Masterkeying and keying alike lock cylinders explained

A very useful system is masterkeying and keying alike lock cylinders, where multiple locks are required to be operated with the minimum of keys. On a simple level a homeowner may want their front and back door locks to be keyed alike to save having two different keys. This means that both locks are keyed alike, and share the same key, so one key can operate either door. Many upvc french doors (double doors) have a keyed alike cylinder in each door. Linacre Locksmiths often get asked to do this for homeowners who need locks changed due to lost or stolen keys for example.

However this advantage of keying alike locks is also useful to landlords who may have 3 or 4 bedrooms let out to students for example. Each student wants to lock their own door of course and also have a key to the entrance doors. Which means normally one key for front door, one key for back door and one key for their room. Three keys. Why not just have one! Here is an example of a simple masterkeying and keying alike lock suite.

masteryed lock cylinders
a simple lock suite of 4 bedroom locks

The house has four bedroom doors, with front and back entrance doors. These entrance doors have been keyed alike (the same). As can be seen, the landlord has 3 master keys which can operate every lock in the house. But the students have their own keys which can do only their own bedroom but also either entrance door.

A similar suite is in the following picture. However in this instance the landlord also wanted 3 keys that just operate the entrance doors only. This is so they can give a tradesperson one of these keys (for instance a gas boiler service engineer) so they can enter the property to do the work but not be able to access any bedrooms. Again the entrance doors are keyed alike, and again the tenant has a key that does their own room and entrance doors but no other. The landlord has master keys which can operate every door.

masterkeyed cylinders
masterkey suite with common entry keys

These are simple examples of course but are ideal for landlords with a house of multiple occupancy. There are many higher levels of masterkeying and keying alike such as those found in hotels for example. Locks can be grouped into sub-groups each with their own master keys, and with a set of grand master keys to open them all.

Linacre Locksmiths can provide this service and the benefits to homeowners and landlords is obvious.

The importance of good security for your upvc doors

The advantages and security of upvc doors are obvious and are installed on millions of properties throughout the country. The sense of security we get when we lift the handle up to lock and all those multiple locking points come into play. We feel secure. But just how secure are they really?

Every locksmith will tell you that the weakest point of every upvc door is the cylinder. The locking mechanism can throw out a hundred locking points such as hooks and deadbolts, but if the cylinder gets compromised then the handle goes down and the door opens. These upvc doors have been around for a few decades now and many still have the same original euro cylinders fitted. Many home owners pay little attention to security especially if they have never been broken into before. Criminals however are always looking for ways to defeat locks and break into properties quickly. And so lock snapping is on the rise as a preferred method of entry. The most basic of tools are required and is a fairly quiet method of gaining entry. Here is a picture of a burglary we saw yesterday where such a method was used…

As you can see the burglar destroyed the handle and cylinder in order to remove it and access the internals of the locking mechanism to unlock the door. The burglar then moved through the conservatory and onto the upvc sliding door.  If you think they are more secure think again…

Full entry gained to house in probably less than 5 minutes.

So what can the home owner do to prevent this? Well the answer is simple. There are higher standards these days for cylinders which mean they can be tested against many forms of attack, such as drilling, snapping, plug pulling and simple lock picking. Most euro cylinders on most homes are standard 5 or 6 pin cylinders not meeting any specific testing criteria (mainly because these tests came out many years after their original installation). More recent cylinders have appeared which carry the British Standard BS kitemark logo. And now they also carry a ‘star’ rating.

In general terms there are three ‘classes’ of euro cylinders. The countless thousands fitted to thousands of doors, some 10 or 20+ years old which carry no specific standard, or a basic level one. Then there are the more recent, more tested, more secure ones. Ones which carry the BS kitemark logo and also show a single star, or the higher class of 3 stars. Guess which is the best, most secure version!

When choosing a cylinder why compromise just to save a few quid? Think how much more you could lose to a burglar. When choosing to replace your cylinders there are two main criteria to look for:-

The SS312 rated locks are the highest possible standard you can currently get and these locks have been tested using all known burglar techniques, also employing the very tools the burglars use.

The TS007:2012 3 star cylinder is also a very high rating one and has passed anti snapping tests.

Be aware that there are kitemark TS007 cylinders with only 1 star on them. This doesn’t mean they are poor locks, but just that they have not necessarily been tested for their anti-snap capability. So what brands carry the top SS312 rating?  Here are a few to look for…

  • ABS Mk3
  • ERA Fortress
  • UAP Kinetica 3 Star
  • Avocet ATK
  • Ultion (Brisant)

Many brands offer the TS007 3 star and are also very good…

  • Yale
  • Asec Kite
  • GeGe
  • BKS
  • Iseo

and many others.

In truth there is no real point in fitting a 1 star euro cylinder when for a few pounds extra you can get a 3 star one and have that important peace of mind. Cost wise each 3 star cylinder is around £45 but surely that is worth spending when it comes to protecting your home, valuables and family. Increase your security and reduce risk.

Ask Linacre Locksmiths for advice and recommendations, and we can order and fit them for you.

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Small locksmith competing for advertising space

How can i compete with the advertising budget of national call centres?

As the title suggests, can a small one man band locksmith company compete with big national call centre operations?  Well in terms of advertising revenue spend then the answer is of course no. Type Norwich locksmiths into any search engine and the first results are always major companies. Now they pretend to be local, on your doorstep almost. But in reality they are based in Birmingham, Dorset, Essex, Manchester etc. Their adverts have ‘local’ sounding numbers but isn’t it a little strange that whoever answers the phone has a midlands, Mancunian or Essex accent! Can you also hear chatter in the background, perhaps other people on the phones? Welcome to the world of the fake local companies.

Open up the Norwich yellow pages under locksmiths and it is packed with 1/4 and 1/2 page adverts trying to impress.  Lots of towns listed alongside corresponding ‘local’ sounding numbers.  Want some fun if bored?  Dial each number in turn.  Chances are you get the same couple of individuals who answer (in their non-local accent). Why do they want to know the advert ref number – small number within corner of advert?  So they can see which book you got it from. And many of these different looking ads are actually the same company. Check the tiny printed addresses. Whole pages seem to have 4 different ads for example, but are actually the same call centre. They quote a high figure (plus vat) but if you have never used a locksmith before you may not know how extortionate it is. And they make sure to take your card details before anyone has even been booked to attend.

As for the actual people who attend (the sub-contractors)……. well i leave that discussion for another time. Along with photographic evidence of some of their handy work perhaps.

So because of the high charges they make the customers pay, and therefore the high advertising budget they can afford to spend, nationwide, it is really difficult to compete directly with them. So this is where reputation and word of mouth comes into play and is much more valuable to a sole trader locksmith. Check out the reviews of Linacre Locksmiths from all over the web. For comparison check in detail the reviews of the national companies. See the difference? Traditional advertising in the paper version of the Yellow Pages etc is dying out. Already over the last 5 years that book has shrunk to a quarter of it’s original size. And since dominated by the nationals it is quite easy to let them have it and scrap amongst themselves. These days the customer is far more savvy about researching first, using smartphones and desktops etc.

So the only way to beat these companies is to do a high standard of work, at a very reasonable price, and work hard. No short cuts. Something Linacre Locksmiths are proud to do. Check us out here..