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Campus Estate Management


Campus Estate Management

Keith Parry, Divisional Sales Manager at Alpro Architectural Hardware, considers access control needs at further education sites and reviews recent Alpro installations.
The range of access control products required by facility managers at academic institutions is not only dependent on the profile of the student population but also on campus type. Clearly, a ‘red brick’ university of the 1970s created on a greenfield site or a modern piece of architecture is going to have different needs from an Edwardian façade in London’s Regent Street.

Recent installations of Alpro equipment have ranged from use of electric bolts at the University of Westminster’s headquarters in the West End of London to use of transom door closers at the University of Portsmouth. The Regent Street site was built in 1911 while the Portsmouth site gained university status in 1992 and many of the buildings date from this time.

The Westminster campus faces onto a street that was designed by John Nash (architect to George IV) and where every single structure is protected as a listed building at Grade II status or above. Installers working in historic buildings appreciate that the flexibility of the Alpro 12vDC stainless steel electric bolt and strike plate assemblies means that they can be fitted in the door frame or on the door itself with the option of a dress plate for covering the aluminium faceplate. 

Facilities managers can set the auto relock function for 0, 3, 6 or 9 seconds and installers can use a chromate steel surface mounting kit where required. These features mean that end-users have maximum ability to ensure that doors of all types which are already in situ and have proved acceptable to planning authorities in terms of architectural integrity can be secured. Access control equipment that necessitates use of inappropriate doors at historic sites can do a lot more than spoil a tourist’s photograph; it can undermine the aesthetic integrity of a whole neighbourhood.

At the University of Westminster, the flexible settings accommodate different types of usage on weekdays and at weekends both during term time and vacations. The Regent Street site has a ramped entrance and stair climbers, and the Alpro units have been installed in compliance with the Disability and Discrimination Act 2004. The Alpo bolts and strike plates are protecting a building which houses the Vice Chancellor’s office, the school of social sciences and the departments of humanities and languages. The Regent Street premises have been a centre for public education since 1840.

By contrast, the University of Portsmouth gained university status in 1992. While part of the campus is integrated into the town’s civic buildings and the university has become integrated with much older vocational colleges attached to the nearby dockyards, the highlights of the two Portsmouth campuses are a £9m dental academy which opened only this year, a virtual reality centre and an ultra-modern ‘green’ library extension with sustainability features such as roof light maximisation and natural ventilation.

At Portsmouth, Alpro worked with installers and fabricators DWP Glazing Systems to implement transom closers. The overhead closers are a means of hydraulically controlling the opening and closing of aluminium doors and can have light, medium or heavy spring strengths to suit type of usage, with a 90 degree hold-open option. Even within these three weight categories, the latching and closing force of the units can be fine-tuned with use of adjustment screws. 

Gosport-based DWP are a leading manufacturer and integrator with a 25-year track record and prestigious portfolio in window and access control products. DWP use these closers extensively and their clients benefit from durability which has been tested independently at 250,000 double-action cycles to EN 1154, performance that means disruption to campus life through maintenance and replacement is minimal. Transom closers are well suited to use at universities and colleges since alternative options such as spring hinges and floor springs present problems in terms of lack of adjustment flexibility which is crucial for a student population.

As with the electric bolts used at Westminster, the transom door closers can be installed discreetly and are based on a design which allows them to be contained within the transom header bar of the door. The concealed operation has lent itself to the emphasis on architectural integrity at Portsmouth with new buildings being entered for architectural awards and the library extension receiving a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’. Being able to use Alpro’s transom closers within doors that have first-rate thermal characteristics has contributed to the University of Portsmouth’s commitment to minimising its carbon footprint.

The Times has rated the University of Portsmouth as the fifth-best modern university in the UK. Its impressive alumni include Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry, astronaut Timothy Peake and BBC television presenter Ben Fogle.  The current student population is over 21,000.

The University of Westminster is of a similar size with 20,000 students from 150 countries and is recognised for excellence in both undergraduate achievement and research work across art and design, electronic engineering and the media. Former students of the University of Westminster include fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and pop musician Charlie Watts. 

Alpro Architectural Hardware are based in Poole, Dorset. The range of access control and door hardware products includes deadlocks, deadlatches, cabinet locks, shearlocks, cylinders, transom door closers, waterproof keypads, and infrared proximity switches. 



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