Frequently asked questions

  1. Why doesn’t my card work?
  2. What happens if my card is lost or stolen?
  3. I am a member of staff and I am also studying on a University programme Do I need two UCards?
  4. I am a student and a part-time member of staff. Do I need two UCards?
  5. What do I do with the UCard when someone leaves the University?
  6. How do I use my new card with contact-less readers?
  7. How can I have additional building access added to my card?
  8. Why do I have to reactivate my card every 24 hours?
  9. If my card is lost or stolen, could someone just walk into a building?
  10. Why do most doors now have a reader to exit instead of just a push button or handle?
  11. How do I request more time for the door to remain open?
  12. How do I get out in an emergency, has my safety been compromised?
  13. Why is there no barcode on my card?
  14. Why do I not need a PIN anymore, has this made the card less secure?
  15. Why does my new UCard have less information on it?

1. Why doesn’t my card work?

If your card doesn’t permit you access to a building that; you either did have access to or; you thought you had access to please get in touch with your UCard administrator first. 

If you are on a fixed term contract, or a programme of study, the UCard system will automatically terminate building access and library privileges dependent on the data held in the  University Student and Personnel systems. If you think this is a possibility, please check with your personnel manager or admissions administrator in case your contract/programme of study extension date has not appeared on the relevant system.

If you are using your UCard outside of normal working hours, your UCard Administrator is not available, and require immediate access please call Security Services on (92) 87848.  We may be able to accompany you in and out of your building (operational commitments permitting), but we will not be able to give you temporary access entitlements without the appropriate authority first.

If you have tried to initialise your UCard on a Silver Salto and this has failed, or you have problems accessing a door with a silver Salto reader that you have access to, please bring the card to Security reception, Royal Fort Lodge where the card can be checked and amended, if necessary.  Failure to initialise is indicated on the silver Salto by an immediate red light, or blue then red light.  Successful initialisation of the card is indicated on the reader by a blue then green light.

If you suspect there is a physical issue with a reader on the door access system, please report the fault.

2. What happens if my card is lost or stolen?

As soon as you think that you have lost your card or it has been stolen, please call Security Services on 0117 92 87848 24-hours per day where we can deactivate all functions on your card immediately, this will prevent it being used in any UCard systems. If you subsequently find your card it can be re-activated without charge. Alternatively a replacement card can be obtained at Card Services at the Security Lodge in Royal Fort Gardens, Tyndall Avenue.  The old card will be permanently deactivated and there will be a charge for the new card.  See more information on lost cards.

3. I am a member of staff and I am also studying on a University programme. Do I need two UCards?

No, you will only receive one staff UCard. Although you are enrolled on a programme, as a member of staff this takes precedence when library privileges, access rights, etc. are automatically assigned.

If required you can request a 'registered student card' this can be used to identify the card holder as a student but it cannot be used for; access control, borrowing books, sports membership, etc.

4. I am a student and a part-time member of staff. Do I need two UCards?

No, you will only receive one student UCard. If required, additional access rights can be assigned but this must be authorised by the appropriate faculty, department administration or building manager.

5. What do I do with my UCard when I leave the University?

Please ensure that your UCard is returned, with all University property, including keys, to your Head of Department on or before your last day of service or programme.

Old UCards should be disposed of as confidential waste, or sent for disposal to Card Services at Royal Fort Lodge.

6. How do I use my new card with contact-less readers?

The UCard has a microchip embedded within it which stores your access code - instead of on a magnetic strip: this is the same technology as a bank card.  To use; simply touch the card to any reader where you see the UCard logo. Your UCard currently also has a magnetic strip which will allow you to use the existing readers, while they are replaced with smart card readers, without the need to do anything to your card.  Once the current readers have been replaced, future UCards will not have a magnetic strip.

The first time you use your card you must initialise it by following these instructions.

There is also more information about the new readers and how to use them.

7. How can I have additional building access added to my card?

If you wish to have additional access added to your card, you must contact the appropriate  UCard administrator.  Provided the change has been authorised by your head of department, the UCard Administrator is able to make any changes.

Should you need access to buildings outside your department’s control, please ask your head of department to complete the request to extend building access form and email to the relevant UCard Administrator(s).

