Locking crime out

Robust door-access control is key to a safer community. Tim Rogers of security specialists Key Management Systems reveals the options.

In a world where population numbers are rising rapidly and social pressures change by the day, concerns over personal security have taken centre stage. While we trust the police and the media to inform us about significant threats to our safety, there are many long-standing problems that continue to plague society. Social housing estates in particular are often associated with crime and anti-social behaviour that affects communities and harm individuals, but even when these are not relevant issues, adequate access systems can provide vital control over who is let in and out of the premises.

Significantly, communal door access systems installed in most multi-resident blocks today allow much greater visibility over who enters the property and when. Most importantly, it ensures that anyone who shouldn’t gain access to a property is prevented from entering, even if they had acquired an entry fob. Achieving this level of security has been a challenge in the past. Since old communal door access systems were not typically linked to a central management system, monitoring of fobs had been limited to keeping manual records.

In certain circumstances, this led to potential security breaches, with stolen or lost fobs remaining active for long periods after their disappearance. Tenants who had moved out of a flat would still possess active fobs for example, or contractors hired to carry out work would hold fobs that cannot be tracked. Such manual recording practices were confusing and wouldn’t allow the building management to effectively look after the security of any single block.


Along with rapid developments in technology, there have been significant steps forward in the management practices of communal door access and the associated security. These technological advancements are concentrated in two main areas: firstly, around the actual access to the door, and secondly, around management and reporting. In terms of access, the technology has developed to take into account multiple householders living in a single property.

This means there can be multiple fobs issued for each person living in a flat within a building, ensuring each resident can have a different-coloured fob that can be easily identified and tracked. It is not just the looks of the fob that are key, however. Internally, each one would be equipped with a unique coding, which means that if it is lost, it can be quickly deactivated and replaced with a like-for-like fob.

The same principle applies when it comes to granting access to staff and contractors. It is now easy for management to provide unique fobs that can be programmed to allow contractors into specific areas and at specific times of the day, further guaranteeing that no unauthorised personnel is present in a building.

Moving to the cloud

When considering the management of these access systems, the most significant development has been the explosion of cloud usage in recent years. This, in short, allows facility managers to monitor their building’s access system at any time via the Internet.

The impact of these technological developments cannot be understated. Historically, if a fob needed adding or deleting to the system, someone had to go to the actual building and manually programme the system to delete the fob. Any data was then manually recorded, if at all. Today however, all this can be done instantly – the building manager can use an internet-connected device, whether a smart phone, tablet or a computer, to access the management system and apply the necessary changes there and then.

A detailed record of what fob had been changed, when it happened and whether a new fob had been issued, can then be generated. Detailed reporting There are, in addition, a few systems that take this management a step further and provide a detailed reporting function. The KMS Simplekey Web allows the management team to view real-time reports of the fob usage for any one block, or track a specific fob.

This reporting function not only has major time and cost-saving benefits, but also offers enhanced security to building owners and residents alike. Allowing building management to track fobs instantaneously ensures that when a fob is cancelled, someone who shouldn’t be using it cannot use it improperly. In one recent domestic violence case, the police were able to work with the Housing Trust to ensure that a violent partner was not able to gain access into his old apartment, ensuring his partner and family were safe. With this type of controlled access systems being adopted across an increasing number of multi-resident blocks, building managers can now take action to minimise crime and help communities enjoy an improved level of security.

Tim Rogers is director at Key Management Solutions.


This feature was published in the March 2017 issue of Housing Management & Maintenance magazine.

If you are employed by a housing association, local authority, managing agency or residential landlord, you may be eligible to receive a FREE copy. Find out more >>

Alternatively, you can sign up to receive a digital issue of the magazine.