London’s Spring Mews development secured by integrated RFID access control solution

The new Spring Mews development in central London

The new Spring Mews development in central London

Spring Mews – a recently-completed mixed use scheme consisting of 378 en suite student bedrooms together with a 93-bed suite hotel and office development (itself a central part of one of London’s largest regeneration projects) – is underpinned by advanced contactless access control technology designed for security control throughout the site.

Developed by FTSE 250 company CLS Holdings plc in partnership with Fresh Student Living and Staybridge Suites London, the £50 million Spring Mews site on Glasshouse Walk (which forms part of the regeneration of the Nine Elms area of Vauxhall) is one of more than 20 interconnected development schemes that are changing the face of 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 underused areas.

The regeneration area in which Spring Mews is located spans 195 hectares on the South Bank of the River Thames and lies within walking distance of the Houses of Parliament, Sloane Square, Tate Britain, Battersea Park and The Oval, the celebrated home of Surrey County Cricket Club.

The district extends from Lambeth Bridge in the north to Chelsea Bridge in the south, in turn 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 and it’s by far the largest regeneration zone in central London, including as it does the last remaining industrial stretch of the South Bank.

The development potential of this prime central London location has attracted billions of pounds of private sector investment while the area-wide regeneration programme has already begun to transform the district on an extraordinary scale.

The security challenge

Combining a student accommodation complex and a hotel into 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 system needed to efficiently run and manage multiple rooms in both developments and be fully-integrated with the Axis Communications CCTV and Galaxy intruder alarm systems with everything being controlled from one front end Maxxess E-Fusion’ Graphical User Interface (GUI).

From a security perspective, the essential requirements were:

*the need to secure all internal doors

*simple and quick installation

*the use of RFID escutcheons for the doors so that 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 the use of the very latest technology which had to offer easy upgrade paths

*integration with other systems (notably the CCTV and intruder alarm solution)

*the ability to be able to track and replace key cards in use

*the ability to remotely manage the access control system across both the student accommodation and hotel properties from one central location if required

Student accommodation and the hotel

The 378-bed student accommodation complex has been designed to relieve pressure on local housing stock and is ideal for students preferring to be closer to the cultural/social life and job opportunities of central London.

This accommodation is configured so that 75% of the rooms are cluster beds to be shared by either seven or eight students, each with their own en suite bathroom and shared kitchen facilities.

The remaining rooms are studio apartments, each with large en suite bathrooms and kitchenettes.

Facilities include a gym and swimming pool, common rooms, study areas, high speed broadband, games rooms, laundry facilities, a cinema, secure cycle storage and 24-hour concierge and security services.

The building sits only a few minutes’ walk away from the Vauxhall London Underground national rail station giving easy access to a large variety of London universities including Kings College, Imperial, the University of Roehampton, University of the Arts and South Bank University.

The 93-bed Staybridge suite hotel provides modern and comfortable studio or one-bedroom rooms designed for residents with longer stay requirements. Guests benefit from a large breakout and eating area on the ground floor. There’s 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 (an approved SALTO Service Centre and a UK-wide specialist electrical systems provider chosen to design, supply, install and commission the various security components), CLS Holdings plc was able to find both a suite of systems and suppliers that could deliver the project. 

The security solution

CLS Holdings plc selected SALTO’s Aelement product as the access control platform for its door security solution. This not only complements the modern aesthetics of the building and its design, but also operates seamlessly and discreetly in the background while affording end users reliable, unobtrusive 24/7 protection.

Aelement has been developed with 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 benefits 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. As this technology appears on more smart phones, if they wish, end users will be able to use their NFC-enabled smart phones to emulate a Mifare smart card, thereby turning the phone into their room key. This in-built technology gives building operators the ability to continuously upgrade their security without having to upgrade their locks, saving them long-term operating costs while providing them with what they need most – total control.

Phillip Miller, managing director at ABCA Systems, explained: “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 on its doors so it was vital that the solution we recommended was robust, technologically advanced, scalable and capable of standing the test of time.”

Alan Horrobin, SALTO’s area sales manager, added: “Our Aelement electronic escutcheon platform provides end users with the means to operate a totally keyless secure environment. It allows a full audit trail of all door access including what has been granted as well as rejected and provides staff and students alike with access to all the areas they need automatically, in trun removing the need for ad hoc access decision-making.”

Horrobin added: “In conjunction with SALTO’s Virtual Network (SVN) Data-on-Card technology, Aelement 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’s then used to permit, control or deny access.”

The end result

David Towse, project manager at CLS Holdings plc, told Risk UK: “Be it in universities or hotels, residential accommodation can face a number of security issues. Ensuring the safety of students and guests as well as 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.”

Towse went on to state: “In conjunction with other elements of the security product platform, the SALTO Aelement solution is secure, reliable and infinitely configurable allowing us to set up, manage and control both properties securely and easily. Besides helping us move closer to our vision for using RFID technology and providing a keyless environment, the new Aelement system helps us to meet our goal of providing both a safe and secure environment for our user communities.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

Related Posts