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The term 'access control' refers to controlling access to facilities in a more definite way than by standard locks and keys. By simply reprogramming your electronic locks, you can grant, revoke, or limit access to your company's resources in just a few minutes and audit the locks to find out who has been inside. The keys cannot be duplicated, the locks can be time-zoned, and they provide the maximum level of security. For more information, please visit the access control page.[ close ]
High-security locks are mechanical locks that provide more security than standard locks by using more complicated and precise parts. These can include an extra set of pins as well as mechanisms that resist picking or drilling. In addition, the key blanks are a different shape than standard blanks, so they cannot be obtained by normal means. For more information, please visit our high security page.[ close ]
The name master-keying refers to the idea of having a "master" key which can access all the locks in a system. In a simple system one master-key usually has access to everything, but in more sophisticated systems different "levels" of access can be given to different people — all with just one key. Master-keying systems can get quite complicated and require careful planning by a knowledgeable expert.
Master-keying is done for convenience. If every lock in a building were to be separately keyed, the keys would quickly become awkward and difficult to control. By controlling the pins instead, you can specify which locks a single key can have access to. The result is more convenience and fewer keys to buy and control. A common usage of a master-keyed system is to provide janitors inclusive access to the places they need to clean, or allow employee access into common areas like a kitchen.
Access controlAccess control systems use versatile electronic locks to grant, revoke, or limit access to individual keys or groups of keys according to factors such as time of day. The locks can also tell you who has been accessing what.(click for more) systems have all of the advantages of master-keyed systems, plus additional features such as audit trailsAn audit trail keeps track of every time access has been made (or attempted) with a lock.(click for more) and limited-time accessWith an access control system, you can limit entry by certain keys based on date, time, day of the week, etc.(click for more) with none of the disadvantages. So why master-key?
Cost is the main tradeoff. Electronic access control locks can be expensive, and with multiple doors the cost can get quite high. Master-key systems are mechanical, and in most cases work with the hardware you already have installed. If all the locks in your system are compatible, (i.e., use the same kind of keys) there is no additional hardware to purchase. This also means that a master-key system can be set up more quickly, and without modifying hardware or doors.
As with most security systems, compromises are always possible. For example, if you were to master-key your interior deadbolts while putting an electronic lock on the front door alone, you could keep the cost down, while still requiring only two keys for all-inclusive access.
It is important to keep in mind that the process of master-keying is done for the sake of convenience, not security. Haphazardly creating a master-key system can result in keys that open locks they are not supposed to (often by having keys that are too 'close' to each other in shape). For most companies this compromise of security is unacceptable, which is why it pays to have master-key systems (large or small) set up professionally.
In addition, using high quality hardware can reduce the risk of a key inadvertently opening the wrong door. Higher quality locks are more precise, so for example a pin sized '4' would not accidentally be triggered by a key cut to a '5'. When considering master-keying your system, looking at your hardware is always a good idea.
For even more security, high securityHigh security locks give added security in the form of extra pins, locks that are resistant to picking or drilling, and keys that cannot be duplicated.(click for more) locks can be used. These locks are very precise and the keys cannot be duplicated by normal means. They still use pins, however, which means they can be master-keyed. For companies that demand a high level of security, this can be a good compromise between cost, security, and convenience.
Re-keying is the process of changing the pins in a lock's cylinder to work on a different key. The term re-keying generally implies this process along with creating new keys (with as many duplicates as necessary) and assuring that the old keys will no longer work the lock.
In most cases of break-ins that do not involve forced entry, keys have been duplicated, lost, or stolen without the owner's knowledge. In these situations it is strongly recommended that you have your locks re-keyed. Once someone has access to your keys they can easily have them copied. Even if you recover the key following a case of burglary, there is still the chance that your security has been compromised.
Re-keying can also be done as a preemptive measure if you suspect that someone has gained access to your keys. If you believe this person to have malicious intent, changing your locks is often well worth the cost if it avoids a potential break-in.
There are other times when re-keying is necessary such as when you buy new locks and need them to work on the same key, need to have locks changed to work on different keys, or need to have some keys work on all your locks, and some on just a few (a process known as master-keyingMaster-keying uses compound pins in a cylinder to allow different access to different keys, allowing different "levels" of access. This is a common practice with businesses.(see above)).
