A specifier’s Guide to Access Control Systems

A Specifier’s Guide to Access Control Systems by BSIA

Access Control

An access control system is an effective form of security and its benefits include:

1. An important part of an overall electronic security system

2. Enhanced security of employees, buildings and assets

3. Ability to work with other in-house security measures

4. Reduction in the overall cost of managing security

Specifiers need to be aware of the potential contribution of access control systems when surveying premises, and should understand how and when to specify them to effectively control or restrict access. 

There is a suite of European standards which have been adopted as British standards and which adequately cover the system design, installation and equipment requirements of access control systems. However, they do not provide guidance on the grading of systems - that is the purpose of this document.

This document has been produced as a guide to assist specifiers in grading access control systems in line with other security applications. It lists the various depths of security that may be required, and identifies what the specifier should take into account when specifying access control systems.

The main determinant of the security level required will be the outcome of the risk assessment of the premises, and this in turn will influence the choice and design of access control system to be used.

Design of the access control system should take account of the Equality Act and Disability Discrimination Act so that physical aspects permit goods and services to be accessible to disabled people.


This guide provides details of security grading for access control systems. It covers system components including tokens, barriers, doors and interconnection methods. The document provides security levels for:

Reader / Token Technology

Physical security classification of doors

Electromechanical locks

System Software

This article was extracted from the The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) 
"A specifier’s guide to access control systems"

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