Construction site access control system

In this blog, we cover the benefits of building site access control systems. In addition to CCTV systems and alarms, construction site access control systems meet a number of security objectives and provide a range of benefits.

Those in charge of construction site security systems have a range of responsibilities. They need to ensure the building sites they manage have the right security systems in place.

It’s an unfortunate fact, crimes are commonplace on construction sites. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in construction site crime. Therefore, many companies in this sector will be evaluating and upgrading their current security systems to help manage the threat of break-ins, vandalism and theft.

When it comes to construction site access control, in addition to safety, these security systems also help in areas such as managing time, attendance, productivity  and more.

Here at Safeguard Systems, we’re experts in access control solution design and installation.

Before we explore some of the benefits of construction site access control systems, we’ll take a look at the different solutions building firms use.

Prior to that, for any less experienced readers, here’s a quick overview of access control.

What is construction site access control?

Access control systems are a means of restricting and managing who enters a physical location and when. 

The individual requiring access may be an:

  • Employee
  • Supplier
  • Contractor or
  • Visitor

They may be on foot, in a vehicle, or using another mode of transport. 

Access control generally covers entry to a:

  • Site
  • Building or 
  • Room


The different types of construction site access control systems

Construction companies deploy different types of access control systems to cater to a range of security needs. They are:

Construction site perimter security fence


Perimeter hoarding and security fencing

At the early stages of a development, construction companies erect temporary perimeter hoardings to deter criminals, mainly vandals, from gaining access.

Security fencing can then act alongside perimeter protection and detection systems such as a monitored alarm system to prevent vandals from gaining access to your site.

Turnstiles and security gates

For sites with a high level of footfall, turnstiles can to manage the effective flow of contractors, suppliers, and visitors.

Security gates operate around the site perimeter, to manage access to defined areas of the site. 

Access can be restricted to certain areas depending on security clearance, or simply whether the individual requires access to that area to perform their duties.

Swipe card and other keyless entry systems

Keyless door entry systems, allow for the safe access of authorised personnel. 

A log is kept of movements in and out, helping to manage and track time, attendance, and productivity.

Keyless building site access


Intercom systems – video and audio 

Video intercom systems grant access to site visitors.

Access can be granted via an operator based on-site, or remotely. Video intercom systems improve operational efficiency and reduce staffing costs. They limit the need for a physical member of staff to be based at the site entrance. 

Audio intercom systems provide the same benefits. The only difference is you can’t see who’s at the gate before letting them in. 

Video door entry system

Keypad entry (PIN codes)

Suppliers, contractors, and visitors can be given a PIN code in advance to gain access to the construction site.

Upon arrival they simply enter the code, to obtain access.

Temperature screening systems (thermal body temperature scanners) 

With the ongoing effects of COVID-19 impacting the UK economy, these systems help protect businesses from the spread of viruses.

To help protect staff and operational continuity, temperature screening systems are used to detect high temperatures. People running a fever, can be asked to consult a doctor or self-isolate for 14 days. 

When considering construction site security, these systems help prevent the potential for site closure, claims against the company for negligence and more.

These are new systems available to companies operating in a variety of sectors, including construction. A recent article in the construction industry trade press shows that national construction firm, Laing O’Rourke started using temperature checks in June.

What are the benefits of construction site access control systems?

We’ll now take a look at the range of benefits of access control systems bring to those in charge of building site security. These include:

Time, attendance and productivity

Construction projects usually operate on tight profit margins. 

For building companies with multiple projects in the pipeline, it’s imperative subcontractors arrive on-site and leave at the agreed times.

Access control systems can be designed and implemented to track when people are on-site and not. This is usually delivered via a keycard or fob based entry system.

These systems will help the operations team, manage contractors effectively if they are consistently late and leave early.

If workers aren’t on-site they aren’t being productive. 

Access control on a construction site

Identification & eliminating unauthorised access

Low productivity, affects project delivery, timescales, and profit.

In a recent blog on plant theft prevention, we discussed how on larger corporate projects, criminal gangs often look to get a man-on-the-inside helping to steal expensive plant machinery.

Access control systems on construction sites, help to restrict and eliminate unauthorised access.

Keycards, fobs, and swipe cards can help to identify who is on-site. However, they also help prevent people from looking to gain unauthorised access.

Unauthosied access carries many construction site security threats.

If you don’t have a proper access control policy in place, you run the risk of allowing criminals on site, If undetected they are free to carry out criminal activities such as theft of plant machinery and tools. 

Health and safety

Health and safety is so important to those in charge of the building site security. When considering construction site security, there aren’t many industries where health and safety plays such an important role.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires that employers take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of persons including but not limited to their employees.

Through deploying an effective building site access control system, construction firms can protect themselves from negligence claims by employers and the general public.

Managing visitor access to construction sites

Like many businesses, those in charge of security for construction sites have to consider how to manage the safe flow of visitors to and from the site. 

Supplier meetings and health and safety audits are commonplace on construction sites. 

Managing the flow of visitors, for security and safety purposes is paramount to the smooth running of a construction site.

By having an effective and efficient access control system construction firms can manage visitor access accordingly.

Visitors are logged via a keycard or swipe card system. Details are logged in the system enabling those in charge of construction site security to know exactly who is on the site at any one time.

Providing remote access to building sites 

There are instances where construction sites aren’t staffed five days a week.

In these situations, you can grant access remotely.

With this security objective in mind, video intercom systems can be used effectively. When a supplier, contractor or visitor arrives at site, they can call through via the video intercom system, and the operator will simply release the door for them to enter.

In addition to providing remote access, there are various other benefits to video intercom systems.

An alternative would be the use of an IP intercom system (audio or video). 

Providing remote access to construction sites, allows for operational efficiency as it removes the requirement for a guard to be on site, simply to let people in.

For those concerned about any security threats posed through the site being unstaffed, we’d recommend reading our blog on the benefits of remote CCTV monitoring.

CCTV monitroing for a construction site

Restricting access to certain areas

There are occasions where you must restrict access to certain areas of a building site.

Access control systems can be designed and implemented to allow site access universally, but limit access to contractors without the correct security clearance.

Those in charge of construction site security can also deploy access control systems to limit access to hazardous areas, where buildings are being demolished, cranes and plant machinery is in use, and more.

Building site access control site

The benefits of  construction site access control systems – summary

By now we hope this blog has given you valuable insights into the benefits of construction site access control systems.

The benefits of access control are numerous and cover a range of security objectives.

If you’re in the process of researching the various forms of construction site security systems, we recommend reading our recent blog on the benefits of construction site CCTV.

Additionally, we have also written a guide covering all aspects of building site security.

If you have a question, you can use the live chat option to the left of the screen or via our contact form.