Date icon21 May 2024

Door access control systems are put in place to restrict the people that can enter a room or building. You can take control of who can access the facility and keep the door locked to those who shouldn’t be there. 

But how do they work and how do you make sure that you choose the right solution for your business? 

In this article, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions when researching and selecting an access control system. 

Card access controlled door

What is a door entry system? 

A door entry system is a form of access control – a system that allows you to control who has access to a building, a designated area of the building, or even an individual room. Door entry systems play a significant role in controlling the safe entry and exit to and from your facility. 

A door entry system not only restricts unauthorised access to controlled or high-risk areas of your operation, but it also provides visibility of who is on-site.    

Why use a door access control system?  

Businesses install door access control systems for a number of reasons: 

  • To increase the security of their facility 
  • To prevent loss 
  • For safety reasons 
  • To comply with industry-specific regulations 
  • To improve their own operational efficiency 

Card and keypad door access

Why do we need a door access control system?

The reasons you may need a system are varied and change from business to business. All the reasons above of security, safety, compliance and efficiency will be key drivers, but it is likely there is a specific issue that you are looking to resolve. 

Whatever your need, we can offer professional advice and a pre-design consultation service to help you choose the right door access control system for your business. 

What are the different types of access control doors? 

There are almost as many different types of access control doors as there are doors to control access to.   

You can choose to increase your premise security and use access control technology wherever and however you need to. You can add access control to internal doors, external doors, as part of an emergency exit route or even a security door.  

Biometric door access control

What are the three 3 types of access control? 

There are three different types of access that you can grant with an access control system. They are: 


Access can be controlled based on the department someone works in e.g. access can be granted to common areas and those specific to that department.  

Job role  

This differs from department access (above) as some job roles require access to be granted to wider areas e.g. IT / Facilities / Cleaning. As part of these roles, your employees may need to cross over into multiple departments and so would need wider access rights.  

Discretionary or Customised  

This is where access cannot simply be applied according to the above criteria. A managing director, for example, may have wider access across the business but still need to be restricted to certain areas for health and safety reasons.  

How does door access control work? 

Once you have chosen the different levels of access permissions, you need to consider how access will be granted. There are three different ways door access works:  


To access, the user presents a credential which can either be physical, such as a key fob, or biometric (e.g. fingerprint or face) and the credential is verified on an online system to grant access.  

Data on card  

In this case, the card is the credential, and the lock will ask the credential if you have permission to access it.  

Key Code  

Alternatively, you can share a common code with the relevant individuals, and this is entered on a mechanical keypad / lock to gain access. 

Keycard for door access

What is the difference between smart locks and access control? 

Smart locks are part of an access control system, but they control the door entry only. However, a comprehensive solution, such as TouchStar’s Access Control System, offers end-to-end security that meets all of your needs.   

Access Controlled Doors: how do people exit?

We talked about granting access to people, but what about when they want to leave? The process for exiting can be as varied as the entry systems, it might be a turnstile or gates that open automatically based on a proximity reader.   

Emergency Exits 

For an emergency exit, what is required depends on the type of space. 

To exit from a public space the system must comply with the standard BS 1125, which requires pressure to be applied to grant exit. Common examples are a crash bar on a door or the need to break glass. 

For a workspace the standard to comply with is BS 179, this requires training to be provided on how to exit, and the exit should be a single mechanical operation e.g. a door handle.  

Every effort should be made to ensure free and uninterrupted exit in the case of any emergency.  

How much does access control cost per door? 

If you already have an access control system in place and are looking to add more doors into it, then it can range from £415 for a standard cylinder key fob access door to over £3,000 for a top-of-the-range option. 

If you don’t yet have an access control system in place, then talk to us. We offer services including Consultancy and Site Surveys through to Installation