With anything up to a quarter of a million staff and contractors requiring access to a construction site, often via more than one entrance,
access control is a key consideration for John Laing Construction. To automate this process, the company has implemented a barcode-based access control system, built around Aran's SeaChange application development environment.
'We previously relied on workers clocking on and off, and visitors to the site signing in and out,' explains John Laing's safety and quality manager Martin Holland.'In order to comply with these regulations, and maintain a high degree of efficiency, safety and security on our sites, we rely on an effective means of monitoring and controlling site access. To keep one step ahead of these demands, we decided to automate the procedure.'
Any IT systems used on site have to be highly durable, points out Holland. In his experience, magnetic stripe systems had limited durability and gave rise to high software development costs. 'After examining the alternatives, we decided upon a barcode-based system, as this could be protected under a laminate, and therefore yield durable identity cards costing just 10p each.'
Preston-based JJA was appointed to develop the system.At the core of the JJA system is Aran's SeaChange application development environment, a high-level language which gave the flexibility and speed of development to provide Laing with a tailored solution.
'SeaChange's ability to cope with large volumes of data without compromising system speed and performance makes the task of searching through a database of authorised names for any one site a straightforward one,' adds JJA managing director Jeff Johnson. On a typical day around 500 visitors to the site might be logged in and out.
'All visitors to the site are presented with a temporary visitors pass, but after a brief safety induction are issued with a full barcode pass,' says Holland. 'Visitors breaching site rules can have their barcode details removed from the list of approved visitors. In the event of an incident, the system would enable us to produce a printout of names, pass numbers and area codes, which not only indicates who is on site at any particular time, but also their probable location.'
In addition, when a particular part of the project is completed, the system simplifies the task of terminating all passes issued to that contractor, adds Holland. The system can be searched retrospectively to see if an individual was on site on certain days. 'Although we plan to keep the clocking-on procedure running in parallel for a short time, the new barcode- based system will eventually replace it, dramatically improving efficiency of site access control, and will thus ensuring continued compliance with the latest health and safety legislation,' Holland says.