Keyless solution for Spring Mews

A south London development combining student housing and a hotel posed some particular challenges when it came to access control

Spring Mews is a recently completed mixed-use scheme consisting of 378 ensuite student bedrooms together with a 93-bed hotel and office development. It’s a central part of one of London’s largest regeneration projects and is using advanced contactless access control technology from Salto Systems to control security throughout the site.

Developed by CLS Holdings plc in partnership with Fresh Student Living and Staybridge Suites London, the £50million Spring Mews site on Glasshouse Walk forms part of the regeneration of the Nine Elms area of Vauxhall and is one of more than 20 interconnected development schemes in this largely industrial riverside district.

As property prices in central London continue to rise, the regeneration of formerly neglected areas is moving outward to bring new homes, jobs and business opportunities to underutilized areas. The regeneration area in which Spring Mews is located spans 195 hectares on the south bank of the river Thames and is within walking distance of Parliament, Sloane Square, Tate Britain, Battersea Park and the Oval Cricket Ground. The district extends from Lambeth Bridge in the north to Chelsea Bridge in the south, covering the Albert Embankment, Vauxhall and a large slice of north Battersea. Westminster lies directly opposite on the north bank of the Thames. Its many brownfield sites are now being transformed: it is the largest regeneration zone in central London and includes the last remaining industrial stretch of the south bank.

Where Spring Mews is concerned, combining a student accommodation complex and a hotel in one development within demanding construction and fit-out timescales was a challenging brief. Having taken the decision to ensure security at the development used the latest technology, the search began for a reliable and economical electronic system that could run and manage multiple rooms in both developments and be fully integrated with the Axis CCTV and Galaxy intruder alarm system while being controlled from one front-end Maxxess E-Fusion graphical user interface (GUI).

The essential requirements were: the need to secure all internal doors; simple and quick installation; the use of RFID escutcheons for the doors so there would be no need to flood the buildings with wiring; scope for expansion of the system if the need arose; future-proofing of the investment through use of the latest technology which had to offer easy upgrade paths, integration with other systems, notably CCTV and intruder alarm; to be able to track and replace key cards in use and to be able to remotely manage the access control system across both the student accommodation and hotel properties from one central location if required.

The 378-bed student accommodation complex has been designed to relieve pressure on local housing stock and is aimed at students wanting to be closer to the cultural, social life and job opportunities of central London. It is configured so that 75 percent of the rooms are cluster beds, to be shared by either seven or eight students, each with their own ensuite bathroom and shared kitchen facilities. The remaining rooms are studio apartments, each with ensuite bathrooms and kitchenettes. Facilities include: gym and swimming pool, common rooms, study areas, high-speed broadband, games rooms, laundry facilities, cinema, secure cycle storage and 24-hour concierge and security. It is only a few minutes’ walk from Vauxhall tube and national rail station, giving access to a large variety of London universities, including King’s College, Imperial, University of Roehampton, University of the Arts and Southbank.

The 93-bed Staybridge Suite hotel provides studio or one-bedroom rooms designed for residents with longer stay requirements. There is a large break-out and eating area on the ground floor, and there is also wireless internet throughout, a private gym, laundry and storage facilities in the lower ground-floor area.

Through a partnership between Salto Systems, Maxxess and ABCA Systems, CLS Holdings plc opted for a suite of systems and suppliers to deliver on these requirements. CLS selected Salto’s Aelement product as the access control platform for door security. Aelement has been developed with the hospitality-specific applications in mind, including the ability to control the security of the entire building from a single location. This includes granting access privileges to individual rooms and gathering audit trail data from every door in real time. Other features include instant room move and instant extended stay abilities as well as lost card cancellation, intrusion alarm, door ajar alarm, remote opening, audit trail, passage mode activation for meeting rooms and automated low battery reporting. Aelement is also NFC (near field communications) enabled, so as the technology appears on more smart phones, users will be able to use their phones to emulate a Mifare smart card, thereby turning the phone into their room key. This allows building operators to upgrade their security without having to upgrade their locks.

Phillip Miller, managing director, ABCA Systems, says: “With young students in the accommodation, many of whom will be living away from their parents’ homes for the first time, and longer-term guests using the hotel space, it was vital that any security system installed provided complete protection to ensure their security at all times. Spring Mews will be a very busy environment, with lots of traffic through its doors, so it was vital that the solution we recommended was robust, technologically advanced, scalable and capable of standing the test of time, which is why we chose to put forward the Salto Aelement platform.”

Alan Horrobin, Salto area sales manager, comments: “Salto Systems are world leaders in advanced wire-free and wireless access control solutions for the education and hospitality sectors. We have vast experience of working with universities and hotels and understand the challenging security issues faced by these properties. Our Aelement electronic escutcheon platform provides them with the means to operate a totally keyless, secure environment. It provides a full audit trail of all door access, including what has been granted as well as rejected, and provides staff and students with access to all the areas they need automatically – removing the need for ad hoc access decision making.

“In conjunction with Salto’s virtual network (SVN) data-on-card technology, it allows the stand-alone locks to read, receive and write information via their operating smart cards or ‘intelligent’ keys. It works when this data is captured from the cards at doors and SVN online IP wall reader access points around the building. The SVN wall readers upload and download user related information that is then used to permit, control or deny access.”

David Towse, project manager at CLS Holdings plc, adds: “Residential accommodation, be it in universities or in hotels, can face a number of security issues so ensuring the safety of students and guests and their assets is a high priority. Controlling access therefore plays a very important role in securing and protecting both elements of this development at Spring Mews. The Salto Aelement solution, in conjunction with other elements of the security product platform, is secure, reliable and infinitely configurable, allowing us to set up, manage and control the properties securely and easily. Now that the system has been implemented, we’re pleased with the quality and efficiency of the product. Besides helping us move closer to the our vision for utilizing RFID technology and providing a keyless environment, the new Aelement system neatly leverages this technology, while helping us meet our goal to provide a safe and secure environment for our users.”

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