8. Why do I have to reactivate my card every 24 hours?

The new UCard system has been designed to work with both online (networked) and offline readers. In order to make sure offline reader information is as up-to-date as possible, and to prevent unreported lost or stolen cards being used by anyone, other than the card holder, your card needs to be regularly reactivated.  Reactivation is an automatic process which occurs every time you present your card to an online Salto reader (The type you see at main entrance(s)).  This needs to be done at least once every 24-hours otherwise your card will not be able to open any offline Salto door readers that you normally have access to.  All other functions remain unaffected.  Don’t worry if you are away or on leave for more than 24-hours, or out of the office for the weekend, you will just need to make sure that you reactivate your card at an online Salto reader on your return – your card will not lose any of its information.

9. If my card is lost or stolen, could someone just walk into a building?

We have built in a number of security features into the UCard system which will limit the time in which the card can be used, e.g. card reactivation for offline readers and biometric verification for high risk locations or buildings.  But you must still report your card as lost or stolen as soon as possible to Security Services on 0117 92 87848 24-hours per day where we can deactivate all functions on your card immediately.  This will prevent it being used in any UCard systems.  If you subsequently find your card,  before a replacement is issued, it can be reactivated. If a replacement is needed straightaway, the process of printing a new card permanently deactivates your previous card.

10. Why do most doors now have a reader to exit instead of just a push button or handle?

Many walk-in thefts and burglaries that occur at the University are as a result of tailgating into a building, stealing something from a room or office and then finding the nearest external door to leave the building undetected.  Over the last few years, many fire doors have had a green emergency break-glass door release fitted to make the casual use of such doors less likely, and this has worked in reducing crime. However, many card access doors only had a reader on the outside with no need of a card to get out.  With the exception of a few areas, this arrangement has now changed so that a card is needed to open the door for exit.  You can still exit it in an emergency without a card by simply breaking the break-glass emergency door release.

11 How do I request more time for the door to remain open?

If a door on the access control system is held open for an extended period of time the door control will give an audible indication; short or long beeps; that it is being held open. Holding a door open will also cause a warning message to be displayed in the Security Services control room.

If you require an extended door opening period; either permanently of temporarily (perhaps as a result of injury) contact Security Services who can extend the access opening time for all access controlled doors. If the time extension is temporary please remember to advise Security Services to remove the extension when it is no longer required.

12. How do I get out in an emergency, has my safety been compromised?

No, your safety is of paramount importance to us.  In an emergency if the fire alarm is activated, doors in high-occupancy areas will automatically release.  If the fire alarm hasn’t operated or the door doesn’t open, simply break the green ‘break-glass’ button situated near them and the lock will release and you can then escape in the usual way.  However, where the ‘break-glass’ is broken this sounds an alarm nearby and it will notify the porters and the security control room that it has been activated.  A green emergency break glass is shown below:

example of a emergency 'break glass'

13. Why is there no barcode on my card?

The library and sports centre systems now use the same microchip technology in their readers, so the barcode on your new card is no longer necessary.

14. Why do I not need a PIN anymore, has this made the card less secure?

In order to make it quick and easy for all of us to use the new card system, it was decided that a PIN was not necessary as many doors are currently open during the day and, even when they are not, tailgating occurs quite easily so you don’t even need a card. In other cases, PINs have been passed between users along with their card so negating the benefit of a secondary security measure in any case. Furthermore, the speed of using your card is increased by removing the need for a PIN: a PIN makes it less convenient and more likely a door will be propped open. In addition, those with manual dexterity problems or poor sight can struggle with using a keypad making them less user-friendly.

Taken together, it was decided that PIN pads only had the notional value of protecting a card if dropped and the person finding it had an intention of using it for illicit purposes and knew where the card could be used. We accept there is a small possibility a card could be dropped outside the door in question, but with the card not needing to be taken out of its secure holder and lanyard/belt reel to be used, this situation should be very small indeed. In any case, should a card be lost, it can be suspended from use 24/7 via the security control room – one short phone call is all it will take – and it can just as easily be activated with the appropriate ID checks should it not be permanently lost.  To compensate for the loss of the 4-digit PIN, in high risk areas a ‘PIN’ will be created by using a biometric (in this case a fingerprint) which cannot be passed between users. 

15. Why does my new UCard have less information on it?

The new UCard has been designed to make it clearer and easier to read.  We have removed job  titles as these soon become out of date.  We have also taken off the department names for staff for similar reasons.  However, students retain their faculty details to aid their academic support as well as an expiry date.  We have also placed as many non-essential details on the reverse of the card as possible.  This has allowed us to increase the size of the photograph and have room to designate different types of card holder, such as Library member, contractor, building visitor, etc to make it easy to quickly identify a person, particularly in the case of out-of-hours or restricted access areas.