Adapting Access Control Procedures to Social Distancing


Temperature Screening

Generally, access control is thought of protecting your facility from a physical threat like that an intruder threatening the employees or property. But in the wake of coronavirus, a facility's access control measures have extended to ensuring no potential COVID positive employees or visitors (who would be otherwise harmless) are granted entry to the facility. Allowing access to one such individual can be enough to create a domino effect in an office environment, causing the virus to spread from one employee to another, even before symptoms are present. As workplaces adapt to social distancing guidelines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are having to drastically change the way they allow access to their facilities. 

While some Americans can work safely from home, other industries require employees in-house to function properly, and these facilities have had to make changes to their physical access control systems and everyday routine in order to keep the same level of security at their facilities.  In fact, bolstered access control systems may be required in order to ensure the safety of employees.

Social Distancing at Your Gate

Ballistic Guard House

For example, as employees come through the facility’s entrance gate, they may typically be greeted by a security officer to check their credentials before granting them access to the facility.  However, with social distancing guidelines, this interaction should occur with as little face to face and physical item contact as possible. 

To adapt to this, the facility’s guard shack can be outfitted with an exterior mounted ID scanner so the employee can scan the identification themselves, or the officer can use a handheld scanner to verify the ID through their side window. In both cases, there is a physical barrier between the guard and the employee to protect both parties.

In this scenario, the guard's (or guard shack's) scanner system would be outfitted with an additional screen showing the employee's photo ID. This way, the officer can verify the person's identity through their window before lifting the entrance's gate.

Protecting Staff at The Building's Entrance

Ex. of booth with the sliding window as a temp. screening booths

After entering the facility gates, there is another security hurdle that facilities must handle: ensuring COVID positive people do not enter.  Many businesses have opted to install screening areas at their entrances in order to take people’s temperatures before entering.  However, the employee taking temperatures will also need protection themselves.  They can use PPE (along with the employees entering the facility) to protect from virus transmission, but they are still subject to the extreme temperatures and precipitation, standing outside the entrance of the building.  

To provide a comfortable, safe environment to take these temperatures, Panel Built has provided temperature screening booths that can be easily installed by a facility's entrance.  Our temperature screening booths provide an enclosed, HVAC-controlled environment with an interior mounted countertop, interior lighting, and electric charging stations.  When not checking temperatures through the sliding glass window, the booth offers a fully-functioning work station, so the employee can take care of other business in between entrants. These buildings are semi-permanent and portable, so if they are no longer needed in the future, they can be repurposed around the facility at a later date. 

Some facilities do not have the appropriate space at the entrance of their facility to add a screening booth or may require a larger number of temperature screeners at their facility. In these instances, installing a new screening area inside the building may be the most efficient option. This area could act as an interior vestibule added to the building entrance, keeping the screening area separate from the rest of the facility.

Screeners can be stationed behind protected barriers within the screening vestibule, allowing them to permit or deny entry depending on infrared thermometer results. In addition to checking temperatures, screeners may question employees on recent health developments like having a new cough, trouble breathing, muscle aches, sore throat, etc. Employees should keep socially distant and wear masks in this area.

Ultimately, it is important to note that temperature screening, while a useful way to protect the workplace, will not be 100% effective. Asymptomatic COVID positive people can have a completely normal temperature and would therefore not be caught by the temperature screening area. For this reason, it is important for workplaces and employees to still enforce and practice social distancing protocols, handwashing, and PPE usage within the office. These measures, when used appropriately are highly effective at preventing the spread from person to person.

How Panel Built can Help Promote a Safer Workplace

Swab Testing Booth
Ex. of Panel Built swab booth with gloves to take a nasal swab test

One of the primary benefits of Panel Built's building systems is that they can be delivered and installed into a facility incredibly quickly and seamlessly. For companies that are looking to implement these changes to their access control systems, Panel Built offers a great deal of flexibility in our structures to best fit your facility's needs. For example, we offer a line of temperature screening booths that allows an attendant to more safely screen your employees. However, these booths can be designed to fit multiple temperature screeners with separate work stations if the entrance sees heavy traffic.

This ability to create custom designs goes for all of our products. If you're not sure what the best layout or design is for your facility, Panel Built works with a network of dealers throughout the United States; our dealers can personally come to your facility (socially distanced, of course) to help you design a layout/configuration to suit your company.

Over the course of the pandemic, Panel Built, Inc. has developed a variety of new solutions to help companies and organizations in need of unique space solutions. We have developed Swab Testing Booths to help medical professionals safely administer nasal swab tests on a large scale, Isolation Rooms to quickly create patient rooms for COVID positive patients, and our temperature screening areas for facility entrances.

As we have throughout our 25 years in operation, we are always trying to adapt our buildings and structures to best serve our customers' needs. If there's a particular application or space need that your facility has due to the pandemic (like dividing up an open office space), just let us know. We are more than happy to work with you to design the best space for your company. You can give us a call at 800.636.3873, send us an email to, or let us know in our LiveChat feature in the bottom-right of the page.