When the Hammersmith Palais was transformed from a rock’n’roll venue into modern, flexible student accommodation the developers, Pure Student Living, required a sophisticated access control system that could meet the needs of the building in its new incarnation.
Boasting 418 self-contained studios and an onsite gym, café and games room Pure Hammersmith, as it is now called, has come a long way since the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols were shaking its walls.
Revellers are no longer herded in and out of the building by burly door staff – now it is home to hundreds of students who want the flexibility to come and go as they please. As such the building requires an access control system able to cope with a large number of tenants entering and exiting at various times, not to mention a stream of visiting friends and family, and a regular turnover of those living there.
During the specification stage contractors Morgan Sindall realised the project needed a solution that combined this complex functionality with a high level of security and an aesthetic that matched the redevelopment, which is why they sought the help of industry leader Laidlaw Ironmongery.
Laidlaw Ironmongery National Sales Manager David May explains: “Because of our technical expertise Morgan Sindall asked us to provide the access control system for all of the pod bedroom doors and provide a schedule and technical assistance for the rest of the site. This meant integrating entrance barriers and controlling online doors in the communal areas throughout the whole project. We then set up the software that enables it to operate and secure the building as a whole.”
As a result Laidlaw’s smart-card Salto SVN access system – which uses battery operated, high security access control locksets capable of offering many of the features of networked access control without a hard-wired network – was identified as the best solution in conjunction with the company’s Aelement range of electric locks.
“The building is used at different times by different people and the Salto access control system gives Pure Hammersmith the flexibility to issue access cards that can be reprogrammed. For example cards can be coded to give people access for a short amount of time or to certain areas of the building without having to change anything on the door or cut new keys,” says David May. Conversely if leaving tenants do not return their cards, or if cards are lost, they can simply be cancelled, which provides residents with an extra level of security.
Since Pure Hammersmith opened for business the system has been living up to expectations says Pure Student Living operations manager David Cocker: “It works well and parents are always pleased to see controls in place. It’s robust and maintenance on the barriers is simple with breakdowns few and far between.” Alongside the access system Laidlaw provided integrated ironmongery throughout the building. The company prides itself on working closely with contractors and architects which is why, after consultation with Morgan Sindall and Make Architects, products including pull handles, push plates, door stops, signs, kicks plates and escutcheons were chosen from its Centurion range.
In a building housing so many people compliance with fire regulations is also a key factor. Ensuring residents can evacuate quickly and safely is crucial and stainless steel panic bolts were installed in corridors to comply with EN1125 regulations. In addition, high performance concealed door closers with FD60 fire rating were specified since they offer the same efficiency as overhead door closers but greater visual appeal.
The robust nature of the Centurion ironmongery range ensures that its products are able to cope with the strain they are likely to come under in a busy student environment and, for added peace of mind, the range comes with a warranty. But its hardy character doesn’t detract from its crisp design which manifests itself in clean stainless-steel lines that match the modern interior of the building.
By opting for Laidlaw’s integrated ironmongery and access system Pure Hammersmith will also benefit from an efficient and effective aftercare service. If any issues arise Laidlaw can swiftly respond says David May: “We provide one source of specification and one source of contact. We take full responsibility for access and ironmongery so our site services team can go out and sort any problems quickly without any arguments over whose responsibility it is.” He adds: “Where an access control system is installed by an engineering contractor and the door furniture by a different ironmongery supplier there is often a lack of correlation which can cause conflict.”
This kind of joined-up approach is vital in the smooth running of a large, heavily used development. Although the building dates back to 1909 – and nods to its colourful past are doted around its walls in the form of vintage posters and artwork that pays tribute to the bands that have performed there – Laidlaw has ensured it has an access system fit for its future.