Elevator Access Control Cost [Including a Free Method]

Elevator access control is the selective restriction of elevator use. Elevator card readers, key fob systems, or any other tool for elevator floor lockout is part of the access control system. If you’re looking for information on the best method for your elevator (and the cost), then you’ve come to the right place.

The price of an elevator access control system can vary quite a bit. We’ll review each option, starting with the most expensive systems, and ending with a zero-cost choice.

Before we get into it, it’s important to understand three things:

  1. Each elevator system is different. The purpose of this guide is to outline options, but it’s your job to check if your elevator has the capabilities you need.
  2. The hardware you choose, like the card reader, key fob, RFID, key switch, etc. will change the cost slightly. In most cases, elevator work is the most expensive portion. Therefore, this article will focus on the elevator cost of building access systems.
  3. Each location may have slightly different elevator code. Make sure you understand the elevator code and permit requirements in your area. Also, make sure that elevator fire service recall will bypass the option you select.

Now let’s get started.

Here are seven ways to control elevator access (in order of cost).

7. Elevator Destination Dispatch Technology

Destination Dispatch Systems are the most expensive option for elevator access control. But for a good reason. Destination technology is for high traffic multi-bank elevators that seek efficiency in moving building traffic. While the system focuses on improving a passenger’s time to destination, it also offers many other features – including elevator access control.

Elevator manufacturers like Schindler, Otis, Kone, ThyssenKrupp, and MCE all offer a product. Each system provides a built-in access control system and a solution for third party integration.

Elevator Destination Dispatch Technology for Elevator Access Control
Elevator Destination Dispatch Hall Station

6. Elevator Lobby Command Stations

Next in line is the Lobby Command Station. With a focus on elevator usage, traffic monitoring and scheduling – these systems also provide building access features. Elevator manufacturers offer hardware and software for this product.

  • MCE offers a product called the iMonitor
  • Schindler has a similar item called Lobby Vision
  • KONE sells E-Link
  • And finally, there’s an independent company that links all of these systems together (if you have multiple types of elevators in one building) which is called LiftNet.

5. Enterprise Building Security Systems

Building access and security companies like Honeywell, Schlage, and ADT offer cloud-based systems with state of the art technology – like biometric and mobile phone access. These companies charge monthly fees which can range quite a bit.

In addition to the monthly fee, costly elevator work might be required. For example, the card reader needs to pull data from the elevator cab to the service provider. In this case, the elevator may need a new traveling cable to send that data.

4. Elevator Card Readers For Access Control

Although the companies listed in # 5 can provide card readers, a stand-alone elevator card reader is another option. Without cloud storage, mobile access, and other features, this option would be slightly less expensive.

However, the same traveling cable issues apply. Check what type of wires your card reader needs for power. If the cables aren’t available, the total price of the project will increase.

Elevator Card Reader
Two types of elevator card readers mounted to a COP (Car Operating Panel)

3. Elevator Keypad for Access Control

The next cheapest option is the Keypad. Without the need for individual cards, RFIDs, and card management, this option only requires one piece of hardware – the PIN pad itself.

The pin pad can be mounted in the elevator and scheduled with a timer only to activate floors at specific times. Multiple vendors sell keypads.

Elevator Keypad Access Control
Two types of elevator Keypads mounted to a COP

2. Elevator Key Switch For Access Control

Very similar in price to the PIN pad is a key switch and key to activate and deactivate the floor. Depending on how many individual levels need to be locked off, this option would be more expensive than a keypad if you need more than 5-10 key switches.

Elevator Key Switch Floor Lockout
Elevator key switches installed to lockout floor access

1. Push Button PIN Pad – The Free Method for Elevator Access Control

Finally, the free option for elevator access control.

Just like the title says, you can turn your elevator floor buttons into a PIN pad to activate and deactivate floors. The elevator floor buttons are inside the elevator cab’s main COP (Car Operating Panel).

Let’s say you have a five-story elevator that serves floors 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 – and you decide to restrict access to the 4th floor. You can activate an existing security feature that requires a PIN code before the elevator will go to the 4th floor. Let’s say you want the PIN to be “1122”. You’d need to press the 1st-floor call button twice and the 2nd-floor call button twice before pressing the 4th floor. If you enter the correct PIN, the elevator will travel to the 4th floor. If you don’t enter the correct PIN (or no PIN), the elevator will not go to the 4th floor – even if you press the button.

Since these features already exist, you’d need your elevator mechanic to activate them. Depending on your elevator maintenance contract type, you could have your mechanic enable this feature at no additional cost.

Here’s a product manual for MCE’s COP PIN security feature, which describes how to activate the system on this controller type.

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