The Vertex student apartment community, just one block from the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, AZ, was once a trailer park. Today, it is one of the nation’s premier student housing complexes, as well as a prime example of American Direct’s distinct ability to provide totally integrated safety and security solutions.
The client, Hardison Downey Construction, contracted American Direct to provide opening integration for more than 2,800 doors across five buildings — including door frames and hardware, pre-hung doors, closets, baseboards, shelving, and access control, as well as installation and after-market services
Several trades were involved, but American Direct took the lead in ensuring every opening was fully integrated. American Direct Senior Sales Representatives, Chris Gabbard and Austin Cummings, worked with a consulting team chosen by Hardison Downey to create a product specification list that would exceed the performance expectations. To further solidify implementation, American Direct conducted two coordination meetings. The first meeting, with the owner and design team, ensured that the project scope was complete and 100% accurate. The second meeting was held with all trades involved, providing a door-by-door walk-through to ensure everyone was on the same page with what needed to be accomplished.
Originally, the contract between Hardison Downey and American Direct didn’t include access control. Hardison Downey’s Project Director, Steve Shaw, says he knew he could hire electricians or low voltage contractors who could assist with access control, but once Gabbard and Cummings explained how the entire project could be turnkey, utilizing American Direct’s Regional Fulfillment Center in Tempe, the complete package was awarded to American Direct.
Cummings says that the turnkey operation eliminates the scope gaps because the general contractor has one contact — American Direct — to call if there is an issue with a door, hardware, camera or any aspect of the openings. Even with post-construction, in the turnkey model, the responsibility begins and ends with American Direct. This concept removes question in anyone’s mind as to who will resolve an issue, should one arise. Shaw says, “It was great to have a single source that we could communicate with regarding what areas in the apartment buildings needed specific access, who (students, employees, etc.) needed to be given access, and who would pre-program the lock fobs and work with the end user to make sure everything met their needs.”
Another benefit to the turnkey package is American Direct’s ability to react quickly to unexpected schedule changes — and of course, in this industry, the only constant is change. American Direct’s installation technicians for mechanical doors and access control are cross-trained and if necessary can step up to the plate to fill in to accommodate those schedule changes. That is far better than taking the time to contact different installation companies and hope that they can act just as quickly and just as effectively.
According to American Direct’s Vice President of Contract Account Management, Adam Kincaid, “Having the Fulfillment Centers close to the job sites allows us to have boots on the ground and efficiently accomplish so much more.”
TOTALLY INTEGRATED SAFETY AND SECURITY SOLUTION
For 2,800 openings across five buildings, the bundled turnkey package included:
- Schlage offline deadbolts (battery operated) at the unit entry doors
- 30 hardwired card reader doors (online and connected to a server in real time) around the perimeter
- 50 POE (Power Over Ethernet) cameras
An important part of the consulting component included choosing the product that could handle online and offline locks and selecting the most functional and operational brand of camera. Instead of using a low-resolution analog camera, Cummings recommended the POE cameras because of the high resolution and the functionality requirements of this project.
“One can easily identify people and activities on the camera. We suggested a network video recorder as a server to communicate with the camera and VMS (Video Management Software) as the interface to view live video or play back video,” says Cummings.
A special feature of the VMS includes a timestamp. Cummings sets up a scenario: “Let’s say we install a camera at the front door and it’s integrated with the card reader. If someone reads their card at that door, that read is time stamped on the video taken on the camera. If for any reason someone wants to see that video, we can do it with one click because of the time stamp. We don’t have to search that time parameter, saving time all the way around. The more we can tie together and integrate together, the more we can keep in our project scope,” says Cummings.
The credential management tool selected for this project was Open Options. It is a single software platform to manage both the offline locks and the hard-wired locks on the perimeter. Without this single platform and American Direct’s direction, the general contractor would need one company to handle the offline locks, one for hard-wired, and yet another one for the cameras.
Bedrooms within the Vertex Apartments use traditional keyed locks, however the students use a key FOB for the apartment entry, amenity areas and parking garage. With this one credential, it’s easy to cancel or assign access when tenants move in and out with the use of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), eliminating the need for locksmiths and new keys, saving time and money. Cummings says that the future of access control in buildings like Vertex Apartments includes the use of wi-fi locks instead of offline deadbolts. In that case, the PDA will no longer be necessary as all changes to the lock (adding or deleting tenant access) will occur via Wi-Fi.