and workspaces
  • Finishing electrical, plumbing, and HVAC

And with skilled labor only needing to be on-site for the installation, the process is much safer than having the entire construction done on-site.

Summing it up

Between visitor control centers, guard shacks, and turnstiles, access control points offer a wide array of security and protection options—determining which one is right for you should be based on your own unique needs and physical requirements. However, whichever type of structure you end up going with, we recommend looking into modular construction based on its overall mobility, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

To learn more about access control points offered by CoverSix, contact a member of our team today.