Elevator Access Control System: What is it & How does it work

Elevator access control helps keep your building and its occupants safe by only granting authorized people access to specific parts of the building. Elevators are what grant people access to the majority of your building if you are in a multi-story building, so it’s important that you don’t neglect elevators in your security and access control plans. 

There are various types of elevator access control based on need and building type. In this article, we’ll take a look at how elevator access control works as well as various types of elevator security systems. By choosing the right system for your property, you can control who has access to which parts of your building while simultaneously making it easier for your occupants to navigate the building. 

elevator access

What is Elevator Access Control? 

Elevator access control is a type of access control that allows you to control who can access your building’s elevators as well as which floors they are able to gain entry to. There are various ways users can gain access to elevators, from biometrics to mobile access. Whether people have restricted access to specific floors and/or specific elevators depends on the type of elevator access control system you decide to use in your building. 

Single Elevator Access Control 

Single elevator access control is usually employed in smaller, shorter, and low-occupancy buildings. This consists of one single elevator, and some potential features of single elevator control include determining which floors the elevator can stop on and determining specific times of day people can use an elevator.  

Elevator Banks

Elevator banks are commonly used in larger buildings that have a lot more traffic. They consist of a system of elevators, and usually, people only have access to the floor that they work on or the floor their apartment is on. 

Smart Elevators 

Smart elevators are designed to be more efficient and to get people to their destinations quickly. They’re often used in buildings with 10 or more stories. When using a smart elevator, you pick the floor you are heading to when you call the elevator, rather than hitting an up or down button. Once you do this, the system tells you which elevator to use, and it may group you with other people going to the same floor. Once you are inside the elevator, there may not be buttons to choose a floor since users choose floors before getting into the elevator. 

How Does Elevator Access Control Work? 

There are various configurations for elevator access control. In general, people will need to scan their credentials either in the lobby, in the elevator, or both. Once they are granted access, the elevator will take them to their destination. Learn more about the different configurations and how each works below.  

Private Elevator with General Access to Any Floor

In this configuration, users will need to use their credentials to call a private elevator. Once they call the elevator, they can access any floor. This type of configuration has an elevator card access system reader in the lobby.  

Private Elevator with Private Access to Specific Floors

In this configuration, users will need to use their credentials to call a private elevator. Once they call the elevator, they also need access credentials to choose a floor. This type of configuration has an elevator card access system reader in the lobby as well as in the elevator. This is also one of the more secure access types since it requires people to request access in two different ways. 

Elevator access control using access card

Public Elevator with Private Access to Specific Floors

In this configuration, anybody can call and get into the elevator. Once they are in the elevator, they need access credentials to gain access to the floors. This type of configuration has an elevator card access system reader in the elevator. 

Destination Control System 

A destination control system is a bit different than the other configurations. In this system, a destination operating panel (DOP) allows people to call the elevator based on the floor they will be going to; they don’t use a traditional up or down button. This type of configuration has an elevator card access system reader in the lobby. 

How Do Users Access Elevators? 

There are multiple ways users can present their credentials to access elevators. Mobile access control allows users to use their phones to gain access to elevators or to a specific floor. A keypad allows users to enter a PIN to gain access, though this method is typically considered less secure because users can share their PIN with others. Access control cards of key fobs require users to present or scan their card or fob to gain access. Users might also use biometrics such as a fingerprint scanner or retina scanner to gain access to elevators or floors they are permitted to access. This is typically considered one of the higher forms of security. 

Typically, within an elevator access control system, there are a few common components, including elevator control buttons (either inside or outside of the elevator), an access reader such as an RFID card reader, and an access control panel. 

How to Choose an Elevator Access System 

When choosing a system, think about the size of your building and how the people in your building typically use the elevators. For example, an apartment building that has tenants that only need access to the floor they live on would likely employ a private elevator with private access to specific floors or a public elevator with private access to specific floors. A busy building that often sees delays in elevators and long wait times might be best suited for a destination control system that can help people get to their destination more quickly.

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