What is an Access Control Door System

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Nick Dardalis

access control on commercial aluminium doors

What is access control on commercial aluminium doors?

Access control is the simple requirement of many shops, offices and other public building to control who can get in and out.  A regular shop wants to welcome all its customers with a door that is permanently unlocked and allows any potential customer to enter the shop.  Access control works in the opposite way in allowing only those that have permission to enter a building or to control before entry, who can enter.

Access control can be as simple as ensuring a door remains locked until the right person can unlock, it either assisted or unassisted. Therefore access control is something we activate every day when we lock our front doors.  We are also faced with access control in buildings we may encounter on a daily basis. Another way of explaining access control is locking and unlocking a door without a traditional key from both sides of the door.

Why is access control beneficial?

For doors, being able to control who enters or leaves a building can be very important.  For example, we have all seen the commercial doors that lead into petrol station shops.  These are all fitted with a simple access control system that can control the flow of people for example during night time hours when generally you cannot enter the shop to pay.

It is a simple electric strike or magnetic lock that provides control of the door to restrict authorised exit.  Access control is far more valuable than simply locking a door as this can be controlled from elsewhere in the building and not at the door itself.

What types of buildings have access control?

There is all manner of residential and commercial buildings that rely on access control every single day.

Blocks of flats and apartments.

If you live in a block of apartments, you will be familiar with the main door into your block that is always locked shut.  You can enter your building with your key.  If anyone comes to visit you, they will buzz your property and you will let them in.  this is access control.

Offices and commercial premises.

When you visit your bank, you cannot have failed to notice the doors in the bank that staff use works with a card or a keypad. Sometimes they are let in by another member of staff.  These doors remain permanently locked, operated by access control.

High-Value Retail Stores.

High-end jewellery and watch stores or other shops selling expensive products often have a security guard at the door. These high-end, or designer stores like to check (and with CCTV) check who is about to enter their store.  It is normal for customers to press a buzzer first.  This again is access control.

Petrol Station Forecourts.

Late night filling stations lock the door to the kiosk at night when it is open during the day. This again is access control.  Filling stations will frequently activate their electric door lock to ‘fail-secure’.  This means when there is no power going to the lock, the door stays locked.


If your place of work has server rooms, stock rooms, money on the premises or needs security in some areas of the building, authorised members of staff use them. These too, are access control doors.

comar 7p.i cde stratford

Types of locks offering access control.

The following are just some of the locks that offer good access control on commercial aluminium doors:

  • Latch locks with electric strikes.
  • Solenoid bolts
  • Magnetic Locks or “maglocks”.
  • Monitored Door Locks
  • Keypad locks whether mechanical or electric.

Most types of access control locks rely on an electric operation.  On commercial doors, there is the option of the standard narrow door stile or the wider section.  Access control locks come in types to suit both narrow and wide hollow stiles of commercial doors.  We recommend a qualified electrician connects the door to the building power supply.  You will find most doors come with the draw wires ready to connect.

 DORMA UK is one company that can provide access control for any type of building.

DORMA UK is already a trusted company in the field of door controls, automatic doors and door hardware.  We work with them on this website to highlight issues such as accessibility, compliance and providing the right door products for the applications.

In the field of access control, security is very important and needs to be considered at the design stage of any new building.  For existing buildings that either come under new ownership or are undergoing a change of use or refurbishment, there is a lot of door hardware designed to be retro fitted to existing doors to quickly and easily change their use, function and enhance their security.

In access control, there is a range of product ranging from a simple electric lock to full electronic fob, ID card systems and readers that offer far more than simple mechanical locks or other products.

The capabilities of access control systems are endless.

there are many sophisticated ways of accessing and controlling doors with modern technology
There are many sophisticated ways of accessing and controlling doors with modern technology

From a small shop looking for something more than a simple door lock to a complete hospital, school or other office building, access control systems can now offer many features and functions.

Typical innovations using modern technology include linking to fire or intruder alarms, connection with CCTV systems, ultimate control and immediate changes as needed.  Access control systems such as those by can also be used across more than one site or set of buildings too.

All types of doors can be adapted with access control such as wood, metal, composite materials and even doors made entirely of glass.