Businesses can have varied types of 'keying', but most people don't realize that this process can be extended to more than just doors that provide access. For example, your filing cabinets, computer desk, and a deposit safe can all be made to work on the same key. In most cases, special hardware is required for this as the keys all need to be the same basic size and shape.
It is important to note a general rule in commercial security — keying locks alike (including master keyingMaster-keying uses compound pins in a cylinder to allow different access to different keys, allowing different "levels" of access. This is a common practice with businesses.(see above)) is done for convenience, not security. In a world of pure security, every lock would have its own key, although this is almost never practical. It is important to keep in mind what each of your locks are for. If they all allow simple access into the building, then it makes sense for them to be on the same key. If, however, they provide access to money, sensitive information, or other areas that you would like to have special protection in the event of a break-in, then you should consider giving them their own separate key.
Security is often complicated, and in the case of businesses, extend beyond simple knobs on office doors. We service a variety of locks on a variety of fixtures, from the main building entrance to desk drawers.
- Panic Bars
- Filing Cabinets
- Standard Cabinets
- Desk Drawers
- Safe Deposit Boxes
Problems with simple mechanical locks are often easily repaired. Re-seating fixtures, lubricating parts, or creating new keys can often have your locks working smoothly again. However, in some cases it is more practical to replace the locks. This requires taking off the old hardware, replacing it, and changing the new lock to work with your current key.
Note: When you purchase new locksets from us, we will re-key them at no additional charge.
If you are more mechanically minded, you can remove the locks yourself and bring them in to us. If the problem cannot be repaired, we can provide you with new locks keyed to your old key. This saves us time and you money!
If you have lost the keys to your office or are locked out of the building, we can help! Our locksmiths can get you in, and our vans are equipped to perform other services such as making keys on the spot.
Probably not. We will first try picking the locks, which works in most cases and does not cause damage. In special cases where the lock cannot be picked we will try any other method to get you inside (i.e. picking another door, etc.) before resorting to more destructive methods. There is usually an alternative.[ close ]
That depends on where you lost it! In most cases where you've simply "lost" your keys inside your office, home, or car, all you need is to get inside. If you've gotten inside but still can't find the keys, we can create keys from scratch without an original to refer to.
On the other hand, if your keys were lost or stolen, especially along with something that identifies your company or building, you should seriously consider re-keyingRe-keying is the process of changing the pins in a lock to work with a new key. (see above) the locks. For example, if you simply dropped your key into a river, you may not have much cause for concern. If, however, your entire wallet was stolen along with your keys, you have a serious security problem.
We sell a large number of commercial safes for a variety of purposes, including cash-handling, guns, jewelry, and deposits. We also repair and service them, and can change the combination. See our safes page for more information about the safes we sell.
If you can remember some of the numbers, your best bet is to try each combination individually. If you can't remember which way to turn the dials (which can vary from safe to safe), we can often look up this information based on the brand and model number.
If you can't remember any part of the combination, it may be possible for us to manipulate it open. However, larger and more complicated safes can often be problematic, and although we can promise to get you in, it may be at the expense of the safe!
Safes have moving parts which can stick or rust. If you have the combination but the safe won't open, we can usually get the door open — then repair the problem. However, if the door is locked and nothing else will work, drilling may be the only option.[ close ]
We carry a new line of smaller, microwave-sized safes that have an electronic combination keypad. Weighing in at about 100lbs. these safes are more commonly used for fire protection than burglary. However, they can be bolted down from the inside, which can deter a frantic would-be thief. See our safes page for details.
Alarmed exit locks are most common in restaurants and malls. The benefits of an alarmed lock go beyond fire-related emergencies — they can alert you if a thief is trying to escape through a door that is required to be left open. Most have self-contained sound alarms, however they can be set up to alert you in a number of different ways. They are typically battery operated and warn with a beeping sound when the battery gets low, but may also be wired to run off the main power. Many of them allow you to over-ride the alarm with a key.
Panic Bars / Push Bars
Exit devices do not have to be alarmed, but in places of public gathering such as theaters, churches, and schools, they must be large and easy to activate to meet the fire code. These "panic bars" come in several different styles. Please contact us for additional information.
