Chevron's revolving door policy
Chevron's revolving door policy

Apr 1, 2000 12:00 PM
Michael Fickes

Revolving doors play a key role in the security system that protects Chevron Corp's massive Chevron Park facility in San Ramon, Calif.

The office park covers more than 143 acres with 1.5 million square feet of office space and 17 parking lots serving the needs of 3,500 to 3,700 employees and contractors every day.

Employees and authorized individuals use photo-ID proximity cards to pass in and out of the Chevron facility's 15 buildings. A software product called C*Cure 1 Plus, developed by Software House, a subsidiary of the Sensormatic Electronics Corp., Boca Raton, Fla., manages card access to the facility.

The core application and networking software run on a VAX platform with the VMS operating system. Power Macintosh workstations using a Macintosh operating system provide the graphical front-end. The system networks Chevron Park together with two other Chevron facilities located in the San Francisco Bay area, while providing a stand-alone host at each site. The master host in Chevron Park replicates all the data and updates it at each of the host sites in real time.

Because of Chevron Park's unique layout and the confidential data inside the office park, its security needs go beyond those of Chevron's other office parks.

Twelve of the 15 buildings on the campus form a circle enclosing an interior courtyard. Breezeway structures connect each of these buildings, with sets of revolving, ADA-compliant swing doors leading into each of the breezeways and each of the buildings.

The badge readers at the ADA swing doors will admit people with disabilities only, while everyone else must pass through the revolving doors, which work smoothly with the security system and its readers.

Safesec Corp., Ontario, Calif., supplies the revolving doors and attendant technology. The company installed 26 revolving doors on the Chevron Park campus in 1984. Four of those doors originally protected entrances and interior areas in one of the buildings within the complex. Those doors were removed a year ago when the tenants decided the building did not warrant such high-level security.

The 22 remaining Safesec doors control the comings and goings in the main complex. "These doors have worked well for a long time," says Jeff Jorge, project manager for the Chevron Real Estate Management Company (CREMCO), the Chevron subsidiary responsible for managing the company's properties and facilities. "They were first installed 16 years ago and have required very little maintenance. Over the years, we have replaced two, but the others have required no major repairs."

According to Safesec, individual doors will admit up to 350 people per hour. If all 3,500 people were to arrive at the same time and line up outside the complex, it would take only about a half-hour for them to card in.

Chevron has also found it easy to adapt the doors to successive generations of access control technology. When the company installed the C*Cure 1 Plus system five years ago, a simple change in the doors' programmable logic controllers set the appropriate interface with the new access control technology.

Currently, Jorge is working with Safesec to upgrade the revolving doors to more current technology called S2000, which provides additional support for the security system.

"Our system is easy to upgrade," says Milan Schwarz, president of Safesec. "We upgrade the scanning system and the controller. Everything else stays the same. Because the design allows us to change only the electronics, the cost of upgrading is not great."

The original doors cost between $42,000 and $45,000 each. As technology costs have declined, so has the price of new doors. Today's more advanced models cost about $30,000.

Still, it costs less to retrofit the doors with new technology than to replace them. According to Schwarz, a technology retrofit costs on average between $4,000 and $5,000 per door.

Because Jorge is also replacing some of the 16-year-old mechanical pieces, his retrofits are running about $15,000 each, still less than the cost of a new door.

Despite the low cost, the new Safesec technology adds important features to the revolving doors. "The difference is that the new technology has anti-piggybacking, anti-tailgating and voice annunciation," says Sonja Hobson, vice president of operations for Safesec.

The new features rely on Safesec's Sensonic Scanning System, which detects and makes judgments about shapes inside the quadrants of the revolving door. The sensor, for example, distinguishes between shapes large enough to be one person, one person and a package, and two people. Different settings cause the door to refuse entry to a person with a package or two people by stopping, reversing, and backing people out. The system will also log such an event and report it to the host access control system.

Similarly, the Safesec sensor system prevents tailgating. Tailgating occurs when an authorized person steps into a quadrant and an unauthorized person steps into the following quadrant and attempts to follow the first person into the building. The system recognizes the ploy, stops the door's rotation, and gently backs up forcing the unauthorized person out.

The sensing system also performs anti-passback functions to prevent an unauthorized person outside the building from stepping into a doorway quadrant and use an authorization allotted to a person exiting the building.

If set to do so, this feature also works in the opposite direction, preventing an unauthorized person from leaving the building when someone outside cards in.

"The technology will also report when someone tries to use the door without a card," Schwarz says. "So the door not only rejects the person, it can signal the access control system to turn on a CCTV camera in the area. This is how our technology enhances other security systems."

The S2000 controller communicates with a building's fire safety system. When a fire alarm activates, the controller cuts power to the door, which releases the electromagnetic wing-locking mechanism that holds the door in its operating position. When these locks release, the wings of the doors pivot to an open position, allowing people to exit on either side of the door's center pole.

Additional benefits of advanced revolving security door technology include the elimination of security officers to monitor entry and lower utility costs. Since the doors remain closed - even while revolving to admit someone - heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems work more efficiently.

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