Residential and retail in one

October 2005 Access Control & Identity Management

Project scope

The project consists of two hotels (apartments) in Sandton, each with its own parkade. In total there are 190 apartments in the Michelangelo Towers, with two levels of retail area linking to the Mandela Square shopping levels. The Raphael Apartments consist of 60 apartments with its own parkade (part of the Square parking blocked off exclusively for tenant/guest use). The common access areas count for over 60 access points.

The project is still in progress and is expected to be completed in the next few months.

The history

Gallagher Security Management Systems is in the process of installing a Cardax access control system to the Michelangelo Towers and Raphael Apartments development in Sandton. Part of the system is utilising biometrics on a large scale as the basis of gaining access control.

Access control forms an integral part of our society. It is not a question of thinking about whether it is required any more - it is more a question of to what extent must it be implemented. This is guided by the customer's perceived risk and what their operations require of them to provide.

The customer wanted to provide an apartment building/hotel with state-of-the-art finishes and services. This would also require a higher level of security. This meant a different technology would have to be used. The customer wanted biometrics, not only on the general access areas, but also as part of the hotel security (room access control).

The challenge is to learn the new technologies and integrate them into a total security solution.

With every new technology there are also growing pains. Having to find out the pitfalls in getting the equipment to work, the kind of pitfalls not covered by the documentation.

The solution

The Cardax platform was chosen for the general access control with BioScript fingerprint readers, complemented with Mifare proximity card readers. Cardax was chosen because of its proven reliability and our extensive knowledge of the product. The BioScript readers were chosen because of the operational requirements of the customer as well as aesthetics.

On the hotel lock side the only network-able hotel lock using biometrics was a product from Adel in China. This was our one real unknown factor as it was the only product of its kind at the time available in the market. There were no working sites with the product in South Africa when it was selected.

The goals

As with implementation of any new product, it is imperative to use the manufacturer prescriptions for installation and following it to the tee. Also, working on the highest building being built in Gauteng in the last decade, care had to be taken on planning the system distribution, reticulation, etc.

The proverbial one of its kind concept is the end goal. The building, by nature of its size, already stands out. It goes without saying that the services must follow suit.

Obstacles en route to a final solution

There were plenty of obstacles. The issues related to site work and coordinating services (part of the normal process, just magnified by the size of the project) aside, the biggest obstacles were to implement a technology not known in the country, and to get it to a point where the end-user is comfortable with the operation thereof.


The project was a negotiated project with the consultants and end-user. The only way to tackle problems is to follow the rules as stipulated by the manufacturers, and to draw from past knowledge and experience. The project started off with a conceptual design, followed by specification, detailed design and only then the implementation.

Progress was measured on 2 steps, installation progress and commissioning progress.

Fact file

Consultants: Claassen Auret.

System integrator: Security & Fire Projects, Ferdi Jansen, 011 496 1701.


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