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Access control sets new standards at landmark Bristol school


At the newly built, £30 million Abbeywood Community School in Filton, Laidlaw Solutions worked with architects Alec French and BAM Construction to produce a doorset specification which involved the installation of a proximity system using Mifare smart card technology. The architect designed the school to RIBA Stage D+ and was retained as client’s supervisor through to completion. The mixture of both online and offline control units lent itself to the way the school wished to run its security, the online readers giving updates and system changes to each card presented. Hard-wired, online units were connected to the building’s network together with offline, stand alone units which utilised wall readers and magnetic locking. Online wall readers and controllers were interfaced with the automatic entrance doors at reception, which unlock and open when a card is presented to the reader. Over 160 battery powered electronic handle sets were also fitted to classrooms, offices and staff rooms.

Students were heavily involved in how their new school buildings would look and worked with architects and builders as part of their studies. The graffiti style glazing and doorsets in bold, primary colours are a clear result of their involvement. The 920 pupil school has since been granted Specialist School status in Humanities, with English, Geography and Drama being the specialist subjects.

The shift in favour of closer cooperation between manufacturer, specifier, contractor and client has undoubtedly ensured that issues of durability and promises of like-for-like performance are put to closer scrutiny. Speaking of his experience of the project BAM Construction’s Project Manager Andy Syddall said, “Laidlaw scheduled the supply and installation of an access control system for doors throughout the school. While still a relatively new concept for schools, the support Laidlaw provided throughout demonstrated their experience of managing projects of such a scale”.

The school was chosen by South Gloucestershire Council as the first to receive funding from the Department for Children, Schools, and Families as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme. It is just one of a long list education projects for which Laidlaw access control, doorset and handrail systems have been chosen.

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