Electrically Activated Locks
Most locks, even those referred to as "electronic", still require a manual device to engage and disengage the bolt. Electrically activated locks, however, provide added functionality by allowing remote activation. These are most commonly the "buzz-in" systems you see in use in apartment buildings and reception areas, but they can also be put on a timer to allow public access based on day and time. A common use for these is in laundromats and other places that are not staffed. The mechanical portion of these locks come in two general types — electrically activated latches, which control the latchThe latch is the part of the door that hits the area of the door frame known as the "strike plate"., and electrically activated strikes, which control the strike plateThe strike plate is the area including the plate and hole in the door frame that the latch "strikes" and fits into.. In the event of a power outage, these locks can be either "fail-safe", which default to an unlocked position, or "fail-secure", which default to a locked position.
Re-keyingRe-keying is the process of changing the pins in a lock to work with a new key. (see above) a lock is a simple procedure. However, for businesses with high employee or tenant turnover, the cost of repeatedly calling a locksmith can add up. For motels and other businesses that constantly give out access to their facilities, re-keying a lock quickly to prevent unauthorized access is a major concern. Interchangeable core locks are one solution to these problems. They look the same as regular locks, and can be keyed (or master-keyedMaster-keying uses compound pins in a cylinder to allow different access to different keys, allowing different "levels" of access. This is a common practice with businesses.(see above)) in the same way. However, a special "control key" can be used to remove the cylinder of the lock quickly, and replace it with a spare. The original can then be taken in to a locksmith, re-keyed at the customer's convenience, and become the next spare. Although costing more up front, interchangeable core locks easily pay for themselves, and are a great solution for emergencies as they can be swapped instantly. In addition, some high securityHigh security locks give added security in the form of extra pins, locks that are resistant to picking or drilling, and keys that cannot be duplicated.(click for more) lock makers have interchangeable cylinders that are compatible with other interchangeable core hardware.
Commercial keyless locks (also sometimes known as "cypher" locks) usually use combinations rather than keys. Low-end keyless locks are mechanical and typically hold just one combination, whereas high-end keyless locks are electronic, and are a form of access controlAccess control systems use electronic locks to limit access to certain keys according to factors such as time of day. They can also tell you who has been accessing what.(click for more). Combination locks are a simple solution for businesses that have high employee or tenant turnover and need to add or remove access frequently. Mechanical keyless locks have their own advantages such as not having to worry about power outages or batteries. In addition, combination locks have the added advantage of being without keys that can be lost or stolen, and combinations can be changed quickly. However, combinations can be "stolen" by watching careless users, so more caution is needed.
Securing double doors can be a challenge, as they often lock clumsily into each other instead of a stable frame. One way to compensate for this is by adding what is called a "mullion". This is a removable post that can be installed between the doors when locked. The doors then latch into it instead of each other which provides much more stability. We can also install a special lock that creates a "three point system" which, by throwing one lock, will bolt into the door frame at two points on the top and bottom as well as the adjacent door.
ADA Compliant Hardware
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has its own Standards for Accessible Design, which regulates access for the disabled. This could mean adding levers or push bars rather than knobs. Being compliant with these standards can be confusing — if you have questions or need more information, please contact us.
Also known as "bit and barrel" keys, skeleton keys may be old-fashioned, but are still in use in many homes. We can pick these locks open and provide services such as key generation or duplication. In most cases, however, it is not practical to re-keyRe-keying is the process of changing the pins in a lock to work with a new key. (see above) these locks.
Door Reinforcing Plates
Sometimes called "kickplates" or "magplates" depending on the location, having a reinforcing plate on your door will strengthen it to prevent break-ins, as well as covering cracks or splits in the wood that can result from doors that were kicked-in. They can also cover holes from previous knobs or deadbolts. We also sell heavy-duty strike plates which protect the area where the latch hits the door frame, which is a common weak link in forced-entry break-ins.
Keyboxes are key storage units that can be accessed with a combination. They are used quite commonly in real estate when keys are required to be kept on-site. They can be permanently or temporarily installed.
Decorative locks are not necessarily for stylish homes. Upscale buildings or offices sometimes choose to install locks with high-quality finishes such as brass, steel, or bronze. We can custom order locks to fit your style of decor. Call us or come visit our shop for more information or to browse our selection.
Door Closers, Hinges, etc.
We perform services and installations on many other door accessories including door closers and openers, hinges, and "door ajar" alarms which go off if a door is kept open for too long. For more details, please contact us.