Re-keying a building & lockdown ?'s...

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  #1  
Old 12-30-09, 05:05 PM
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Re-keying a building & lockdown ?'s...

Hi everyone:

I'm hoping that some good folks might be able to give me some ideas about our lock situation. I'm an administrator in a small-town school, and we're looking into re-keying the building. Originally, I was looking at keyless entry locks that you can open with a combination, but they seem pretty expensive, and we have steel doors with crash bars, so I'm not sure if we could retrofit a keyless to fit on the door. Is this possible?

The issue I'm struggling with is that staff and others who have keys to the building get approached by others who supposedly have "legitimate needs" to have a key, and they go to the store and have keys copied. I think our whole town has a key to our school! This problem is systemic, and goes back many years through two or three re-keying attempts. If we would re-key the building, would there be any way to protect the keys from being copied countless times, or is a keyless entry system the only way to avoid this?

Can you order locks from places that are all keyed alike or keyed to user specifications, or would a locksmith actually have to come onsite and do this?

The other issue we have is with our classroom doors. The doors have a simple lock on the handle that is in the hallway. The classroom handle has nothing. If we were to put the school in a lockdown, teachers would need to grab their key, put it in the outside knob and turn it to lock the door. Not very practical if we have an emergency situation. The doors also have a 1.5ft glass pane that runs almost the entire height of the door. If an intruder desperately wanted in, all he'd have to do is punch through the glass and simply turn the knob and he's in.

The only idea that I had was a double-sided deadbolt for the doors. These are pretty expensive too, and also have their drawbacks. God forbid we accidentally lock a child in the classroom or some other weird thing like that. That probably would be grossly against code, too.

Would anyone have any suggestions as to what we could do in order to better secure the classroom doors so they would function better in a lockdown setting?

Thanks so much, everyone, for your help. Happy New Year!
 
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Old 12-31-09, 05:50 AM
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Locks

When I was an administrator in a large factory, we used Best Lock Systems. There are other companies with similar offerings.

The keying system is a stepped system with a master key,sub-masters, sub-sub-master, etc. Keys are controlled with a key inventory card system. Each key is stamped "Do Not Duplicate".

The system uses changeable cores which are more economical than changing the entire lock.

The initial installation is quite expensive, but gives good control when used in the recommended manner. A company rep came to our plant and discussed the possibilities before we made a commitment.
 
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Old 12-31-09, 01:53 PM
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Best and Medeco are lines of locks meant for this exact purpose - the keys cannot be copied without permission from you and rekeying is also simplified, as wirepuller indicated. Best will probably set you back less than Medeco but neither will be cheap.

As to double sided deadbolts, there may be legal reasons not to do this, the alternative may be to replace the doors.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 10:39 AM
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On your 1st issue: While pushbutton locks are avail to retrofit most types of panic-exit devices (crash bars), I would not advise it...combinations are more easily given out than keys, and you'd find yourself changing combos at least monthly, if not sooner to maintain security.

You'll need to get some bids from several full-line locksmiths as they don't all carry the same lines...what you're looking for are "restricted" or "Registered" keys. They are usually associated with "High-Security" (expensive) locks, but not always. If your locks are in good or better condition you can purchase the key cylinders only and save considerable $$.
There are now many retrofit restrictive key systems avail., so get several bids.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 10:59 AM
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RE: your second issue: "Classroom Lockdown", a term I'd never heard of until recent years, (sigh...) but as a sign of the times, the doorknob function you're looking for has always been made by several brands, but has now been re-labeled as a "classroom lockdown" or some such buzzword name. Essentially, it's a cylindrical or mortise lock (ie., not a deadbolt) that has a keyhole on both sides--to lock the outer knob or lever, you use the inside key. The inside knob or lever is always free to exit. The inside and outside cylinders can be keyed differently, alike, master-keyed to other doors, etc. Restrictive cylinders may also be used. On some models, opening then re-closing will unlock the outer knob.

This function is, understandably avail primarily in Grade 1 heavy-duty commercial lines, so they're not cheap.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 12:00 PM
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A quickie on "removable core" locks: Generally, the cost-effectiveness of these systems is not realized until you exceed a certain number of locks, as in institutions such as universities, multi-campus businesses, etc. where more than say 500 -1000 units are involved, therefore frequent lock changes by the owner justifies the expense.

If you have a restricted-key system in place, you have reduced the need for lock changes by at least 75%

BUT, you sure need to implement a good key-control system, with penalties/fines for keys signed out but not returned or lost.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 01:04 PM
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Not a locksmith, not an expert but why not install only one or two combination locks and put very tight restrictions on who gets the keys to the other locks. If needed since you have panic bars installed once entry was gained through a combination lock a keyed door could be opened from the inside assuming no alarm. Combinations could be changed monthly.

I know nothing about card entry systems but have you considered those?
 
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Old 01-04-10, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Not a locksmith, not an expert but why not install only one or two combination locks and put very tight restrictions on who gets the keys to the other locks. If needed since you have panic bars installed once entry was gained through a combination lock a keyed door could be opened from the inside assuming no alarm. Combinations could be changed monthly.

I know nothing about card entry systems but have you considered those?
The primary difference between card entry systems and key entry systems is "nothing".

Some card entry systems can be maintained in house by a computer nerd.

Most lock systems should be handled by a locksmith.

rstripe's advice is on the money.

It always surprises me that some people will consult a handyman for their opinion before consulting a professional.

About 18 months ago, I installed my own preferred brand of restricted key system (Bilock) in a school with 50 external doors and 200 internal doors.

the existing product used by the builder was Falcon. The current system was standard, non restricted key profile. The principal explained the same dilemna of having no key control.

They took quotes from various companies and mine was accepted. In almost 2 years since, I have supplied about 6 more keys only on written authorised request, solving their problem of key control completely.

They too, thought about digital locks, but were surprised by the cost of such too. As an average cost per door, they would have spent in excess of $1200 each for digital locks, instead of the $100-150 they spent for the restricted key system.

The ongoing service of electronic digital locks is a cost rarely taken into consideration too.

On internal classroom doors, I recommended classroom function double cylinder leversets, that comply with ADA and building codes, @ roughly $380.00 each (before restricted cylinders and keys and labor to install). The manufacturers are charging almost rip off prices for this stuff, in my opinion.

We ended up using retro-fit Bilock cylinders in their existing product for about $100 per door including parts and labor.
 
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Old 01-07-10, 08:03 PM
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Thanks so much, everyone, for the great and helpful replies. I think I will heed the advice given and consult a professional locksmith and have some bids prepared on a restrictive key system. Perhaps I can post back with the bids to see if we're in the ballpark or not.

Thanks again - really appreciate the helpful replies.
 
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