Is the entrance to your building known as the Main Entrance, Front Door, or HQ Front Door, HQ Door 1?
It’s possible that the same door could be described by different people in many different ways, especially if the building isn’t new.
People that have worked in the building or company for years, may know the history and why something is named in a specific way, as well as the multitude of other names it could be called, but this isn’t helpful for new staff, and can make things complicated when an installation grows to multiple buildings, sites or countries.
It’s therefore important to establish a consistent, easy to remember naming convention that can be applied throughout the whole system, but how do we put such a scheme together?
Step 1 – Define the structure of the naming convention
The first step is to define the structure and how many layers the naming convention will include.
In the example of a multi-national company, the structure might start by defining individual countries that the company is present in, this can then be divided into individual sites within each country.
If it’s a small organisation with two buildings, we might just skip the Country and Site and just start with Building 1 and Building 2 as the first layer, then be dividing each building into an individual floor, or zone.
Use as few layers as possible, but as many as you need to provide granularity.
It’s up to you how many layers are needed for each individual project, but if you are in any doubt whether a layer should exist or not, add it in. It will create more work in the beginning, but it will be much easier than trying to unpick and reconfigure a large system once it’s been installed and working for a while.
Also, take into account <delegation of administration>. An organisation may require different people to manage different buildings, sites or departments – if this is a requirement, these units of administration will need to be built into the naming convention as most access control systems will use a combination of labels and filters to restrict who can do what.
Step 2 – Agree on specific terminology
Define the terminology, names, nicknames and other attributes that may need to be incorporated.
For example, some organisations have a unique number for each building, which can be incorporated into the naming, e.g. Building 100 – Visitor Reception.
The way that each individual floor is named on architectural plans can also be used, for example, Basement, Ground Floor, Floor 1, Floor 2, or Floor A, Floor B or Floor C.
Anything that can be taken from building plans, policies or procedures that are unlikely to change over time will be useful to ensure that everyone is describing the same thing in the same way.
Top tip – Don’t make each individual component or term too long, in some cases, we may need or want to incorporate different elements into the naming – we don’t want to end up with massive names that are difficult to work with.
Step 3 – Implement the naming conventions
This is one of the most time-consuming steps in the entire process.
Consider whether the access control system you are working with supports the ability to import Door, Group or template names as it may be faster and easier to build the structure in a Microsoft Excel document or similar which can then be imported which will reduce some of the manual data entry.
If you are entering the same items in regularly, such as Building Names, Numbers or Regions, consider using a text replacement tool such as TextExpander – this allows you to create shortcuts that will expand into larger pieces of text to increase the speed at which you can work, for example b100 could be configured to represent Building 100.
Step 4 – Document the naming convention
This will make life easier for maintenance and will also enable new staff to understand the naming convention and rationale much faster, resulting in less training and questions further down the line.
If you used Microsoft Excel to build the scheme before importing it, this information could be easily laid out in a more attractive manner to create the documentation quickly and easily with a few extra sections on how the scheme has been defined.
Ensure that the documentation is updated when things are added or changed.