Today’s security professionals are tasked with protecting the entirety of a facility or campus from every possible threat. It’s a big task, given the range of solutions available; from cybersecurity to prevent hacking, to video surveillance to monitor the goings-on within the facility, to the physical security of the building itself.

For most businesses and schools, keeping the entrances and exits to a building secure is an extremely high priority—when an individual cannot get into the building they will have a harder time causing trouble for those within it.

With quantum leaps happening in security technology, architectural revolving doors may not always be top-of-mind when designing a new security system from scratch.

However, with recent technological advances in the last decade, and considering that they occupy less floor space and are extremely good at reducing unwanted air infiltration into an interior, it is definitely time to examine how they can participate in a complete physical security plan as well.

A well-known financial company in the Midwest of America was the target of a protest, against their financing of a controversial initiative

Restricted access for business continuity

The exterior door to a building or premises, often a public entrance during business hours, is typically the first line of defence against unwanted persons or activity making its way into an organisation.

If lobby or security staff sense trouble outside (distress, fights, weapons, protests, etc.), they need a quick and effective way to block anyone from entering the building and creating danger for those inside.

Should this type of incident make its way into a building, it creates a number of risks, including the expenditure of unnecessary resources, loss of productivity, violence, and liability for the business.

For example, recently a well-known financial company in the Midwest was the target of a protest against their financing of a controversial initiative. A large crowd gathered outside on the street, pushed inside the building, and took over the interior lobby.

The protesters not only disrupted the retail banking business at the lobby level, but also attempted to block employees from going to work on the upper floors. The protest lasted hours, making it difficult to do business, and was stressful for employees. In addition, the news cycle around the protest created an image problem for upper management and the overall brand.

Revolving doors for access control

Thanks to technology employing electricity, today’s manual revolving doors can potentially save lives

Beyond the immediate risks of theft and violence, crime has numerous intangible effects on employees, residents or students that can have a more profound and lasting impact. These include physical pain and suffering, along with a feeling of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty around future security.

According to a survey conducted by Workplace Options in 2015, 53% of American workers have experienced a traumatic event while at work—with workplace violence or criminal activity listed as one of the top four events that cause trauma.

Revolving doors can be a reliable solution for providing this necessary security. They are often deployed in buildings where public use is needed during the day, but controlled access is required in the evening—for example, banks, museums, commercial buildings, condominiums, libraries, dorms, recreational centres, and more.

Thanks to technology employing electricity, today’s manual revolving doors are more capable than ever before and can potentially save lives or buy the time necessary to alert security staff or notify law enforcement to deal with a dangerous situation in time to prevent harm, stress, or liability.

Integration with access control systems gives manual revolving doors even more capabilities
Secure access can be made possible via an access control device mounted on the outside of the door

Enhanced security with electronic lock control

The following security features are now available for manual revolving doors being deployed in buildings right now:

  • Emergency security lockdown: Facility or reception staff can electronically lock the door in place, regardless of position, at the push of a remotely located button. In the event of an immediate security threat outside the entrance (weapons, protests, drunk and disorderly conduct, etc.), access to a lobby or entrance can be instantly denied, and those within protected.
  • Remote locking: In an earlier time, the manual pushing of a pin was required to lock a revolving door’s wing into the ceiling or the floor. Today, you can lock a manual revolving door by using a remote pushbutton, or, an access control system can lock the door automatically at a specific time of day. If anyone is still in transit during the lock command, the door will allow them to exit before locking. Once the door is locked, staff can easily unlock it with the same remote mechanism if there is an authorised visitor.
  • Access control integration: Integration with access control systems gives manual revolving doors even more capabilities. Secure access can be made possible via an access control device such as a keycard reader, mounted on the outside of the door. Upon valid authorisation, the door will unlock and the user can push to enter the facility. Once all compartments are clear, the door finishes rotating by positioning its door wings at the end posts of the throat opening and relocks.

If tailgating is a concern, your revolving doors should be the first of several layers of physical security

Efficient incident management

Consider the usage of these features for a building such as a downtown high-rise condominium. During the day or night, residents can enter by showing credentials outside the door to the access control system. Any deliveries would have to stand outside, ring the doorbell and wait for reception to unlock the door and let them in.

If anything threatening occurs during rotation, reception staff can immediately lock the doors to keep trouble out and call for help. At a high-rise office building, it can work differently. The door can be unlocked during the day for public entry with guards keeping a watchful eye outside, ready to lock the doors instantly if trouble happens outside. The access control system can lock the doors at 5pm until 7am the next morning, requiring employees or cleaning crew to present their credentials to enter.

Access control integration

It should be noted that standard revolving doors are not equipped to detect or prevent tailgating (an unauthorised person following an authorised person through an entrance). They should not be confused with a security revolving door, which is intended for individuals trained to use these doors at employee-only entrances.

With this in mind, consider that with access control integration, a standard revolving door will unlock when presented with an authorised credential, but will continue to rotate as long as anyone is inside the door to prevent entrapment.

Tailgating is still a possibility with these entrances, so if this is a concern, your revolving doors should be the first of several layers of physical security including, potentially, additional turnstiles, guard staff, surveillance cameras, additional locking mechanisms for restricted areas, and so on.

Ensuring compliance with code requirements

To keep building interiors safe, standard revolving doors can be a simple, cost-effective and easy to implement

Finally, modern code requirements for revolving doors are defined by a number of different agencies—ANSI, IBC, and NFPA. All require that a revolving door’s wings be able to collapse or ‘book fold’ to create a path of escape during a fire, and that a swinging or sliding door must be present within 10 feet of any revolving door, on the same building plane.

To make sure this additional door isn’t a security weak point, the extra sliding or swinging door can be ‘exit only’, or locked to those trying to enter from outside the building, but unlocked to those trying to exit from inside the building.

To keep building interiors safe, standard revolving doors can be a simple, cost-effective and easy to implement solution that helps prevent unwanted entry by those looking to do harm and create unwanted liability. Considering revolving doors can be a first step into securing the entrances and exits of your building, and protecting everyone and everything within.