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CCTV AND ACCESS CONTROL

Cameras on their own may help you feel safer, but the reality is that owners corporation security is much more complicated.

It's Monday morning. The building manager of a large apartment precinct arrives at work at 7am, and begins his daily cleaning duties. At 8.20am, a resident informs him that as they were leaving for work, they saw a fire extinguisher lying on the floor in the third floor lift lobby next to a large hole in the wall - the building manager immediately goes to inspect, and sees that someone has ripped the extinguisher off its hook and left it in front of the lifts for everyone to trip over. The building manager places the extinguisher out of harm's way, and makes an immediate report to the owners corporation manager. He then reviews the CCTV and Access Control System. He can see on the camera footage that at 4am, a resident stumbled into the building, possibly drunk, made their way up to the third floor, pulled the fire extinguisher off the wall, and then left the building again.

By cross referencing the security log from the fob reader at both the front door, and in the lift, he can see that it was the owner/resident of apartment 302 who did the damage. The building manager does a quick search on that fob number, and very quickly sees (again, cross referencing with the camera footage) that this resident returned to the building half an hour later, came up to the third floor, and went into his apartment. The building manager takes a few screenshots of the offending image, and emails it to the owners corporation manager. By 9.15am, the owners corporation manager has received a quote for repair of the wall, sent out a work order to have it repaired and the fire extinguisher reattached, and sent a breach notice (containing a photo with damning evidence) to the offending owner, complete with an invoice to cover the cost of rectification.


Cameras


Cameras are required in modern day precincts, and there is a huge range to choose from. We recommend installing cameras that come with a 3 year manufacturer's warranty - this means that if they are faulty, any service provider will be able to repair or replace them free of charge. Your facility manager will be able to arrange for a suitably qualified security specialist to make recommendations.

Ensure that the CCTV specialist installing your system is registered with Victoria Police.

The cameras will also need to be set up correctly - ideally they will only record footage when they are activated by motion, which increases the length of time that the footage will stay on the hard drive before being automatically deleted. There is nothing worse than trying to find footage that isn't there anymore. It's also essential that the hard drive is built for CCTV footage - it needs to be able to cope with being on 24/7, month after month, year after year.


Access Control


Fobs, card readers, remotes - there are so many options available at different prices, it's difficult to know where to begin.


Ideally fobs need to be individually programmed and trackable, so when the access system is reviewed after an incident, the computer shows which fob was involved. As long as the owners corporation manager is keeping a record of which fob number is being issued to which owner or resident (and there is documentation in place so that people are signing for fobs in order to receive them), the person responsible will be instantly identifiable. In the event of a theft or vandalism of property, the owners corporation manager can even deactivate the fob of the person responsible.


Many cheap systems, or poorly programmed systems, do not have individually programmed fobs, which not only means that each fob isn't identifiable, but it also means that they can't be restricted to certain areas. Ideally, everyone on floor 3 would only be able to access floor 3 and not floors 2 or 4, but a system which doesn't allow for individually programmed fobs won't allow for this customisation either.

Cloning fobs by tenants is an issue - and even if you buy the most hi-tech system fobs which can't be cloned now, the chances are that they will be able to be cloned in 6-12 months time - but if each fob is individually programmed, if a fob has to be deactivated, it will also deactivate its clone. For example, if the resident from apartment 101 copies their fob, not only will this cloned fob be identifiable as fob 101, but if it is deactivated by the manager, both fobs 101 will be locked out of the system.

Fob readers need to be placed in ideal locations throughout, including stairwells.

The front door card reader should let everyone's fob in, and then readers placed in the lift will allow residents only to their respective floors. Fob readers placed on each floor inside the fire escape stairwells makes for excellent security - in the event of a fire, all the fob readers will unlock, meaning anyone will be able to escape to any floor, for maximum safety. Fob readers can also be placed on pedestrian entries to car parks, at entry to the mail room, and to any common facilities rooms such as pools, bbq areas or gyms.


Garage doors can also be equipped with remote readers on the same access control, so that the owners corporation can track people driving into the building. If the garage door currently has generic remotes, you can speak to your facility manager about installing an RF receiver that hooks up to the access control system and comes with its own remotes, for greater security. There are options then to have a single fob/remote device.


Disaster stories

  • An access control system with over 1200 swipe cards programmed into the computer for a building of only 200 apartments, with not a single card being allocated individually to an apartment.

  • A camera in the lift that only kept recorded footage for 2 days because it had been incorrectly setup - to change the configuration so it kept footage for 45 days only cost $350.

  • A car park door with a generic remote (not connected to access control) that had been in existence for 25 years, with no one in the owners corporation having any ideas as to how many remotes were currently in existence that opened the door, held by people who did not live in the building - estimates were in the 700-800 range.

 

Melb OC can ensure these disasters don't happen to you.

Call us today on 03 9108 3910.


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