Statistically, construction companies are at greater risk from crime than any other sector. This is so for obvious reasons: construction sites, by definition, are incomplete and therefore less secure than completed buildings; they require that specialist workers come and go constantly, providing plenty of unfamiliar faces for would-be wrongdoers to use as camouflage; and they’re filled with high-value equipment and materials which can be easily sold on the black market.
Fortunately, technology has provided site operators with a series of increasingly sophisticated tools for ensuring site security. At the cutting edge of this trend are tools like BreeCS, a solution which brings together smart access control with powerful software. But exactly what is it that makes such a system so attractive? In this article, we’ll take a closer look.
What is a Biometric Access Control System?
For centuries, the best way to restrict access to a given area is to place it under ‘lock and key’. Only authorised personnel would be granted the mechanical device required to open a door and gain access to the area in question.
While this method of securing an area has proven extremely useful since it first came to be, all those years ago. But in a modern setting, and particular in an environment like a construction site, this method has several glaring flaws.
Mechanical keys can be exchanged, duplicated and stolen.
An unauthorised person therefore has a variety of different methods of obtaining a key. They might collaborate with an unscrupulous worker to gain access. They might leave the company on terrible terms, and provide the key to a would-be attacker out of a desire for revenge. They might leave their key lying around out of carelessness. And if this should happen, what will you need to do? You’ll need to change all of the locks, and have new keys cut for your workforce. This is an avoidable expense.
Mechanical keys are expensive
Even printing a barcode on a piece of laminated card costs money – even if it costs far less than cutting a mechanical key, with a sufficiently large workforce, these costs can add up. Since all of your workers will already be carrying around with them unique forms of identification in the form of fingerprints, it is wasteful to issue them with another one.
Mechanical keys are inflexible
Suppose you have an area of your site you’d like to reserve only for certain sorts of staff. This might be an administrative area, reserved for management, or a toolshed reserved for the specialist workers who might use them. Traditionally, this might mean an entirely separate lock and key – which means that staff would have more to remember – and more to potentially misplace.
Mechanical keys leave no paper trail
Suppose you have a security incident, and you’d like to know exactly who was present at a given part of your site at a given time. If you’re using mechanical keys, then you’ll have no way of knowing beyond eyewitness testimony. With electronic access control, you’ll have a digital record of every single person’s comings and goings.
What’s the alternative?
With all of those flaws in mind, the merits of an electronic alternative become obvious. Such systems work by issuing a unique code to every worker, and protecting your site using electronic locks which recognise a long list of different codes. That way, if a key gets lost, then a new one can be issued cheaply – and the offending key can be simply deleted from the register. Workers can then use the same key to access every area of the site to which they’re authorised.
Biometrics take things a step further – instead of issuing a series of unique codes, a database will simply keep a record of biological identifiers, like fingerprints. When wanting to access a given area of the site, workers can simply present themselves – which is far more difficult to misplace than any sort of key.
What a CSCS card?
The Construction Skills Certification Scheme is a body set up to allow trained workers to demonstrate their skills to employers. They are issued cards, which can be read by card readers, phones and tablets. The BreeCS system is able to quickly scan and check the validity of such cards, ensuring that invalid, out of date and forged cards are spotted, preventing the owners of such cards from gaining access to your site.
To cloud or not to cloud?
Much has been made in recent years of the merits of ‘cloud’ data. No longer must the data of your business be stored on your premises in hard drives; instead it can be stored remotely, at a central location where it can be made safe and accessible from wherever you might be. What’s more, BreeCS allows for custom email and web-page settings, allowing new inductees to get to grips with the system that much more easily
That said, not all construction sites can rely on an internet connection – and so some rely instead on local data. The BreeCS platform allows users to choose the method that works for them – making it the more flexible solution.
One of the major advantages of electronic access control is the data it automatically logs. BreeCS is able to monitor the attendance of all of your staff in exquisite detail, in a variety of view modes – and you’ll be able to see detailed localism and CO2 reports, as well as in-depth breakdowns of the workforce according to qualification, experience, health and much more besides.
This data in turn allows management to make better and more informed decisions. This comes in especially handy when it comes to fire roll calls – you’ll be able to immediately generate a report detailing everyone on site, along with a list of wardens and first-aiders. What’s more, in the event of a fire drill, the system allows for all turnstiles to be automatically opened – allowing everyone onsite to make a swift and orderly exit.